We all would have experienced shaking of the hands when we were anxious and tensed. But this becomes a problem warranting medical help if it persists and disturbs the daily routine and could be an indication of nervous disease. Tremors refer to rhythmic alternating involuntary shaking of hands. Tremors could be fine or course. They could be action tremors (when an old lady tries to drink a glass of water) or rest tremors (seen at rest that disappears during action as in Parkinson’s disease).
The commonest cause of tremors is anxiety. When we are anxious the sympathetic nervous system is activated which releases stress chemicals such as adrenalin which is responsible for the hands to shake, heart to beat faster, blood pressure to shoot up etc . All these changes are meant to help us to cope up with the extra demand of the situation to fight or fly away from the danger. In the present day life style although there is no threat to life there are several self created pressures and reactions which create anxiety and the nervous system uses the same nervous and chemical mechanisms to produce these changes which may assume uncontrollable unnecessary proportions ..
How do yogis perceive this problem?.
Yogis said that anxiety is a state of mind where in the thoughts ( the sentences of internal dialogue) in the mind are running too fast. They defined anxiety as excessive Vega of the mind. Sage vasishtha asks us to do an internal experiment .Try to rehearse one of your experiences of severe anxiety and check the state of the mind during that experience. Take the example of you having to attend an interview. Let us presume that your nature is to get very anxious about such situations. The sage says if you check the words that flow in the mind when you are going through that state it may be like this.’ Oh! My God. This interview is very important. How I wish I do very well in this. What if I do not do well. —-‘ .These thoughts keep on rewinding in the mind so fast that it becomes an uncontrollable loop of thoughts which run like a whirlpool and pulls you into the state of anxiety. This then percolates to the physical level as excessive sweating, tremors etc. What started as a simple flow of reversible stream of thoughts, picked up speed and resulted in the nervous system to release the surge of electrical currents that further brought about all the responses?
Therefore the yogis suggest the remedial measures are in the mind itself. Yoga recommends us to learn the art of slowing down the mind. This is the definition of yoga. To be able to control the mind and bring it to a state of complete freedom from these surges of anxiety that result in anxiety related tremors is the aim of all yoga practices be it Asanas, or Pranayama, or meditation or cleansing techniques. Regular practice of a basic set of yoga should help in slowing down these thoughts that are running haywire. One needs to practice a set of 12 suryanamaskaras, kapalabhati kriya, nadishuddhi pranayama, and cyclic meditation.
Recently we had a case of anxiety neurosis at prashanthi kutiram who was having very bad tremors of the hands along with intense anxiety of impending death. He was crying for help when he came. In spite of the psychiatric medications he could not overcome these spells of intense fear which would result in bad tremors. After the regular practice of the basic set of yoga asanas specifically designed for the purpose along with all other techniques he went home two days ago with a happy smile on his face. He was a confident cheerful person who said “how simple are these techniques discovered by our sages that has made me a useful human being again!!!’
CLEANSING BREATH (KAPALABHATI KRIYA)
- Sit in any meditative posture.
- Keep your spine and neck erect perfectly vertical to the ground.
- Close the eyes and collapse the shoulders.
- Relax the whole body completely.
- Practice rapid breathing with active and forceful exhalation and passive inhalation.
- During each exhalation, blast out the air by vigorous flapping movements of the abdomen in quick succession.
- Inhale passively by relaxing the abdominal muscles at the end of each exhalation.
- Repeat the exhalation as quickly as possible at the rate of 60 strokes per minute.
- At the end of one minute, stop the practice.
- Now observe an automatic suspension of breath. In fact, there will be no urge for breathing for a few seconds.
- Simultaneously the mind may experience a deep state of silence. Enjoy this state of deep rest and freshness.
- Wait until the breathing comes back to normal
- Throughout the entire practice the spine must be kept erect without any movement of the trunk, neck or the face.
- It is important to learn to allow the inhalation to happen automatically by relaxing the abdominal muscles at the end of each quick exhalation. l Kapalabhati can be practiced through alternate nostrils by alternately closing the right and left nostrils in Násika mudrá
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