Yoga and Health
Swami Adhyatmananda

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Many elderly persons have written from all the corners of America, based on which some details were repeated about Asanas and Shavasana suitable to relieve high blood pressure. Today we shall begin the chapter by describing Naditanasana.


This Asana is also performed lying on your back in the manner that a person lies down for Shavasana. Keep the legs side by side. Pull and strain the paws of the legs and fingers as well as thumbs away from the body in the front. Place both the hands on the belly Lock both the fingers of the hands. Now inhale deeply and simultaneously raise both the hands up and beyond the head right up to the ground, keep them pulled up. Now pull down the whole body including the paws of the feet, thumb, fingers, ankles, and leg muscles right up to the buttocks. Similarly pull the whole part of the body above the navel including hands and fingers along with upper torso. While stretching in this manner inhale deeply and hold the breath inside, that is perform Antar-kumbhaka. Hold the breath inside as long as you can conveniently and without trouble do it. Keep the body pulled with strain. Thereafter release the breath slowly Bring down the two hands that are locked over the head and place them on the belly Thereafter unlock the palms of both the hands and keep both the hands on both the sides of the body along the ground leaving them loose. The paws of the legs should be loose, directed towards the outer sides. Now let the body and respiratory system work in a natural maimer. This process should be daily repeated 2 to 3 times and on every occasion Asanas should be repeated 3 to 4 times. 

Naditanasana relieves the stress in the body So long as the body remains strained, the organs of the body also feels stress. Naditanasana brings the whole body in a stress less, relaxed, easy position. The unnecessary strain on the body is removed by practice of Naditanasana and the body attains perfect natural easy pose. This Asana strength­ens the ligaments and muscles of the body, relieves the stressful condition of the body, relieves high blood pressure and bestows sound health to the body and mind.


This Asana is so named because by performing Pavanamuktasana the difficulties due to the accumulation of gas are removed. Lie on the ground with back touching the ground and face pointing to the ceiling. Now bend the knee of the right leg. Bring that knee right up to the chest taking it over the belly Hold the knee by both the hands and press it on the belly Exhale. Raise the head and let it touch the knee. Retain this posture for a while. Relax the body slowly Repeat similar process by the second leg. The process employed with one leg is named Ardha-pavana-muktasana. If the leg in question is left leg, it is called Vamapada­pavanamuktasana.

Now carry out the above process with both the legs. Both the knees should be raised and bent, taken up to the belly Press both the knees on the belly by holding the knees by fingers of the hands duly locked. Release the breath, raise the head and touch it to the knees. Hold the breath outside and perform Bahya-kumbhaka. Hold the breath outside as long as easily possible. Thereafter slowly take a deep breath. Now leave the head on its own place and straighten the legs, lie down in a relaxed position.

In the initial stages the forehead will not touch the knees. Do not get disheartened. As time goes by gradually by regular practice this easy Asana will be found really simple. You will reap all the benefits of this Asana.

Regular performance of Pavanamuktasana gives exer­cises to all the digestive glands situated inside the stomach. Liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen, adrenal, intestine, bladder and all such organs get a special capability of working, the mind is fully joyous, the body feels light and life remains tension free which gives a life free of blood pressure.


Lie down straight on the ground. Place the heel of right leg over the knee of the left leg and on the thigh. Inhale deeply Try to bring the knee of the right leg on the ground. This may or may not be possible. This posture is not at all difficult. Keep the neck on the opposite side of the knee, that is let the right knee touch the ground on the left side and turn your face on the right side. Now exhale and simultaneously raise and straighten the head. Bring the knee also straight up. , Similarly repeat with the left heel placed on the right thigh. You should make an effort to ensure that the heel continues touching the seam of the thigh. Thereafter let the left knee touch the ground on the right side. Turn the head on the left. While you perform this exercise breathe in. While you return to the original position release the breath slowly this process cures the diseases of the navel, and holds the navel in the center.

