Updated date:

Overcome Illusions of Being Healthy–A Yogic Treatment of Psychosomatic Disorders

Author is a certified Yoga Teacher and Evaluator by Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India.

Introduction

In modern lifestyle, all are running so fast in the rat race such that competition itself has become life. The busy life is giving less importance to the self. Progress is highly essential to survive in this age, but not at the cost of health. As the old proverb says, “Health is Wealth”, which is relevant even to the present day. Adequate attention has to be given in order to live a healthy life. People do exercise to be healthy. There is always a new diet or health vogue, every single day in the world of nutrition and fitness. But rarely we do hear about wellness.

Fats Were Considered Elites

Until the obesity health crisis emerged, being overweight was commonly considered as a sign of success and happiness–of being well to do. Being a subject of laughter and bullying was a different story though obesity was not considered as a disease or medical problem which in turn leads to other diseases for which medicines were prescribed.

Much earlier to this, chronic food shortage and malnutrition have been the curse to mankind from the beginning. The scarcity of food and its subsequent consequences have led to the implications among the succeeding generations that being fat is an indication of good health and the same are reflected in their arts, literature and routines of the times.

As the obesity became epidemic, our medical fraternity started to guide their patients to eat less and work out more. With such a paradoxical experience in history, what are people supposed to do? And consequently, impressions also started to begin...

“My BMI is so and so and am a healthy person” - Is that so?

“I am very consistent on my routine health check-ups and my health is secured” - is it?

“My body measurements are so and so and am all good” - oh! Really?

overcome-illusions-of-being-healthya-yogic-treatment-of-psychosomatic-disorders

The issue is very controversial. Body Mass Index, a ratio of height and weight of particular individuals, could be misleading. Say for example in the cases of sportsmen, athletes and people with compressed muscle may have a similar BMI to that of an obese person. Other factors leading to health disorders such as blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels, diabetic conditions and many more and all needs to be examined before concluding. It is of no use when medical reports of a patient claim him/her normal despite the patient himself/herself does not feel good. But then again how about the psychological front?

Now the question is, “Is a healthy body a healthy mind or otherwise?

It is not easy to understand the nature of human mind as it is hidden and subtle. When it comes to health, considering both body and mind would be a holistic approach. When either of the two is not looked after well it cannot be said to be a healthy person. As our mental health plays a vital role in our well-being the same needs to be nurtured in a positive manner. From the recent past, we are getting to see more of psychological subjects, where patients are physically fit without any ailments and medical complaints but are haunted by mental illness such as anxiety disorders, depression, phobias, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What are the causes for this?

On a broad spectrum, we can understand that emotions which can be largely classified like desire, fear and anger would lead to serious psychological repercussions that will be very difficult to be handled either by the person himself or by the people associated with him.

  • Desire:

    It is realized as the principle emotion as it is a constant agitation of the mind which express itself as a restless, impatient longing for something. An individual may be stressed out when he/she faces the problems to attain his/her goals which may create frustration and conflicts within himself/herself. Conflict in the mind may become more stressful and the intensity of frustration increases.

  • Fear:

    We when begin to have a sense of fear as to whether or not we shall be able to acquire the object of our desire. Unnecessary anxiety, apprehensions, tense feelings, worry, jealousy, hatred are the extensions of fear and can certainly hamper emotional health. Even after acquiring the object, we start feeling of insecurity–fear of losing the same.

  • Anger:

    The emotion which arises in us whenever we experience an obstacle to acquire the object of our desire. Anger also comes from unfulfilled desires. From anger comes delusion; followed by a loss of memory; the destruction of discriminative power; and then man perishes.

What happens in our body due to such emotional and behavioral imbalances?

Disorders which originate in the psyche or mind of a person results in ailments in the ‘soma’ or the body. More often such diseases are caused by stress, characterized by somatic signs and symptoms which are not related to any specific physiological dysfunction. Any sort of physical symptom, such as palpitation can be psychosomatic in nature. Furthermore, psychological pressures can cause physical symptoms such as headache, hypertension, constipation, dyspepsia, indigestion, migraine headache, neurological disorders, diabetes, anxiety, depression, panic disorders, acidity, gastritis, insomnia, weight gain, ulcer and in severe cases may lead to major medical complications.

How to go about this and what is that keeps us healthy?

It is to be remembered that not merely the absence of disease is health but it is a state of overall physical, emotional, spiritual and social well-being. A healthy person is someone who is in balance physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

The yogic resolution as given below will help a person to have complete wellness in life.

Prayers

Prayers elicit the relaxation response. It helps in lowering blood pressure and other factors heightened by stress. It inhibits the release of cortisol hormones in the body.

