Health Benefits of Yoga

Sadhguru explains how practicing yoga can help with many health conditions, like alzheimer, dementia, diabetes, and also how it can enhance your memory.


Can Yoga Help Me Keep Fit?

March 2, 2020

5 min read

Summary: Human muscles can be enhanced by strengthening them, but also making them very flexible. If you do Upa Yoga, or Angamardana practices, fitness is assured. But Yoga is not an exercise form. It's for wellbeing in all aspects - physical health, energy, mind and also the spiritual dimension. Sadhguru says - "You don’t have to do Yoga to lose weight or to stay healthy. You just have to eat sensibly, play tennis or take a swim. The focus of Yoga is to set another dimension alive within you that is beyond the physical".

read full article

article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Yoga vs Gym

Sadhuguru: The human muscular system is a phenomenal thing. What our muscles can do is fantastic. And this can be enhanced by strengthening them, but at the same time making them very flexible. If you do a lot of weights, your muscles will look big but without flexibility. If you see people who have grown big muscles, they cannot do a namaskar properly. They cannot even bend.

If you see people who have grown big muscles, they cannot do a namaskar properly.

If you just want muscles that look good, these days there are easier ways to do it. You could get bicep implants. The silicon doesn’t just go into the breast – it goes into biceps, into calf muscles, into everything. It does not matter that it is useless. You do not have to work hard, take cortisones and hormones and go on pumping iron. There are easier ways, if it is just about looking good.

Yes, bodybuilding gives you brute strength. But you can build the same strength in a completely different way and above all, you keep your body flexible, which is very important. There are various aspects to wellbeing, in terms of health, energy, the mind and the spiritual dimension. When we invest 30 minutes to an hour in the morning, we want to see that the benefit is across the board for us, not just in bunched up muscles.

If you want to build muscle, should you not lift any iron? You could, because physical exercise and activity have been taken away from our lives by modern technology. Everything is done by machines. Except for your iPhone, you don’t really have to carry anything. So, since you are not using your limbs throughout the day, light weight training in the gym is okay.

Yoga – Not About Exercise

Yoga is not an exercise form. It has other dimensions to it. To reduce Yoga to a gymnastic process would be a severe crime. But there is something called Upa-yoga, which means sub-yoga or useful processes of doing things, where there is no spiritual dimension attached to it. If you do Upa-yoga or Angamardana systems of Yoga, fitness is assured. Plus, you will not need any equipment. All you need is a six-by-six space on the floor. You will be super-fit and can build your muscle and everything. Angamardana and Upa-yoga involve the use of your own body weight to do all the exercises. Then, you will have no excuse that there is no gym around. You can exercise wherever you are because you still have your body. This is just as effective in building the body as any weight training in the gym is. It will make you look like a sensible human being and also make you very strong without creating any unnecessary stress on the system. The only thing is you will not become bunched-up with muscles. A whole lot of people have become like that. They think they are fit but I think they are in a straitjacket! It is not just strength or the bulge of your muscle but the flexibility of your body that is important for the proper functioning of the system.

Things that you never thought existed become a living reality for you, simply because a dimension beyond the physical has become alive.

In Yoga, we do not just look at muscular strength alone. Organ health is also very important. The yogic system is evolved so that organ health is also taken care of. Even if you have a lot of muscle, if your liver is not working properly, what is the use? It is very important that the body is flexible and usable. There is also something called organ comfort. One aspect is that most of the vital organs of the body are in the chest and abdomen region. These organs are not rigid, they are not fixed with bolts and clamps. They are loose, hanging in nets. Only if you sit with your spine erect, your organs will be in the maximum possible comfort. Now, the modern idea of comfort is to lean backwards and slouch. If you sit in such a posture, your organs will never be comfortable. They will not function the way they need to.

