The bhagwadgeeta says, urdhwamulam adhashaakham ashwattham prahuravyayam/.
The charakasamhita says, urdhwamulam adhashaakham rushaya purusham viduhu/.
The human body is symbolized as a tree here .The roots of this tree are on top and its branches are down. This tree is upside down. We forgot this shloka and we also did not remember the teaching of this whole chapter in bhagwadgeeta. This chapter, the fifteenth one, deals with the description of mahapurusha which is omnipresent. For the health of that purusha or the soul it is very important that we maintain the health of the root of the soul that is the head in the body.
The head is a very important organ in the body. Here resides the vital force called praana. The praana controls intelligence, the senses, the life force, the channels, the chitta or manasa or mind. It decides what we are and what we will be! It decides our life and still we neglect its health, unfortunately. We owe a lot to the force of life within us for tolerating the misbehaviors to it and the body .
How to maintain the health of this seat of praana? There are 3 methods to achieve this 1. Nasya, 2. Dhoomapana, 3. Neti.
Nasya- Literally it means medicine instilled through nose. It is nothing but nose drops. It is divided into two types. One is called as pratimarsha and the other is marsha. Marsha nasya is a major procedure and has to be done under guidance of qualified Ayurveda practitioner. But the first variety can be done by everybody and should be done from the first day of life to the last day. Pratimarsha is putting the medicated drops; generally these are oil drops, in the quantity of 02 drops in nose at different times. There are 15 different occasions when pratimarsha should be done, such as after traveling , after getting up, after brushing teeth, after clearing bowels etc. and the benefits vary according to those times. But generally this is advised after passing stools or before leaving for the office.
The benefits are tremendous. The medicine which is instilled on the nasal mucosa clears the nasal passage. It reaches the sinuses and stimulates the normal peristaltic wave in the sinuses which help in cleaning them; it relieves the nasal obstruction without causing addiction to it. As a result there is no recurrent sinusitis, no allergies, no morning sneezes.
Now- a- days nobody uses alarm clocks! Every house has this person with morning sickness, who gets up in morning with sneezes and then with that sound the whole family gets up. It is heard that there are inter society competitions going on to decide the loudest sneezer, the longest sneezer etc! Is it true? Jokes apart, it is really a pity to start a day with such moves and shakes! But these allergies can be controlled with the drops instilled in morning.
The nasya bestows a person with an enjoyment in breathing. Don’t you think that breathing freely is the primary right of all of us? But do we breathe freely? And even if we breathe what do we inhale? The polluted air? the sonsodos or smaller version of that in every nook and corner? Don’t you think they assault our system? Not only the respiration but the energy passed in the body through sense of smell has a profound effect on the body. We see a lot of people who vomit just by a bad smell. Many of us feel sick, nauseated. We see some of them temporarily becoming unconscious by some sharp obnoxious smell. Especially in laboratories! Inhaling bad smell not only damages the olfactory nerve endings but also damages our mind, brain, body. Pratimarsha helps to heal.
Can you believe that pratimarsha helps in grasping the new ideas, clearing thoughts, helping decision power, it helps in revealing the profound power of brain which is present in every body, but used seldom as it is covered by tamas. Pratimarsha helps to shatter these clouds of tamas. So it is a good practice for not only a school going child but also for every body who needs to remain alert in these days of terror and fear. I come across a few patients who were the victim of fear psychosis after 92 bomb blasts. Their life was such a misery. One patient explained that she feels that her children are not going to school but to a war, everyday. ! Can you understand the tension she will be under which? Such patients were much relieved after simple pratimarsha and no psychosis after 26/11.
Pratimarsha also helps in hair growth. It also helps in preventing the grey hair. It gives glow to the face.
There are some contraindications also. It is not advised when a person is suffering from purulent discharge from the nose or when a person feels heaviness in head, or in cough.
Dhoomapana – Can you believe Ayurveda advocates the smoking? This was a daily routine in healthy practice, but now it is considered as addiction and they say smoking is injurious to health. Of course smoking nicotine is injurious to health but not the dhoomapana. The difference is here the bidi or cigarette is made up of the medicinal leaves or stems! It is lighted as a normal cigarette and can be inhaled through mouth or nose but has to be exhaled through mouth only. Our sinuses are a complicated system. Even if you look at there structure, you will find that the bones are so made that the infection can hide easily. The kapha-Dosha who is a main culprit in sinusitis can stick to the inner cavities of these bones and then it is difficult to remove it out with normal medications and here starts the role of dhumapana. The medicines which are air borne can reach to these hide outs and can eradicate this stagnant Dosha. It is a very cheap and still effective treatment and preventive measure.
This therapy should not be done in summer or in October or when the person is hypertensive or suffering from vertigo.
Now a day it is a fad to do a pranaayaama! How many people do it correctly or regularly is a matter of debate. There is a wave of pranaayama. It is beneficial only when done correctly and only when the nose is not blocked. This is very important to understand by pranaayama you are playing with brain and hence be careful. It is mandatory that your nasal passage is clear before doing pranayama or sheershaansana or sarvangasana.
Ayurveda, the eternal science of life has advocated many such simple but effective therapies for the health. They should be done regularly as the body is the abode of the soul which is the part of the God in us. So lets keep the God happy and we will be happy.