Yoga and Health
Swami Adhyatmananda

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One may be conducting Yogasana classes or meditation classes; one has to start from residence at 5:00 to 5:30 in the morning. I have moved round America in June, July, August, September, October, November and December in London as well as Denmark. But the Americans are of a special bent. In the cars that we overtake, the drivers young or old, even before the day-break, would be holding giant size American glasses and sucking coke through the straw in the glasses and they would be driving with music in their cars playing so loud that it may rend your eardrum asunder To see these drivers driving is also a special treat.

Many a times grandmothers visit accompanied by their children, desiring that Swamiji would show some way What way? Just look at their faces! Their skin!! The face has so many blots; the face is full of eruption. See there! Under the eyes there is quite a biggish black lining!!

You may ask the youth.... Do you regularly clean bowels daily. He will question.... What’s that? Oh, my friend do you visit latrine daily? Are the bowels fully cleaned? He replies, of course. You again ask... Everyday...? No, once in three-four days. In America everything is in grand scale! Food stores. is a Lion Food Mart. Green chilies are very big. Bananas are very big.  Vimu aunty,  Vimalaben Patel of Houston prepared a pizza and cut it into eight parts. Eat one and you are full. That’s enough. In our country we have a Punjabi glass but in America that glass looks small! It is surprising if there is any control on food. Simple pizza, a pineapple pizza or a cheese pizza. Well, that is O.K. But everything that is cooked is made from finely ground wheat (Maida) - pizza, pasta, spaghetti, enchiladas, bread, cake or cookies; halophania green chilies and bell pepper, black pepper and ginger etc. If you travel from Delhi to Haridwar or Haridwar to Delhi there is a motel ‘Chital­grand’. People like the cheese pakodas, prepared there in. People drive all the way from Delhi to eat these pakodas. But here in America this type of preparation is available everywhere. From St. Lewis to Silver Springs and on all the road crossings, from lanes and by lanes, the one that endangers peace in the family; ruins money and stomach is that McDonald depicting the double-arc sign.

Those Yoga training organizer who provides facility for proceeding from morning meditation and Yoga classes straight to attend job, catered in the morning providing doughnut and coke only We requested them to supply tomato juice or tea and coffee with bananas and apples. But for God sake! Stop the supply of doughnuts.

It is not that you are unaware of all these facts. But we are just like Duryodhana, who knew very well what religion was, but who had no interest in living religiously He knew very well what was contrary religious activity. But he didn’t want to quit it. We also are aware of all these but who is to execute on our behalf?

Shri Dinesh Patel met me in the corridor of a motel before Satsang was started at Corpus Cristy. “Oh friend, how do you do?He replied, “Bapaji! Everything is fine because of your blessings.” Then he talked about various purchases and sales as well as where Niruben and children had been in London and Europe; where they were at the present moment, when they will return etc. etc. But I remarked, “Oh friend! How much you have added to your weight! Look at this round belly!” He replied, “Swamiji, I have to tour so much that I can’t control the food intakes. I can’t help taking more rice.” I said, “Do you mean that Swamiji takes very little tours? If I do not control what will be the result? He said, I have already had a by-pass surgery Weight is fifty pounds in excess of the standard, cholesterol and triglycer­ides are in super high proportions. Blood pressure is also extra super high. But whenever I go to fill in the gas in the car I have to consume at least one packet of potatoes wafers!!

To sum up let us remember that we are either our own friends or our own enemies. One of the main reasons of hyperacidity is gluttony A man must eat just enough to fill half his stomach; one fourth stomach should be filled with water and remaining one fourth be kept empty for the gas. But whenever we eat something we just seem to feel that this could be our only last chance in the life! So let us fill to our heart’s content! The well-known AHMEDABAD orna­ment manufacturer Suvarna Mahal and Jay ornaments broth­ers, Prakash Soni and Kirti Soni whose wives always complained, “Swamiji, if some guest arrives and we serve breakfast, guest go on talking and we don’t know when they start eating but these two brothers, we wonder, would empty their dishes at the earliest! If people exercise some control by remaining aware of their eating habits people will never have hyperacidity. Very strong acidic juices get prepared in the stomach. They help in digestion of food. These digestive juices are known as gastric juices. These types of gastric juices continuously get manufactured in the body and they excite the vagus nerve situated in the internal glands. Many reasons are responsible in allowing these types of juices to be produced in extra quantity this vagus nerve is a part of a para-sympathetic nerve. If this gastric juice of acid gets produced in extra proportions it harms internal wall of the stomach to a very great extent. When this happens there are ulcers found in the walls of the stomach. Thus hyperacidity and formation of ulcers are complementary to each other.

