Yoga & Health 
Swami Adhyatmanandji

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One of the friends of a doctor friend of ours suffered from epilepsy. This is a story pertaining to a period when the youth was studying in the university Once the youth suffered an attack of epilepsy in the university clinic itself. He was not aware of removal of his watch by a compounder or the nurse. Once he had fallen down while going on the cycle. Someone pinched his purse then. Later on it was learnt that youth used to have an attack of ‘divine epilepsy (!)‘ He would shout out any time how very fearful the shout would be! He will then become unconscious and then the attack would be so severe that even eight able-bodied persons also could not hold him in place. Some surprising informa­tion   he used to dance   he would sing.... he would talk in Sanskrit.... Tie would even address his father as a “Vatsa’! ‘Chiranjiva’ He would address his father as dad also. He will not ask for any food for days together! Even if he has taken food he will say he was hungry! In those days K.E.M Hospital in Bombay was considered the best. This is a narration about 30 years old. The family had got all investigations carried out, even the priests were called, red chilies were burnt! Ultimately it was understood that the youth got cured by some benediction of a spiritual Guru!!

It is learnt that if a man suffers from epilepsy, people nearby would insert spoon in the mouth so that the patient does not bite his own tongue. it is also understood that people keep shoes, ammonium salts, or even crushed onions before the nose of the patients. Epilepsy is of two types. In one a man just feels that he is getting epilepsy attack and immediately he suffers convulsions. Any man is an ordinary human being. He may be staying in India, America or England. In our country people will undertake to invite Raandal-mata.’ The ‘Gorani’ will visit and will also have violent head shaking. But this type of drama goes on a wide scale in the overseas countries. People would narrate ‘Swamiji’ I ‘Heaven is a shorter distance from here, hence the Gods and Goddesses as well as Uhuvas can very quickly send the message. This would also apply to epilepsy convulsions.

But the epilepsy attack or convulsions that one suffers because of imbalance of psycho-mental processes as well as problems 4connected with nervous system fall in quite a distinct classification. These are real. It is necessary that this ailment is, properly treated, especially the disturbance pro­duced in the working system of cerebrum causes at the level of consciousness, certain conditions in the sub-conscious parts of the mind. Because of the disturbance in this consciousness, the body gets convulsions.

We can divide out this major epilepsy in two parts. One is symptomatic or idiopathic where the cause is hardly known or we can classify them as (1) Grandmal (major epilepsy) (2) Focal seizures (3) Petitmal (minor epilepsyl (4) Psycho-motor attack.

The medical treatment for the above assumes many forms. In the ailment known as Grandmal the patient becomes unconscious suddenly; his whole body convulses and it is possible that his face as well as hands and feet toss about restlessly This can happen at any age. A child or a person of any age after birth can have convulsions. At that time there is suffocation of breath and patient becomes unconscious. This also affects urinary system and a patient may urinate in that condition. Mostly this type of condition does not last long. The patient regains consciousness quite quickly and after getting consciousness the patient immediately starts sleeping. This sleep is deep and sound. When he gets up after such a deep sleep he may suffer headache, vomiting, giddiness, hands and feet may have cramps and mind gets restless. If the patient does not become conscious and convulsions are repeated in the unconscious stage, this condition is known as “status epilepticus”. Normally young children suffer from petit-mal. In that condition their eyes get strained, the eyeballs are pulled up, they may see with squinted eyes. They may go on speaking etc. This type of condition is classified as daydreaming or indistinct and improper behavior. This petit-mal could end in childhood or it is possible that it may turn in a grand-mal. Those who are intelligent, alert, and fully conscious people r hardly suffer such Petitmal epilepsy attack.

Many different types of medicines are used to cure this disease of convulsions. The main purpose of most of these medicines is to ensure cure of the disease by consuming the least quantity of medicines. Normally such medicine has to be continued for a period of five to seven years. It is especially necessary to continue the treatment for quite a long period after the last bout of convulsions. For cure of this disease an operation is hardly called for. Especially when the reason for convulsions is intra-cranial space occupying lesions then only the decision of performing an operation is required to be taken.

