The Yoga Therapy or ‘ yoga-chikitsa’ refers to the treatment of diseases by means of yogic exercises which may be physical or mental or both. It is a specialized form of yogic culture. This mode of treatment has been practiced in India from very ancient times. Many references to yoga have been made in the Upanishads. It was, however, Maharishi Patanjali who in about the first century B.C. gave a systematic account of the traditional yogic teaching.
The term ‘ Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘yug’ which means “to join” . It signifies union between the individual soul (jivatma) and the universal soul (parmatma). It aims at obtaining relief from pain and suffering. Basically, human evolution takes place on three different planes, namely physical, mental and spiritual. Yoga is a means of attaining perfect health by maintaining harmony and achieving optimum functioning on all three levels through complete self-control.
Yogic kriyas, asanas and pranayama constitute the physical basis of yoga. More information about them can be found here:
The practice of kriyas and asanas leads to excellent circulation. It also energizes and stimulates major endocrine glands of the body. Yogic exercises promote inner health and harmony, and their regular practice helps prevent and cure many common ailments. They also help eliminate tensions, be they physical, mental or emotional.
Pranayama slows down the ageing process. In ordinary respiration, one breathes roughly 15 times a minute, taking in approximately 20 cubic inches of air. In pranayama the breathing rate is slowed down to once or twice a minute and the breath inhaled is deep and full, taking nearly 100 cubic inches of air.
All yogic exercises should be performed on a clean mat, a carpet or a blanket covered with a cotton sheet. Clothing should be light and loose-fitting to allow free movement of the limbs. The mind should be kept off all disturbances and tensions. Regularity and punctuality in practicing yogic exercises is essential. Generally, 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. is the ideal time for yoga practices.
Asanas should always be practiced on an empty stomach. Shavasana should be practiced for a brief period before starting the rest of the exercises as this will create the right mental condition. Asanas should be performed at a leisurely slow-motion pace, maintaining poise and balance.
Yoga asanas and pranayama techniques are greatly enhanced if you have the help of a competent teacher.
Rejuvenation is the deliberate restoration of youth and vigor through self-intervention in the aging process. Negative mental states such as anxiety, depression, hostility, and insecurity tend to be debilitating, hastening the aging process.
Positive mental states such as self-confidence, self-esteem, self-acceptance, and a sense of personal adequacy are empowering and inject rejuvenating energies into the body, eradicating those disempowering states which contribute to aging.
Love, for example, is one of the most empowering rejuvenation elements know. When present in the psyche, it neutralizes hate, its negative counterpart that is destructive. Dormant rejuvenating forces already exist within each of us and can be activated to intervene in the physical aging process.
- Step 1:
Relaxation. Physical relaxation sets the stage for using your psychic faculties to intervene in the body’s many functions. Close your eyes, slow down your breathing and allow your muscles to relax from the forehead down followed by the affirmation:
“I am now in full charge of my body. I am capable of influencing every function, mental and physical. All rejuvenating energies of my being are now at my command.”
- Step 2:
Stress Expiation. Even when stress is reduced through relaxation, certain residual effects tend to linger. By visualizing the major systems and organs of the body and mentally infusing them with rejuvenating energy you can extinguish the residual effects of stress on the body. Energizing the body’s systems and organs is accomplished by centering full awareness on various body regions and mentally bathing them with glowing energy while using the following affirmation:
“Youthful, invigorating energy is now flowing throughout my body. All organs systems and functions are now revitalized. The wear-and-tear of stress is now replaced by the flow of youth and vigor.”
- Step 3
Balance. With the body physically relaxed and the residual effects of stress relieved, an empowering state of full balance is possible through a technique called the Fingerpad Engagement Procedure. Designed to balance left- and right-brain functions, this procedure attunes the mind and body-a condition essential to rejuvenation.
Bring the tips of your fingers together; then with the fingerpads in a comfortable position, with your eyes closed, imagine your hands as antennae for your brain. Imagine your left brain actively generating positive energy, which flows into your right hand as an extension of that hemisphere.
Next, imagine your right brain producing positive energy which flows into your left hand as an extension of that hemisphere, Allow the energies flowing into your hands to mingle and create a powerful exchange that balances your mental and physical systems. After a few moments, disengage your fingerpads and allow your hands to relax, palms side up. Conclude with the following affirmation:
“My total being is balanced and infused with rejuvenating energy. The energies of youth are now unleashed to flow throughout my being. I am completely attuned within myself and with the world.”
- Step 4:
PK Illumination. This is the final and most critical step in the rejuvenation process. Visualize or look at a photograph of yourself in your youthful prime. Study this image, carefully noting the youthfulness in your eyes. Now close your eyes and visualize yourself at the peak of youth standing before a full-length mirror. Study your eyes in the mirror and observe a youthful gleam. Next, surround yourself with a glow of energy, then think of your favorite color. Finally, while breathing slowly and rhythmically, soak in the rejuvenating glow enveloping your body. Conclude with this affirmation:
“My powers of rejuvenation are now being unleashed to permeate my total being with the glow of youth and vigor. Every system within is now being revitalized with the infusion of rejuvenating power. Tired, worn tissue is being fortified with the energies of youth. Every function of my body is now fully infused as sparkling youthful energy is absorbed into every cell and fiber.
Surrounded by a colorful aura of rejuvenating energy, I am now secure in the present, bathed in vitality and the glow of youth. My inner rejuvenating powers are fully and completely unleashed to flow freely throughout my total being. Each day, my mind and body absorb the abundance of youthful energy that is constantly being unleashed within my being. Whenever I envision myself enveloped with the colorful glow of radiant energy, I will immediately become invigorated and fully empowered.”
- A Final Note:
This rejuvenation procedure can be repeated daily, or as often as you wish. You may want to place a small, self-adhesive star or other reminder on your mirror, computer, or TV as a cue to periodically re-activate the inner flow of rejuvenating energy. With practice, the process of combining visualization with affirmations and tapping into the dormant powers of rejuvenation within you will become a natural, spontaneous and continuous function.
© 1995 by Joe Slate Ph.D.