Yoga and Health
Swami Adhyatmananda

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Late Shree Punit Kumar, owner of Punnu panir-d­pakode used to attend Yogasana classes at Ludhiana in the Punjab Agriculture University.We know that a small rat sits by the side of Ganapati which we keep in Puja. We have never seen such a Ganapati sitting on the rat. And if such a small rat were to carry a hefty bodied Ganapati what should be the outcome? This Punitkumar used to look like that when he came to the class riding on a Vaspa Scooter. His body was having such a big circumference that after finishing his natural calls he could not reach to clean himself. Now-a-days fountains are provided on the commode; there­fore it is convenient. However in the earlier times, this was not so, hence he had kept a strong nozzle connected to a shower pipe. In those days the tailoring charges of pants used to be Rs.150/-. However Punit had to pay Rs. 1500/-as his pant resembled a tent. All this is not merely joke or a tall talk; When you come down at the Airport of Newyork, Atlanta, Denwar or Charlotte it is possible to meet a number of people who look like family members of Mr. Punit.

Sometimes when we cut a joke on such extra obese people one feels sorry for the amount of trouble they cause to themselves. At Disneyland at Orlando, Florida, you can see so many obese persons moving about!

How is this possible? One feels inclined to question. One would find no neck, under the head. Head and shoulders seem to be one because of the fat. Both black or white people of this description are in the same condition!!

It is observed that 18% of the population of the world having such obesity is found in America only 7% of such obese persons beautify America!! 


The problem of these obese persons is something more than the deficit of vitamins or minerals in human body. One gets fat or obese mainly because there is imbalance in the supply of nutritive elements. This imbalance does not just add to the fat but the body gradually becomes a store-house of diseases. As a man goes on adding to his age, he gradually goes on increasing his weight. Particularly between ages 25 and 40 years, weight increases disproportionately. This bout of increase in weight also visits a man once beyond the age of 40. We have heard being told that when a man earns money it hits a kick on the back, thereby increasing his belly and when wealth recedes it hits in his belly so that he bends from his waist. This obesity affects prosperous people to a greater extent. Main reasons for this situation are: 


1.    More consumption of fried and sweet foods.

2.    Going on eating often.

3.    Paucity of exercise (sedentary life)

4.     Imbalance of secretion of thyroid, pituitary and other glands.

5                     Ladies get fat after birth of babies.

It is a common knowledge, known the world over, that people who put in food in more than necessary proportions, get comparatively fatter. Actually we are habituated to eat much more than necessary Specially to get this done Gujaratis and especially the treatment of guests in Kathiyawad-Saurashtra; the Nagars are well-known for pressing to eat. Please have it   No matter, you can take it .You can eat one more Laddu! We are not unaware of so many stories concerning direct feeding in the mouth with pieces of Mohanthal. A part of this treatment of guests is accepted by business companies of America.

For instance, the sandwich “Big-make” from McDonald company is available at 3 dollars but if you pay only 35 cents more that sandwich will turn into super size. Coca-cola packing can be had in 99 cents. This contains 6 degrees of coke. Increase the payment to 119 cents and you can buy super size of 24 degree packing!

One small doughnut prepared from mixture of ultra ground wheat (Maida) and sugar containing multiple calories can be had in 50 cents but you pay 199 cents and you get 12 doughnuts. What is the equation? One piece costs fifty paise whereas Rs. 2/- buys 12 Nos.!! Is there any limit to the miserliness of a man ? You get it cheap therefore eat more. Do you remember that old story? One tooth paste company called for suggestions to increase sale. The suggestion was acted upon, making packing a little bigger and tube filled with air on the bottom and outlet was provided with a bigger hole. Thereby everytime you press the tube more material will emerge out and though bigger, the packing was to cost the same!! New and bigger packing! It was adjusted and cheating went on.

You know how many calories are contained in one drink of scotch, whisky, brandy, vodka, triple-X, black bull and such hard alcohol drinks served as pre-appetizers. A similar condition results for those who eat red meat. My good friends! How can we do without a stake beef? When they sit on our side in a plane they ask also.... You Indian! How you can live without eating stake? Oh! It is the essence of life etc... etc..

The long and short of all this is that all these commercial firms are concerned about how to sell the goods and add to the profits! They can try all such experiments. But if we give away our reasoning power on loan and lead our life; that cannot be accepted!

When we eat more food than required an adipose tissue gets added. That is obtainable only from the food; we do not get it from the air we breathe in! Even if we consume fifty calories of extra food daily at end of a year we can easily weigh four pounds more. Thus the main reason for obesity is more than enough food and almost nil exercise or even not at all! 

