“The regular practice of Chakrasana awakens The Sushumna naadi”
– Guru Rajeshji
“The preparation for Tantra sadhana requires regular practice of yoga asanas.”
– Guru Rajeshji
“Akashi Mudra leads to Mahashunya Samadhi State”
Guru Rajeshji by the banks of the Mandakini river in the Himalayas.
MANAGING HEADACHE THROUGH YOGA
A headache is a symptom and not the disease.
Yoga views a headache as a result of malfunctioning of pranic flow in the body, imbalance in Ida and Pingala Nadis, excessive toxins or pitta and stress. The cause for any of these could be a bad lifestyle, bad diet, everyday tensions, alcohol, tobacco etc. Therefore, yoga tackles the problem of a headache in a holistic way. If a headache is treated with a pill, it will only remove the symptom but the reason which caused a headache will continue. For example, tension, bad diet, and resulting constipation will flood the system with toxins which may manifest itself through a headache. Unless the stress and constipation problems are resolved, the headache will recur once the effect of the medicine is gone.
Therefore, a balanced package of asanas (for healthy functioning of organs), pranayama (for cleansing the nadis and prana flow), shatkarmas (to remove toxins), yog nidra (to handle stress and tension), Gayatri mantra (for calming mind and body and infusing it with divine the elemental forces).
There are various energies within the body like nervous energy, heat, which are forms of prana. Through their intuitive skills, the yogis knew the pathways of flow of this prana within the body. The flow of prana within the body is affected because of shallow, bad breathing among many other factors. This, in turn, may be due to stress, anxiety, bad food, etc. These result in diseases and one of its various manifestations maybe a headache. Among the main panch prana in the body, one is Udana Vayu which flows from throat pit to head. When there is malfunctioning of this, then it results in a headache.
Similarly, if the Ida and Pingala Nadis are in an imbalanced state, prana will not flow smoothly through the Sushumna which is the most important Nadi in the body. As mentioned in some earlier topics in this column, the ida nadi (para-sympathetic nervous system), starts from the left side of the perineum and is associated with the left nostril. The Pingala nadi (sympathetic nervous system) starts on the right of the perineum, is associated with the right side nostril. When there is a balance between ida and Pingala, then the Sushumna (central nervous system) is active and prana flows through it in a balanced state. Swami Satyananda says in his book on “Yoga and Kriya”, “Each one of us fluctuates between periods of mental and physical activities.
Generally because of the type of work that each of us does we tend to either do too much mental work or too much physical work. We are either too much introverted or too extroverted. There are times when we attempt mental work yet find it more difficult than usual. We generally force ourselves and end up with a headache or in a bad mood.” Pranayama brings about a healthy balance between the two nadis and also clears the pathways of pranic flow in the body.
Jal neti and kunjal kriya are also beneficial in eliminating headache problem from your life. They remove all toxins from the body. It has often been the experience of people who go through kunjal kriya or shankkprakshalan, that they find their skin is glowing, eyes sparkling, and feel the lightness of body and mind. Presence of toxins in the body dulls complexion, makes one lethargic and interferes with clear, efficient function of the mind and headache is one of the resultant maladies.
Chanting of a mantra may seem to some who have not actually practiced it and experienced its benefits as a whole lot of hogwash. But the world is now humbly accepting the value and benefits of mantras irrespective of religious affiliations. Gayatri mantra is one such mantra which can be recited by anyone with immense benefit even if one does not know its meaning and significance. The sound patterns of the mantra stimulate certain effect on the mental and psychic nature of an individual.
2. Parvat asana
3. Triyak bhujansana
5.Triyak Tada asana
7. Surya namaskar (slow motion)
8. Pranayama: a) Kapalbhati
b) Anulom vilom
Kapalbhati: Kapal means forehead or frontal lobe of the brain and bhati means bellows. The lungs are the bellows which suck air in and out of the body. This brings purification of the frontal lobe and is beneficial for headache problems.
How to practice Kapalbhati:
Sit in any comfortable asana or sitting position.
Keep back straight, relax and gently close your eyes.
In this asana, inhalation is done passively by just expanding the abdominal muscles. Exhalation is forceful with contraction of the stomach muscles.
Repeat as many times as can be comfortably done. Do not overdo or strain yourself.
Anulom Vilom: Sit in vajrasan, sukha asana or a comfortable position. Care should, however, be taken that the back is straight.
Close your right nostril with the right-hand thumb. With a complete breath, awareness breathes through the left nostril. Do it for 7 to 10 rounds depending on the time at hand. Each inhalation and exhalation constitutes one round.
Then close the left nostril with your index finger and breathe with awareness through your right nostril. Do an equal number of rounds as done for the left nostril.
Bhramari pranayama: Bhramari means a bee, and the practice is so called because a sound is made which is like the humming of a bee. The practice harmonizes the mind and turns the awareness inwards.
Sit in a comfortable position or vajra asana or Padma asana. Plug your ears firmly with your finger. Keep your back straight and unclench your teeth and keep your mouth closed throughout the practice. This is so that you hear the vibration distinctly and clearly when you do what is described below.
Breathe slowly and deeply and while exhaling slowly, make the humming sound continuously without a break during the entire exhalation. You can feel the humming vibrations in your head. At the end of the exhalation stop the humming and breathe in deeply.
Repeat it at least three to seven times.
A daily package of these practices will not only eliminate chronic or stray headache problems but may also take care of other headaches of life in general.