Yoga & Holistic Health

Today, we see more and more people are becoming conscious of holistic health. Holistic Health, what is it? It is a concept, wherein we look out for total health rather than fragmenting it into physical, mental or spiritual health. Yogic concept of health is also based on same holistic approach. Yoga means to join, communion, i.e., to integrate to become a whole, total or complete at all levels – physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

At physical level, yoga improves the functions of all the systems in the body and obtains desirable integration amongst them. Yoga also improves the correlation and co-operation within various aspects of our thought process of mind, may it be conscious, semiconscious or unconscious state of mind and makes the mind to function as one whole well integrated unit. Spiritually, yoga enables the individual soul to merge into the universal soul, i.e., attain “Kaivalya”. On the physical level, yoga betters the synthesis of the body, mind, living force, which in turn, improves the total personality by bestowing it holistic health.

Indian Concept of Body and Soul (Analogy of the Chariot & Charioteer):

आत्मानं रथिनं विद्धि – ‘Ãtmãnam rathinam viddhi’ – ‘Understand the immortality of the atma.’ Now, Yama Raja explains the separate nature of the body, indriyas (senses) and antahkaran (mind, intellect, ego). He uses the analogy of a chariot and its driver to clearly explain the distinct identity of each. He says, ‘आत्मानं रथिनं विद्धि शरीरं रथमेव तु। बुद्धिं तु सारथिं विद्धि मनः प्रगहमेव च॥ इन्द्रियाणि हयानाहुíवषयांस्तेषु गोचरान्‌। आत्मेन्द्रियमनोयुक्तं भोक्तेत्याहुर्मनीषिणः॥’ – “Ãtmãnam rathinam viddhi shariram rathameva tu Buddhim tu sarathim viddhi maraha pragahameva cha॥ Indriyãni hayãnãhurvishayãnsteshu gocharãn Ãtmendriyamanoyuktam bhoktetyãhurmaneeshinaha॥ – ‘O Nachiketa! This body is the chariot and this atma is its owner, the charioteer. The buddhi is its driver. The mind is its reins. The indriyas are the horses pulling the chariot. The objects of taste, touch, etc. are its path. Thus, the atma uses the indriyas and antahkaran as a means to enjoy worldly pleasures. Understand in this way’ (Katha Upanishad 3/3-4).

Keeping this in view YVN teaches Hatha Yoga (Kriya, Mudra, Bandha, Asana & Pranayama) following the principles of Ashtanga Yoga of Patanjali.