Our body contains so many important centers (Plex­uses). A bunch of veins (Nadis) is situated at these centers. At the location of these centers there are some internal secreting glands also. These glands release secretion, which help working of the body in a responsible way Yogis call these centers as Chakras. Doctors dealing in science of the body as well as experts also give a place of very much importance to these centers. The bunches of veins (Nadis) located at the Chakras look like a bouquet. They look like beautiful full-bloomed flowers. Innumerable veins criss-cross the body The Nabhisanchar process adds incomparably to the working capacity of the veins. It increases the energy in veins for its vibration capacity and power. The regular practice of this process develops the personality and creativ­ity of an individual. Thereby the whole body gains remark­able capability, the blood circulation is thereby controlled and as a result blood pressure is wonderfully controlled.


Padma means a lotus. A man sitting in this posture looks as if he is sitting on a lotus. The pose is also known as Kamalasana in the science of Yoga. Spread a blanket on the ground and sit with legs extended. Now place the heel of the right leg on the left thigh in such a way that it nearly reaches the seam of the thigh almost near the navel. Thereafter in a similar maimer put the heel of the left leg on the right thigh bringing it right up to the root of the thigh that is near the navel. The normal rule is to first put the right leg and thereafter the left leg, but so many bodies are so constructed that it is inconvenient to first handle the right leg, in which case you can begin with left leg. To sit in Padmasana with ease practice of flexibility exercise of butterfly pose will greatly ease the situation if practice is undertaken for three or four weeks. Even then if you find it difficult in sitting in Padmasana posture you can support the buttocks by a thin blanket packing underneath the buttocks whereby both the knees will touch the ground and allow you to sit in Padmasana for longer period without difficulty.

Now sit in Padmasana and position the heels of both the legs opposite each other and touching near the navel. Keep the spinal column vertically straight and keep head, neck and chest in one straight line. “Samam shiro greeva kaaya”. Now place both the palms of hands in your lap or you may keep both the hands on each knee in Jnana-mudra. This posture firms up the veins and arteries in the waist. The back and the waist become soft and elastic. It quietnes the senses. It concentrates the mind. This Asana is considered as the best for the practice of meditation, Pranayama and Sadhana and is known as to be most appropriate. Hath yoga Pradeepika mentions about the Padmasana as under

Idam Padmasanam proktam, sarvavyadhivinashanam,

Durlabham yena kenapi, dheemantam labhyate bhuvi.

This Asana removes all the diseases. It is one of the best Asanas, which can be equally practiced by a Brahmachari, a Grihasthi (householder), a Vanaprastha (retired) and also a Sannyasi (recluse).


The meaning of Baddha-padmasana is a Padmasana wherein legs are also held caught. In this Asana the whole body is caught between the two legs. That is the reason why science of Yoga calls this Asana as Baddha-padmasana.

Sit on a leveled ground in Padmasana. Thereafter catch hold of the thumb of the right leg, which is positioned on the left thigh by taking the right hand round the waist on the left. After you hold this right thumb take your left hand round your back and hold the thumb of the left leg, which is positioned on the right thigh. It will not be possible to perform this Asana on the first day 

Generally the question posed is whether elderly people can perform all Asanas or up to what age Asanas can be performed or what is the age at which the Asanas can be learnt etc.

If the health is sound all the Asanas can be performed without any danger, whatever the age. It is not correct to say that children have their bones weak and therefore the bones bend easily Young children are not able to perform Asanas like Paschimottanasana, Halasana or Baddha­padmasana without proper training of Yogasanas whereas grandma and grandpa can perform these by regular daily practice. One should definitely try to practice Baddha­padmasana and I assure you, you will definitely be able to perform it. After performing Baddha-padmasana one should sit with Jalandhar bandha. To execute Jalandhar bandha breathe in deeply and lower the face in the front so that your chin will press on the middle part of the neck in front. You should retain the breath inside. Keep your eyesight in front of your nose. This is the final posture of Baddha-padmasana. 

There is another process of performing this Baddha­padmasana. After initially coming to the posture of Baddha­padmasana till you hold the thumbs, lower the head slowly toward the ground and let the head touch the ground. This process is also named Yogamudra. Performance of Yoga mudra with Jalandhar Bandha in Baddha-padmasana transfers you to the seventh heaven.

