The Yoga Research Foundation commenced a five year research Program into Asthma with a Doctor's Symposium during Basant Panchami, 1989.
The Yoga Asthma Study has been going full-steam ahead since the Symposium. Therapy and training are given year round at Ganga Darshan, and are extended to certain districts in the form of camps. The ashram has been receiving many enquiries from interested asthmatics and their families. These queries are answered below.
The first step is to write to the YRF at Munger, stating that you wish to attend one of the special Yoga Asthma Study courses. This year they will be held in May, July and October from 11th to 30th. For this special course you need a certificate from your doctor stating that you are a bronchial asthmatic with no complicating or infectious disease. You will need to bring PA and lateral chest X-rays, blood TLC/DLC/ESR and hemoglobin, tests as well as a routine microscopic stool test. These tests should be no more than two weeks old when you come for your course.
Arrange to put your normal duties aside, for during these 20 days you will learn techniques which will alleviate your suffering when practised regularly.
To start with, asthmatic students fill out a comprehensive medical history questionnaire. The questionnaire provides important information for the Yoga Asthma Study as well as giving the doctors a ready reference of your particular case history for the future years of the Study.
Each person is then individually examined by a qualified allopathic medical doctor with whom you can discuss your respiratory problem. Then a spirometry test is given to provide a record of your current lung function which in six months time can be compared to a follow-up test.
Now the yoga course begins. A gentle series of asanas gradually and painlessly limber up the body while removing energy blocks. Other exercises are designed to rebalance and tone the body's other internal systems. Some asanas expand the chest and correct postural defects. Pranayama practices teach the asthmatic how to breathe correctly and bring control over the respiratory process. Simple meditation techniques help to slowly come to know and handle the deeper layers of the personality. Yoga nidra relaxes you thoroughly, physically, mentally and emotionally. Kirtan and satsang also form part of the integral yoga program. Karma yoga can be participated in by those who wish.
By the second week, the system has improved through the sattwic influence of the simple vegetarian diet and peaceful ashram environment. Now the hatha yoga shatkriyas, or cleansing practices are performed, which also act as bronchodilators and can be used to arrest an approaching attack.
Progress is monitored by a second spirometry test at the conclusion of the course. Each student is given a personally-tailored yoga program to suit their individual needs, which they practise at home. A deep personal commitment must be made towards performing the yoga practices regularly.
For the purposes of the Yoga Asthma Study, each student is asked to record their schedule and progress on a simple chart which is returned to the ashram each month. Any queries will be answered by the YRF. The information you supply is vital for compiling a conclusive scientific record of yoga's effectiveness in managing disease. At the end of six months, students return to the ashram for a follow-up spirometry test and questionnaire.