It blends restorative yoga (supported postures), gentle Yoga, breathwork, hands-on-healing and Guided meditation techniques in such a way that it is an excellent choice for those who need something gentle yet effective for bringing the body into balance and reducing stress.
Therapeutic yoga is basically a system of self treatment. According to yogic view, diseases, disorders and ailments are the result of faulty ways of living, bad habits, lack of proper knowledge of things related to individual's life, and improper food. The diseases are thus the resultant state of a short or prolonged malfunctioning of the body system. This malfunctioning is caused by an imbalanced internal condition, created due to certain errors of the individuals.
Since the root cause of a disease lies in the mistakes of the individual, its cure also lies in correcting those mistakes by the same individual. Thus, it is the individual himself who is responsible in both the cases, that is, for causing as well as for curing the disease.
This being the basic assumption in this system about the nature of the trouble and its remedy, there is total reliance on the effort of the patient himself. The yoga expert shows only the path and works no more than as a counselor to the patient.
The yogic process of treatment comprises three steps:
The diet is recommended according to the nature of the disease and the condition of the patient. The main idea about diet is to keep it balanced and at the same time eliminates those items from the daily intake, which are considered harmful in case of a particular disease. A diet chart for breakfast, lunch, afternoon refreshment, and the dinner is prepared for each patient according to his body condition and the nature of his disease.
The most common items of diet for almost all patients of therapeutic yoga are: fruits, salad, leafy vegetables, green vegetables, wheat bread and pulses (selected). For non -vegetarians, fish and liver are allowed in certain cases but meat and chicken are generally forbidden. Whatever be the variations in the diet-chart of patients, all of them are asked to follow some basic principles of eating which means: to eat slowly, to eat only 85 per cent of the capacity, to eat at least two hours before their retiring time at night, to avoid drinking water while eating, not to eat hot, spicy, fried and roasted food, not to take more than one or two cups of coffee or tea in a day and if possible to stop these completely, to give up the use of tobacco in any form, and to avoid the use of alcohol.
The patient is asked to practice yoga according to his disease and his bodily conditions. In a majority of the cases, a regular practice of only a few asanas is enough for curing the diseases. In some of the diseases the practice of pranayama together with the asanas becomes essential for good results. In certain cases, specific kriyas such as bandhas, mudras and certain yogic techniques are used for the desired result. Besides these, practice of concentration and meditation is also necessary in certain cases.
From our feedback from clients at Gems Of Yoga, we have found that a large number of diseases are cured within two months of yoga practice. In certain cases, it takes about four months or even more. Diseases that take a longer time are juvenile diabetes, polio, paralysis, parkinsonism, obesity, ulcer, mental health cases, etc.
It is interesting to note that the same asanas, pranayama, bandhas, mudras, and other kriyas, which are practiced for creative, preventive and general health purposes, are practiced also for curing diseases. But there is a difference in the manner of practice by a patient and by a general practitioner. The patient of a particular disease is advised to practice only as much of an asana as is possible for him.
By doing only what is physically performable, the patient gains in strength as the kriyas begin to condition he body and diminish the disease. When the disease is cured, physical ability improves and the same asanas are performed better even by those who were unable to do them at the beginning.
The yoga therapy is a specialised form of yogic culture and various yoga centres have developed their own systems on the basis of their experience and research. In the absence of any standardization, there is some variation in the method of therapeutic yoga at various centres in UAE and elsewhere.
Though most of the patients are cured with only proper diet and yoga practice, there are some cases, which are complicated. Some patients develop diseases and disorders on account of their false assumptions, unhealthy habits, and lack of proper knowledge about life, nature and society.
In such cases, a lot of things need to be told to the patient which are informative, conceptual, theoretical and also philosophical. It is a time-consuming work. Yogic literature is very rich in this respect and is divided into two main categories: (i) spiritual interpretation of things, and (ii) scientific interpretation of things. However, the literature available in the second category is much less than that in the first one. The readers are best advised to have a scientific approach in all their reading on yoga.' Depending upon the nature of disease, a patient is counseled and informed in detail about the various concerned aspects of life.
With this short description about the method of therapeutic yoga, we now explain how it differs from the medical system of treatment.
