( By Dr Ramesh Kapadia )

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We have studied the emotions that damage or poison the heart. We have seen how these emotions change the calibre of the coronary arteries, increase the stickiness of the blood cells (platelets) and viscocity of blood, decrease good cholesterol (HDL) and increase bad cholesterol (LDL) in blood. The total effect may aggravate angina or result in a heart attack. An antidote to these heart toxins lies in the simple yogic disciplines : abdominal breathing, shavasana and meditation. We call these disciplines yogic, because they connect the individual to his large Self. They help him to realise his inner strength, his soul force, his real identity.

As adults, we breathe with chest muscles, however, when we practise breathing with abdominal muscles it at once quitens the mind. Breathing is central to all the three yogic disciplines. Patanjali Yogashastra intuitively observes that control of breathing controls the restless mind, which in turn controls the circulation. Normally our breathing is involuntary and reflects the state of our mind. If our mind is not at peace, the breathing is rapid and shallow and when the mind is at peace as during deep sleep the breathing is slow, rhythmic and abdominal. So, if we consciously breathe slowly, rhythmically, and abdominally, the mind automatically becomes calm. Shavasana is a technique to relax the body which leads to relaxation of the mind. During meditation, one becomes one with the breathe, one with the life- force, and this brings about an experience of the soul-force within oneself. The realization of the soul force brings forth the qualities of the soul. They are love, compassion, brotherhood and freedom from the fear of death. It is easy to see that when these qualities develop all the healthful changes occur in the body.

Doctors and their trained personnel can easily teach these techniques in their clinics. Overemphasis or undue strictness in the name of discipline while teaching makes them less effective. An humble attitude of the teacher and a flexible approach bring about good results. The healer ought to heal himself.

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