In May-June 1972, as a Senior Major in the Australian Staff Corps I sustained two myocardial infarctions at the Sydney General Hospital. I was retired from the Australian Regular Army on 22nd December 1972, on a full medical pension.
Between 1972-1974 I sustained a further three (total of five) myocardial infarctions. I had all but given up hope when I met Swami Amritananda in 1974. She literally dragged and half carried me to Bihar School of Yoga, Munger. Swamiji gave Swami Amritananda the responsibility of my rehabilitation.
Of course, pawanmuktasana was prescribed, plus my diet was watched. I was allowed long daily walks to the Ghat on the Ganges and given a long class of yoga nidra every afternoon.
My pawanmuktasana program was built up from simple non-stressful beginnings until I voluntarily used to enjoy a two hour program, followed by a one hour meditation. It was difficult at first to practise pawanmuktasana due to my poor physical/mental state. I had all but given up the fact that I could once more enjoy health.
There were very good physical reasons for my poor physical health. Mentally I had just about given up. From an extremely active and sports-filled life in the Regular Army, suddenly I was an invalid with no future. This made me a mental cripple also.
Under Swami Amritanandaji's guidance I watched a miracle occur in my body and mind. I was not rehabilitated. I was given a whole new life with a new understanding to go with it. Pawanmuktasana healed my body in three months. In that time I lost excess kilos of nonessential fat, and more important, I was able to do ANY asana prescribed in 'Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha' book.
Of course, I was under prohibition not to practise any asana. My 'piece de resistance' was achieved when suddenly, one morning, I was able to lie along my legs in Paschimottanasana without feeling any strain. When I reported this to Swamiji, he merely smiled and said, 'No asana'.
I learned from practical experience that pawanmuktasana is not meant for the physical body alone. This carefully designed series of exercises gave me an intense awareness of the mind and body I had never learned through western exercise programs, at which I had been expert.
Undoubtedly it was prana vidya which brought about subtle changes in my heart condition, to the point where cardiac specialists now find it hard to accept that I had five heart attacks. The proof of course is in Sydney General Hospital and St. Vincents Hospital, Toowoomba. It can easily be verified, as can my war pension disabilities.
In 1974 I was told, before coming to India, that I would be on cardiac drug therapy for the rest of my life. For almost three years now I have not had recourse to Inderal. All other drugs (19 separate drugs daily) I tipped down the drain at BSY in 1975.
I keep regular check on my blood-pressure, live a lifestyle that does not allow stress to accumulate, and try to keep my weight down.
I was also told in 1974, that my heart condition meant a severely restricted lifestyle. After the success of the first four months, I went back to Australia and returned quickly for a further twelve months, until the end of 1975.
In 1976 I commenced an undergraduate degree in Behavioural Science (with distinctions), received my Master's Degree in New Zealand in 1980 and have worked full-time as private psychologist, Director of a Community Centre and hospital clinical psychologist since that time.
As Swami Ishwarananda my life is full, joyous and boundless. It has its fair share of problems, but continuous practice of Swamiji's techniques minimise these. The miracle I experienced under Swami Amritanandaji's direction will never cease for me. It is the miracle of life itself.