In any medical system the primary reliance is on medicine. It is assumed that a particular medicine will cure a particular disease. The medical doctor does the diagnosis, identifies the disease and prescribes ' a suitable medicine. The patient in this system has to do very little or nothing at all. The task of correcting the disease and disorder and restoring health is assigned to the medicine.
Seen in this context, there is a contrast between the medical system and yogic system of treatment. Whereas in the medical system an external agent (medicine) does the corrective work, in the yogic system this external agent is not needed at all. As said earlier, it is the patient himself whose personal understanding, practice and care cures his disease in the yogic system
It would not be improper to mention that we encountered several patients suffering from various chronic diseases, who had lost their faith in the medical system because inspite of years of treatment they had not achieved permanent and satisfactory cure. In certain cases, the medicine provided them immediate relief, but not a lasting cure. On the other hand, a great number of such patients achieved permanent cure through therapeutic yoga within a period of two to four months. This has specially been so in cases of diabetes, arthritis, asthma, gastro-intestinal disorders, nervous tension and various other cases.
This limitation of the medical system should not mean that it is inferior to the yoga system; rather it is only a matter of the limitation and scope of a given system. There are areas where only the medical science and not yoga can come to the rescue of the patient. Similarly, there are certain diseases, which though regarded incurable through medicinal system, are definitely cured through yoga. This shows that every system of treatment has certain unique points as well as limitations.
Further, the medical treatment has now become so expensive that millions of people all over the world cannot afford it. It is, therefore, not surprising that our hospitals now fail to provide medicines to the patients although they used to do so liberally in the past. Yoga on the other hand does not involve any expenses.
Therefore, it would be prudent on the part of the medical men to adopt and use this tested ancient system of yoga for treating those diseases and ailments whose medicinal cure is not certain. Since the system of therapeutic yoga is now scientifically established, it can be used as a 'self-cure method' by people suffering from various disorders in any part of the world. Let me now explain its essentials, which one must know for making proper use of therapeutic yoga
Practitioners of yoga who believe in “self treatment through yoga' need first to be told about the suitability of time, place, body condition, dress and similar other matters. In order to derive full benefit of therapeutic yoga it is necessary to understand the following requirements and principles related to its practice:
Though the morning time, before breakfast, is regarded best for practicing yoga, one can do it also in the evening or at any other time, provided the stomach is empty and not heavy with food. The general principle is to give an interval of three to four hours after eating and then do yoga. Also a gap of half an hour or so should be given after drinking water, tea or any juice. The body should be in a restful and normal condition at the time of practicing yoga.
The individual should select a time, which is convenient for his daily routine and should try to do Yoga at the same time every day. A practice for at least five to six days in a week should be enough to show improvement. The patients are advised to practice yoga only once in twenty-four hours unless specifically told to do so more often than that.
Practice yoga on the floor. Avoid chowki or bed. Use a carpet, rug, blanket or mat on the floor. The place of practice should be neat, clean and well ventilated. There should be constant supply of fresh air at the place. Windows should be kept open for cross-ventilation. During summer a fan can be used. But during winter draft of cold wind should be avoided. If the place is air-conditioned, make sure that there is sufficient supply of air.
One should maintain silence while doing yoga. Any conversation, mental activity and even listening to music should be avoided. Silence helps in preserving energy as well as in being attentive during practice.
There are two types of rest in yoga: (i) short rest and (ii) long rest. The short rest should be for about six to eight seconds only. This is taken in between two rounds of the asana, or between one and the other asana. The shorter rest is completed by breathing twice at the completion of one round of a posture.
The long rest comes at the end of all the asanas, pranayama and other kriyas which one does at a stretch. The general principle is to devote one fourth of the actual practising time for this rest. For example, if one has done yoga for twenty minutes, the rest at the end should be for five minutes.
The rest is better done in Shava Asana. Those who cannot do Shava Asana should just lie down on the floor, keeping the eyes closed, body loose, breathing normal, and concentrating the mind on any place of natural beauty such as a garden, park or hill side. In this simple method of resting there should be a feeling as if one is breathing the air of that chosen place and is relaxing by being mentally present there. After the rest is over, one should wait for three to five minutes before eating or doing any other routine work.