Keeping the body erect is not because we do not like comfort, it is because we understand and experience comfort in a completely different way. You can train your muscles to be comfortable with your spine erect but you cannot train your organs to be comfortable while slouching. There is no way to do it. So, we choose to train the body, so that our skeletal system and muscular system are comfortable sitting this way.

Yoga – Opening up the Existence

Yoga is not something that you do to slim down or for your backache or headache. Becoming healthy and peaceful will anyway happen but these are the side effects of Yoga, not the focus of Yoga. You don’t have to do Yoga to lose weight or to stay healthy. You just have to eat sensibly, play tennis or take a swim. The focus of Yoga is to set another dimension alive within you that is beyond the physical. Only when that is alive, slowly the existence opens up to you in a million different ways. Things that you never thought existed become a living reality for you, simply because a dimension beyond the physical has become alive.


Can Yoga Help With Diabetes?

January 13, 2020

3 min read

Summary: Sadhguru says that the root cause of all chronic ailments is in the energy body. Disturbance in the energy body can be caused because of various factors - food, relationships, atmosphere, emotions, attitudes, thoughts and opinions. Sadhguru says - "The basic premise in Yoga is that if your energy body is in full flow and properly balanced, there can be no chronic disease either in your physical body or your mental body. If people are willing to do a certain amount of sadhana to balance and activate their energy body, they can definitely be free of all chronic ailments."

read full article

article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Does Yoga Help With Diabetes?

Question: Can Yoga help alleviate my Diabetes?

Sadhguru: When it comes to a chronic ailment, whatever may be the ailment, the root cause for it is always in the energy body. Your energy body functions the way it functions for various reasons. It may be because of the kinds of atmospheres you live in, the kind of food that you eat, the kinds of relationships that you hold or because of your emotions, attitudes, thoughts and opinions. It may also be because of certain external energy situations that disturb your internal energy. In some way, your energy body is disturbed which will naturally manifest both physiologically and psychologically. Once this one layer of the body – the energy body – is disturbed, the mental body and the physical body are bound to be disturbed. Actually it becomes a doctor’s concern only after it becomes a medical problem. Till then it is not a doctor’s concern because there is no physiological manifestation.

Unfortunately, medical science understands only disease. It does not understand the roots of health, as to where it comes from and what the basis of health is. If you are a diabetic, sugar is not the problem with you. It is just that your pancreas is not functioning properly. As an emergency measure you reduce the sugar intake because in the Allopathic system of medicine, they have no other way to activate your pancreas, so this is the only measure they have taught you – “Check your sugar every day and take a little more insulin.” The Allopathic system is symptomatic in treatment; the doctor looks at your symptoms and gives you the treatment.

The basic premise in Yoga is that if your energy body is in full flow and properly balanced, there can be no chronic disease either in your physical body or your mental body.

Allopathic system is a fantastic system for any infections. Allopathy is the best thing as I see for anything that comes to your body from outside. But it does not offer any solution for the simple ailments which man is creating for himself from within, like diabetes, blood pressure, or migraine headaches. Modern medical science only offers to manage the diseases and never really talks about freeing you from those diseases. There are whole systems of medicine and so many kinds of specialists to manage diseases within certain limitations. A lot of money and time is being spent on just managing those diseases. It is just like people talking about stress management. People want to manage their stress, people want to manage their diabetes, people want to manage their blood pressure. It is ridiculous. This kind of foolishness has entered, simply because they have not understood the fundamentals of how their own life energies function.

In Yoga, if there is diabetes, we see it as a very fundamental disturbance. Diabetes is not taken lightly as a disease. We see that the fundamental structure of the basic body is being disturbed. That is why diabetes happens. And it is different in each individual. For each person, the level of disturbance and the type of disturbance that happens in each system is very different. So it needs to be handled individually. However, irrespective of what the disease is, Yoga only aims at balancing and energizing or activating the energy body. The basic premise in Yoga is that if your energy body is in full flow and properly balanced, there can be no chronic disease either in your physical body or your mental body. We are not treating the disease as such, we are seeing disease only as a manifestation of the disturbance that could be existing in the energy body.

