Chandigarh,8Apr: Mental health is a concept that refers to the psychological and emotional well-being of a person. Being mentally healthy generally means that one is receptive to new ideas, able to use his emotional capabilities to function well in society and ready to tackle cumbersome situations of life with least difficulty. Till date, in this world, nobody has remained mentally healthy always. It is believed that it is the emotional effects caused by stress and tension of life, which are translated into somatic disorders. Yoga as a psychosomatic approach deals with ‘body-mind’ complex, tries to harmonize and integrate the human personality at all levels and enables an individual to retain his mental health in every facet of life.
In spite of all amazing progress of science and technology, it is now being realized gradually that man’s problems have multiplied several-fold. Stress has come from many sources in everyday life such as work overload, social expectations, identity crisis, recognition need, family issues, expenses, unforeseen worries and various health problems. This has further resulted in abnormality, anxiety, unhappiness and restlessness. Majority of them are psychosomatic diseases. Where ‘psyche’ is a GREEK word meaning mind and ‘soma’ means body. As Plato says that sound mind stays in sound body and sound body can only accommodate sound mind. If there is any problem in either than the harmonies development is not possible. Due to tension and stress, one faces many psychosomatic problems like migraine, headache, asthma, diabetes, disorders of digestive system, sleep disorders, various problems related to heart and nervous system etc.
But when problem is arises ‘nature’ provide the solution to us. Here, I am emphasizing the importance of yoga in solution of these psychosomatic problems
It is well known fact that stress is internally generated pressure and yoga as an ‘activity’ exercises internal organs, relaxation to body and mind. As stated in BHAGWAD GITA (II-48) samatvam yoga ucyate (evenness of mind is called yoga).
YOGA AS A FACILITATOR TO MENTAL HEALTH:
Yoga helps in maximizing mental health in following ways:
1. NASAL CYCLE CONTROL: We do not breathe with both the nostrils consecutively. Always one side is working and pattern is reversed lasting for few minutes to several hours. The main controllers of nasal cycle are sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Right nasal breathing is controlled by sympathetic and left nasal breathing is controlled by parasympathetic nervous system. In yoga, emphasis is laid on controlled breathing from each nostril as it affects many systems of our body and even our temperament. The left nostril is known as Ida/Chandra(moon) nadi and right nostril is known as Pingala/surya(sun) nadi. Air entering through ‘Ida’ is cool and it regulates human thoughts, the ‘pingala’ nadi is warm and regulates energy. Both have equal effects on body and mind. If one practices nasal cycle control can easily get rid of many psychosomatic problems. For e.g.: people with digestive problems are asked to keep their breathing to right nostril for at least an hour after meal.
2. NADI SHODHAN: Our body consist series of a non physical pathways of energy called “nadis”. These ‘nadis’ consist of life fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) and at certain key points, the nadis and nervous system relate through resonance of stimulus and energy. The nadis are said to be clogged in the majority of people by very fine matter of an unclean nature in our system. This causes the body and mind to function far below its possible level results psychosomatic problem at the point of blockage. The breathing exercises and manual pressure regularly and carefully act upon the cerebrospinal fluid (energy) in the nadis in the stimulating manner, which helps in cleanses the dross, phlegm, excess mucous, catarrh, clogged sinus, foul breath, odorous perspiration, constipation, are all signs that the body is badly clogged and needs cleansing.
3. YOGA AND FATIGUE: Through practicing yogic activities, one can reenergize one’s own self, as yoga helps in diversion of one’s mind from outer tension and problem to inner peace and enhanced focus through various meditative poses. Moreover while practicing yogic activities body uses energy to a minimum without causing fatigue. Thus it relaxes the body by exercising inner organs with more oxygen supply and energy to body parts.
4. MIND RELAXATION THROUGH YOGA: The most important functions of body like heart beat, breathing, digestion, pupil size, amount of blood in arteries e.t.c. are controlled by autonomic nervous system. It works in two ways sympathetic (stimulate the viscera’s organs) and parasympathetic (neutralizer the sympathetic action) they act in opposition to one. Sympathetic nervous system deals with ‘fight and flight’ preparation of body whereas parasympathetic nervous system deals with ’rest and relaxation’ Yogic exercises work on the concept of conditioning the parasympathetic nerve action. For example in yogic pranayama, breathing is done slowly with increased time of inhalation, retention and exhalation that affects all the systems of body and turns mind relaxed.