Herbs for Yoga: Dangers and Benefits
This is not to say that the whole appeal to the techniques of Ayurveda for the yogis is not desirable, it is some kind of Western “innovation” or “the way a loser” – in fact, it is blessed sages practice existed for millennia. Apparently, not everyone could follow the path of yoga to the end and in ancient times. Ayurveda and Yoga initially went hand in hand and complement each other, this is evidenced by, for example, the following passage from the authoritative text “Yoga Sutras” Patanjali:
“Perfect abilities are due to an appropriate form of birth, healing drugs, mantras, yogic practice of asceticism and concentration.” (4: 1)
Outset that, in fact, the “healing drug” in line with “yoga” is sometimes used incorrectly, and it is primarily concerned with the reception of natural drugs. It is no secret that the Indian Saddha (wandering ascetics) who call themselves “yogis” often sinned exceedingly marijuana, which even in small amounts has an intoxicating effect on human consciousness. The use of specific herbs and drugs (many, by the way, is prohibited on the territory of the Russian Federation), such as intoxication, marijuana and opium – which may be in use in the Indian “Yogi” – often nothing more than intoxication, or show for gullible tourists to obtain alms. In Ayurveda, herbs are drugs called “Siddha Yoga”. This – not a “tonic” and dangerous in unskilled hands the drug, it is not appropriate to their profane use. Secrets of the normal use yoga experts held in secret, and in fact even in the Himalayan region known favorites units, virtually eliminating their benefits for the broad masses of practitioners – especially here in Russia.
By the way, one of the great connoisseurs of such “non-classical” methods has been outstanding yogi and Buddhist Mahasiddha (Grand Master), Nagarjuna. But these days, that knowledge has gone into the shadows and became a secret and not available. The use of such substances is comparable at random in order to take a drink first got the medicine from the pharmacy shelves – most likely, such a move will have immediate devastating effects. Therefore, we will consider other “medicinal drug” – those who are known to be safe, and do help in yoga.
Nowadays, one of the most renowned experts in the field of application of the knowledge of Ayurveda to the practice of yoga is an American physician David Frawley. He actively promotes this trend of improvement and yogic discipline, wrote a series of authoritative books on the subject, including (co-authored with V. Lad) book catalog «TheYogaofHerbs» – the Russian translation of “Herbs and Spices”. The book describes in detail the effects of various Ayurvedic herbs and their use in the practice of yoga.
There is a judgment that “overseas” grass supposedly “do not work” on the territory of Russia. This viewpoint is not under a strong evidence, but numerous facts suggest otherwise: Chinese green tea, ginseng stimulate, turmeric cleans the body, Amla is rich in vitamin C, asafetida “grounds”, etc. Furthermore, some valuable Himalayan herbs are unique, and whether or not to look for them? It’s still that coming up with some kind of “Russian”, “analogs” or “replacement” proven yogic asanas or pranayama – the lot of people, obviously not poborovshis their pride. On this occasion, Frawley rightly observes that the statements about the futility of Indian herbs in other countries simply untenable. Moreover, nowadays many ayurvedic herbs and compounds – as well as oriental spices – are widely available. However, Ayurveda is not only “offers” us their “exclusive” herb, but outlines the logic of the use of any, including “our”, locally growing herbs for the benefit of those who, for one reason or another do not want or can not use the ‘Overseas “. Some modern scholars use herbs themes in yoga pay equal attention to as “the Indian” and Russian herbs. And so the choice is up to practitioners.
I shall make the assumption that the prejudice, there might have been due to the use of old, entrenched Ayurvedic medicines imported from India which (although not formally expired) have lost some of their force. It is known that some herbs and a mixture made from them should not be stored for more than a few months, it is better to take fresh.
One of the leading experts on herbal medicine in Yoga in our country is the AV Frolov – medic with higher education, a yogi with great experience, a yoga therapist. He currently teaches yoga therapy in a number of centers, and often publishes educational materials of their courses on a personal site. In particular, Mr. Frolov has published valuable data to start their own use available in our pharmacy herbs in line with the practice of yoga: asanas, pranayama and Shatkarmas.
According to Frolov, the scope of use of herbs in the mainstream yoga is wide: it and cleaning procedures that use antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, cholagogue plants, as well as digestive modulators – and asana poses: Herbs are used here to improve the state of the musculoskeletal system, stimulants regeneration of cartilage and connective tissue. Do not be left without “herbal support” and Pranayama: it uses grass-antihypoxants (brain adapting to the situation mild hypoxia), and meditation, which are useful for nootropics, plants to improve the functions of the nervous system. “Herbs are really able to make more efficient all areas of yoga practice,” says Frolov, and makes specific recommendations (in full they are presented in his book “Herbs for yogis”, publishing house “Oriental”, 2013). Add personal opinion is that the mass of modern literature on the subject of herbs in yoga is this work can be considered as the most useful, because it is practically applicable: given specific recipes infusions, indicating the dosage and preparation (and without this list of “useful” herbs, in fact, useless). Therefore, this material is the experience of A. Frolov has received increased attention; for further research and application should be paid directly to the book.