If people are willing to do a certain amount of sadhana to balance and activate their energy body, they can definitely be free of all chronic ailments.


Can Yoga Help With Alzheimer’s and Dementia

November 4, 2019

3 min read

Summary: Time and Energy - these are the two fundamental ingredient of life. Time is running at the same pace for everyone, but you can manage the energy. You want your time to be over, before your energies. If the energies get over before your time, then these lead to various conditions like Alzheimer’s, dementia etc. In the human physiology spine is very significant. It is very easy to regenerate and rejuvenate the cells in the spine and brain.

read full article

article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

How Yoga Can Help with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

Sadhguru: In Yoga, we look at life as two ingredients – time and energy. Our whole striving in life is we want our time to be over before our energy is over. But you will see a whole lot of people where their life energy is over, but their time is not over – which is not good. You call this by various names – Alzheimer’s, dementia – but essentially in life terms, your energy depleted before your time ran out.

Time is running at the same pace for everyone. But you can manage your energy. The whole system of Yoga is to raise your energy so that your ability to be conscious is high and your energy is high. When your energy is high, time just rolls, and your time will run out before your energy. How long you live is up to you and so many other factors, but it is very important that a human being maintains the fundamental aspects of his life consciously. That is what sets us apart from other forms of life on this planet.

Right now your problem is that you have a brain, but you do not have the keyboard –something works, something does not work.

In terms of life, the spine is such an active place that you can very easily rejuvenate and regenerate the cells that have been lost there. It is also very easy to do that in your brain. If people who are suffering from dementia and the like, do the right kind of things, they could regenerate that. There is substantial scientific evidence for this. Even in your life right now, how many neurons are active or present varies in a big way, depending on how you are using your mind. When you are a little down or intoxicated or depressed, the number may be much less. By doing the right kind of things, you can enhance this. Definitely, this would be a boon for every human being, it does not matter who he or she is. The world could do with a little more intelligence.

Henry Markram has done a phenomenal amount of research on the brain in the Blue Brain Project. This is the first time that the human brain has been fully mapped. That is, they are creating a virtual, electronic brain. They will have a simulated human brain with a keyboard attached. Right now your problem is that you have a brain, but you do not have the keyboard –something works, something does not work. If you could have a full-fledged keyboard to your brain, if you could type out whatever you want, you would become a thousand times more capable than what you are, because this brain is capable of such complexity of action. This brain is such a complex machinery, most people have never been trained in how to use it. It would take a certain level of dedication and focus to learn to use it. I think most people are only using a fraction of the capabilities of their computer. There are so many ways to use that machine, but not everybody knows how. The same is true with the brain. Everyone’s brain is capable of many things, but this is not at your fingertips – that is the problem.


Can Yoga Help With Addictions?

October 17, 2014

6 min read

Summary: In a way, all compulsions are some kind of an addiction. People need to realize that it is not their right to get into a mess and expect others to take care of it. They need to take responsibility for their own wellbeing. Now, unless you teach them something better, which gives them a bigger experience, they will not give up what they have found. Recent research has shown that there are millions of cannabis receptors in the brain, and you can produce anandamide within yourself to remain in a permanent state of bliss. Yoga gives this pleasure.

read full article

article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Can Yoga Help With Addiction?

Questioner: Sadhguru, I work with addicts, and in America, there is this concept that addiction is a disease and once an addict, always an addict. I am struggling with this idea. Addiction may be a medical condition at some point, but is it a permanent disease?

Sadhguru: It depends what kind of addict you are talking about. There are food addicts, drug addicts, alcohol addicts, sex addicts, suffering addicts, gossip addicts – so many compulsive types of behavior about a variety of things. Gossip addicts for example – do you think you can heal them? You can only make them change the subject. If they gossip in a way that is harmful to someone, you can make them gossip in a way that could benefit people. So is addiction a disease? Any compulsive state takes away the ease from you – in that sense, it is a disease. Is it permanent? No. Even your being alive is not permanent – so where is the question of addiction being permanent?