With the help of this Asana the bones of the spinal column can be easily arranged in an innocent manner. By performing Yogamudra in the posture of Baddha-padmasana the proverbial 72000 Nadis (veins and arteries) get cleared. Blood circulation and blood transport becomes easy; thereby the blockage of arteries opens out. The cholesterol deposited in the arteries gets reduced.

The toxins and poisonous materials collected in the veins and arteries are destroyed, the blood circulation be­comes better. This Asana clears blood pressure, daydream­ing, idleness, constipation, nocturnal discharge and defect of semen. The practice of this Asana adds to the working efficiency of the bone marrow filling the hollows of the bones. R.B.C and W.B.C. become more efficient. Prana and Apana Vayus become equipoise. As a result a person gets concentration and bliss of the mind and body feels light. This is found very helpful in the control of blood pressure.


The shape on formation of this Asana resembles a frog. Sit in Vajrasana with both the legs bent in the rear. Keep both the paws of the legs touching each other. Keep both the heels opened out. Sit with waist and back straight supporting the buttocks on the two heels. Now separate the knees as far apart as possible. This is Manduk sitting. Now for Mandukasana bring both the knees in the front touching each other. Close both the fists of the hands and keep them on the belly on both the sides of the navel. Lower the body in front and let the forehead touch the ground.


Mandukasana sitting   (Fig—75i)



Mandukasana   (Fig—75ii)



Performance of Mandukasana can render most of the advantages of the Baddha-padmasana and Yogamudra with Jalandhar bandha. In this Asana, which looks like a frog, you may not touch your head on the ground but keep your sight in front with the head up parallel to the ground. Mandukasana causes equilibrium of Prana and Apana, thus making the body light. Ordinarily we breathe 15 to 18 times a minute. Those who suffer from respiratory trouble, even others who breathe rapidly without doing any hard labour can also derive big advantage by performance of Mandukasana. Such persons should daily and regularly perform Mandukasana.



 Mandukasana   (Fig-75iii)


The shape that the body assumes on performance of this Asana is like that of a tortoise, (Koorm) which is how this Asana derives its name.

Sit with legs apart. Now lean forward while you go on exhaling and bend down as much as possible. Put the arm under the thighs. Keep the hands firmly on the floor. Stretch the legs. Remain leaning and bending down for the. Maxi­mum time that you can do so. For variation one can bring legs together in front and clutches of hands of the back. Yogis call this posture Sputa Koormasana.

The pain of the knees is treated by the practice of Koormasana. The hunger in the body gets aroused. Digestive system eats an impetus. Concentration of the mind increases.


Koormasana (Fig—76i) 

Supta Koormasana  (Fig—76ii)

 By this Koormasana a man withdraws his mind from the objects of the world and connects it with the internal world in a manner similar to the withdrawal of the organs by a tortoise. A mind separated from outside fickleness becomes blissful, peaceful and free of the disturbances whereby the control of the blood pressure becomes very effective. 


One can draw advantages of Yoga mudra in Baddha­padmasana, Mandukasana and Koormasana by practice of Paschimottanasana (see Obesity) By the performance of Paschimottanasana the Subhuman Nadi situated in the spinal column remains keen and clean. Its power flows up to the head; stability and mental power of the various veins increases. This Asana is the best for quieting worries and excitement. Paschimottanasana is the best amongst all Asanas and the advantages gained thereby become easy with performance of Pachimottanasana. This Asana is very useful for blood pressure. This Asana should not be performed with sudden jerks or just after meals. This Asana should be performed very slowly with patience.

For performance of Paschimottanasana sit with legs stretched in front. Raise both the hands and breathe deeply Release the breath and lean forward. Hold the thumb of the leg by framing a hook of the first finger of the hand. Exhale and try to touch the forehead on the knee. If in the beginning you cannot catch hold of the thumb, catch hold of the heel. If that is also not possible, hold the knee. With efforts this Asana can be perfectly executed. Therefore do no quit. This Asana can be performed in a better manner in the evening than in the morning. Hence unfailingly practice this Asana. After exhaling and supporting the forehead on the knee remain in this posture as long as possible. A person can without any danger stay in this Asana starting with 20 seconds and increasing the period up to 15 minutes. 


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