The value of Yoga and Nature-Cure techniques to deal with the health problems of the modern age is now widely recognized by therapists as well as patients. Thus, a need has arisen to bring out in clear terms the significance, scope and utility of both these disciplines. This is what this book aims to do. The principles of Yoga therapy and Nature Cure have been explained in a critical, scientific manner. Details have been provided for treatment of disorders amenable to these twin disciplines. Methods of application of Nature-Cure techniques are spelled out to enable the readers to follow them.
The value of yoga and nature-cure techniques for maintaining and preserving health is now recognised not only by therapists but also by patients.
Yoga keeps the body healthy and the mind alert. It has a relaxing effect on the practitioner, and in combination with nature cure, it can become the ideal healing method.
This book shows how health can be maintained and improved through yoga and how diseases can be cured through natural methods.
K.S. Joshi, M.Sc. (Horticulture), M.A., Ph.D. (Philosophy) has conducted seminars and workshops on Yoga and Yoga therapy in India and abroad.
Yoga today is a subject of worldwide interest. This is, indeed, a wholly new and remarkable phenomenon in the long history of Yoga. Until only a few years ago, Yoga used to have a very limited appeal. It had little meaning for the common man busy in the routine of daily life. Those who understood it were very few, and fewer still practised it. It was a pursuit reserved for the chosen ones. They were usually men of not this world. Their main interest was in the world hereafter. In order to study Yoga, one had to renounce the world of achievement, desire, and enjoyment. Yoga was taught and practised in remote places called ashrams under the direct supervision of a guru.
We find lucid descriptions of ashrama life, its atmosphere and surroundings, in the writings of ancient times. Kalidasa (who lived probably before Christ), Shankaracharya (7th century), Jnyaneshwara (12th century), and Swatmarama, the author of the renowned Hathayogapradipika (16th century), have depicted how Yoga was practised in the ashrams in an atmosphere of peace and serenity.
This view of Yoga practice has recently undergone vast changes. Yoga is no more regarded as a discipline to be followed only by those who have set 'emancipation' as the highest goal of their life. It is now very much a thing which interests the man in the street. The factory worker, the office-goer, the housewife, the business executive, and the student and tile teacher, have all alike found Yoga to be useful in their daily life. Renunciation is no longer a pre-condition to the study of Yoga. Yoga has come out of its secret 'hiding place'. It has crossed the boundaries of its land of origin, and hall spread to practically every nation of the world. The popularity of Yoga has not been hindered by the diversity of religious beliefs, languages, or geographic conditions.
One often wonders as to how such a sudden and widespread revival of interest in the age-old practices of Yoga has come about. The reason for the growing universal interest in Yoga in our day is twofold. The popular and conventional means of solving human problems having been found to-be increasingly inadequate, the need for a new approach is being felt more and more. Secondly, the awareness that Yoga provides answers to some of our immediate and distant problems better than anything else is increasing.
The fact is that we are today faced with a situation that is wholly new, and with certain problems which were never felt so acutely in the past. And Yoga, it is being realised, can be of great utility in these changed circumstances. That is why Yoga, which had remained obscure and little known for centuries, has all of a sudden come into limelight. It would be interesting to see how this new change came about.
In the pre-scientific days man lived in a rather compact world. Religious beliefs had a profound influence on his way of life. He was far more helpless in the face of natural calamities and epidemics than we are today. With the advent of science a new factor came into existence, namely, the machine. With its use man acquired better control over the external world. His knowledge of happenings in the world around him increased rapidly, and with it his power to influence them according to his will. The steam engine, the diesel engine, the petrol engine and newer sources of power like electricity and nuclear fission increased his hold over nature.
Scientific knowledge has been progressing rapidly in all fields of life through physics, chemistry, engineering, biology, medicine, and agriculture. The variety and quality of tools and devices employed are improving at an accelerated pace, and what was unimaginable and unthinkable a few decades ago is now becoming possible.
In essence, scientific progress may be said to have given us three major boons: tremendous speed and power of movement, increased power of perception with highly sensitive instruments, and highly specialised devices to take over the work of our body parts. For example, a few generations ago a man could not travel at a speed exceeding forty or fifty miles a day, whereas today it is possible for him to go round the world in a few hours.
As regards the powers of perception, we can today view on TV a distant event at the same time of its actual happening. Similarly, a speech being delivered thousands of miles away can be heard on the radio while one is working in the field or factory, or lying down in bed. The X-ray machine, electron microscope, polygraph, and micro-filming machines are some of the instruments which have helped us to expand the range of our perception to the minutest happenings inside our bodies OJ in the external world. Scientists can now perceive things which could not even be imagined to exist in the past. Thus the frontiers of knowledge have expanded tremendously in all possible directions.
If we were to make a list of the various devices used by us in the' kitchen, in the household, and elsewhere which have taken over the jobs that our forefathers had to do with their own hands, there would be no end to it. The most striking technological aid devised to help us is the computer. With its help, tedious calculations which even a highly intelligent person will take months to make may be done in a jiffy.
But, it is doubtful whether these wonders of science have made us happier than our less knowledgeable and slow moving ancestors. Science while bringing about vast changes in our immediate external world has been able to do practically nothing to improve our inner world of desires, emotions, and conflicts.
Our inner world has remained chaotic. The balance between our inner and outer being is lost. And it is this balance which is the most crucial factor in deciding whether or not one can have happiness in life. Happy everyone of us wants to be. All our thoughts and activities are, in the ultimate analysis, directed to this goal of happiness. Science definitely has contributed enormously to improving our lives by increased production of food and consumer goods, by effective control of pests and diseases, by providing better living conditions and means of transport, and by inventing new means of enjoyment. But the net result of all this has not been quite happy. That is because the growth of scientific knowledge has been one-sided. Human happiness is not merely a product of what things one handles in daily life. Our relationship with the things we use is, of course, important, but more important is our interaction with people and with ideas. And it is in this field that science has had no influence so far. The instruments which are useful in our dealing with things have been wholly revolutionised by science, but the instrument used in our relationship with people, that is to say, the instrument called the mind, remains unchanged. It needs training and improvement which science, unfortunately, cannot provide. This is one of the greatest contradictions of the present scientific age.
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