Yoga & Naturopathy
Yoga aims at preventing the disease and promoting health by reconditioning the psycho-physiological mechanism of the individual along with curing the problems. The physician or the physical therapist who wishes to prescribe quite, relaxing and yet effective methods of exercise is often attracted to the simplicity and calming effects of Yogic practices and Naturopathic techniques.
The concepts and practices of Yoga originated in India about several thousand years ago. Its founders were great Saints and Sages. The great Yogis presented rational interpretation of their experiences of Yoga and brought about a practical and scientifically sound method within every one’s reach. Yoga today, is no longer restricted to hermits, saints, and sages; it has entered into our everyday lives and has aroused a worldwide awakening and acceptance in the last few decades. The science of Yoga and its techniques have now been reoriented to suit modern sociological needs and lifestyles. Experts of various branches of medicine including modern medical sciences are realizing the role of these techniques in the prevention and mitigation of diseases and promotion of health.
Yoga is one of the six systems of Vedic philosophy. Maharishi Patanjali, rightly called “The Father of Yoga” compiled and refined various aspects of Yoga systematically in his “Yoga Sutras” (aphorisms). He advocated the eight folds path of Yoga, popularly known as “Ashtanga Yoga” for all-round development of human beings. They are:- Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. These components advocate certain restraints and observances, physical discipline, breath regulations, restraining the sense organs, contemplation, meditation and samadhi. These steps are believed to have a potential for improvement of physical health by enhancing circulation of oxygenated blood in the body, retraining the sense organs thereby inducing tranquility and serenity of mind. The practice of Yoga prevents psychosomatic disorders and improves an individual’s resistance and ability to endure stressful situations.
Naturopathy is an art and science of healthy living and a drugless system of healing based on well founded philosophy. It has its own concept of health and disease and also principle of treatment. Naturopathy is a very old science. We can find a number of references in our Vedas and other ancient texts. The morbid matter theory, concept of vital force and other concepts upon which Naturopathy is based are already available in old texts. The revival of Naturopathy started in India by translation of Germany’s Louis Kuhne’s book “New Science of Healing”. Shri D. Venkat Chelapati Sharma translated this book in Telgu language in 1894. Shri Shroti Kishan Swaroop of Bijnor translated this book into Hindi and Urdu languages in 1904. All this gave a wide propagation to this system.
Gandhiji was influenced by the book Return to Nature written by Adolf Just and become a firm believer of Naturopathy. He not only wrote several articles in favour of Naturopathy in his newspaper Harijan but did its several experiments on himself too, on his family members and members of his Ashram. It may be noted here that Gandhiji used to stay at the Nature Cure Clinic of Dr. Dinshaw Mehta situated in Pune during 1934 to 1944. In his memory, the Government of India established National Institute of Naturopathy in 1986 at that place. Gandhiji included Naturopathy in his constructive programmes. Due to influence of Gandhiji, several National leaders joined this minority health movement. The names of Ex-Prime Minister Shri Morarji Desai, Ex-Governor of Gujarat Shri Shrimannarayanji, Ex-President Shri V.V.Giri, Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Shri Balkova Bhave need special mention in this regard.