Aditya Vaibhav | The TrickyScribe: Yoga is a physical, mental and practice originated in India. It comprises of eight main segments including Yam, Niyam, Asan, Pranayam, Pratyahar, Dharna, Dhyan and Samadhi. One can access health and happiness with ancient yet little-known yoga practices that tap into the healing power of nature.
Scientific research validates what many of us know from personal experience that spending time in nature is healing. Muscular tension, pain, increased heartbeat and increased blood pressure—all symptoms of stress—fade or decrease with exposure to nature.
Simultaneously, there have been increasingly more studies focused on the benefits and effects of yoga. Some recent studies highlight miraculous results of Yoga on conditions including chronic low back pain and reducing inflammation in the body, which can help stave off chronic disease. Whether for physical, mental, or emotional conditions, even western medicine is verifying what Yogis have been teaching for ages. With so much evidence supporting the benefits of both yoga and nature, cannot they be combined for an ultra-healing experience?
Celebrated annually on 21 June since its inception in 2015, International Day for Yoga was declared unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Indian PM Narendra Damodardas Modi in his UN address suggested the date of 21 June, also the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, shares a special significance in many parts of the world. While PM Modi joined International Yoga Day celebrations from Ranchi, The TrickyScribe reached out to Chancellor, S-VYASA; Chairman, Advisory Committee, World Assembly on Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy; Chairman, International Day of Yoga Experts Committee, Taskforce of AYUSH (Ministry of Health & Family Welfare) and SAC of Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, Government of India, Dr HR Nagendra.
Dr Nagendra is a mechanical engineer-turned-Yoga therapist, academic, writer and Founder Chancellor of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA), Bengaluru. He is a recipient of Yoga Shri title from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and has authored 35 books & 100-plus research papers on Yoga. Government of India awarded him the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri in 2016 for his contributions to the mental and physical well-being of the society. Dr Nagendra believes that both nature and divinity dwell within us and Yogic lifestyle can help us to live in harmony with Nature. Excerpts:
Aditya: First things first! Everybody is talking about ensuring sustainability in different walks of society. Can Yogic Lifestyle lead us to a sustainable future?
Dr Nagendra: The outer world today is facing environmental degradation and simultaneously the inner world is in turmoil leading to ailments. World needs Yoga. It can be that elusive unifying and ameliorating panacea that the world needs to survive in harmony with nature and give each individual the strength and conviction to leading meaningful lives. We cannot be alive if the world is dead.
Swami Vivekananda said “Nature is homogeneous. Differentiation is in manifestation. The Sanskrit word for nature is Prakriti and means literally differentiation. All is one substance, but it is manifested variously”. Nature and divinity reside within us. Yogic lifestyle can help us to live in harmony with Nature.
Aditya: From mechanical engineering to Yoga. How?
Dr Nagendra: In search of truth, I must say. Upanishads gave me the direction to move forward from mechanical engineering to human engineering. I used Yoga as a tool for my transformation. I did a lot of studies in Sanskrit, Shat darshanas and all our ancient scriptures to understand the Journey led by ancient Yoga masters and spiritual saints. I did Yoga practices mainly meditation to get to higher states of consciousness to prove for myself the secrets contained in these teachings.
I learnt many other practices through Yoga masters as BKS Iyengar, Dr Bhole, Janardan Swamiji, Swami Ranganathanandaji, Swami Dayananda Saraswati, to name a few. Then the intensive training from Eknath Ranade the founder of Rock memorial and Vivekananda Kendra in fathoming organisation techniques to rebuild India on the right lines as propounded by Swami Vivekananda; Swamiji became the role model for me. I continued my journey as a sadhak to fathom more and more secrets of this vast ocean of Yoga and spiritual world. I know that what I know is a drop of water in the ocean of Yoga.
Aditya: Being age old technique, what drives people to Yoga?
Dr Nagendra: Yoga is amenable to modern scientific research and is not just blind belief. Yoga practices help in bringing balance at all levels. It is a holistic science that strikes a balance between your body, mind and soul.
The need is to promote so that Yoga reaches every person and becomes a way of life. A lot is happening in India to propagate Yoga. Among many one such example is World Assembly on Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy (November 7-10th, 2019) scheduled to be organised in Greater Noida, India. WAAYN aims at unearthing the treasure of ancient knowledge and combine it with modern day advancement to benefit mankind.
Aditya: How effective are Yoga and Ayurveda therapies as compared to other contemporary medical techniques in vogue?
Dr Nagendra: Their efficacy as an age old system is well known, but it has to be proven by modern scientific research for acceptability in the era of science and technology in the modern world. We have therefore taken to examine Yoga and its usefulness by scientific research and produced nearly 600 research papers published in national and international journals of repute. We have just started Ayurveda research over the last 3 years.
Aditya: Can Cyclic Meditation be effective in curtailing work stress? If yes, how?
Dr Nagendra: If a person sleeps for 6 hours comfortably, the MR decreases by 9%. With 35 minutes of Cyclic Meditation, it reduces by 32% and all benefits accrue. Cyclic meditation includes adopting a combination of stimulation – relaxation combined with simple Asana combinations to grow to greater heights. It is very easy to practice by one and all. It is extremely useful to go deeper in their practices.
Aditya: Can Yoga be used to counter lifestyle disorders including diabetes and blood pressure? Can it replace medication?
Dr Nagendra: Yoga Therapy for some non-communicable diseases has shown that medication can be also reduced and stopped if Yoga is practiced regularly. Yoga helps in preservation and facilitation of health. It has the power even to treat some fatal diseases. At Prashanti Kutiram, we use cyclic meditation to alleviate occupational stress and treat diseases like asthma, cancer and psychiatric illnesses. We have been successful in helping people reduce their medications or stop them entirely. Modern medical system deal with the body whereas, the root cause is in the mind.
Aditya: How to start in case one is interested in taking up Yoga as a career elective? How much remuneration one must expect in such cases?
Dr Nagendra: Start with a practice of yoga protocol set up for International Day of Yoga. They can become Yoga Instructors and after that many earn not less than about Rs 30000 per month; in some wellness centers they are paid about Rs 10,000 to 15000 per month. One has both employment opportunities as well as the scope of job creation in case of being well-versed in Yoga techniques.