Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Yoga and Mental Health

Amidst the din and clamour of the modern life, a piercing eye does not fail to detect the latent sense of dismay and frustration in man. The materialistic pursuit of deriving hedonistic sensous pleasures has left an emptiness which has engulfed the man from all angles rendering him incapable of positive thinking and spiritual awakening.

Mind has been gripped by unknown fears, hallucinations, and what not. All around we feel an army of mentally and physically emaciated persons who count their days on the strength of sedatives, hypnotics and tranquilisers to get a temporary peace of mind which still eludes them. The situation is not only alarming but also grim. If these suicidal tendencies are not successfully checked and this dangerous drift towards obvious chaos is not halted there is no escape for humanity from disastar.

One wonders as to what has happened to this ancient land of Rishis and Munis. For a while it seemed that the age old science of Yoga which had enabled our ancestors to overcome even the fear of death has vanished completely and there is no one to surive this great science It is, however, heartening to note that some Yoga devotees have revived the art of Mahayogeshwar Lord Krishna scientifically enunciated by the Seer Patanjali. Sufficient literature is now available allover the world and an honest effort is being made to inculcate the spirit of Yoga in the individuals to enable them to overcome stress, anxiety, etc. and to live a blooming life. Yoga has manifold advantages : Physical, Mental and Spiritual. But the scope of the present article has only been limited to the mental health. Modern psychology is still in infancy and has not fully grasped the complete intricacies of the mind despite best efforts of giants like Freud, Joad, Jung and Havelock Ellis etc.

On the other hand our ancient Rishis were fully aware of the mysteries and powers of mind and emphasis was laid on controlling the mind which runs like an unbridled horse. For this purpose a code of conduct and ethics was evolved in the form of Yogic Kriyas including Asanas which are an important prelude to the training of the mind. Because a powerful and sound mind would dwell only in a healthy and sound body and so Yoga Asanas are very essential for every Sadhak who must religiously practice daily to rise high in the intellectual, ethical and spiritual fields.

Before we proceed further on the subject under reference it is very important to study and understand the chief causes of mental imbalance. Broadly it can be divided in the following main categories:

  1. Congenital disorders
  2. Heriditary defficiencies
  3. Biological defects like space occupying tensions of the brain and menengitis etc.
  4. Psychological and functional reasons
  5. Economic Pressures
  6. Stress and Strain due to fast life and morbid thinking.

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