There should be minimum clothes on the body while doing yoga. Male practitioners can wear half-pants or track pants. Ladies can wear either tracks or stretch- pants with blouse. In winter, light woolen clothes may be used while doing yoga. Layering is preferable in clothes.
People generally want to know whether bath should be taken before or after yoga practice. For those practicing yoga in the morning, it is not necessary to take a bath before they do it. It depends on the convenience and personal choice of the practitioner to bathe either before or after the practice. For taking a hot bath after yoga practice one must wait for about fifteen minutes. Many people prefer to practice yoga after taking a bath because there are certain asanas, which are done better after the bath and it, creates a feeling of neatness and purity.
In order to obtain the fullest benefit of yoga, one must practice it in a proper way. Since yoga is a scientific system it requires to be done in a specified manner. If the asanas, pranayama, bandhas and mudras are not done according to the established methods, it will become merely an exercise and will not give satisfactory results. The benefit of yoga on the body system is greater due to its methodology.'
What is more important here to mention is that though every one cannot practice all the postures with perfection, they can certainly follow the method of doing them without any difficulty. Therefore the ' advice is do yoga according to the limits of your body. Do it only as much as you can. You need not be perfect in forms. If you cannot do the full form, do the half of it or even less'.
Follow all the steps carefully. Another important advice is to begin the practice with only a few asanas during the first week. When two or three-asanas have been practiced for a week, the next two asanas should be added during the second week. This way every week new asanas can be added according to the need and recommendation in a given case.
Female practitioners should avoid yoga practice during menstrual period and during advanced stage (after the fourth month) of pregnancy. Under such conditions, yoga practice should be generally discontinued. Yoga for pregnant women (after the fourth month) has to be performed on a selective basis under proper care and instruction of a yoga expert.
It is significant to mention that yoga has a great curative value for various ailments and disorders of women. It also works as an aid to their health. For example, menstrual disorders are corrected and normalized through yoga. Proper practice of yoga during early stages of pregnancy enhances the health of the child in womb and it also helps to make the delivery painless.
Yoga can be practiced for a longer time in the winter season than in summer. Maximum time devoted for actually practicing yoga should not exceed forty-five minutes in a single day of winter. In summer, the maximum time for actual practice should be thirty minutes. Time 'for rest may be allowed in addition according to the principle mentioned above. This difference in practicing time has to be maintained because of variation in impact of weather on the body and the therapeutic condition of an individual.
Though there should be only one session of yoga practice in a day, those who would like to divide their time in two sessions should allow a gap of eight hours between the first and the second session. A minimum practice of fifteen minutes per day should be quite satisfactory for maintaining good health.
With the above mentioned clarifications 'about therapeutic yoga and its basic requirements, let us now explain what is meant by 'Proper diet' in the yoga system. A proper understanding of some of ' the established principles and advice about diet would help the practitioners realise the importance of food and its impact on the body system in a better way.
Diet occupies a dominant place in the yoga system. It is said that 'as you eat, so you become'. This is because the kind and quality of food affects the physical as well as mental condition of the individual. Thus, the individual who does not take a proper diet and who does not have a proper understanding of the principles of eating, gradually begins to harm himself both physically and mentally. He begins to feel the ill effects of wrong eating habits on his appearance, behaviour, thought and also on action. And the individual whose thought, action and appearance would not be desirable for a particular period of time would naturally show undesirable consequences which would justify the saying that 'as you eat, so you become'.
In yoga, all foods have been divided into three categories; Rajasi tamasi and Sattvik. These are explained below.
The Rajasi food comprises a variety of dishes. It derives its name from the dining manners of Indian kings. It is said that no less than fifty-six dishes were served at a royal dining table. Naturally, in this type of preparations, dishes of various kinds-some fried, some roasted, and some curried and highly seasoned -together with various sweets and drinks would be served. Foods of this type are regarded undesirable for the yoga practitioners as they create extra weight and fat, generate feeling of heaviness for a longer period of time after dinner, and arouse passion.
The second category of eatables, that is the tamasi food include those which are prepared as hot stuffs. When any dish-vegetarian or non-vegetarian-is prepared with too many spices and with excessive uses of salts, pepper, chili and similar other seasonings, it becomes tamasi. This type of food suits those who have a coarse nature and a rough temperament, and are inclined to be noisy, quarrelsome and intolerant. Hence, this type of food is undesirable and not recommended to the yoga practitioners.