The most important fact to be gathered is whether the convulsions are a result of social or family circumstances or whether these are a disease which is inherited. It is quite likely that mental tension due to family circumstances bring convulsions. This neither be called an ailment nor can it be classed as social curse. This is a condition resulting from individual bodily incapacity. So long as the person suffering from convulsions consumes medicines regularly till then that person should be allowed to undertake big and small works, harbouring no fears and necessitating no personal supervi­sion. One should not allow such patients to work from a position of high altitude or near some place full of water. It is in their own interest if such persons do not drive. There is a danger to their life if they drive. In America or countries abroad such persons should not be allowed to go swimming in the sea nor they be permitted to play water games. If they are to be married their electro-encephalogram (E.E.G.) should be normal. The wife and husband should be both made aware of this situation. If with full knowledge of’ the disease both the parties are happy to get ahead then only the relation should be established. Such conditions are not permanent nor are they dangerous, but it is a fact that situation on hand is definitely not normal. Hence one should not turn a deaf ear nor should one be careless about the fact.

So many times it may also happen that particular type of circumstances or situations may cause convulsions; e.g. fear of examination may bring in convulsions, some social events causing displeasure may also result in convulsions; one may get convulsions on feeling the loss of a near relative by death. In such circumstances where convulsions are experienced once only, one has to be treated with medicine for. 4 to 6 weeks but if convulsions repeat 2 to 4 or more times, the medicine dose should be increased and then gradually reduced or even stopped if no necessity is felt. However, for a patient of repeated bouts of convulsions one should not be careless and should continue the treatment of some special medicine for a fairly long period.

If we observe some one suffering from such convulsions while we are passing along a road we should shift that person from the middle of the road, to a place on side where it is quiet and breeze is blowing. He will ‘suffer less suffocation if his clothes are loosened. He needs to lie down normally. In order that he may not chew his tongue and may not damage his teeth some soft padding should be intro­duced in between two rows of teeth.

If a child gets convulsions the child must be admitted immediately to the hospital. It is not so essential in case of an adult, but we cannot overlook the possibility of meningitis in case of children.

A person who gets convulsions should be kept in social surroundings which would encourage him. He should be kept away from such conditions  which can make him feel dejected or sorrowful. If one ensures that such a patient always remains happy, joyful, and enthusiastic, it is possible to keep huh fearless.

The Nadi-shodhana process which is a part of Yoga­abhyasa is an unfailing panacea for mental peace and composure. We are normally not aware of our inhalation and exhalation. This is such a process which is self-propelling. Our body has nine openings for conveying sensations by sensory nerves and performing actual work. But the nose is the principal opening by which we perkyn respiration. If one keeps oneself slightly aware of this process then a very good achievement can be had in avoiding cerebral disorder.

One has to make use of Sukhapurvaka Pranayama for purposes of process of Nadi-shodhana. Nadi-shodhana is also known as Anuloma and Viloma. If respiration is performed through Puraka and Rechaka and without Kumbhaka then it is known as Nadi-shodhana through Anuloma and Viloma.

For the purpose of Nadi-shodhana one should sit with crossed legs and the back vertically straight in a balanced steady manner. Thereafter inhale through left nostril and exhale through the right nostril. Again, breathe in by right nostril and breathe out through left nostril. Do not be in any type of haste while inhaling as well as exhaling. Inhale very very slowly; very deeply When we breathe in we should be aware that we are breathing in and equally we should be aware while we exhale. This type of awareness is essential. In addition ensure that the belly expands when we inhale and belly contracts when we exhale. Do carry put this process as slowly as possible. Do not breathe in or breathe out hastily or with jerks. The more the deeper inhaling the more is the effect. The manner of deep and controlled respir4ion sup­plies oxygen in abundance and solutions of psychosomatic problems gets strength. Respiratory system is the main stand for mental consciousness.

If the respiration process is regularized, the convulsions that one gets due to latent fears, doubts, misunderstandings or mental problems can surely be reduced.

