The Science Of Hatha Yoga
   Date :21-Apr-2024

The Science Of Hatha Yoga
A mong different types of Yoga, HathaYoga is a prominent one. The word Hatha consists of two letters- H and Th. The letter H indicates the solar energy channel of the body and Th is indicative of the lunar energy channel. According to the HathaYogic concept, there are seventy two thousand Nadis or energy channels in the human body. Out of them three Nadis or energy channels are prominent- Ida or lunar, Pingala or solar and Sushumna or harmonious state when both lunar and solar channels are synchronised. When we study modern human anatomy and physiology, we find that there are cooling and heating systems in the human body. Broadly speaking, the parasympathetic nervous system is the cooling system of the body. It is responsible for rest, digestion and relaxation.
On the other hand,the sympathetic nervous system is the heating mechanism of the body. It keeps the body in fight or flight mode. When both the systems work in perfect harmony, the body is in a state of homeostasis. Faulty functioning of these two systems causes psychosomatic diseases. If the parasympathetic nervous system is overactive, it causes depression. On the contrary, overactivation of the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for stress and restlessness. Ancient seers of Yoga had propounded thatabalanced state of lunar and solar channels of the body is sine qua non for physical and mental health. Going one step further they have found that our breathing mechanism controls these energy channels in a very effective way.
The science of breath is called Swara Yoga in the Indian tradition. According to the postulates of Swara Yoga the dominance of left and right nostrils keeps on changing every 90 to 130 minutes. If this cycle is disturbed, it leads to numerous diseases. Hence, Pranayama or breathing exercise is prescribed to keep both the channels in harmony. Anuloma and Viloma Pranayama or breathing technique is the best way to balance and harmonise the cooling and heating systems of the body. Hatha and Swara Yoga suggest different types of Pranayamas or breathing exercises to correct different types of ailments. If the mood is very low and one is feeling depressed, the solar channel of the body needs to be activated. In this process, the left nostril is closed and inhalation and exhalation are done through the right nostril. By doing so heat is generated into the body and one becomes active.
On the other hand left nostril breathing is practised to activate the lunar channel of the body to calm it down. It seems that dominant right nostril breathing is associated with the sympathetic nervous system, while left nostril dominance is related to the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Breath is called Prana or moving energy in Yoga. By manipulating breath , the mind is controlled and different vital functions of the body can be impacted in a positive way. Slow, rhythmic, balanced and smooth breath is the sigh of a healthy person. It is the observance of medical science also that onset of any disease first disturbes the breathing patterns of the concerned.

(The writer is Former DG Police & CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra) ■