Combat stress with yoga

Besides relieving stress and improving your body's flexibility, yoga helps you manage health conditions and cope with disease

Man doing Tibetan Yoga: Five Rites

A recent survey showed that 70-90 per cent of us feel stressed at work, and outside. Today’s fast paced lifestyle is putting a severe toll on our mental health. Unless we learn to manage stress, we will get sick. Stress and tension impact our entire being; our body, mind, and spirit.

The hectic life with all its stresses makes us look for quick-fix solutions. We turn to anti-stress medicines to seek solace from the stress. But popping pills is not a healthy solution. We have turned into a chemically-dependent society, that is perpetually drugging itself to relieve stress. What we need to realise is that painkillers, anti-depressants and other substances may provide temporary respite, but only at the risk of causing long-term, sometimes irreversible, damage to our physical and mental wellbeing.

There is a safer remedy for our overmedicated, overstressed society: Yoga.

Yoga first originated in India and its benefits are now recognised the world over. The ultimate goal of yoga is to help achieve a perfectly healthy body and mind. Traditional yoga philosophy requires that its followers adhere to a disciplined life that includes changes in behaviour, a conscious diet and regular meditation. But even if you aren’t looking for a complete change in lifestyle, you can still use yoga for increased flexibility, relaxation or stress relief.

Yoga has become synonymous with stress reduction, and if practiced regularly, it is a very powerful healing and transformational tool. We can overcome the effects of stress and manage them by utilising the beneficial breathing techniques and postures that yoga provides. These techniques can not only alleviate the problems we encounter daily, but can revitalise and nourish the mind, body, and spirit over a prolonged period of time. Yoga enables us to deal with the day-to-day travails and also to have long and healthy lives.

The popularity of Yoga can be assessed from its followers who range from world renowned physicians to Hollywood superstars. Clearly, interest in yoga is surging throughout the world, and with good reason. Research proves that yoga helps manage or control many common physical and mental health problems such as anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain, blood pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, headaches, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, other conditions and diseases.

Incidentally, blood pressure, cardiac problems and depression are some of the common derivatives of stress. So when we use Yoga to combat stress, it also improves other physical and mental conditions.

So if you suffer from stress or simply want to give a new lease of life to your self, you may want to consider participating in some yoga courses available in your area. In fact focused programmes for stress related health problems are available in India and abroad.

At a glance—Benefits of Yoga

  • Physical: Through healing, strengthening, stretching and relaxing the skeletal, muscular, digestive, cardio-vascular, glandular and nervous systems.
  • Mental: Through the cultivation of a quite and a peaceful mind, alertness and concentration
  • Spiritual: Through a heightened awareness of self; helps in meditation

Tibetan Five Rites: The secret of optimal health

The well-guarded secret of long life and eternal youth of the Lamas of Tibet has been discovered. The Tibetan Lamas live for about 100 years and more but look only 40 or 45 years old. Their secret? The Lamas took hundreds of traditional Indian yogasanas to Tibet, experimented with them on their bodies, and modified some of them to identify five dynamic asanas, which they called the “Five Rites.”

The Lamas practised these Five Rites for centuries but no one knew about them until a retired and ailing British army officer, Col. Bredford, discovered them on his visit to Tibet. He lived with the Lamas in their monastery, learned and practised the Rites for two years during which time his backache and arthritis were cured within months, and he started looking and feeling many years younger. His eyesight, memory and alertness also improved.

When he returned to the West, his friend and writer, Peter Kelder wrote a book “The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth” based on the experiences of Col. Bredford.

How do the Five Rites work?

There are seven chakras or vortexes [energy centres] in our body. When we are young, these vortexes spin very fast, allowing the prana shakti or life energy, to move fast in our body. But, as we age and also due to our irregular lifestyle, these chakras slow down or get blocked, causing faster ageing and sickness.

The easiest and quickest way to regain youth, optimal health and vitality is to get the vortexes spinning fast again and to balance the chakras. This is where the Five Rites come in handy.

Razia Patel
Razia Patel is trained in Siddha Yoga and is a certified teacher of meditation. Along with her husband, she conducts Tibetan yoga workshops.

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Manoj Khatri
Manoj Khatri has spent the last two decades learning, teaching and writing about wellbeing and mindful living. He is an award-winning editor; he has contributed over 1500 articles for several newspapers and magazines including The Times of India, The Economic Times, The Statesman, Mid-Day, Bombay Times, Femina, and more. He is the author of What a thought!, a critically acclaimed best-selling book on self-transformation. Manoj runs Complete Wellbeing and believes that "peace begins with me".