Archive for the ‘Chikitsa-remedial’ Category


Sunday, June 1st, 2014

Inevitably we think of the yogi’s conscious study of the art of breathing as an important practice and an integral part of the philosophy of Ahimsa or non-violence that is applied to the discipline.

Modern acceptance of respiration now focuses upon the importance of oxygen but also upon necessity for adequate carbon dioxide. This modifies the western teaching that has been well established in the previous attitude towards these gases that oxygen is ‘good’ and carbon dioxide ‘bad’. Nature requires that these gases are balanced to result in good physical health. Successful remedial programmes demonstrate this point.

Too much emphasis is made by some yoga students upon exertion of the breathing process by straining to achieve mastery. These efforts can sometimes interfere with the natural rhythm that must be seen as the way nature generally works. In this case, when at rest, the breathing is relaxed and even. Although various techniques are taught and can be used for specific purposes, it must not be at the expense of straining the gentle rhythm that Nature conducts in keeping us alive. We need to inhale life and to express life.

In the case of respiratory symptoms, mainly of asthma, it is soothing to introduce the direct inhalation of natural essential oils that offer a fine selection of different scents, some of which will be found pleasing to the patient and best practised in the privacy of the home when it is possible to isolate one perfume from another.

The yoga system offers techniques to release strain on certain parts of the body.
Asthmatics suffer strain on two major nerve centres and will benefit by the use of the
Uddiyana Bandha or solar plexus lock, and the Jalandhara Bandha or chin lock. These must be demonstrated clearly by the teacher with the purpose of using pressure and release of muscular tension on these centres.

Gentle stretches through spinal movements will help to establish muscular balance on either side of the spine although in many cases massage and the need for adjusting any chronic spinal mal-placement must be also considered as an additional help from a professional.

The nutritional aspect is very important and the diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables with reduction of cheese and dairy produce initially, together with a reduction in starchy foods, breads and pasta. When changes in the diet result in easing the respiratory spasms the overall diet can be reassessed. It is a difficult subject on which to generalize too much as each of us has such individual tastes and powers of digestion.
It is advisable to give a trial period without meat.

Because the yogi looks upon breathing being not only a physical health necessity but is the lifeline that not only helps integrate the several aspects of the psyche but is the means
of connection of spirit to body and the spiritual connection of the individual to the universal, so providing our personal lifeline to our Life Source.


Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Although yogic practices of Hatha Yoga are principally used as a method of preventing disease, they extend into the area of self-help. Most of the disciplines originate in the ancient Ayurvedic system known as Yoga Chikitsa with many similar practices being incorporated in western naturopathic medicine today. The traditional manner of treating disease by the use of herbs and substances prepared according to Ayurvedic medicine in India has a scientific background with its logic shared by all who recognise the healing powers of herbs and the validity of the homoeopathic system of medicine.

The philosophy behind the science is a respect for all life. It concedes that even the tiniest expression of natural life has its design and purpose within life’s evolution, even the smallest atom, or ion. Within its basic philosophy and in common with the Chinese system of medicine the natural elements – Fire, Earth, Air, Water and Ether are considered. The traditional physician is seen as attempting to orchestrate the harmonious function of all the elements which requires wisdom, skill and insight.

However there are many yogic practices that can be used in self correction and most of these are generally introduced in yoga classes, including –

Art of Relaxation – to be cleansed of muscular and nerve tensions and stress
Kriyas – additional hygiene to be internally clean
Fasting- to eliminate toxins from the blood
Purification –of psyche by eradication of character faults and bad habits undermining health
Nutritional – building a health body with quality food and herbs and a vegetarian diet
Building a strong body with appropriate exercises including the Surya Namaskar
Building character through cultivation of good qualities and nobility of character
Asanas – body postures, both in passive stance and in specific remedial postures
Pranayama – controlling energy through breathing exercises and awareness of breath
Pratyahara – cultivating and controlling the senses with no neglect, over use or sensory abuse
Dharana – concentration in creating the self image one desires of perfect health
Dhyana – meditation which brings about a peaceful and elevated spiritual level of consciousness whereby states of dis-harmony may be corrected.

