The Path To Good Health

Yoga lays a path which will lead us towards our goal, however, we must do the walking.

Before we can do anything practical to treat digestive disorders, we must first locate the cause, whether in the body or mind. Once this has been found, we can select and follow the correct path, that which is easiest and most direct, to the destination of good health. Indigestion, in most cases, is caused by such things as anxiety, tension, frustration, guilt, resentment, and so on. Be sure, however, that in your case it is not an organic thing, and that there is nothing physically wrong which may require medical treatment.

The body is a whole organism and depends on each organ functioning in balance with all the other organs for its continued good health. When a basic process such as digestion is out of order the whole organism is affected. To prevent minor digestive problems from snowballing into other major disorders, we suggest that you start examining your lifestyle and habits now. Try to weed out all destructive habits and plant health-giving ones in their place. In doing this, some important points to remember are:

  1. Be aware of your eating habits and your mind while taking food.
  2. Do not worry about the future. The catastrophes you anticipate rarely occur.
  3. Be aware of those situations which cause the most stress and try to resolve them. Of course it is impossible not to be affected by the attitudes and expectations of others but try not to let them control your life.

Digestive disorders, as a whole, are very easy to treat by using yoga. The practices given here are those which we have found most beneficial for the digestion, and if practiced regularly they will increase health and energy, strengthening both body and mind, On a physical level they balance the nervous and endocrine system thereby harmonizing the rest of the body. On the mental level they release tensions, allowing us to function more efficiently and live a fuller life.

Start now and you will be sure of good health in the near future. With regularity and determination, it is remarkable how much can be achieved in a short time. However, it is no good to just talk about doing something or sit around reading a book. You must get up and act now. This is the moment, and if you put it off now the chances are that you will regret your apathy in the future.

Advice and precautions

The root cause of indigestion can be reached and resolved through yoga, and the likelihood of recurrence is negligible provided you continue the practices. It should be remembered, that each individual is different and requires specific techniques to suit his own particular needs. Therefore a good teacher is essential, especially when therapy is sought. The teacher acts as an objective observer who can see from experience just what you need. With expert guidance you are certain to make good progress. Here are a few helpful suggestions for those who wish to start on the yogic path to good health:

  1. Never go to extremes and practice more than you arc capable of. Yogic techniques are designed to remove tension but you must relax while doing them. Never exert undue effort or strain.
    The attitude of mind should be one of effortless, relaxed concentration.
  2. The stomach should be empty before commencing practices. After eating, allow 4 to 5 hours to elapse, depending on whether you have taken a big or small meal.
  3. While practicing, always breathe through the nose, unless instructed to do otherwise.
  4. Practice on a folded blanket laid down on a clean floor.
  5. If possible designate a well ventilated room where there is peace and quiet for your practices. The room should not have a draught or objects cluttered around that may distract the mind or impede bodily movement in any way.

The yogic practices and general improvements in your lifestyle may require a major change in your schedule and habits. It will be difficult in the beginning, but don't worry and don't get discouraged if at first you do not succeed. Overcoming old conditioning is always a test of our desire for self improvement. Once you have made the change and find yourself becoming healthier, your entire attitude to life will change. Long after your digestive upsets are a thing of the past, you will continue to grow, becoming physically and emotionally healthier than you dream possible.

Note: Full details of the recommended practices can be found in Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati of the Bihar School of Yoga, Monghyr, India. Caution: All techniques should be learned under expert guidance.