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Posted at: Jun 18, 2018, 12:07 AM; last updated: Jun 18, 2018, 12:07 AM (IST)

Yoga’s missing spiritual quotient

People trivialise yoga by reducing it to a medical therapy. Yoga is not a cure for ailments such as asthma and cancer but it is a proven system for coping with physical and mental distress, says Aashish Shukla
Yoga’s missing spiritual quotient
Yoga is increasingly becoming popular. Although, originated in the ancient India, it is now practised in almost the entire world. Unfortunately, most of the people trivialise it by reducing yoga to merely an instrument of instant cure of maladies.

Yoga is, however, an art and science of living and cannot be equated with allopathy or homeopathy. Unfortunately, most of the people treat it as a 'pathy', a system to cure a disorder or a disease. This is a reductionist approach. Yoga is closely linked with spirituality and it balances between mind and matter.

Often, out of ignorance and at times due to material greed, some people claim that yoga can cure asthma or arthritis. Claims of curing blood pressure and various types of cancers are also heard. Such claims are baseless. Yoga is not a stream of medical science. It is, however, helpful in living a healthy life. It is an undeniable fact that yoga has a major role in management of several diseases. But, its role is limited to the management of diseases and their cure.

Yoga is a holistic science and an ancient art of balancing and harmonising body, mind and emotions. It, however, starts working on the most obvious first i.e., the body. From here it impacts the mind and finally controls our emotions. Yoga cannot provide a cure, but it is a proven system or tool for coping with physical and mental distress. It's like an umbrella that protects from the rain, but cannot stop it.

Therefore, yoga is, undoubtedly an efficacious physical as well as mental therapy. It has provided immense support to people suffering from asthma, blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, digestive disorders and other chronic and constitutional nature of diseases.

Yoga in itself cannot cure these diseases, but it can help in managing them. For example, take diabetes. One has to take certain medicines regularly to keep one's sugar level under control.  One cannot afford to stop taking these medicines. In fact, the dosagesof these medicines or injections increase gradually. By practising certain yoga for about 20-30 minutes daily, one may keep one's sugar level within the limit. This is, however, a continuous process. One cannot stop practising the prescribed yoga just because sugar level is not rising. One needs to keep practising yoga daily to keep a check on the sugar level. It is a lifetime process.

Yoga is not the form of physical exercises. It is, rather, an aid to establishing a new way of life that embraces both inner and outer realities.  This way of life cannot be understood without comprehending spirituality associated with it. Yoga practices, if done correctly, in a relaxed atmosphere, release immense positive energy that would relax the mind, soothe the nervous system, improve hormonal secretions and rejuvenate the internal organs. Hence, yoga has great preventive value. 

 — The writer is a Chandigarh-based yoga teacher

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