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Medicine for Yoga Therapists
© 2011, Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers
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First Edition: 2011
Typeset at JPBMP typesetting unit
Printed at……….Dedicated to
The fond memory of ‘Lakshmi Aunty’, founder of ‘Yoga University’, Jigani, Karnataka. Her dream has produced several thousands of yoga therapists, practicing all over the worldForeword
This book titled Medicine for Yoga Therapists has been written by Dr Padiki Nagaraja Rao who is an MD with specialization in physical medicine. Apart from several medical degrees, he obtained in India and USA through his hard work, his interest in the practice of Indian philosophy exposed him to many masters of Advaita Vedanta and he became a sincere devotee of Shankaracharya, the genius intellectual of 8th century AD, and has been offering his services to propagate this knowledge at Shankara Krupa in Bengaluru for several years. This interest and introspective practice evolved to unfold his poetic creative tendencies and also develop an understanding of human body mind complex as portrayed in modern medicine and Yoga-Vedanta philosophy.
As he started interacting with the students over the last five years at the yoga university, he has become very popular as a teacher who makes the tough jargon of medical terminologies very easy to grasp and tries to give some parallels as portrayed in Indian scriptures. This book is like a classnotes for all students of yoga and yoga therapy who come from different backgrounds of science, arts, commerce, etc. who need to study the Anatomy and Physiology of human body as a part of their curriculum in different yoga courses. The unique feature of this book is that Dr Nagaraja Rao has tried to incorporate the related concepts of body mind complex as understood by Indian philosophy.
Each chapter of this book describes the systemic anatomy and physiology of human body, goes on to give its relevance to some of the common diseases and then ends with a note on the available authentic concepts from yoga and vedanta philosophical texts. SVYP is happy to offer this as a textbook for the diploma and undergraduate students of medicine who need to understand the unity of the material that connects the mind and body that forms the basis of holistic approach to healing.
R Nagarathna Dean Yoga University, Jigani
Bengaluru, Karnataka, IndiaPreface
Everyone, who is involved in the treatment of another individual to improve the health, must have a basic knowledge of human body, the way it works and some of the common diseases, which he is expected to treat.
The science of yoga is not recent. It has been in practice for many thousands of years. Till recently, it was confined to Asian countries, particularly India. Now it has become popular all over the world. Yoga should be looked at, as pure science, which is aimed at improving health. It has neither religious nor regional background. People of all faith, anywhere in the world can practice yoga.
While describing yoga techniques, we use many references from Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads. Both Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads have universal messages. They are not written with any particular group of people or country in mind. We do not see any reference to castes, religion or ‘isms’ in these scriptures.
The word ‘yoga’ has many meanings. One of the widely accepted meanings is ‘joining or uniting’. This simply means, uniting ‘jivatman (individual soul)’ with the ‘paramatman (God or Para Brahman)’. For a common man, yoga means adopting various body postures to improve health. However, according to Patanjali (the sage who made yoga popular), yoga means ‘Chitta vritti nirodha’ which simply means, inhibition of modifications of the mind or calming the mind.
Yoga is getting popular in the treatment of various ailments. Many institutions are training people in yoga techniques. The medical books available now are either too elaborate or too brief for paramedical students.
Physicians, all over the world are accepting the effects of stress on the human body and various diseases. In addition to routine medical and surgical treatments, counseling is becoming a routine practice. Counseling helps an individual in understanding the real nature of the diseases and helps him in adjusting his lifestyle. A person with knowledge of yoga and scriptures will be a better counseler. As per the eighth century philosopher, Shankaracharya, it is with great difficulty that we have obtained this human life. We have taken several births (as different animals and humans) in the past. Only human beings are capable of realizing self and obtaining ‘liberation’. This is because of his ‘discriminative power’. Shankaracharya, in his book ‘viveka chudamani’ says ‘jantunam narajanma durlabham (with great difficulty we have obtained this human life)’. Science agrees with the superiority of human life. Man has been provided with a huge cortex. The frontal lobe plays a major role in this ‘discriminative power’ of human beings. Man can control his emotions and change his behavior. Yogic counseling helps an individual to have better control over his subcortical centers.
I hope, this book will be helpful to all the therapy and technician students and staff, particularly, those who are involved in yoga practice.
Man has not conquered all diseases and old age. The human species is gifted with a life span of about one hundred years. Advances in science have only made us live longer and live with less suffering. The health and quality of life has improved. However, man cannot escape from diseases, aging and death. Various types of treatment procedures are adopted in different parts of the world. ‘Yoga’ is one such treatment procedures. Yoga is not an independent treatment method by itself. It should be looked at as a branch of medicine, which helps a patient to control disease process. A yoga therapist gets a patient for treatment after a diagnosis has been established. Sometimes people, just to learn good living habits, may approach a yoga therapist. Yoga believes, as pointed earlier, that the mind plays a major role in causing a disease or plays a major role in the disease process. Some diseases like infections, accidents are nothing to do with the mind, however, if the effects of these conditions prolong, the mind may get disturbed.
A few words about adhyatma vidya (knowledge about self) is appropriate at this stage. To help the readers of this book to understand adhyatma vidya, a brief discussion of philosophy is added at the end of each chapter. The scriptures, referred to are Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.
Actually, if one wants to learn about adhyatma vidya in detail, there are three paths. They are known as prasthana traya (three roads). They are: (a) Ten Upanishads (b) Bhagavad Gita and (c) Brahmasutras. The Upanishads belong to the end part of Vedas. Vedas are nothing but knowledge, which was directly transmitted by the God, and perceived by the ancient saints when they were in deep meditation. Bhagavad Gita is an essence of Upanishads. The Brahmasutras try to explain the contents of both Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita in a logical way.
The several ‘forms’ of God we use to worship and the holy places we visit, are meant to give us a sense of concentration and help us to develop devotion and a clean mind.
One of the important messages from our scriptures is: There is only one God. He is recognized by many names, and we use the name ‘brahman’ in this book. He cannot be described through words, as he is beyond the perception of our organs of senses. He does not have any attributes. He created the universe and he himself is sitting as the ‘Atman (self)’ in all the living creatures.
The Jiva (self or atman) identifies itself as a separate entity because of ignorance and undergoes several births and deaths, taking up different forms (not necessarily human life) of lives. If a Jiva succeeds in realizing his true nature, when he has taken a human form, he gets liberated. The discussion about philosophy in this book is brief. An interested student in philosophy is advised to refer to books with detailed discussions.
Padiki Nagaraja RaoAcknowledgments
I take this opportunity to thank Dr R Nagarathna, Dean, division of Yoga and Life Sciences of Yoga University (SVYASA), Bengaluru for encouraging me to write this book. She has been a guiding light for all the students and staff. I am very happy that she has written the foreword to this book. My students have written some of the pictures printed in this book. I wish them all success in their career.
My special thanks are due to Mrs Kadambini Acharya, of distant education. She has worked very hard in correcting and composing this book. I also thank Sri Suryanarayan Panigrahi in helping me to select the pictures for printing. Sri Nagendra Jain has gone through the manuscript and given his valuable suggestions. I thank him.
Iam also very thankful to Dr Richa Haldavnekar, my MD student for her help in going through the manuscript. I thank the entire staff of M/s Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd, New Delhi for their cooperation and for publishing this book.