It is possible that acid secretion may be less yet there may be ulcer formation and alternatively acid secretion may be much more than required yet there may not be ulcer formation. However both the conditions make a man suffer and the peace as well as happiness is lost and health will be adversely affected and is harmful in the long run. Besides gluttony, the use of extra condiments, more than necessary chilies, eating more fried items, paucity of salad and fibers in the food, and not consuming milk and curd, dislike of consumption of fruits, to eat at odd hours, to eat without proper chewing, to eat hurriedly, to eat while talking, to eat as if you are not to get it again, to eat even before the first intake of food gets digested and insufficient exercise or not exercising at all are the additional reasons responsible for bad digestion.

In addition to above mental ill-health, mental uneasi­ness, mental harassment, feeling tired, tobacco chewing as well as smoking and habit of alcohol are also responsible for hyperacidity

Those people whose life is sedentary and those who are very irregular in their food habits and in addition to these conditions those who do not take any type of exercise, such people do get hyperacidity.

Excessive uneasiness, mental tension, tiredness, or smoking to a great extent and drinking produces hypera­cidity Compared to ladies, males suffer from this difficulty much more. Ladies hardly suffer from hyperacidity till they are regularly menstruating.

It is possible that female natural hormones may be responsible for this and ladies may be saved from hypera­cidity thereby Those having their blood group ‘0’ are more susceptible to hyperacidity

As mentioned earlier those persons who take more of fried and spicy food and take more condiments are more susceptible to acidity it is more important to see how you eat than what you eat. Those who eat after enough of chewing, the food gets mixed with the liquid saliva produced in the mouth and such mixed food then reaches stomach. Such people hardly suffer from acidity So many people who eat food, which is slippery and smooth, so that hardly they chew it; such people always get ulcers. The principle food of people of Assam, Bengal, Orissa, Manipur, Mizoram and south India is mainly rice. They get ulcers to a greater extent whereas people from U.P, Himachal, Punjab, Hariyana or Delhi get less problems of ulcer besides those people who eat very fast and without chewing the food sufficiently, suffer from this problem.

Thus those who gulp down food without chewing sufficiently, those who eat at irregular hours and those who eat slippery food have to suffer from hyperacidity 


Normally a man having disease of hyperacidity suffers from pain in the stomach. The form of this pain in the stomach, the time at which occurs and its nature is always of a special type. This type of pain is felt on the right side of heart and under the lower ribs. This type of pain starts slowly and gradually, sometimes aftei the food is taken and gets reduced only if, either one vomits or takes some scientific medicine for this purpose. The common signs of this pain are burning sensation in the heart, vomiting sensation, nausea, feeling giddy and the actual vomits. If the illness is chronic and if the necessary treatment for the ailment is not taken there is a possibility of heamatemesis (vomits of blood). 


Both medical as well as surgical treatment is beneficial to the patient. Medical treatment undertaken with care definitely cures the patient and results are also very good. If one bears the following points in mind the medical treatment of peptic ulcer, it will be easy to diagnose and cure the disease:

     1.     Mental as well as physical rest.

     2.     Complete care about food.

     3.        Habit of taking medicine regularly         


      This is possible only through Yogasana, Pranayama and meditation. 


If the disease has just started and is in an initial stage there seems no need for physical rest. But when the disease has gone out of control then a period of rest; doing no labour, is allowed in a perfect manner, it is likely to contribute in a big way in the treatment of the disease. 


The very first important thing to keep in view while serving the food is that the patient should be served 3 to 4 times in small proportions. It is absolutely essential to ensure that the patient does not fill his belly like a glutton. Food should be taken in small measures; one should eat peacefully chewing thoroughly It is very essential to ensure that there is little oil and condiments in the food. In the event of the diseases having gone out of control or those patients who have a tendency to get hyperacidity, they should eat easily digestible and fibrous food, which is fully cooked and steamed. Food that is not easily digestible like meat, fish, eggs should not be taken at all. 


The cure for the problem of hyperacidity is being sought after from ages by use of Antacids only The form, color and the covering of medicines go on changing, but it only contains world known medicine “Antacid”.

It is true that in addition to these antacids, now we have started receiving medicines in the market, which have prolonged effect. Any medicines taken have to be repeated after 6-8-16 or 24 hours duration, that is after the period for which the effect remains active. 


