According to Swami Satyananda, “Diseases in the modern world is caused by mind, not by bacteria or virus. Thought is the greatest virus.”
Fear, anxiety, nervous-tensions are the root causes of many diseases e.g. blood pressure, asthama, diabetes, heart disease, arthiritis, etc. Many times imagined unfavorable circumstances create havoc with our psyche. The persistent unhappiness makes one lose interest in life. Hence a vicious circle is formed i.e. tensions -> unhappiness -> disease -> more tensions.
Modern medical science, though quite advanced, is not able to take a dip in the psyche of the patients. Though due to awareness many doctors have started accepting the value of meditation, pranayama and faith as an important aid in the healing, yet the number of such doctors is far from adequate.
Yoga is a complete science which considers disease a teacher. The first emphasis is laid on the cause of the disease in yoga e.g. in high blood pressure a patient is asked to practice light pavanmuktasanas along with a lot of Nadishodhan and Gunjan Pranayama, so that the mental tension which is the root cause of this disease starts decreasing gradually. Yoga teaches a person to become aware of one’s mind and body intimately. A negative thought causes greater disturbance in the mind as well as in the body, hence the stage for the disease is set.
When a sick person takes refuge under the umbrella of Yog, first and foremost he is asked to become aware of his own body. With the help of light pawanmuktasanas done with breath, pranayamama like Gunjan, deep breathing, one becomes mentally relaxed.
The recovery starts at the root level. Although the process of recovery is extremely slow initially, yet it gains momentum by regular practices if done sincerely. Though the practices look very simple and insignificant, but they are very powerful and deeply relaxing.
Swami Satyananda says, “Man is becoming more and more ill mentally, because there is nothing now to keep him busy.”
Due to advancement of science, physical work is reduced to minimum, modern life style i.e. using lot of vehicles, electrical gadgets has reduced the time of physical exertion. Television, movies, computer games have become an addiction, in most households. The level of vices like anger, fear, and emotional violence has increased manifold. Light nourishing food has been replaced by fast food of maida, saturated fat. Overeating is very-very common. Eating fried snacks like potato chips especially in front of the T.V. are adding to the woe. Contentment is a cherished virtue. Advertisements focus on those material possessions e.g. T.V. /car are the sole source of happiness in life. Hence mental dissatisfaction and cravings become deeper and deeper.
Yoga if practiced with sincerity enables a person to find out the faults in his life style, both physically and mentally, by oneself. The onset of disease is an outside manifestation of deep seated mental imbalance. As the process of awareness gradually progresses, the recovery results. It is a strong positive mental booster to consider disease a teacher not a burden.
One learns to find out source of happiness inside oneself which comes as a wave of fresh air in the modern society which is suffocating everyone with materialism. According to Swami Satyananda , “Instead of seeing disease as something to be feared and quickly eradicated, yoga teaches us that disease is our teacher and friend from the spiritual point of view.”