Yoga and stress management

A. Madalai Muthu
PJP College of Education, Pondicherry

Yoga refers to union between body and mind or body, mind and spirit. The traditional connotation of yoga is union between the Jivatman and Paramatman, that is between one's individual consciousness and the Universal Consciousness. Therefore Yoga refers to a certain state of consciousness as well as to methods that help one reach that goal or state of union with the divine. Swami Vishnu-devananda summarized the vast science of Yoga in terms of 5 principles of Yoga. These are: proper exercise; proper breathing; proper relaxation; proper diet; and positive thinking and meditation. The various yogic practices have been traditionally classified into the four margas (paths). These four paths are: Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga. The sensitive mind of modern man is putting demands on the physical system to cope with work pressure. Unable to meet the challenge, the physical system is collapsing. Problems of hypersensitivity and stress arise. In both hyperactive and hypo-active phases, there is an imbalance. In both, work load creates tensions. Mind is both hypoactive and hyperactive in nature, but in different proportions. The solution lies in the two-fold process of sadhana: using the combined principle of stimulation-relaxation. A module has been developed based on this principle. The idea is that successive stimulations and relaxations one after the other help to release stresses by acting at the deeper levels. The present paper outlines this in detail.

This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002