YOGA IN MEDICINE BY Dr. R. Nagarathna Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research foundation, Bangalore, India.
History Yoga has its origin in Sankhya philosophy of Indian culture which is about 8000 years old. Upanishads, the essence of Vedas, Bhagavad-Gita, Patanjali's yoga sutras, Hatha pradipika, Gheranda samhita and Yoga Vasistha are common texts of yoga What is yoga? Yoga is not only physical postures. The practices like Pranayama and meditation are also included under yoga. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit verb "Yuj" (to unite) which refers to merging of individual Consciousness with universal Consciousness. Patanjali defines yoga as 'mastery over the modifications of mind-Chitta vritti nirodhah'. There are four techniques of yoga to achieve this calm state of mind. These are Jnana Yoga - the Path of self analysis, Raja Yoga - the Path of self control, Bhakti Yoga - the path of self surrender and Karma Yoga - the path of self sacrifice (Figure 1.)
There are four major areas of applications of yoga in medicine i.e. Complementary therapy, prevention, rehabilitation and promotion of positive health.
The Raja Yoga also called Asthanga Yoga has eight limbs