Uttana-padasana, Viparitakarnimudra or practice of Sarvangasana can be helpful to pump in blood to the head in extra quantities. Although it is true that head gets maximum blood by practice of Shirsasana, the patient of convulsions should under no circumstances practice ordinary Shirshasana. For such patients, there are other methods to take blood circulation to the head. One can sleep with face’ pointing upwards on a table or a cot keeping the head hanging down. In this process the back is at the bottom, belly is in the top, both legs are kept together, the palms of the hands point downward and head hanging. In this position the head is at a lower level than the heart. Therefore the head gets supply of blood in greater proportion. This excercise should be performed initially from half a minute to one. minute. Gradually the time could be increased between five to ten minutes. Even after performing this exercise it is essential to perform Shavasana as in the case of Shirshasana. We should perform Shavasana for half the period for which we perform the main Asana.


One should lie supine on the ground. Raise only one leg in the first instance. It is necessary that knee remains straight and leg situated up, up to 30 degrees. Repeat this procedure by the second leg. This Asana is called Ekapada­ uttanapadasana  thereafter carry  keeping both the legs together initially start with 20 seconds, slowly form a habit of remaining in uttanapadasana for a minimum of one and half minute.


         Ekpada -Uttanapadasana    (Fig—57i)                 

This exercise adds to working of respiratory system and its efficiency The working capacity of body increases due to this exercise. Self confidence increases and reduces the thoughts of. weakness and dejection to almost nil level.   

Uttanapadasana  (Fig-57ii)

Both Viparitakarni-mudra and Sarvangasana can be very helpful in alerting brain with its sensory nerves and system of consciousness and understanding. 


For this Asana one has to lie down on the ground with face upward and start lifting both the legs slowly Do not bend the knees. Do not make any hurry nor give any jerk or use any force. In the beginning while you raise the legs take in a deep breath, as the belly gets pressed go on releasing the breath. When the chin touches the chest balance the body by use of both hands.

While returning from the vertical position initially lower the legs towards the head up and when you feel balance of the body you should keep the support of the body on both the hands and bring down body slowly on the same side where from you raised it. Let the back touch the ground first then the waist, buttocks, heels and so on. Rest in Shavasana thereafter. If a person has pus in the ears or a person suffers from epilepsy or if he suffers from cervical spodylosis, that person should not perform Sarvangasana. Those who suffer from high myopia, that is whose eyes are very weak such person also should not perform Sarvangasana. It is advisable that children under age of 12 years should not perform Sarvangasana because thereby their natural growth may be held up. People who suffer from any of the difficulties described above can undoubtedly perform Viparita-kavani- mudra. This exercise is also similar to Sarvangasana but for Sarvangasana the chest is brought right upto the chin and touches the chest where as in Viparitkarani­mudra one has to support the bones of the heaps. In this Viparitakarani­mudra we lift the legs in a manner similar to Sarvangasana, but while so raising, the waist is raised then the body has to be supported by a bone which is in a shape of a ring which is a circular bone of pelvis. The body is kept straight at that level. You will thus form an angle of 45 degrees between navel and the chin. Uttanapadasana, Viparitakami, Sarvangasana, Shirshasana, form the same family of asanas which are in the higher or lower series. The practice of these asanas adds to the main strength for all round development of conscious­ness and alerts the mental and intellectual system of consciousness. 

                                                                                    Sarvangasana (Fig 58) 

As observed earlier, if the reason for convulsions is psychosomatic these Yogasanas and Pranayama will revitalize the patient and his life will be rejuvenated. In short for the complete bodily and mental composure it is essential to have all these fine processes resulting in complete and perfect working of respiratory system, blood circulation system, digestive system, genito-urinary system and nervous system. A patient of convulsions can profitably use the process of turning the neck from right to left and left to right on the front side and back side us well as turning the head in circular motion in both directions.

Bhramari Pranayama with sound created similar to the humming of the black bee and chanting very long Omkara helps upgrade the nervous system tremendously.

Regu1ar practice of meditation, good reading, good thoughts, positive and decisive thinking, the company of enthusiastic and full-blown people can render mental com­posure and joyfulness.

“I am getting cured. I am already cured”. All round beauty is streaming, whatever is, is God’s creation, I am also a creation of God. God is there in everything visible, everything discernible. God is inside me, these hands, legs, head, chest, belly, happiness, unhappiness, bliss, space and everything is God. I am infinite, I am integral, I am a stream of happiness. Think thus in this train of thoughts. Remain joyful, “Fits” (convulsion) will definitely be cured and you will be “fit”. 


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