B.M.R.  (Basal Metabolic Rate) 

The basal metabolic rate of fat person is very low. Those who have low B.M.R can contact diabetes, where blood cholesterol increases, and they can get stone in their gall­bladder. They can get the diseases of gout and athereosclerosis.


Because of this obesity SO many health  problem arise in the otherwise simple and well-defined human life. Because the body gets fat., life becomes more lazy and sedentary; anything that happens is mechanical. That is the reason why initially body becomes weak and thereafter other types of defects get added. Because of this reason the possibilities of longer life span decreases appreciably 


The constitution of our body is made in such a manner that it can work efficiently only when the body retains definite proportions. We therefore do riot possess the capacity to carry more weight than essential. With the increase in weight, susceptibility of body to diseases increases. It is now a common ailment to have the bones of buttocks, knees and spinal column becoming brittle. The muscles of the stomach are ordinarily helpful to the glands secreting internally But because of the fat collecting on the belly, hernia is caused. Lower organs of our body such as thighs, and muscles of legs help circulation of the blood to the heart by contraction but because of the extra fat this process does not take place as it should and hence the defect of varicose veins is caused.


Because of increase in weight, the work to be performed and the labour to be suffered by heart in moving about the heavy body increases. J3ecause the heart does not get supply of blood in enough quantity even a little more fatness becomes a cause for high blood pressure. Thus, because of high blood pressure in the working area of heart the coronary artery contracts. Less blood supply reaches the heart muscles which causes Angina Pectoris. Even before the spring comes in, winter sets in for such obese body people. We hear of many such instances of heart failures. By this stoppage of moving about and no activity no doubt varicose veins does result, in addition because of such conditions more danger­ous results happen.

The word obesity is derived from Latin word ‘obesus’. This can be the derivation for Latin word but the roots of obesity have spread all around in big areas. Metabolic disturbance can be inherited also and can also develop after the birth. In causing obesity of the body genetic, traumatic, social, environmental conditions are instrumental. If the mother or the father anyone is fat, 50% children can be like that. But if both of them are obese there are 75 0/o chances of children turning fat.

The greatest misfortune is that young or old may go on adding fat. They may be aware of this fact or not, but we do not feel surprised if someone gets fat. People even believe there is no harm in getting fat. By increase of fat the obesity of the body not only increases but the capacity of working also decreases and persons beyond age 30 or 35 many times contact diabetes. The relation between obesity and diabetes is similar to the loving relation between children of maternal relations.

By the increase in fatness, blood pressure no doubt increases and gradually one should not be surprised if diseases of coronary arteries also result. By the body becom­ing ver weight heart has to take more labour in blood supply being sufficiently arranged. This results in ill effect over the respiration system. Difficulty in breathing occurs which is called as dyspnoea. This results in defects of respiratory and heart systems and hyperventilation would result which can cause hypercapnoea, hypoxia, and devel­opment of second stage of polycythemia can also result. Such obese people can also have difficulty due to gas collection in the stomach and intestines. Now what is the solution?

If these over-weight people give proper attention and bring down their weight they would look really handsome. It is not possible to deny the special individuality raised by impressive strong body

1. Most important matter about this case is that the patient or the obese person should himself understand that his body carries more weight: It is necessary to decrease the weight. Why? So long as the diseased man himself does not mentally accept this fact, any other person cannot help him in anyway

2. The fat man must realise the difference between eating, when one finds food and eating, only when he is hungry

3. The rule about consumption of food is that one should fill the stomach half full with food. One fourth should be left empty for water and the last one fourth should be kept vacant for allowing gas formation. It is usual to see that Yoga class invariably takes this to heart 

Decrease your food to half drink water double to the quantity of food taken, exercise three-fold, laugh four-fold, work five-fold, and repeat the name of Rarna ten-fold 

It is not material whether you call out name of Rama or Rahima. But the first five steps are essential and indivisible parts of one’s important steps of life. So long as a man continues to carry out all the works pertaining to his own self, he will not turn lazy Fold your bed yourself in the morning, arrange properly, sweep out, mop out, wash and clean clothes, clean your utensils, clean your latrine, clean the garden. If we carry out all these jobs ourselves we will not turn idle. In America you may find everything clean and neat outside; after reading this narration go round your car garage and store room as well as basement. How many percent of people can express satisfaction openly Most of the garages are like garbage dumps. We must have already spent 40 years since we enterel America, our fourth gen­eration is residing in America but we have yet to learn the discipline and mental training: we have not fully learnt the letter “A” of the alphabet.

