Introducing Yoga Chikitsa – Self Help to Better Health

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 medicinethe 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. We can also help ourselves.

Self-Help

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

Nutrition – 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 seem natural and offer you relief from any personal health problem.  Remember, it takes time to build total health.

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