Om Chanting

It is also called as ‘Pranava Japa’. Om is said to be the root of all sounds. Verse 1.27 of Patanjali Yoga Sutras emphasizes Om meditation. The sounds of each syllable in Om which includes A, U, and M, has got its own energy-producing sounds which are healing in nature.

Meditation

Basically, all meditation techniques are related to the mind and involve controlling the mind to finally transcend the mind. In the wake of practicing meditation, several benefits ensue as by-products such as specifically beneficial in minimizing stress. Researchers depict that it can also help in reducing anxiety and depression and help people in managing their chronic pains and aches. Meditation benefits people who are mentally healthy as well as those who are not.

To meditate is to become acutely aware of what is going on within us; it is about learning to train our mind so that we can focus all our energy and awareness on the task at hand.

overcome-illusions-of-being-healthya-yogic-treatment-of-psychosomatic-disorders

Pranayama

It is the formal practice of controlling the breath, which is the source of our prana or vital life force. ‘Prana’ is the vital energy of life or life force, while ‘ayama’ means control by stretching or expanding. One can control the rhythms of pranic energy with pranayama and attain a healthy body and mind.

Positive Self-Affirmation

It can elicit our feelings of hope, positivity, gratitude. Most of our feelings are related to wellness and positive self-talks are therapeutic in nature and healing is possible.

Therefore, setting appropriate goals for ourselves in each segment can help us feel more fulfilled and optimize our overall health and well-being as well. Health is thus a level of functional efficiency of living beings and a general condition of a person’s body, mind and spirit.

Healthy mind–Healthy individual; Healthy individual–Healthy family; Healthy family–Healthy society; Healthy society–Healthy nation; Healthy nation–Healthy universe.

Conclusion

In the yogic literature, “mind” has been given utmost importance. Mind is that instrument or medium through which an individual can materialize in this world. In Yoga, equal importance is given to physical health as well as to mental health. A person who is mentally healthy can be considered as a “Sthita Prajna”. A ‘Sthita Prajna’ is one who is firmly established in the knowledge, appreciating the reality.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Ashwini Kini

Comments

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on September 04, 2020:

Thank you Yogiji for your time on this article. Am glad to see discussion in detail. Yes, certainly, jealousy and hatred can be added to the list.

I agree, association with right-minded people is very important to upkeep ourselves. Great to see people interested in 'satsang' these days.

Seek Inwards Yogi from Hyderabad on September 04, 2020:

Very well written Ashwini ji. The healthy chain that leads to a healthy mankind is wonderful. You brought out well how one should attend to mind’s health by keeping the negative emotions in check. You may add a few more like jealousy and hatred too. When such emotions strike, the individual goes into a downward spiral without being conscious of it. When he/she is surrounded by people with vested interests, there is fuel added to the fire! Hence it becomes important to be in the company of right-minded people (not like-minded) who can readily spot such negative vibes and help arrest such thoughts. The value of ‘satsang’ can never be under estimated.

Another aspect to mind’s well-being is an innate quality to wish the well-being of all. Sarve janaaha sukhino bhavanthu has been our culture, Sanatana Dharma. When one rejoices in the success of others, there can be no room for disappointments. Competitive spirit shouldn’t be confused for winning at any cost.

Ashwini ji, you also briefly touched upon Stitha Pragnata. Hope you write more on that. To remain untouched by success or failure, joy or sorrow, good or bad - that’s the hallmark of an evolved individual!

Nishkama karma is another. To do some act of benevolence in anticipation of a favour in return is undesirable. Expectations are at the root of all disappointments. And those lead to negative emotions. When all fruits of labour are also offered to the almighty, then we shall remain untouched by outcomes.

Nurturing the mind through positive affirmations can be helpful indeed. How about starving it of all thoughts? That would be ultimate transcendence!

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on August 09, 2020:

Thank you Mrs.Anjana for your time on reading this article. Being healthy is the goal of many of us. But, as you said, we do need to first understand the concept of being healthy, especially the psychosomatic side of it.

Anjana Yash on August 03, 2020:

Ashwini it is well compiled. Very important is knowing the definition of 'Being Healthy'. Also Eating less to control Obesity is not the solution but Eating healthy is.And of course there is no denying the fact on the benefit of Yoga as most issues can be psycho somatic

Geetha k on June 04, 2020:

Excellent compilation....keep writing

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 28, 2020:

Thank you Dr. Pran Rangan for spending your valuable time on this article. Yes, certainly, it will not be an exaggeration to say yoga is a gift to the world from India, and naturally, we as Indians are proud of it.

