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Yogacharya Dr. ANANDA BALAYOGI BHAVANANI's presentation during the Plenary Session of the 6th InSPA International Conference and 3rd International Conference of the Department of Applied Psychology of Pondicherry University on 15 Oct 2016.

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  1. 1. MENTAL HEALTH & WELLBEING THROUGH YOGA Yogacharya Dr. ANANDA BALAYOGI BHAVANANI MBBS, ADY, DSM, DPC, PGDFH, PGDY, MD (Alt Med), FIAY, C-IAYT Deputy Director Centre for Yoga Education, Therapy and Research (CYTER), Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry. www. sbvu.ac.in
  2. 2. SBV AIM HIGH’sSBV AIM HIGH’s Centre for Yoga Therapy, EducationCentre for Yoga Therapy, Education and Researchand Research ((CYTERCYTER)) Salutogenesis, our focusSalutogenesis, our focus!!
  3. 3. We humans are the same…………… Searching for health, happiness and peace elsewhere; while they all lie within us.
  4. 4. Kaniyan Poongundran, Purananuru – 192 , Neither ill nor good comes from others, Troubles and their solutions both arise from within
  5. 5. What is health? “samadoshah samaagnishcha samadhaatu malakriyah prasanna atmendriyamanah swasthityabhidheeyate” •Health is a dynamic balance of the elements and humors, normal metabolic activity and efficient elimination coupled with a tranquil mind, senses and contented self. –SushrutaSamhita, Sutrasthanam, 15:41
  6. 6. Srimad Bhagavad Gita- VI: 5-6 • Lift yourself by your own self (efforts). Don’t lower your self (due to the lack of such effort). • When you understand your self, you truly become your own best friend. • As long as you haven't understood your own self, you remain your own worst enemy. • Yoga may be said to be the journey of the self, to the SELF, through the self.
  7. 7. YUKTA , THE GOLDEN MEAN - the central theme of Yoga-
  8. 8. YUKTA , THE GOLDEN MEAN - the central theme of Yoga- • Samatvam: Homeostasis, equanimity, harmony, balance • Inner stability, even as cyclones may rage on externally. • Qualities of mentally healthy person (stitha prajna) enumerated in Bhagavad Gita – Beyond passion, fear and anger – devoid of possessiveness and egoism – firm in understanding and un-bewildered – engaged in doing good for all creatures – friendly and compassionate to all – pure hearted and skilful without expectation
  9. 9. Bridging the experiential wisdom of Yoga with empirical modern medical science. • Yoga is usually found in Physical Education & Sports deptts of universities • We at the Centre for Yoga Therapy, Education and Research, have it in a medical institution since 2010 – educating future Yoga therapists (PGDYT, M.Phil, PhD), – scientifically researching Yoga, – quality of life enhancing benefits for ~ 26000 patients – creating awareness amongst medical professionals – 53 publications & 4 CMEs
  10. 10. YOGIC CONCEPT OF MIND There are four Anthahkarana (inner instruments): – Manas – the thinking part : Mind – Chitta – the storing part : Memory – Buddhi – the deciding part : Intellect – Ahamkaara – the controlling part : Ego - Respect the brain – it is Divine. - Don’t turn your brain into a trash-basket. - Defragment / re-format now and then!
  11. 11. “Neurons that fire together, wire together” • Yoga emphasizes abhyasa, the regularity, rhythm and repetition in one’s dedicated practice. • When we mindfully and consciously perform techniques of Yoga repeatedly, we create neural pathways that get stronger & stronger with time. • “You lose that which you don’t use” was a familiar statement made by Dr. Swami Gitananda Giri, the visionary codifier of the Rishiculture Ashtanga Yoga tradition in Pondicherry.
  12. 12. MechanismsofYoga MechanismsofYoga
  13. 13. Super Brain Yoga ? • A series of recent studies published in Science and the Journal of Neuroscience have shown that exercise can stimulate generation of new brain cells—and that the cells can migrate from one area of brain to another. • “This is evidence that you can move beyond molding and shaping the mind: You can literally create a new brain,” -Dr Satbir Khalsa of Harvard, USA. • He even goes to the extent of saying “It’s beyond neuroplasticity. It’s neurogenesis.”
  14. 14. Where the mind goes, there the energy flows! You can use your mind to change your brain to change your mind for the better. This is self-directed neuroplasticity.
  15. 15. Inhale through nose as you come up Exhale through mouth as you sit down Repackaging ancient wisdom!
  16. 16. How does Yoga help mental health ? 1. Deepening sense of perception 2. Enhancing mental alertness and focus 3. Reducing unnecessary distractions 4. Improving attention span 5. Awakening latent areas 6. Balancing hemispheric activity 7. Facilitating healthy neuroplasticity 8. Associative understanding of interconnectivity 9. Enhancing the inner sense of ease and well being
  17. 17. Choose carefully what you think about! • Attention is like a spotlight, illuminating what it rests upon. • Like a vacuum cleaner, it draws ideas into the field of focused awareness thus utilizing areas of the brain- enabling neuroplasticity. • Directing attention skillfully - the essence of mindfulness - is therefore a fundamental way to shape the brain, and one’s life over time.
  18. 18. Yoga benefits….. • There have been many reports on improvements in – sense of well-being and relaxation, – quality of interpersonal relationships, – improved concentration and efficiency, – self-confidence and attentiveness, – lowered irritability levels and – a more optimistic outlook on life. • Yoga reduces basal anxiety levels and attenuates anxiety scores in stressful states with better adaptability towards environmental and internal stressors.
