From the Jacket :
Written by Dr. Swami Shankardevananda under the guidance of Swami Satyananda Saraswati, The Effects of Yoga on Hypertension offers advice on the yogic management of hypertension. The first section explores the various causes of hypertension from both the medical and yogic viewpoints, including psychological and pranic influences, lifestyle, stress and heredity. The second section looks at the management and cure of hypertension through yogic means, including lifestyle, relaxation and meditation. The third section offers a structured practice program of specific yogic techniques to normalize blood pressure and provide ongoing health management.
Line drawings and diagrams are included.
Dr Swami Shankardevananda was born in 1952 in Sydney, Australia, and graduated in medicine in 1977.
In 1974 he met Swami Satyananda Saraswati and was then able to blend yoga and medicine into a unified system. In 1977 he came to Munger as Chief Coordinator of the IYFM Research Centre.
In 1990 he received his MSc from the University of NSW, and from 1990-2001 he coordinated the Sydney yoga Therapy research and Education Centre.
Dr Swami Shankardevananda now travels and teacher yoga around the world to support his guru’s mission.
Foreword The primary or essential hypertension, hyperpiesia, is earned and acquired rather than inherited or bestowed. Although the tendency to it may be a gift of the genes, the disorder is largely psychosomatic.
The management of the hypertensive patient is bedevilled by problems. The clinical definition of abnormal limits of blood pressure are illusory and vague. There are surprisingly individual and racial differences of tolerance which are not yet fully determined.
One of my patients, an Anglo-Indian lady in her 50’s was able to look after herself with a blood pressure of about 320 mm of Hg systolic and 260 mm of Hg diastolic. Still she ultimately died, years later, of congestive heart failure and auricular fibrillation.
During a statistical study of the ‘Normal Blood Pressure Range in Nepal and Bihar’, I found that the highest (around 140-150/80-90 mm Hg) blood pressure range was exhibited by non-vegetarian, well-built, responsible males in the age-group of 21-30 years. Many extremely high readings were recorded among post-graduate students of universities in Bihar and among soldiers of the Nepalese regiment. This range of blood pressure was exceeded only by villagers over 80 years of age. In Nepal the highest blood pressure (166/101 mm Hg) was encountered among the well-to-do and easy going Ranas.). The lowest blood pressure was recorded in the Tamangs, Lamas and Bhotias (104\56 mm Hg average). People with system blood pressure above 140 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure above 90 mm Hg constituted only 20% of the total healthy population in Bihar and about 30% of the total healthy population of Nepal. It was felt that worry was one of the major factors behind hypertension. Age, sex, body build, diet, tobacco and climate are relatively less important. It was also apparent that problem of blood pressure in society must be tackled quite early and that one should start working with teenagers, In order to derive maximum benefits from yoga, it too should be inculcated by the young.
There is no ‘ideal’ anti-hypertensive drug available. They are accompanied by many kinds of drawback and contraindications, some of them quite serious and severe. Their short and long term effects are unpredictable and their ‘toxicity’ may create iatrogenic illnesses rather than alleviate suffering. Worst of all may be their baneful influences on the mind and the autonomic nervous system and the enzymatic and chemical mediators. The ganglion-blockers, the sympatholytics, the enzyme inhibitors, the depressants, seem to ransack normal physiology, gripping it and chemical on it, so that it becomes cluttered, wrecked and ruined. The victim loses control of his own body mechanisms and is no longer master of himself. It is unfortunate to thus become unarmed and uncloaked, to be deprived of one’s freedom, and to be forced into a situation of such surreptitious servitude, of unmitigated dependence on drugs.
Apart from, the use of drugs there are other well-known measures which significantly lower the pressure. For example the loss of weight, low salt intake, a vegetarian diet consisting of rice and fruits, the use of garlic; and the riddance form lapping anxieties and lacerating agitations. The practice of yoga may verily be one such additional measure. It is easy to learn, universally acceptable, economical and harmless. It leaves a person in full control of mind and body while mopping up even hidden traces of stress and strain.
Hypertension is one of many psychosomatic diseases which can be treated through a combination of yoga ad traditional medicine. This disease is a symbol of other maladies from which mankind currently suffers and which cause seemingly endless suffering. The root cause of all disease is the same: ignorance of our true nature and lack of awareness of who we really are.
This book will help you gain a better understanding of your physical, pranic, mental, psychic and spiritual bodies. Once you understand these you will begin to kindle the flames of peace and good health. You will gain the strength to prevent disease from forming.
This manual grew from the smaller Yogic Management of High Blood Pressure, as a result of the demand for an alternative to the methods available for cure of high blood pressure. It is intended to bridge the various healing systems and to show people that there is a cure for high blood pressure (hypertension), and a way to break the vicious cycle of disease, no matter what it has been given.
Thanks must go to Dr Swami Vivekananda MBBS, MANZCP, DPM, for critical editing, and Dr Shreenivas MD, Director of the Yoga Research Institute, Patna, India, whose guidance and experimental work were most helpful.
Our body-mind complex is a marvel of creation both intricate out new and subtle in design. Man, who inhabits it, is finding out new and astounding facts about his inner workings, facts which are helping to open up his awareness, understanding and knowledge of himself. This knowledge is leading him out of the mire of disease and suffering to a state of better health and longevity.
Why is this apparent marvel of creation so prone to illnesses such as high blood pressure? What is the ultimate cause of disease? These are questions which modern science, despite its great technological advance, is still unable to answer. Yoga, however, can give an insight into these problems helping us to reach our own conclusion through meditative experience of the higher reaches of awareness.
The science of yoga offers a theoretical construct for the working of body and mind and their malfunction in disease, as well as the practices to correct imbalance and help us gain better health and realization. Yoga provides a path to the cure of high blood pressure but it is you, the seeker of health, who must tread it. With increased knowledge of the body, its energy system, the mind, the soul, and their interrelationships, we can learn to live more harmonious, better integrated lives, and health is a natural consequence of this.
To be health, mentally and physically, one must know the body-mind complex, its needs and requirements, just as a car requires a good driver as well as servicing, Oiling, petrol, grease, tyre adjustment and so on. People are sick because they do not know their do not know their bodies and minds, what they need and how to keep them properly. Yoga is designed to help us maintain this body-mind vehicle in top running condition for as long as possible so that life can be joyful, free and fulfilling.
Yoga offers a sublime philosophy and a practical means to realize it, and doctor are now finding within the broad scope of yogic philosophy many solution to existing dilemmas facing both doctor and patient. Modern medicine has discovered the jewel of yoga and is combining methods of yoga with medical treatment. The courtship of medicine and yoga is complete; now each will have to realize the other’s greatness.
Yoga is union, and in terms of healing, yoga implies the coming together of all systems and pathies; allopathy, homeopathy, chiropractic, ayurveda, polypathy, and so on. The doctor or healer should have all these systems at his disposal, selecting the relevant points from each, and distilling form this mixture the pure essence, the renowned philosopher’s stone. Yoga is, therefore, a matrix, or framework on which to unravel the old and weave the new, building up a more idea system to cope with the problems of our modern world, of which hypertension is only one.
Through the combination of medicine and yoga, both doctor and patient can come to a better understanding of the disease involved in hypertension and so learn from experience, growing and maturing within. Is this way we become not only physically healthy, but gain a dynamic personality, mental and emotional stability, and deeper wisdom and insight. This is real healing which fulfils the function of the doctor (from the Latin docere, ‘to teach’) and lifts the patient onto the higher spheres, towards union with higher consciousness.
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