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The four-pillar Yoga approach to live well with chronic diseases

Here are 4 chronic diseases that can be managed with yoga and some positive thinking.

YogaOur mind and body beautifully complement each other. If our body stops functioning at the optimum level then our mind has the potential to make up for it and vice versa.

A good example of the mind-over-matter phenomenon is well-known researcher Stephen Hawking. When he was nearly 21-years-old doctors diagnosed him with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis which meant that all the nerves that controlled various muscles in his body were slowly shutting down. Back then the doctors gave him roughly about two and half years to live but he's still around, contributing break-through theories to the scientific community. The key lesson here is that a strong will, good lifestyle and regular practice of the needful techniques can do the trick.

Using simple and useful yoga techniques, we can manage various health conditions and make life worth living. Yoga signifies relief from pain and suffering. Whether the source of the suffering is physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, yoga can alleviate your pain.

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Step one would be to start accepting the situation the way it is. Surrender to the fact of life and move on. If an individual has developed a certain condition that cannot be cured it doesn't mean that the person should give up on life. Instead of focussing on the disorder and literally counting the number of days left, instead try to think about how one can make life better by working around the symptoms and not letting the disorder prevent them from pursuing the activities that one may wish to undertake.

I would suggest the four pillar approach to manage any health condition and emerge victorious - ahar, vihar, achar and vichar.

  • Ahar (food and wellness) is about what to eat, when to eat, how to eat, how much to eat and what not to eat.
  • Vihar (recreation and wellness) comprises of three components - relaxation, recreation and relationships.
  • Achar (routines and patterns) is about how to set and follow routines to improve your lifestyle.
  • Vichar (positive thought patterns) is to be in a conductive frame of mind.

Let's talk about a fewhealth conditions that are believed to be incurable and understand a few yoga techniques that can be practiced to counter the symptoms.

1. Renal dysfunction also commonly known as or kidney disease, this condtion is often chronic and incureable. as many may call it causes an increase in the level of urea and potassium in blood which may result in frequent urination, swelling of legs, ankles, feet and face, shortness of breath due to extra fluid in blood, abnormal heart beat, muscle paralysis, fatigue, dizziness and low blood pressure. Read more about how yoga can help you deal with the symptoms of kidney disease.

2. Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease is a degenerative neurological disorder that affects the brain's tissues. Depression, memory loss and speech impairment are a few major symptoms of this condition. We need to understand that there's no point getting frustrated about not being able to 'recall' or to 'remember' things. Even perfectly healthy individual don't remember 'everything'. In fact, in some cases it might be good to not remember too much. So look at it as a boon to a certain degree. However, I do understand that there are a few things that must be important and that you may want to have some memory of, but for that you must make an effort and practice a techniques that can actually work wonders. The best way to conquer memory loss is to firstly, set a routine, pen it down and follow it strictly. Read more about how yoga can help you live with Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease.

3. HIV: At The Yoga Institute, we have helped many HIV +ve individuals manage their lives better and I must tell you that it works. We must get rid of the notion that if a certain individual is has been diagnosed as being HIV +ve there's no hope left. The disorder affects one's immune system and hence such individual are more susceptible to opportunistic infections and diseases. So hygiene and good habits are of prime importance. Yoga and it's way of life can really help a person live well with this crippling condition. Read more about how you can live with HIV using yoga techniques.

4. Parkinson's Disease is a degenerative disorder and affects the central nervous system. Tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity and stiffness, postural instability are a few major symptoms. We should first become aware of our body and understand it well. To achieve this, we must start observing it first. When do we experience tremors? Is there any pattern to it? Any particular angle or movement that often triggers tremors? Once we recognize this half the battle is won. We must then avoid those movements and angles. Read more about how you can manage the symptoms of Parkinsons's disease.

5. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can affect an individual to a point that even his self-image is distorted. Individuals who suffer from this disorder show poor emotional responses and are usually delusional. It is very important to establish a strong support system in an early stage for such individuals. They should be well cared for and must be in the company of family and friends that they trust. Here, relaxation techniques are very important to calm such individuals down and relieve stress. Hallucinations and delusions can take a toll on them and that is where yoga comes into play. Read more about the yoga techniques that can help you live well with schizophrenia.

Yoga can help you restore homeostasis and tranquility. When practised regularly, it can strengthen the nervous system and prevent disturbances of body and mind.

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