Times of India – Speaking Tree
20 June 2019 New Delhi:
Yoga For Your Body, Mind And Soul
By B K Brij Mohan
The image that most readily comes to mind at the mention of the word ‘yoga’ is that of people stretching or holding their body in various postures.
Yoga is a good way to improve one’s flexibility and strength, and just about everyone can do it. Yoga is much more than physical postures or breathing techniques; it is a holistic discipline that leads to not only a healthy body, but also a strong mind and an empowered soul.
In the Bhagwad Gita, in a treatise on yoga, Krishna tells Arjuna, “Perform action being steadfast in yoga, abandoning attachment and balanced in success and failure. Evenness of mind is called yoga.”
Later on, Krishna says: “Endowed with wisdom – evenness of mind – one casts off in this life, both good and evil deeds; therefore, devote thyself to yoga; yoga is skill in action.”
If the mind and soul are stabilised, the choices one makes, and the actions one performs, will naturally be beneficial for the body.
The root of most physical ailments is deficiencies in the form of vices such as lust, anger, gluttony and laziness. Medical scientists acknowledge that more than 80 per cent of all diseases are psychosomatic, that is, they are caused or aggravated by a mental condition.
When vices exert great influence, the person’s actions and lifestyle will tend to lead to diseases. Yoga, when practised in its entirety, strengthens the very foundations of health by making the soul the master of the body and ruler of the senses.
The Gita says, “The senses are superior (to the body); superior to the senses is the mind; superior to the mind is the intellect; and superior even to the intellect is the Self.”
If the Self, the soul, is weak, physical exercise may keep the body fit, but one might not experience peace of mind or happy relationships, and diseases will slowly take root inside the body.
Yoga, including exercise, meditation and a yogic lifestyle, brings balance and harmony between soul, mind and body. This is characterised by moderation in one’s life.
“Yoga becomes the destroyer of pain for him who is always moderate in eating and recreation, who is moderate in exertion in actions, who is moderate in sleep and wakefulness,” says the Gita.
A sound body by itself does not produce a sound mind. The mind and the intellect are faculties of the soul, and just as nutritious food and regular exercise are needed to keep the body going strong, they require a diet of positive thoughts and exercise in the form of meditation to remain healthy.
The information we consume and the thoughts we create are food for the mind. As the quality of this food, so will be the state of the mind.
One cannot stop ageing and decay of the body, and one will gradually experience diminishing physical abilities, but an enlightened mind can lend great value even to a weak body.
The greatness one can achieve through yoga is best described by the Gita, where Krishna says: “The yogi is thought to be superior to the ascetics and even superior to men of knowledge; he is also superior to men of action; therefore, be thou a yogi, O Arjuna!”
B K Brij Mohan is chief spokesperson, Brahma Kumaris, Mount Abu.