Raja Yoga Offers Mental Health

We need to know how to build our health of mind and assume responsibility, as we must do for our physical fitness. Just as there are physical symptoms that can be corrected by self help by applying natural healing practices, so we are also well equipped to deal with any disturbances of our psychological state of being. But we must have knowledge about methods of self help.

Yoga as a system incorporates methods of self discipline to achieve and maintain physical health through Hatha Yoga. Many of the techniques are now common knowledge amongst exponents in the West. These Ayurvedic methods of self healing are embraced in what is called Yoga Chikitsa.

Raja Yoga extends to self care of our psychological being and includes simple emotional and mind training disciplines designed to help self confidence and independence by encouraging a balanced condition of the psyche.

Self help in these matters demands that to help our own emotions we must identify with our mental self and use our thoughts to effect changes. To help our own mind we must appeal to our own directing soul that can help create different patterns of thought. And when our soul is in danger, feeling damaged, hopeless and devoid of joy in living we must appeal to a higher energy of our own spiritual being and beyond.

Any healing effort to return to a state of wholeness or wholesomeness requires energy from a higher voltage power and battery source. We are provided with a means of raising our energy levels first, by our own use of our lifeline or breathing mechanism; when receiving assistance from a therapist or when communing directly with natural energies abundant in forests, bushland, seasides and outdoors.

There are basic exercises in sensitivity and awareness of our emotions and thoughts and exercises that assist the full development of our faculties. It is this fundamental self awareness that allows us to note any symptoms of disturbance before seeking to correct them.

Although the human psyche with its seven Koshas or layers of consciousness have been the basis of Indian and Asian thought regarding the whole person, the science of psychology is only in its infancy in the western countries. Here in western medicine the philosophy to use drugs for remedial physical ill health, is applied in prescribing psychiatric drugs to relieve inner mental and emotional states. But these artificial chemicals generally prescribed for mental conditions are capable of creating far subtler and yet more powerful inner damage to our being that can extend to self harm and suicide. We need to find alternative therapies to the mental illness that is now assessed as existing in one in four people in Australia.

Raja Yoga practices have been proven already over the centuries. We have this knowledge available and its methods are based on simple, reasonable disciplines that are designed to help us feel confidently seated at the control centre of our being, free to be receptive to healthy thoughts and feelings, free to create wholesome ideas and responses and free to enjoy life in a state of inner peace. This is a simple aim and has simple demands within reach of each of us if we have the will to be in control of our lives.

It begins not with effort, but with an attitude of relaxation and doing nothing but surrendering all activity. This is best applied lying flat on the floor until you find it comfortable, closing your eyes and maintaining stillness of your body, apart from the natural movement of easy respiration.

Together with this position is a mental attitude assumed - that is a surrender not only of a need for effort, but a surrender of your body weight to the floor. Learn to trust that you are safe in yielding to relaxation. Allow yourself to trust nature and its benign aim to restore and assist you to health. Relaxation is practised with no strain or effort or thought activity. You allow yourself to feel. Try it and see how you feel. You may choose to register your feelings and any thoughts that came in the period spent in relaxation as a reminder of how pleasant a self therapy it really is.

The next is to be able to sit still as a prelude to learning the art of meditation when you reach a state of mental stillness and your thoughts are no longer an enemy.

If you find you cannot keep your mind still - if you are anxious and fearful, restless and confused, or if you have unwelcome thoughts, your concentration is poor and faculties not as sharp as before; or if you are suffering strain and fatigue or depression you will certainly find that Raja Yoga will help you greatly and bring back to life your vital thoughts and ideas that motivate your life and its expression towards health and happiness.