4 And last but not the least is to know what should be eaten and what not? Count the calories in the food you take in. Similarly calculate the calories you burn through your activities. Have a proper understanding of these two. In America manufacturers write on the bottles how much is the total contents of fat %, sugar%, total carbohydrates 0/o. Why it is not possible for us to properly appreciate the meaning of all this in our daily life?

Your first question on dining table is “coke or juice”. People in our country take dal, curry, osamana, buttermilk, mango fajeto, or falsa sweet drink in season. These are drinks to which we are habituated. When we young, our elders taught us not to eat Dal but to drink it or even to take it in a big quantity In childhood we used to read a poem 

Oh cook! Give me Dal one cup full;

atleast one cup full. We have now got Laddus, Bhajiyas,

Now give me atleast one cup full of Dal, oh cook!

So that I can quickly make my mouth wet!

If you take hot Dal you will have no constipation, fat will not increase. One service-sized can of Coca-cola equal to one Indian glass, contains 240 c.c. which has 140 calories; 39 grams sugar. Hence if food is consumed keeping all these in mind and regular exercise is done, a long walk is insisted upon our body can be definitely kept well-balanced.


Yes. One can surely put a control on hunger, thirst, sleep, behaviour, thoughts, and work by performance of Yogasanas and Pranayama. One can live with least consumption of food, water and sleep by practice of Shitali and Shitkari Pranayama. Practice of Bhujangasana reduces hunger, prac­tice of Shalabhasana increases hunger. By practising both these one after the other hunger can be equipoised.

Really for reduction of weight, it is not proper to reduce the in-take of food to a great extent nor it is proper to undertake dieting. Performance of Yogasanas is the only wonderful remedy It is not necessary to put in a lot of labour in practice of Asanas, The order in which the Asanas are to be performed and the method thereof is so decided that outer muscles as well as internal secretory glands work beautifully Performance of Shirshasana, Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Halasana, Kati-utthanasana are the Asanas which have a good deal of effect on thyroid gland. By the working of this thyroid gland the hormones that get pro­duced controls the basic metabolic rate of our body If B.M.R is brought under control the obesity of a person can be stopped from increasing.

If one is not capable of performing all these Asanas in the initial stage it will surely be possible to perform relax­ation. If one cannot sit cross-legged on the ground one can use a chair; but hands and legs can get movement, one can bend forward, and backward, one can bend both on the left and the right. This is quite essential.

Halasana (Fig—44) 

The practice of Trikonasana and its different varieties and Suryanamaskara is definitely helpful in body building (see Asthama - 1) But if one regularly performs Trikon, Suryanamaskar, Shirshasana, Sarvangasana, Matsyasana, Halasana, Paschimottanasana, Bhujangasana, Dhanurasana, Oialcrasana, Ardha-matsyendrasana or Yoga-mudra and Mayurasana, no problems can arise at all.

The practice of Pranayama and Sukhapurvaka Pranayama, i.e taking very deep breaths, can help amply in burning the excess fat.

Paschimottanasana (Fig—45)

The practice of Asanas no doubt helps in reducing fat, but in addition it is helpful in making the muscles of the body firm. Each Asana in its own way helps reducing the weight and becomes quite helpful in regularising the weight. The practice of Asanas and Pranayama and observing a proper order for the same, renderd one free from mental tension and in a wide variety of ways works gradually on unnatural desire to go on eating. By this process one gets controj over intake of food, one starts to properly understand the life and removes the irregularity caused by nervous disturbances. Reduction of weight of the system of the body which results permanently and gradually, allows body sys­tem to work in a good organised and regular way Action taken to reduce the weight by compulsory dieting makes the body tired, sorrowful and depressed, whereas food con­sumed with proper understanding and practice of regular exercise as well as Yoga-abhyasa endows one with a balanced life. If one accepts the body as a necessary organ to enjoy life, one will definitely realise that body itself welcomes a definite weight only; excess weight will not be acceptable under any circumstances.

As one goes on increasing consciousness in life and as one feels inclined towards beauties in life and the life’s tinkling sensations through Yoga-abhyasa; then the desire produced for life, which lies within you as knowledge of self or awareness of the self, will be capable of explaining you what will be conducive to your well being or otherwise and you will get a boon of life which will be full of composure and well-defined. This is a fact; this is an experienced truth; try this experiment and live a meaningful life. Do not forget, when you go on carrying a heavy body this spells a burden for your heart. It will result in burden on the society when you die. Therefore beware! Make a firm resolve today, right now, to reduce obesity

If your effort is honest, then you will invariably attain desired results. 


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