If ulcers are formed in stomach to a larger extent and perforations occur, operation is compulsory if cancer is suspected, only treatment is an operation. And if medicines prove ineffective surgical help may be called for.


There are umpteen treatments in science of Yoga to see that one’s desire for food improves, digestion of food consumed improve, one to control effect of strong acids, that are produced in the stomach.

1.       VAJRASANA

Young and old alike should all form a habit of sitting in Vajrasana from five, ten to fifteen minutes after every meal like breakfast, mid-day meal and evening or night meals. This adds digestive power and thereby flatulence does not occur Gas as well as constipation doesn’t result. Then you can completely eliminate the main cause for production of acids.

For sitting in Vajrasana sit with two legs kept under­neath both knees kept together in the same fashion as Muslim friends sit for their ‘Namaj’. Keep both the thumbs of both the legs touching each other; the heels should be kept spread out with buttocks placed between the heels. Do not sit with two feet placed one over the other. In the initial stages you may not be able to sit for a long period. However if you sit on a sofa set or on a mattress or on a grass lawn so that the ground under the feet does not hurt, then it will be possible to gradually form a habit. Going on increasing the period up to 15 to 20 minutes initially, you will surely be able to sit for longer periods together 

 (Fig - 40-1)    Vajrasana 

(Fig - 40-2)      Vajrasana

2.       YOGAMUDRA

Sit in Padmasana. Bring both the hands on the back. Hold the wrist of the left hand by right hand. Now go on exhaling and go on bending forward slowly Let the forehead touch the ground. Try to hold breath outside. Do not use force in this exercise. Keep the forehead touching the ground for the period that you hold the breath outside. When you raise the head, go on inhaling slowly In this process the Apanvayu under the navel and the Pranvayu above the navel assume the position of Samanvayu.

Because of the Pranvayu above equalizing, that is becoming Samana, the process of digestion is performed properly and perfectly

Aham vaishvanaro bhootva praninam dehamashritah
Pranapana samayuktah pachmami annum chaturvidham

               (Geeta: 15:14)  


Yaga-Mudra Fig - 41


Sleep with face facing the ceiling. Keep the back on ground. Bend both the knees of the both legs keeping them pointing upwards towards ceiling and parallel to each other, slightly away from the buttocks and not touching each other but in a composed manner. Concentrate mind on the navel. Remain a witness to the process of inhaling and exhaling. Breathe in as slowly as possible. Exhale as slowly as possible. Ensure that each breath is inhaled very peacefully and remaining fully aware (see Hypertension).

In this process all the organs in the belly feel relaxed. Ample supply of blood reaches the organs. The control of breathing adds special capacity to the working efficiency of the internal secreting glands.


If this Pranayama is practised before the sunrise it is more advantageous. Sit with crossed legs. Make around tube by bending the tongue and inhale through mouth, exhale through the nose. If you cannot make a tube of the tongue then bend the front end of the tongue on the back side, on the top of the rear tongue. Keep the two rows of teeth touching each other and inhale with a sound like 51.. .si.......            Either one of the above two methods of Pranayama should be performed at least 20 repetitions.

This Pranayama has great effect on dyspepsia. This Pranayama is capable of reducing the burning sensation caused by strong acid liberated in the stomach.  

Shitali Pranayama (Fig-42) 

Shitkari Pranayama (Fig—43)


In the early morning drink 8 to 10 glasses of tepid water having half a teaspoonful of salt added to water. Take 7 to 8 glasses quickly This should be taken on an empty stomach. Thereafter bend forward and press the belly or put in two fingers in the neck behind the tongue so that all the water would be thrown out in a torrent (see Asthma-2)

Strong acid gets washed out due to this process and one saves oneself from getting ulcer

Do not either eat or drink anything at least for a period of one hour after this process. You will feel much hunger after one hour, when you should take food which will not spoil your digestive system.

In addition, performance of Bhujangasana, Shalbhasana, Bhastrika Pranayama, Jalandhara bandha, Suryanamaskara, and Shavasana regularly, proper control of in-take of food, the control of the wandering tendency of mind, high stan­dard of working of the internal secreting glands definitely brings in happy and composed health. But the main point that is essential is to remain regular and carry on Yoga­abhyas of whatever variety we undertake, daily and patiently for a prolonged period and along with Yoga-abhyas we should have necessary treatment of medicine and control of food. There is nothing impossible in the world! What is required is our conscientious effort! 


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