Dr Sakshi Sharma
Stress is unavoidable in the current scenario, where the entire world is facing the coronavirus pandemic. With the toll of deaths and positive cases of coronavirus on rise, every person in this world is under stress and anxiety. Higher levels of stress adversely affect the physical as well as psychological health of the individuals concerned. Therefore, it becomes highly essential to manage stress at initial stages, so as to avoid severe consequences of high stress on health. The present article focuses on the management of stress through a unique form of meditation, i.e, ‘Sahaja Yoga’. Sahaja Yoga is a scientifically proven technique of meditation which involves the awakening of the dormant primordial energy- the Kundalini, and integrating it with the all-pervading cosmic energy. Regular practice of Sahaja Yoga meditation leads to the inner transformation of an individual, whereby one becomes more moral, integrated, balanced and healthy.
Stress refers both to the circumstances that place physical or psychological demands on an individual and to the emotional reactions experienced in these situations. It leads to severe effects on the physical as well as psychological health of the individuals concerned such as frequent headaches, heart disease, myocardial infarction, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes, high anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and so on. Since, stress is a psychological phenomenon, its management can be best realised by treatment focused at the mental level. Thus, the present article aims at spreading awareness about the stress management technique called ‘Sahaja Yoga’ and highlighting its significance in the improvement of overall health, especially, psychological health.
Sahaja Yoga Meditation
The word ‘Sahaja’ means ‘spontaneous’ and ‘Yoga’ means ‘union with the self’
Sahaja Yoga was founded in 1970 by Mrs. Nirmala Srivastava, more widely known as ‘Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi’. Shri Mataji was spiritually enlightened since birth and granted en-masse realisation to people free of any materialistic consideration. For 40 years since 1970, she travelled tirelessly across the globe to teach Sahaja Yoga meditation world-wide at her own expenses The process of Sahaja Yoga meditation works through the subtle system which comprises of three energy channels (nadis) and seven energy centres (chakras). At the root of this system lies a protective power – Kundalini. Amongst the three channels (Nadis), the left channel called Ida Nadi represents our desires (Ichha shakti); the right channel called Pingla Nadi represents our working ability (Kriya shakti); and the central channel called Sushumna Nadi represents our assent. The seven energy centres in the body correspond to the seven nerve plexuses: the pelvic plexus (Mooladhara Chakra), the aortic plexus (Swadhistana Chakra), the solar plexus
(Nabhi Chakra), the cardiac plexus (Heart Chakra), the cervical plexus (Vishuddhi Chakra), the optic chiasma (Agnya Chakra) and the limbic area of the brain (Sahasrara Chakra). These energy centres are responsible for maintaining their surrounding physical organs in the body.
When Kundalini rises it crosses all the six energy centres and emits from the seventh centre (Sahasrara Chakra) and unites the individual consciousness with universal consciousness. An individual rise above the three channels of the subtle system and reaches a timeless state beyond the past, present and future – a state of thoughtless awareness. This process is referred to as Self-realisation. As an evidence of self-realisation, an individual feels cool breeze of vibrations on the head and palms of hands .
It is imperative to understand how stress arises and how is it managed through Sahaja Yoga meditation. The central channel (Sushumna Nadi) is the path of rising Kundalini and a channel of balance. An individual having too many desires and always thinking about the past deviates from the central channel and puts his left channel under pressure. On the other hand a workaholic person, always working and planning for the future puts his right channel under pressure. The left-sided individuals become highly emotional, conditioned and day dreamers while right-sided people become highly egoistic and harsh on others. Stress is the result of such an imbalance between the two energy channels and deviation from the central channel.
Therefore, one should always keep his attention on the central channel and remain in the balanced state in order to be stress-free. Thus, Sahaja Yoga helps in managing stress effectively by attaining and maintaining the balanced state through regular meditation, since by focussing on the central channel one remains in present rather than thinking about past or future events.
Sahaja Yoga in the present Coronavirus Scenario
As many as 200,000 people across 60 countries have attended online meditation sessions since 16 March 2020 with the commencement of lockdown, according to the information published nation-wide from H.H. Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi Sahaja Yoga Trust (National Trust). The Youtube channel – Pratisthan, Pune of the Trust has seen around 2 million views with 7.31 lakh watch hours and over 13.2 million impressions in the lockdown period. Each viewer attended an average of 8.6 session and spent average of 23 minutes per visit, which is substantial as people look towards meditation to overcome anxiety during COVID19 lockdown.
Sahaja Yoga meditation activates and nourishes the parasympathetic nervous system which relaxes both body functions and the brain by reducing thinking functions Thus, regular meditation everyday cleanses the subtle system, relaxes body and mind, and gradually one starts experiencing physical, mental and emotional benefits also, apart from gaining stress relief Thus, the Indian government should focus on building resilient citizens which can adjust with the pressures of the present stressful scenario.
(The author is Assistant Professor
Govt. SPMR College of Commerce J&K)
Dr Sakshi Sharma