In this type, the food is cooked with the least amount of spices. and without much seasoning. The food is fresh, attractive and nutritive, and is cooked in a simple way. This type of food is desirable and highly recommended for the yoga practitioners.
According to yogic principles, no food whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian is by itself rajasi, Tamasi or Sattvik. What makes it this or that type is the method of preparation and not the food itself. The generally held notion that the non-vegetarian food is tamasi and the vegetarian food is sattvik, is wrong, because potato or cauliflower tan be prepared as tamasi and meat or chicken can be cooked as sattvik, depending upon the choice of the individual.
The second point, which needs clarification, is that in yoga, food is not evaluated on the basis of their caloric count. Rather it is the quality of food and the method of eating that are considered. The better the quality of food, the more invigorating it is considered. Many people have a wrong notion that by reducing their intake of food or reducing the' calories, they would lose extra weight. Similarly, many people feel that perhaps by eating heavily, they could gain weight. These notions are undesirable, as both these extremes have a harmful effect on the individual. Whether a person is overweight or underweight the yogic principles and methods of eating remain the same. One can gain or lose weight without any ill effects on his health by following the same yogic method of eating. What are then the yogic principles of eating?
The most important principle is to eat a balanced diet. When the following four things are included in everyday diet, the diet becomes balanced. These items are: salad, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits and raw nuts. To explain it further, whether you are a vegetarian or non-vegetarian, include these four items with your major dishes of the day.
All the vegetables that are eaten raw, constitute salad. Things such as cucumber, tomato, carrots, lettuce, cauliflower, etc., are used for preparing salad. These should be cut into pieces and with little dressing, can be eaten raw in the quantity of about a tea-cup per day. The ideal time to eat salad is to make it the first item of lunch and dinner.
Any vegetable, which is not dried and is not deformed, can be regarded as fresh. They are to be preferred as fresh as possible. Fresh vegetables whether from under or above the ground, must be eaten in proportionate quantity everyday. They should, of course, be prepared in a sattvik way.
Fruits constitute the most nutritive food for any individual. For better results from the Yogic practice, fresh fruits are essential. It is not necessary that one should take only the costly fruits, but any fruits that are easily available would serve the purpose. These fruits can be taken singly or mixed with various types. Fruits could be seasonal or year-round available types. How much to take? One apple, one orange, and one banana a day, for example, would be enough for an individual. The important point is that fruits should be eaten regularly for better health.
Nuts which are taken from hard shells are recommended. Such nuts are cashew, pistachio, almond, pecan and walnuts. A handful mixture of these nuts would be sufficient for a day. Since these raw nuts have a warm effect on the body, they should be taken in winter season and avoided or in less quantities in summer. Nuts from hard shells are full of proteins, minerals, and vitamins. Therefore, a proper intake of these nuts would be very energizing and healthy for yoga practitioners and non-practitioners alike.
Besides the above-mentioned items of balanced diet, there are some other principles of diet which must be followed for satisfactory results. They are:
Eat not more than about 85 per cent of your capacity. In other words, always keep some space left in your stomach after dinner. Do not overeat or even to your full capacity. When food is taken less than one's full capacity, it is easily digested and the body makes fuller use of the intakes. On the other hand, when the food is taken excessively and the stomach is completely stuffed, it is not properly digested and the body is forced to eliminate it without making proper use of it. Further, by eating too much the individual is over-straining the abdominal system in particular and the body in general, and the performance of his physical and mental powers is obstructed. Gaining of extra and unnecessary weight is the natural outcome of overeating.
The proper method is to eat slowly and swallow the food after thoroughly crushing and chewing it. One common error, which the overweight people generally make, is that they all eat too fast. It appears that the fast-eaters develop a habit and a-taste wherein their satisfaction from food is only when they gallop it. To them, chewing and then swallowing is perhaps untasteful and boring. I recall a news item about a Texan (U.S.A.), whose dinner consisted of 18 chickens. He weighed more than 500 lbs., but he could not do much physical work. It can well be imagined that if he paid due attention to chewing all the chickens properly, he would be spending at least six to eight hours a day just for dinner, leave aside his breakfast, lunch and other refreshments. -The repercussions of that type of eating have already-been explained.
