The Tribune - Spectrum

ART & LITERATURE
'ART AND SOUL
BOOKS
MUSINGS
TIME OFF
YOUR OPTION
ENTERTAINMENT
BOLLYWOOD BHELPURI
TELEVISION
WIDE ANGLE
FITNESS
GARDEN LIFE
NATURE
SUGAR 'N' SPICE
CONSUMER ALERT
TRAVEL
INTERACTIVE FEATURES
CAPTION CONTEST
FEEDBACK

Sunday, December 22, 2002
Books

Yoga as a new-age exercise to combat stress
Priyanka Singh

Yoga and Health
by Swami Adhyatmananda. Gurjar Grantha Ratna karvalaya.
Pages 280. Rs 100

 Yoga and Health YOGA has always intrigued the West, only this time the with-it high profile fitness freaks have their own gurus and are patronising yoga centres that have sprung up. Yoga is being sold as a mantra that can alleviate suffering and achieve "balance" so vital to combat stress. In the country of its origin, it is being looked at with renewed interest and is emerging as a dynamic new-age exercise. Most upmarket health clubs have enlisted the services of yoga experts.

Yoga and Health deals with the therapeutic aspects of yoga. Swami Adhyatmananda has held yoga camps at several universities, the Indian Military Academy and Lal Bahadur shastri National Academy of Administration, as also across various countries. He has been propagating yoga and teaching the Bhagavadgita for over 25 years. Besides this, he has also written a series of articles on yoga and health which have been compiled in book form to benefit those suffering from chronic illnesses.

Though the book makes for an interesting read and is illuminating in that it seeks to initiate novices into yoga by way of step-by-step asana techniques, swami Adhyatmananda cautions that the asanas must be done in the presence of a yoga instructor else they could cause much damageóDekha-dekhi sadhey yog, ghate kaaya, badhey rog. The damage, however, is not irreversible and can be corrected.

 


There is an entire section which lists doís and doníts that must be strictly adhered to before doing any of the asanas.

There are a total of 56 asanas that cover asthma, hypertension, menopause, obesity, epilepsy, thyroid, anaemia, osteoporosis, varicose veins, addiction, hyperacidity, backache and a couple of other disorders. The approach is scientific. Swami Adhyatmananda talks of the basic causes, their affect on the system, precautions, dietary regimen and specific asanas which are likely to benefit the health conscious.

The book is informative and does stoke oneís interest but its major limitation lies in the fact that a lay reader might find it difficult to practise the asanas. There are umpteen pictures that show how the exercises ought to be done but unless one has been practising yoga or has had some kind of related preliminary training, standing on ones head without support or raising the abdomen to make a "D" is not going to come effortlessly.