  19. 19. • Pranayamas such as mukha bhastrika, chandra nadi, surya nadi, nadi shuddi and bhramari have been studied. (Manjunath 2004, Bhavanani 2003, Bhavanani 2012, Ramanathan 2014, Rajesh 2014) • Modulation of HPA axis, reduction in allostatic load and normalization of parasympathetic nervous system and GABA underactivity. (Streeter 2007,2010) • We change our very physiology, our genetic expression, our hormones, and neurotransmitters thus creating a solid and sound foundation for peacefulness and clarity to manifest. Focused and calm mind is less susceptible to distractions, negative influences and omnipresent confusion.
  20. 20. Uninostril / alternate nostril pranayamas Suryanadi asana Chandranadi asana
  21. 21. Perspective is All
  22. 22. Rig Veda “Let noble thoughts come to us from everywhere.”
  23. 23. • What perspective do you choose in life? • Why do you choose it? • How do you choose it? • Are you open to others perspectives?
  24. 24. Some Yogic tools for mental health and wellbeing-1 Tools to induce psycho-physical harmony: • Asana-s (static postures), kriya-s (systematic and rationale movements), mudra-s (seals of neuromuscular energy) and bandha-s (locks for neuromuscular energy) gently stretch and strengthen the musculoskeletal system in a healthy manner. • improve mobility and flexibility of joints and muscle groups • concomitant improvement in respiration, circulation, metabolism, digestion and elimination. • general sense of health and well being is also promoted by these aspects of Yoga that help release feel good hormones like endorphins and encephalins
  25. 25. Some Yogic tools for mental health and wellbeing-2 Tools to balance emotional volatility: • Swadhyaya (introspectional self analysis), pranayama (breathing techniques for control of vital energy), pratyahara (sensory withdrawal), dharana (intense concentration), dhyana (meditational oneness) and bhajana (devotional music) stabilize emotional turmoil and relieve stress and mental fatigue. • Bring about an excellent sense of emotional balance that is vital for good health. • Group work also enables achievement of emotional balance essential for good health.
  26. 26. Some Yogic tools for mental health and wellbeing-3 Development of appropriate psychological attitudes: • Meta-cognitive, objective view of our habitual patterns of behaviour and thoughts. • Patanjali emphasizes abhyasa (relentless positive self effort) and vairagya (dispassionate attitude) along with ishwara pranidhana (acceptance and humility of the universal plan). • Change in our inner perspective through pratipaksha bhavanam (adoption of contrary attitudes to negativities). • Clarity of mind (chitta prasadanam) through adoption of maitri (friendliness towards those who are at peace), karuna (compassion for suffering), mudita (cheerfulness towards virtuous) and upekshanam (indifference /avoidance of the evil)
  27. 27. Some Yogic tools for mental health and wellbeing-4 Contemplation, relaxation and meditation: • There are a great many Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga techniques of relaxation and visualization that are useful • trataka (concentrated gaze), pranayama, pratyahara, dharana as well as dhyana may also be utilized. • Relaxation is a central element in Yoga as it is the body’s own way of recharging its cells and helps to ease physical, emotional and mental tensions. • We can facilitate our own healing when we are relaxed. • We retard our inherent healing mechanisms when we are tense and uptight. • Choice is ours to make!
  28. 28. Some Yogic tools for mental health and wellbeing-5 Enhancing spiritual awareness: • Consciously evolve out of our lower, sub-human nature, into elevated human, humane and divine nature • Swadhyaya, satsanga (spiritual gathering), bhajana sessions and Yogic counselling are vital. • “Oneness” is health whereas “Duality” is disease. • Spirituality is personal connection with our own inner being. • Strengthened through conscious introspection and self inquiry. • When we begin to understand the oneness manifest through all forms of life, we manifest gratitude, respect and love. • A life of selfless service (nishkama seva) enables us to radiate joy, love and wellbeing (tejasvi).
  29. 29. Some Yogic tools for mental health and wellbeing-6 Relieving suffering and pain: • "dukkhasamyogaviyogam yoga samjnitham", the conscious disassociation from union with suffering- Bh Gita (VI:23) • Yoga improves pain tolerance and quality of life. • Helps endure conditions that it may not be able to cure. • vital in end life situations where it is important that the patient has a sense of improved quality of life during their final days and moments on earth. • Yoga can also benefit caretakers of such terminal patients who are under great stress themselves as it enables them to realise that we fulfil ourselves best as human beings when we help others.
  30. 30. Whooshing tensions away-nasarga mukha bhastrika
  31. 31. Tension relaxation coupling: Spanda nishpanda
  32. 32. Healing the neck-Brahma Mudra
  33. 33. Chakra MeditationChakra dhyanaChakra dhyana Inhale Exhale
  34. 34. In conclusion • Yoga helps cultivate appropriate attitude towards life • "To have the will (iccha shakti) to change (kriya shakti) that which can be changed, the strength to accept that which cannot he changed, and the wisdom (jnana shakti) to know the difference" is the attitude that needs to the cultivated. • An attitude of letting go of the worries, the problems and a greater understanding of our mental process helps to create a harmony in our body, and mind whose disharmony is the main cause of 'aadi – vyadhi’ or psychosomatic disorders.
  35. 35. • “Health and happiness are your birthright, claim them and develop them to your maximum potential” • This message of Swamiji Gitananda Giri Guru Maharaj is a firm reminder that the goal of human existence is not health and happiness but is moksha (liberation). • Most people today are so busy trying to find health and happiness that they forget why they are here in the first place. • Yoga is the best way for us to regain our birthright and attain the goal of our human existence.
  36. 36. Accredited with ‘AA’ grade by NAAC