The yogic system, thus, takes into consideration the ill effects of fast eating and emphasizes the importance of slow eating. But-the question is how slow? It depends on the type of food one is eating. For example, banana can be chewed faster than apple. Meat eating would take more time than fish. But in all circumstances, the guideline is to chew the food till it is rolled up and only then it should be swallowed.
There are may benefits of slow eating. The individual gets full satisfaction in dinner even when he eats only a small quantity of food. Saliva can be properly mixed up with the food and make it easily digestible. The body makes the full use of any food taken and the individual maintains better health by less amount of food.
Eat at least two hours before retiring time. A common error with most of the people is that they eat and then soon go to sleep, especially so during the night-time. This has a very harmful effect upon their health. By keeping eating hours ahead of sleeping time, the food is properly processed by the body. The stomach is not heavy and when the individual goes to sleep, he gets undisturbed sleep and rest. Most of the people, who complain of abdominal, stomach or bowel troubles, are in the habit of eating and Own immediately going to sleep. By so doing, they put undue strain on the abdominal muscles. They get disturbed sleep and most of the time they suffer from digestion ailments and disorders. Attention and care for early eating would correct these troubles.
Another important aspect, which needs clarification, is: how many times should one eat? It is recommended that one-should eat four times within a period of twenty-four hours. This means having breakfast in the morning, lunch at noon, and some refreshment in the afternoon and dinner in the evening. It is up to the individual to eat according to his choice and preference, while keeping in mind the yogic principles. Unless one is faced with some special occasions, eating four times should be made a habit of daily life.
It is recommended not to use too many spices while preparing various dishes. This means not to use too much salt, chili, pepper and other herbs. It is not to say that spices are bad. The objection is to excessive use of spices and seasoning. The seasoning can be done for flavour, but excessive use should be avoided. The food should be so seasoned that it does not become Tamasi, but remains Sattvik in nature.
It is recommended that the yoga practitioners should drink about five lbs. (about ten to twelve glasses) of water every day. Water should not be taken at the time of eating, but after half an hour of eating. According to yogic literature, several skin diseases and disorders are corrected if water is not taken while eating. The drinking of plenty of water is highly recommended in yogic literature, because it is held that water cleans and washes out the impurities of the system. Many people do not drink enough water. I have personally known some people who were in the habit of drinking very little or not drinking water at all. Instead of water, they used to take juice, milk and some other liquids. As a result, they had developed a number of ailments and physical disorders. But most of these ailments were corrected when they started taking plenty of water every day. Therefore, the yoga practitioners should take five lbs. or more of fresh water within a period of twenty-tour hours.
Both coffee and tea are injurious to health when taken in excess. Modern people are now so much used to tea and coffee in their daily lives that it is not easy to abandon them. But a restraint on their intake must be maintained for better health. It is recommended that not more than two cups of tea or coffee should be taken in a period of twenty four hours. There are various reasons for this restraint. Both these drinks if taken in large quantities, cause constipation, insomnia, nervous tension and other internal disorders. It has also been felt that an excess intake of these beverages distorts the natural complexion of the skin and also there is some roughening effect on the facial tissues. Therefore, a limit must be maintained in taking tea and coffee.
All alcoholic drinks are regarded as vitamin thieves. They steal and destroy the nutrients of the system. Our objection to taking alcoholic drinks is not because they are intoxicative, but because they weaken the individual, physically and mentally, if taken without restraint. The destructive powers of alcoholic drinks are more in hard liquors and less in the weaker ones. But regardless of high or low alcoholic percentage in a drink, if a daily habit of drinking is maintained, it would prove extremely harmful. Therefore, the yoga practitioners are advised to avoid making it a habit of taking these drinks every day.
Sprouted gram is a very nutritious grain. It is full of protein, minerals and vitamins. Regular intake of a handful of germinated gram is highly conducive to good health. Yoga practitioners are, therefore, advised to make it a part of their daily eating. Green grams can be eaten fresh.
The ripe ones should be eaten after soaking in water for about eight hours. The sprouted grams are better than the plain ones, as the sprouted ones get enriched with energy derived from the air and light. It might be mentioned that if a person is not able to eat raw nuts and fruits regularly, he can compensate this loss by eating sprouted grams.