Dr Pran Rangan from Kanpur (UP), India on May 28, 2020:

Thanks Ashwini for sharing a well-written hub and following me. We will have more interactions in future.

The health benefits of Yoga have been unequivocally accepted by majority of health experts all over the world. It won't be an exaggeration to say that it is, in fact, a gift to the world from India.

Meditation is one topic, on which a lot of research has been done. Its regular practice has many benefits on health that includes physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 28, 2020:

Thank you Ms.Jyothi. I am glad to see your comments.

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 28, 2020:

Thank you Ms.Akshatha

Akshatha Bangera on May 27, 2020:

Very nice article Ms.Ashwini .thank you .

Jyothi Kanade on May 27, 2020:

Very well written.. Actually most of the psychological informations are given by Foriegn authors...It's good if more n more articles related to Psychological well being with Yoga are written by the one who have done mastery in Yoga . As many are suffering from mental and physical problems due to lifestyles n food, Yoga can become a very easy and effective remedy to overcome both physical n mental health problems.

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 25, 2020:

Thank you Ms.Sneha Bhat & Mr. Abhijit Goswami. I hope not to disappoint you

Sneha Bhat from India on May 25, 2020:

Ashwini Kini Madam, you have given us the depth knowledge about BMI and the false assumption we usually had in our mind.. Even i believe that healthy life is important than wealthy lifestyle. Expecting many more articles from you madam...

Abhijit Goswami from North East India on May 25, 2020:

Well written madam. BMI, body measurements, regular check ups are not only indicator for being healthy. Mental Health is equally important along with physical health. Expecting more articles on the subject.

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 24, 2020:

@SHREEKRISHNA SHARMA HALEMANE, Thank you Sir for reading through my article and happy to know that you are a practitioner of yogasanas and pranayama.

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 24, 2020:

Thank you Mr.Rajesh for your kind words.

SHREEKRISHNA SHARMA HALEMANE from MANGALORE on May 24, 2020:

The article gave good information on how to overcome stress by inculcating yoga, pranayama, and chanting OM. World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” and to attain this, the only way is the holistic approach. I do practice some of the yoga asanas and pranayama which helped me a lot in improving my general health. Thank you Ashwini Kini for your wonderful article.

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 24, 2020:

Ms. Smitha, thank you for going through the article and you have rightly caught the point. Yes, its always earlier the better.

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 24, 2020:

Hey Jnanesh ! Happy to see young budding minds growing interest in the subject yoga. I wish to contribute my bit.

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 24, 2020:

Thank you Ms.Sowrabha for going through the article with such great interest. Happy to see you co-relate the matter with Geeta. This actually makes me delightful.

Rajesh Naik from Mangaluru on May 24, 2020:

Valued thoughts expressed in your article, it’s really help us to add more about our present knowledge on health.

Thank You

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 24, 2020:

Thank you MuraliKrishna Sir for your kind words and encouragement.

ThurthiSmitha on May 24, 2020:

Good topic, everyone should concern about their mental health as well as physical. Early in life attention to mental health is better than the later. In life as the effect of the carelessness or ignorance of mind health later in life can't be rectified. Very good detailed article.

Ashwini Kini (author) from Dakshin Kannad on May 24, 2020:

Thank you Srujith for reading the article. Yes, calming the mind is very important lets practice it in our day to day lives .

Jnanesh Sharma H from South India on May 24, 2020:

Well written, Ms Ashwini, There were many of the illusions which I had also. I have never been through a yogic article, thinking that it is not worth the exercise. I had just seen this article and I have understood why they say yoga is better than gym itself!!

sowspeaks from Bengaluru on May 24, 2020:

Hi Ashwini, very well analysed article. True early on, obesity was something to be proud of. Most mental distortions as you well put it can be traced back to anger, desire and fear. Attaining Sthithaprajnathe is something that even Krishna advises to Arjuna in the Geetha. Thank you Ashwini for this timely reminder!

Halemane Muralikrishna from South India on May 24, 2020:

Some of the people having good inherent genes may survive despite being foodie in habits. But this may not be a generalized situation. Proper body and mind coordination with the systematic practices as described in the article would be really beneficial. Desire, fear and anger are rightly pointed out as the culprits in cour well constructed article, Ms Ashwini Kini.

Srujith rytes from Vishakapatnam on May 24, 2020:

The mind plays a vital role in the whole body's health, even our thoughts have power to create whatever we think continuously. Ma'am you've given a great insight about this topic and also some good techniques to calm the mind and guide it to peace and finally to a more healthier being