BODY AND YOG
is integrally linked with the well being of human body. Though
it is said that the final aim of yog is to achieve moksh or nirvan,
several yogic practices are instrumental in maintaining good health.
Real comfort lies in good health and this is an essential component
for happiness as well. Those who practise yog as a daily ritual
would experience great deal of peace and joy. However, in order
to comprehend the health problems relating to human body, preliminary
knowledge of anatomy and physiology are necessary. The knowledge
of anatomy and physiology forms the basis for the study of biological
sciences. Even for a common man, to understand the health problems
and to find their solutions, preliminary understanding of this
subject will be helpful. At present, the human existence is challenged
by the stress disorders or the psychosomatic diseases such as
hypertension, hyperacidity, insomnia, heart diseases, diabetes,
asthma, etc. To combat these diseases an individual can always
resort to yog as it has therapeutic value. It has the potential
to tranquilise and balance the mind.
delving into the history of yog it has been observed that the
yogic practises have evolved with passing time with a specific
purpose of influencing various psycho-physiological functions.
These ancient concepts seem to have been based more on an empirical
approach and therefore have less objectivity, when they are compared
to the modern scientific concepts which are based on experimental,
analytical and objective approaches. The yogi's have arrived at
these concepts by introspection, in the form of subjective experiences
accompanying various Yogic practices like Asan's, Pranayam etc.
which influence different functions of the body. At the same time,
they also used the knowledge of anatomy, as recorded in various
Ayurvedic texts. A famous treatise on surgical aspects of Ayurveda
called Sushrut Samhita mentions specifically that the anatomical
description given in that work is not only for the practitioners
of Ayurved but is also for the students of Yog.
to yog the body and mind is never considered as made up of two
separate entities. They are rather looked upon as one single composite
unit. Similarly the structure of the human body and its function
also, are not considered as two separate things but were rather
treated as the two aspects of the same organism. There were basic
concepts according to which the ancient yogi's comprehended the
nature of the human being, its dynamism, and its body structure
and function. One of them is the Panch Kosh. A human being is
considered existing and carrying out his or her activities simultaneously
at five different levels or planes. The term used for these levels
is `Kosh`, which literally means the cocoon or the sheath. Panch
Kosh, therefore, means the five different levels of existence
and operation. A human being is said to exist, simultaneously,
on the level of physical body, on the level of physiological-vegetative
functions, on the level of emotion and memory, on the level of
intellect and on the level of pure consciousness. Through the
Yogic practices, such as, Asan's and Pranayam one becomes aware
of these different kosh which, in turn, enables man to the correct
understanding of one`s own nature.
or life force is responsible for the various functions being carried
out within the body. Pranashakti is responsible for the vegetative
functions, but at the same time it steers the subtler psychological
functions, too. The yogic practices which try to affect Pranic
or the vegetative-physiological activities are obviously considered
to affect the mind as well and bring about internal awareness.
Another element is the Kundalini, the evolutionary energy. According
to this concept there is a higher and potentially very dynamic
aspect, to this Pranashakti, which in normal circumstances is
never called into action. This aspect remains in the dormant state
known as `kundalini`. Through the yogic practices when it is stimulated,
it is awakened and reaches to its highest possible spiritual potential.
Awakening one’s kundalini brings about spiritual enlightenment
accompanied by significant psycho-physiological changes.
these, the ancient yogi's also considered the concept of Nadi
while comprehending the human anatomy and the impact of yog on
it. The Pranashakti which works all over the body, uses some specific
channels through which it moves. These channels or passages are
known as Nadis. According to the ancient scriptures there is not
a single part in the human body which has not been contacted by
anyone of these Nadis. In one of the Hath Yog texts it is mentioned
that there are three hundred fifty thousand Nadis in the body
reaching each and every part of the body. Lastly, the Chakras
are six nodal points or centres that are responsible for the different
levels of consciousness as well as for the control of various
the passage of time and scientific development the view regarding
the structure and function of the body became more objective and
more analytical in nature. As per the modern view human body shows
a remarkable organisational unity which helps in carrying out
all its activities in a coordinated and integrated manner. For
the specific function there are different types of cells, evolved
specially to carry out that function. These cells when form separate
specialised group, it is known as tissue. Different tissues come
together to form various organs, and different organs come together
to form various systems of the body. The functioning of all these
systems collectively contributes in what is called as body function.
Thus it is essential to realise that the body function is ultimately
a collective function of each and every cell which constitutes
the body. The proper functioning of each individual cell, therefore,
is the most important factor for the survival of the body as a
are essentially nine systems that are responsible for structure
and function in the human body. The Skeletal system and the Muscular
system are the principal systems responsible for the movement.
The Nervous system and Endocrine system are principally involved
in the organisation and control of the whole body. Respiratory
system and Cardiac system are responsible for making the oxygen
and nutrients available for the whole body. Digestive system and
Excretory system are responsible for making the nutrients available
for the body as well as for expelling out the unwanted waste matter
from the body. Ultimately the Reproductive system concerns itself
with the propagation of the species.
structure and the function of the body are closely linked with
each other. The structure is more defined and is more durable
but nonetheless it undergoes changes with the passage of time.
On the other hand, the function is more elusive and goes on showing
the constant fluctuation. During the growth or decay with a change
in the structure, the function changes; similarly in some conditions
change in the function can alter the structure as well. This dynamic
inter-relationship between structure and function is an important
factor in understanding the nature of living organism. One feature
that distinguishes human beings from the other beings is their
self-consciousness. This is the single most important factor which
can influence whole of the human activities. This increases enormously
the complexity in the nature of human being too.
systems in the human body are often affected by a number of diseases.
in order to treat them and to keep the body hale and hearty, an
individual can always resort to yog. The yogic practices heal
the body as well as the mind. Practicing yog can cure, respiratory
disorder, digestive disorders, increase blood circulation and
ensure proper functioning of the heart. However, according to
the different systems a particular yogic practice is suggested.
Hence, it is safer to consult a yog practitioner before initiating
into this process.
Vaishnav Laxmi tantra, Hrillekha is said to be the seed mantra
of the supreme goddess known variously as Sri Laxmi or Tara. Sri
declares Hrillekha the supreme vidya is identified with me. She
is my divine, absolute shakti, perpetually endowed with all my