The recommendations on diet can be summed up by saying that yogic principles of diet are so simple that the yoga practitioners (whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian) should have no difficulty in following them. If these principles are followed closely and if the individual makes a habit of eating according to these recommendations, he is sure to maintain good health. A good balanced diet along with proper hygienic care, and a regular practice of yoga would guarantee developing and maintaining a proportionate figure and dynamic health.
Since enough has been said about proper diet and other requirements for yoga practitioners, we shall like to explain what is meant by hygienic care. Hygienic care includes proper bathing and cleaning habits. A discussion about the process of bathing and cleaning and their importance is provided in the following pages.
Water is one of the three important things for survival of human beings. The other important items are air and food. Hence, a discussion about the value and uses of water is necessary. We know that several plants flourish on simply water and that some people can survive on water alone for several weeks and even months. This proves that in water there are life-nourishing elements. This being the importance of water, the yoga practitioners must make a proper use of it by taking sufficient water.
Water can be used in two ways-internally and externally. In the preceding pages where we have recommended to drink at least five pounds of water within twenty-four hours the use is internal. Its external use is made through the process of washing and bathing.
In summer, one can bath, twice daily. In winter and other seasons, bathing once a day is necessary for maintaining good health. One can use hot or cold water for bathing according to personal liking and the weather conditions.
It also needs to be explained how this external use of water benefits the individual. For, this, we have to understand the structural and functional aspects of romekoops (pores).
The word romekoop is made of two Sanskrit words rome + koop. Rome means hair and koop means well. Thus its literal meaning would be a hair-well, which is called pore in English. We have millions of hair on our body and the root of each of them goes deeper in the body from the upper layer of the skin. At the root of every hair, there is a tiny hole, which is not visible to the naked eye. These tiny holes at the roots of the hair are called romekoops. The body discards sweat and impurities of the system through these romekoops and allows penetration of air, water, etc., through them. Since these pores work as passages to and from the internal cells of the body for perspiration and absorption, the yogic system makes a greater and better use of them.
Hence, the primary consideration is how to make good use of the pores for benefiting the system. This is achieved by rubbing the whole body thoroughly while taking a bath, as it serves several purposes in a single process. But how to rub and clean?
There are several ways of rubbing the body during the bath, such as, with palms, washing cloth, sponge, brush or some other such thing. But the best thing to rub the body with, is the washing cloth or a small towel. The process is to get the washing cloth soaked in water, apply some soap on it and rub the whole body with it firmly while taking bath. Such rubbing serves several purposes. It opens the pores, exercises the upper layers of the skin, and makes it possible for the body to receive energy and life-nourishing elements by soaking water. This rubbing can be done with soap or without using soap. After rubbing the body, plenty of fresh water should be poured on the body.
Since we are talking about bathing, it is helpful to know something about soaps. In modern times, it is very difficult to think of bathing without using soap. Though we are not opposed to using soap, it must be understood that there are certain chemicals in it which do not suit the nature of skin of every individual. As we -know, many people get rashes and rough skin after using certain types of soaps. Also, except cleaning the body, soaps do not contribute much to the good of the body. Thus, it is suggested that you must use a good quality soap, which is agreeable to your skin.
In the yogic system, the method of cleaning is different. There are several substitutes for soap. These substitutes not only clean the body but also contribute potentially to the health of the body. Amongst the yogic usable some are complicated and not easily available. Therefore, a simple but good material is recommended for this purpose.
One good substitute for soap is the gram (chickpeas) flour. Take a handful or more of gram flour and make a paste with lukewarm water in a pot. While going to take a bath, rub the whole body with this paste. Rub it with palms. After this rubbing, wash it with hot or cold water. Body will be cleaner than soap can clean it and will become smooth, soft and also invigorated with energy.
We have already said in the preceding pages that grams contain minerals, proteins and vitamins. Thus by using gram flour, the bather has two benefits at the same time cleaning as well as invigorating the body. It can also be mentioned that gram flour cures many skin diseases and troubles such as itching, rough skin and similar other skin disorders.
