Starting with this issue, we are bringing out several issues of Yoga Magazine devoted to Yogic Management of Stress, in order to enlighten the suffering humanity on the role of yoga in the management of stress and stress related disease.
As the present century is coming to a close, this physio-psychological phenomenon is threatening to reach endemic proportions throughout the world and, presently, yoga offers an inexpensive and effective solution.
It is no accident that a science as ancient as yoga comes to counter one of the miseries of the modern times. The seers of ancient India had realised that the science of yoga, which the then civilised world had forgotten, would one day become the plank on which humanity would survive. And in their wisdom, they preserved this ancient science for thousands of years, until present-day enlightened souls, such as Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati could make it their life's mission to prepare yoga for the people and the people for yoga.
Swamiji has devoted a major part of his spiritual life to the propagation of yoga from shore to shore, and from door to door. Today yoga is a world wide movement, and will soon become, as he had predicted, the 'culture of tomorrow'.
While still in the ashram of his Guru, Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj, Swamiji had developed the techniques of yoga nidra and meditation based on the ancient tantras. For more than 20 years now, these practices have been effectively applied to a number of diseases, particularly to those of a stress related nature. The benefits from these yogic practices have been outstanding in hypertension, heart problem, ulcer, tension and anxiety, besides a host of other problems arising from the mind. In virtually the entire spectrum of stress related disorders, yoga has become a standard therapy. Yoga is gaining acceptance in the medical world because, for the first time in medical history, practices have taken therapy beyond the reach of the surgeon's scalpel to the very depths of the subconscious mind.
Today, when humanity is faced with the increasing prospects of stress, techniques such as bio feedback, either alone or in combination with meditation, are not able to cope with the expectations of the medical world. As life progresses, not only busy executives and professionals, but each one of us will be facing the prospects of stress, and there is no effective medical therapy for stress on a mass scale. It is mind-boggling to visualise a population in which everyone automatically becomes a victim of stress, as automatic as greying hair. Already, we have begun to take for granted the 'after 40' diseases of high blood pressure, ulcer and others. Soon, we will be adding stress to the list.
Currently, yoga offers the ideal counter balance to stress, both as a preventive practice and as a post-stress therapy. Many researches and studies, done in India and abroad, have highlighted the usefulness of yoga therapy, particularly in the case of stress related disorders.
Yoga has been used as standard therapy for many diseases. For which modern medical science can only provide symptomatic relief. It is estimated Today that almost 90% of diseases originate from stress, and most of the modern diseases affecting the heart, arteries, blood pressure, digestion, digestive tract and sleep are 'symptoms' of stress. The origin of even cancer is now traced to stress.
Stress is a problem we all have to learn to live with because the world around us is growing more and more stressful. Every day, a new crisis looms on the horizon, threatening to bring the civilisation as we know it to a standstill. Are we equipped to cope with crises of this nature? If we ourselves are apprehensive about it, what will happen to our children when they grow up? Are we adequately preparing them to face the future?
Only yoga, the ancient science of the body-mind-emotion complex, offers us the best choice to counter this modern menace. It is therefore essential, that yoga is taught in the same way as we teach children to brush their teeth, and it should become as much a part of daily life as personal hygiene. Yoga does not need any costly equipment. All it needs is an acceptance and a willingness to practise. Even simple practices such as surya namaskara and nadi shodhana pranayama, if practised from childhood, would dramatically transform the population, enabling people to cope with stress more naturally as stress becomes a part of their life.
In these issues, an attempt has been made to dearly establish, wherever possible, the yogic practices and their effect on the various parts of the human anatomy, the mind and consciousness. The medical terminologies used are sufficient to lend an authenticity and an understanding of the body-mind complex. The theories and practices mentioned here are based on the stress management programs which are regularly conducted by swamis from the Bihar School of Yoga. These programs are in great demand in Government undertakings and private companies all over the country.
As part of Swamiji's mission, the Bihar School of Yoga has been promoting a scientific approach to stress management, combining modern diagnostics and clinical approach with yogic techniques to bring hope to the suffering humanity. Medical science must view the problem posed by stress on a global scale, and be prepared to give up the use of the 'stethoscope of suspicion' on therapies which have been scientifically proved to be beneficial but remain unaccepted simply 'they don't belong to our world'.