According Frolova, herbs can be used in particular for the balancing Vata -doshi, which is the problem of three, because it is the most mobile and easily gets out of balance. For the harmonization of “Wind” Frolov offers practice Basti (yogic enema) with infusions of herbs growing in central Russia and has long been used in traditional healing. Recipe yogic enema “by Frolov” includes “emollients”, coating plants: marshmallow, licorice root, flax seed, psyllium seed – and plant teas with calming effect: motherwort, cyanosis blue, uliginose. It is important to follow the exact recipe of cooking (shown on the site and in the book Frolov). In India, as part of Panchakarma, enemas are used, of course, other herbs – but local practitioners (many of which do not have the opportunity to go to the south of India for these procedures) are clearly more relevant recipes Frolov. He, incidentally, leads, and other practicable recipes – such as grass for practice Vamana- dhauti (yogic vomiting). Doctor notes that although Vämana-dhauti “by classic” – using a saturated solution of salt and soda and effective – may also use special infusion of medicinal herbs (including at contraindications to normal saline). As a “herbal” alternatives to Russian doctor (by the way, as well as its foreign counterpart Sunil Joshi) proposes to use for Vamana licorice tea or tincture of licorice; it causes more complex herbal recipe.
Talking about balancing Vata in the body, experts say some useful property Tamasic plant products – such as asafoetida, valerian and garlic – “EARTH” Vata. Despite the fact that it’s products are generally undesirable in the yogic diet, they can be used as a medicine. Speaking of balance Pitta, it is an important property of some herbs – such as popular in the West herb Brahmi (Indian pennywort) – “to cool the body.” Warming the grass, favorable to balance Kapha (phlegm principle, and Tamas in the body) – and p, asafoetida, basil, valerian, myrrh, nutmeg, mugwort, garlic, sage officinalis, eucalyptus and others.
There are also herbs that are sometimes beneficial briefly applied to all yoga practitioners who belong to any Dosham. This herb, balancing the three doshas, calming the mind and strengthens the nerves: mint, chamomile, fennel. Such data are D. Frawley in his book “The Yoga of herbs.”
Similarly, Basti and Vamana-Kriya, which were discussed above, can be supplemented with the use of herbs and oils such practices yoga as Jala – and Sutra – Neti . In classical practice Sutra Neti is only important to lubricate nasal passages of oil (usually almond) to facilitate introduction of the cable (or, in the modern form kriyas – rubber catheter). In the expanded practice “by Frolov” can be used to enhance the impact of oil extraction on the basis of licorice, Calamus and other herbs (thyme, pine tree buds, eucalyptus, among others). Again, interested can refer to the website for a detailed description of drug available for cooking at home.
Another procedure for the nose – a beneficial effect also on the Ajna chakra – jala neti, implying in his usual form of nasal lavage salted water, it can also be expanded with the help of herbs. In this embodiment, Sutra Neti actually grows into Nasyu – not so much the yogic as therapeutic Ayurvedic treatments. As noted by Frolov, in “a localized” Nasi variant used plants having tanning action: for example, the rhizome erect cinquefoil, the rhizome crassifolia, oak bark, bark cherry, bumps alder – and the grass antiviral action: the root of Hedysarum forgotten, or tea, St. John’s wort , Agrimony pharmacy, salvia officinalis, viburnum bark pine and others. These herbs (in addition to the required solution for washing the salt) may be specified in the doctor dosages used for routine Jala Neti and in the treatment of SARS, sinus inflammation.
It is known that some Ayurvedic (and not only) herbs and drugs markedly increase spinal flexibility and mobility of the whole body, which is important for very beginners (which the body is often in the “wooden” the initial state), and for the “continuing”, who It aims to achieve a particular excellence in the practice of asanas. Such “slimming” drugs – according to the known expert Dolma Dzhangkhu – include: myrrh, shallaki, guggul, nirgundi, kava-kava, turmeric, saffron, Siberian ginseng, angelica , and ayurvedic mixture “Dasha- mule ‘and’ Trikatu ‘.
Another important direction in which you can use herbs markedly seize the health status for more effective practice of yoga – pranayama . According to Frolov, medicine known for more than five hundred herbs growing on the territory of Russia, which have anti – ie, it helps the body to consume oxygen. Among others, this lady’s mantle, uliginose, white nettle, mountain ash, Tilia cordata, lemon balm, black currant, and others. So it is quite possible to make (even at home, purchase the necessary ingredients in the drugstore) its “pranayamny collection” and use along with the practice.
It is clear that none of herbal tea does not have some kind of “magic bullet” effect described in the medical literature. In contrast to the semi-mythical Himalayan secret fees, grass for the practice of yoga is not “raise Kundalini “, do not cause spontaneous samadhi . Therefore, of course, even the best and most correct to use herbs do not replace regular practice of asanas, pranayama and meditation. But herbs can be thus a factor that compensates for the adverse effects of the environment and the stress of living in a big city, and help to succeed in the practice of yoga.
Author: Alex Sokolowski