Subtle Therapies provide additional aids in therapy by soothing and harmonizing the soul –including music, colour, perfume, mantra, and prayer.

Although traditional methods of healing may be employed in Indian ashrams and hospitals and suited to their cultural needs and conditions, we must not try to fashion our ways by artificially adopting customs foreign to our own culture.

Principles and health practices, which seem reasonable and natural to us, are best to follow and the safest customs and therapies are those which apply safe, non-invasive methods.

Refer to the methods which offer relief from any personal health problem and assist you to total health.

INHALATION OF OILS – to Relieve Asthma

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

From an address by Sally Janssen at a Naturopathic Convention of the SPFNT Sydney 1971

Essential oils produce natural vaporous perfumes which when inhaled can be most effective in relieving asthma. The perfumes of pine, peppermint and cardamom are therapeutic and also others such as rose, cinnamon, ginger, lemon and lime. It is a case of trialling to find the most effective.

Perfume assists the flow of prana in the respiratory aspect of the brain through the olfactory nerves which convey their message directly to the sensory tissue of the olfactory lobe. The regio respiratoria and the regio olfactoria in the brain are closely associated. We call the olfactory sense Gandha Tanmatra in Yoga.

Improving the function and sensitivity of the whole olfactory system is of great general benefit. A firm but gentle manipulation of the septum will benefit the nasal area and assist the sense of olfaction. Also effective is to splash the nose with cold water several times a day. However it is not easy to recover the sense of smell and if any suffer from anosmia do not be disheartened but continue with the practices and observe any increasing sensitivity.

The throat needs attention as the glottis determines the pressure of air in the trachea and to help relax the energy in this centre the Chin lock or Jalandhara Bandha is used.

The solar plexus requires attention as the seat of mechanical muscular control of volume of air flow into the lungs in the process of respiration. The Uddiyana Bandha or Solar plexus lock is used here, except with young children.

Like a vicious circle a nervous panic state develops inside the patient in creating the conditions that result in asthma. Difficulties in breathing in turn create a further panic by their very nature. It is naturally a situation that creates a frightening feeling that one’s lifeline is blocked and the breath no longer flowing and functioning in the usual friendly and rhythmic way.

Try to understand your asthma patient and that because he cannot express his life by exhaling his breath properly, emphasis is placed upon inhalation and forces a gasping for air. Before long things get worse and the whole respiratory system becomes erratic  – the shoulders raise  – the back tenses – fear begins to show in the eyes and intense effort is required for him to just keep things going when an attack is serious.

At this stage, if in a classroom situation, the physical touch from the teacher often will release a degree of stress until the ventolin puffer achieves a temporary release from the struggle.  It is usually the only immediate relief for asthma that can be given in that situation, although other measures can be effective.

Teaching the art of relaxation, regaining self control of his body processes as well as his psychological states is the long term cure, together with careful instruction as to the balance of the energies of the right and left nostril breaths that ensures a long term cure of this disease.

It is difficult to generalize as to causative factors that are usually complex but there is a certain need to balance of the physical gases between oxygen and carbon dioxide as it is necessary for our physical health that the flow of air through each nostril is needed to stimulate the energy to both right and left sides of the brain. That is Nature’s design and offers the answer to why do we not have one big nostril !


Imbalance in the psychological level is often found to be stress through introvert attitudes and overly trying when actions and feelings should be more flowing and spontaneous. Not to allow emotions or situations to strangle the natural lifeline but a more relaxed attitude to life and to himself should be assumed.

Many adults respond when encouraged to understand compromise and accept that the gentle way is not always weakness.

Help the student to relax the body, become more outgoing, play gentle sports, and free his diet from intake of the dairy foods that may trigger an attack to focus upon fresh juices, salads and vegetables.

Let him inhale one of the fine natural essential oils to be aware of the difference and so be able to wish to avoid inhaling the harmful chemicals that are so common in our environments today.