Our recommendation is to use it at intervals of two to three days. This flour can also be used for cleaning the face and shampooing hair. Though for cleaning the face the process remains the same as for cleaning the body, for shampooing the hair some extra work is involved.
Take the kneaded flour and make a paste of it. Then put it in thin cloth and tie it up. Now squeeze that paste containing clothe in water till the soft parts are mixed with water and only the rudiments remain in the cloth. When it has been well squeezed in water, throw the rudiments away and use that liquid type paste for shampooing hair. The squeezing of the paste is done to filter it in such a way that its rudiments are out and they do not get stuck with hair. The filtered paste will clean the hair of head in a very satisfactory and healthy way. Those who prefer to use other type of shampoos should choose a really suitable kind for cleaning the hair. Hair should be shampooed once or twice a week.
Hair is the index of the health of the individual. Healthy hair generally means a healthy person. One simple way to keep the hair healthy is to rub at their roots at the time of taking a bath. The process is to pour some water on the head and rub with fingertips at the roots of the hair till a warming-up effect is felt. After rubbing for a minute or so, pour plenty of water on the head. After the bath is over, dry the water from the head with clean and dry towel. Then after applying some hair oil or without using any oil, comb the hair. Comb the hair twice or thrice a day by giving a pull to the opposite, i.e. from top down, down up, left to right and right to left. By this combing process, the hair would be stronger and would be prevented from falling.
Some people have a false notion that by rubbing and combing, they would lose their hair. Though the person who has dandruff might lose some hair by rubbing and combing in the initial stage, the falling of the hair would stop after a week or so. Moreover, new hair would soon begin to grow. This rubbing and combing method is equally good for men and women.
Like hair, teeth also symbolize the health of an individual. The simple way of keeping the teeth healthy is to brush them and massage the roots. Besides the morning cleaning, teeth must be brushed before retiring at night. The brushing should be done in upward and downward motions and not sideways. The next thing is to rub the root of the teeth. Taking some paste on the fingers and putting the thumb inside and the index finger outside and then rubbing the gums firmly does this. It is sufficient to rub the gums with paste or tooth powder once in twenty-four hours. This makes the gums grow stronger and stops decay.
Among various oils used for massaging, mustard oil is the best. Mustard oil is commonly used in India for cooking, applying to the hair, etc. It is also used for massaging the babies as well as by wrestlers and old people. It is a healthy and invigorating oil. Since it has a warm effect on the body, the yoga practitioners are advised to apply it only during the winter season, not during summer. When it is applied to the body, it penetrates through the pores and imparts elasticity and strength to the muscles, bones and nerves. It soothes, cleans, gives a good, tanned complexion to the body and makes the skin healthy. It also helps to remove the wrinkles and dryness of the skin.
How to use it? Take some oil on the palms and smear it on parts of the body and give light rubbing till it is partially soaked. Apply it all over the body and leave it there for ten to fifteen minutes. In that time, the body through the pores will soak part of the oil.
You can clean the oil from the body in two ways. First take a shower without using soap and rub the body using either warm or cold water, then wipe out the oily remnants from the body with a dry and clean towel. As the oil is wiped off, the body would gain a clean and smooth look.
The second process is that after smearing oil, use gram flour paste as a substitute for soap. Apply that paste all over the oily body and rub it with palms till the paste is fully mixed up with oil. After the rubbing wash it off with either cold or hot water. Gram flour paste will clean the oil in a more thorough and satisfactory way than soap can do it. By so doing, you have the benefit of both oil and flour. This can be regarded as a beautifying treatment, as it enhances the natural look of the skin.
This application of oil and cleaning with the paste should be done on alternate days, or once or twice a week but not every day. If someone prefers to use soap in between the application of oil and paste, there is nothing objectionable. In case soap is used, the choice should be made in such a way that it is nature and the condition of the skin of the users.
Let me sum up this handout by saying that all the basic information and suggestions regarding therapeutic yoga have been carefully mentioned in the foregoing pages. You are advised to read this whole handout carefully so that you develop a proper understanding of the yogic system of treatment and then start the actual practice. Remember that you are following 'a system of self-treatment' without relying on or using medicine. Therefore, it is important that you understand it first for satisfactory results. Keeping in mind the contents of this handout, select the section of your concern and begin the practice of yoga according to the guidelines given therein.