An individual mess

Those who say that addiction is a permanent disease and treat it accordingly are themselves in a state of addiction – they are compulsive about doing something in a particular way. Each individual has gotten into this mess in his own way. Only to some extent, there can be a common treatment, but not entirely. You need to look at each human being and treat them the way it is necessary for this individual. Do we have the care and concern to attend to each one of them the way it is necessary? That is something we have to check. And above all, is it people’s right to always get into problematic situations and expect others to treat them? This also has to be looked at. A whole lot of people in this country [United States] think it is their right to mess themselves up and expect the government to fix them. If individuals do not take responsibility for their own wellbeing, no power on earth or in heaven can fix them.

If they did not think it is better than whatever else is available around, they would not do it. In their perspective, it is good.

The most important thing is to establish that sense of responsibility for their own lives and to show them a better option. Otherwise, you will not get them off alcohol and drugs. Right now, this is the biggest experience in their lives. They are not going to give it up because you ask them to come to Sunday school or whatever. You have to show them something better. If you teach people a way to come to a bigger experience than what they have known so far, they will drop this rubbish. Look at my eyes. I am always stoned, though I have never touched a substance in my life. Everyone can be stoned in such a way all the time. It does not cost anything, neither money nor health. If you want, you can be super-alert, so alert you do not even have to sleep for days and nights.

Unless you teach them something better, they are not going to give up what they have found. It may damage the body, but they feel they have a bigger experience than people who work through the day, come back home, eat, sleep, and go back to work again. They think that is rubbish, and what they are doing is better. When they become helpless, when they get broken, you may be looking down upon them, but when they are high, they are looking down upon you. If they did not think it is better than whatever else is available around, they would not do it. In their perspective, it is good. Only when things go bad, when the body is broken, they come to you.

If someone comes up with a drug that does not damage the body much but keeps you in a hallucinatory state all the time, the whole population will go on it. In some way, human societies have failed to make the experience of life worthwhile for a whole lot of people, so they are taking all kinds of deviant ways to find something. We have to offer something that is more powerful than any drug and that leads to everyone’s wellbeing.

The cannabis garden in your brain!

Recent research into the human brain has yielded some incredible results. An Israeli scientist spent several years researching certain aspects of the human brain, and he found there are millions of cannabis receptors in the brain! Then neurologists discovered that at different times of the day, if you closely observe the system and what happens with the brain chemistry, the body develops its own cannabis which satisfy the receptors in the brain. If a person is in a certain state of blissfulness or ecstasy, he produces these chemicals, which the brain is constantly waiting for. Even your brain is waiting for you to be blissful – millions of cannabis receptors are sitting there and waiting, not for you to smoke or drink or do drugs, but for you to become blissful.

To remain calm, to remain in an extreme sense of pleasure all the time, is available to every human being if he just explores his own system a little more.

When they found this chemical which goes towards the receptors, there was no name for it. The scientist had the freedom to name this newly found chemical. He wanted to give it a name which would be truly relevant. When he researched the Indian scriptures, to his amazement, he found that the Indian scriptures are the only scriptures which talk about blissfulness. No other religion on the planet talks about bliss. Religions talk about sin, religions talk about fear, religions talk about guilt, religions talk about punishment. But no other religion talks about blissfulness. So he called this chemical, which moves towards the cannabis receptors, “Anandamide.”

