Yoga & Glaucoma
Yoga is a complete science, focusing on breathing, movement, posture and meditation. Specific exercises are taught consisting mainly of simple stretching, breathing and relaxation. There is a wealth of scientific research available confirming that advanced yogis have remarkable control over the functioning of their nervous system, heart and lungs.
Dr Segal author of the best-selling ‘Love, Medicine and Miracles’ cites the research of Dr Herbert Benson showing that meditation tends to normalise blood pressure, pulse rate, and the level of stress hormones in the blood. It produces changes in brain wave patterns, showing less excitability and improves the white blood cell (immune) response as well as hormone response.
Researchers have also reported that stress may play a significant part in the precipitation of acute closed-angle glaucoma because intraocular pressure (IOP) can be affected by the emotional state of a patient. One study (1) considered the evidence and found stress to be a significant factor in the etiology of acute closed-angle glaucoma and they also noted that there is a growing suspicion concerning the role of stress in open-angle glaucoma as well. The report stated that there is evidence that glaucoma is associated with psycho physiological stress and that stress reduction might prevent angle closure and reduce the IOP. The suggested methods for achieving these results included biofeedback, meditation, and relaxation exercises.
Tratakas form the mainstay in the yogic management of glaucoma. The Asanas to be avoided include all inverted postures such as Sirsasana, Sarvangasana, Halasana and Mastyasana. Others that may increase the intraocular pressure are Dhanuransana and Cakrasana and hence they need to be avoided.
Kapalabhati,vamanadhouti are also to be avoided.
The basic set of simple Asanas which relaxes the body mind complex are to be practiced for half hour followed by sectional breathing, Nadishudhi, and Seetkari pranayama.
Then comes the Tratakas with deep breathing followed by Nadanusandhana for about 20 minutes.. Stress management through the practice of cyclic meditation and happiness analysis to modify the life style to carry on working with joy and contentment under all circumstances are essential components of IAYT.