Decades of malnutrition and the use of intoxicants like tobacco and alcohol may have left deposits of plaque in blood vessels (arteriosclerosis, coronary heart disease), reducing the blood circulation, increasing the blood pressure. Sediments of various kinds affect the joints and will result in discomfort, pain and reduced flexibility. Accidents and injuries may increase.
The following diseases occur frequently with age:
- Hypertension, heart insufficiency, heart attack, stroke;
- Arthritis, arthrosis, rheumatism;
- Stiffness, weakness of joints and limbs;
- Back problems;
- Reduced performance of inner organs, constipation;
- Diabetes mellitus;
- Respiratory problems;
- Eye- and ear problems and other.
- A lack of concentration;
- Insufficient memory;
- Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease;
- Depression, neurosis and others may occur.
Practising the yogic system purifies the body, improves health, strengthens the mind, intensifies spiritual growth, balances emotions and thus leads to a fulfilled and healthy life. [...]
Hatha yoga offers a wide range of postures with different degree of difficulties. There is something suitable for everyone at every age. Depending on one’s health and fitness one can start with very easy preparatory exercises and progress little by little. If practised in the right way, positive effects will occur almost immediately at any level of practice.
With continued practice the body will become more flexible and healthy. The training of the body, the breathing exercises and the practice of meditation will have very positive effects on the mind as well. It will become more quiet and calm by turning inward, the willpower will increase, unrest and anxieties will lessen, concentration will develop and become powerful, a spiritual growth will take place and in due course will lead to more and genuine happiness. This happiness is achieved by turning the mind away from chasing external sense pleasures and looking inside instead.
The practice of yoga cannot avoid death, but living life in a healthy body with a sound, free and content mind can be extended; death no longer is something one has to be afraid of. A trained body is less prone to injuries, and even if weakness, sickness, and pain of the body cannot always be avoided, the spiritual development will help to deal with them more wisely with less suffering for the mind.
These are some of the methods and resulting benefits yoga practices may have on the aging process of mankind.
The key principles of the integrated approach in yoga therapy are:
- Deep relaxation;
- Increasing the stamina and forbearance;
- Awaken and strengthen internal awareness.
On the other hand it has proven that certain basic treatments will usually have positive effects on a range of different ailments. [...]
The choice of the asana is very much depending on the severity of the ailment. A collection of easy to learn and to do exercises with different degrees of difficulty can be found in my book Enjoy Hatha–Yoga
Yoga asanas will vitalize the whole body, keeping or making it flexible and promote the blood circulation. Together with the deep relaxation it relaxes body and mind, nerves and muscles. Tiredness and fatigue will be released. [...]
Another important aspect in the application of yoga therapy is the field of rehabilitation, eg, the rehabilitation of stroke patients or after accidents. In these cases an often long and intensive treatment is necessary. These patients very often will suffer of a lack of confidence in the possibilities to lessen their deficits or restoring their health. They get discouraged, sometimes depressive. An integrated approach which takes care of the bodily as well as of their mental, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs is most essential.
An important factor for man’s health is his diet. Many bodily and mental disorders are due to malnutrition and the use of intoxicants.
Dedicated yogis will stick to sattvic food (freshly cooked vegetarian food, if possible organic, fresh organic vegetables,
fruits, legumes, dairy, whole grain products, seeds and nuts, mild spices, no black or red pepper, no garlic, no leftovers) only, but people living in the world may fare already better when adopting a diet with little animal fat and meat, little salt, much fresh vegetables, fruits and grains to ensure a well-balanced supply of vitamins and minerals.
Very important is not only what one eats but how one eats. One should neither eat in a hurry nor eat very big meals. Several small meals distributed over the entire day and slow and mindful eating is required. The ancient yogic rule “Eat the fluids (do not gulp them down) and drink the solids (chew them thoroughly and carefully)” should be applied. A well balanced diet is of enormous value in the prevention of ailments.
What is spirituality?
Spirituality could be described as a turning away from the "outer" world perceived through the sense doors and as a move towards the "inner" world, as an inward journey in search for man’s true nature, as a search for truth which may lead to lasting happiness instead of chasing impermanent pleasures.
What makes man searching for true happiness?
Humans tend to looking outside, to the outer world, to the environment, seeking happiness in the outside world by means of the sense organs. Chasing after sensual pleasure by running after delicious food, hearing alluring sounds, smelling fragrant odours, enjoying exciting body contacts, watching beautiful sights is all around. All of this may result in some kind of happiness, may be more accurate to say pleasure, for some time but then it will fade away, leaving us craving for another sense pleasure or for a repetition of
Right: Sculpture at Wat Poh, Bangkokthe already experienced ones – chasing happiness endlessly.
One needs not to grow very old to understand these impermanent, ever changing processes intellectually. But to recognize this vicious circle of craving – struggling for satisfaction – fading away of the satisfaction – renewed craving merely intellectually will not help much and so we spend year after year, decade after decade in running after sense pleasures, in running after disappointment. [...]
The methods of yoga and meditation can help us to avoid many traps and to advance more quickly on the spiritual path. It has already proven to be successful in aiding and guiding spiritual seekers to the final goal. [...]
Man sticking to the path of yoga and meditation will know that true happiness is not to be found anywhere outside but inside them. They will strengthen and purify body and mind; they will balance their emotions and grow spiritually, thus becoming contented, peaceful and calm. Of course they cannot escape decay and death, but they can delay it and lead a fulfilled life.
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