So all you have to do is produce a little bit of Anandamide because there is a whole marijuana garden inside! If you cultivate it properly and keep it on, you can be stoned all the time, but your mental capabilities will not shrink. To remain calm, to remain in an extreme sense of pleasure all the time, is available to every human being if he just explores his own system a little more. The science of yoga gives this pleasure to you. Yogis are not against pleasure. It is just that they are unwilling to settle for little pleasures. They are greedy. They know if you drink a glass of wine, it just gets you a little buzzy and then tomorrow morning you get a headache and everything. They are not willing to go for that. But now, all the time totally drunk but hundred percent stable and alert, because you must be alert to enjoy the intoxication. So totally drunk but fully alert; only then you can enjoy it. And nature has given you this possibility.


Yoga Benefits – Enhance Your Memory

February 6, 2015

3 min read

Summary: Sadhguru says that usually what we consider as a problem of memory, is actually not a problem of memory, but of clarity. Everything that we perceive through the five sense organs is always recorded. The problem is only when you want to retrieve it. So, its not the memory, its clarity that one needs to work upon. A simple way of enhancing clarity is to do everything with precision. Hatha Yoga is all about precision. Once you bring precision into your activity, there will be precision in the mind. Sadhguru also gives a technique to enhance this process further.

read full article

article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

How Hatha Yoga Can Help Your Mind

Questioner: I have a hard time memorizing. Being receptive to oral transmission is very challenging for me. Could you say something on this?

Sadhguru: Everything that you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch is recorded. There is no recording problem. Let’s say I abuse you badly right now, you will remember it all your life. You have great memory. You just remember bad words, that’s all. The problem is only your inability to bring back certain parts of your memory when you need them. You are not able to pick out what you want. This is just a question of clarity, not of memory. If we say a phone has low memory, it means it has a limited capacity to record. On the other hand, if I press “2” and it shows “5,” the issue is not bad memory but a bad keyboard. Your issue is also a question of “bad keyboard.” There is no need to fix the memory – everything you experience is recorded. You are not able to retrieve the right information – that is the entire problem.

Bringing precision into life

We have to work on clarity. What is it that gives us clarity of mind? A simple thing you can do to improve clarity is to handle everything you do with a certain precision. Hatha Yoga is all about precision – how your feet should be positioned, where your hands should be, how you should hold your head, how you move, how you place the things that you brought with you and so on. If you bring precision into your activity, there will be precision in your mind. You need to practice precision in every aspect of your life. How your room should be, how you go to bed – everything. Bring the meticulousness that you apply when doing an asana, into your life. You will see, slowly, the mind will become very clear. It will become meticulous with everything.

Hatha Yoga is all about precision. If you bring precision into your activity, there will be precision in your mind.

From this moment, a simple practice that you can do is when you stand up, when you sit down, when you walk, whatever you do, do it with precision and attention. Consciously register everything that is around. For example, there are five columns here, one vessel, one big rock, one pond, another four columns, one door. How tall? Looks like twelve feet. Just practice this with everything. How many steps from here to there? Don’t count “one, two…” – start walking and notice “Okay, I think that’s three,” another three, and another three. After a few days, do intervals of four, five, or eleven – without thinking, you must slowly know when you have walked twelve steps. This is yoga. This effect will happen over a period of time by itself.

The precision that you try to bring to your body, bring it to your mind too. Let the mind imitate the body. You will see, clarity will naturally come.


Yoga Benefits – Supports In Chemotherapy

February 9, 2017

5 min read

Summary: Chemotherapy, is a calculated risk, a choice between damage and death. Though now the science of chemotherapy is much advanced, still there are side effects, and the rejuvenation process of the body is seriously affected. Sadhguru says - "After the chemo period is over, the main thing is the cell multiplication should be brought back to normal. For recovery from the effects of chemo, the elemental processes (like bhuta shiddhi) that we do can be of immense value and people can regain their rejuvenation process very effectively."

read full article

article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org

Can Yoga Help Those Undergoing Chemotherapy

Q: Is there any guidance that you can give for people who are going through the pain of chemotherapy, to reduce the stress on the body and help them to come out of it more easily?

Sadhguru: What you call as chemotherapy is a complex cocktail of medicines and poisons together. The basic form of chemotherapy is a bunch of chemicals, which is an extract from mustard gas – a very destructive chemical. But now, the choice that we are making is between death and damage. We choose to damage the body a little bit because otherwise it could be death. It is a very aggressive way of treating the system, but in the last decade, chemo is administered with much more expertise than it was earlier. Initially, if someone went through chemotherapy, all their hair would fall out and so many things would happen. This is not so anymore because they have counter drugs for that. Plus, today they are fixing canisters in the body, which allow a gentle release of chemo. It is not really chemical warfare anymore. It has become very mild – like industry, it poisons you slowly!

But the chemicals that you put into the system are incapable of identifying what is cancerous and what is a healthy cell. They can just calibrate this cocktail of medicines in such a way that they only affect those cells which are in a certain phase of cell growth. It is not capable of identifying beyond that, so it goes for everything which is in that stage of development.

A Calculated Risk

That is a calculated risk we are taking and above all, no chemo really destroys all cancer. It is just that if it gives you a certain level of relief, the system may handle it beyond that point. The problem is, with chemo, all the cells across the board – whether healthy or otherwise – cannot multiply, so the rejuvenation system in the body is seriously affected. That is a medical decision a doctor has to make and there is no single standard. I think how individual doctors administer it is very different from person to person. With some people, it causes very little reaction. With other people who may do it a little more aggressively, it causes much more reaction.

There is no perfect formula there. It is the doctor’s judgment, based on the reports that he has and his skill. People want to go to a particular oncologist mainly because of a certain level of expertise, which someone might have gained over a period of time. This is not a perfect science, but you want your house to be free of insects, so you fumigate the whole place. You also get a little poisoned in the process but it is okay because you cannot live with them there. This is what has happened to the body. There are some things you want to get rid of but there is no way to shoot just those things. You will have to shoot all of them at once.

Rejuvenating From Chemo

Now, how do you recover from this? The main problem here is that cell multiplication is affected, the DNA is affected, and the protein necessary for the multiplication of the cells is taken off. This affects the rejuvenation process, which can lead to a variety of problems if it goes beyond a certain point. We know there are substantial problems but I do not think anyone has really looked at how many problems. After the chemo period is over, the main thing is the cell multiplication should be brought back to normal. That is, the rejuvenation process of new cells replacing the old cells must be brought back to normal as quickly as possible, for which there are various practices we can introduce. Bhuta shuddhi or anything that you do with the elements can do tremendous things. I know a few people who never went for any medical treatment after they were diagnosed with cancer. The only thing they did was spend four to six hours a day in fresh water, doing certain things. By immersing themselves up to the neck in the ocean, a river, a pool or something like this, they came out of their cancer without any medical treatment.

For recovery from the effects of chemo, the elemental processes that we do can be of immense value and people can regain their rejuvenation process very effectively.

Medicine is only looking at how to kill the cancer cells, while the yogic systems look at how to improve the healthy cells, so that they can take care of cancer by themselves before it even develops. It is a possibility that you can come out of it just by being in touch with water, but not everyone has the necessary strength to do such things. Above all, it is not worth taking the risk. When you have been diagnosed with cancer, the best thing is to go through the treatment and then do other things so that recurrence does not happen. There are many practices in the yogic system, but with cancer, the risk levels are so high and the time allowed is so little, we do not usually take a chance with that.

For recovery from the effects of chemo, the elemental processes that we do can be of immense value and people can regain their rejuvenation process very effectively. General exercise will also have a positive impact, but if you do the right kind of yogic practices along with bhuta shuddhi and a proper diet, the body’s ability to bounce back to its normal rejuvenation scale should happen quickly. If it does not happen quickly, your cancer may be gone but you may not have the joy of being healthy, simply because the body will pull you down in many ways when the rejuvenation process is not good.


SEARCH ARTICLES
Scroll to top