A Paper on Nitai Yoga by Alta Bhalla
Ex Vice-Principal of Apple Bee School, Delhi
Today’s lifestyle can be summarized in two simple words and that is ‘Mechanical Living’ – where rules overcome our freedom, frustration overcomes our peace of mind and boredom overcomes our joy. The morning scene of an underground metro station now seems to depict a channel through which prisoners travel in order to be promoted to a first class prison house from a second class prison house. The externalities may change according to situation and circumstances, yet nonetheless the nature of the work remains the same. It is no less of a struggle.
This example best outlines the life of a city dweller who at home has to take up the responsibility of managing household affairs and ensuring the happiness of his family, while at the workplace he continues to work away like a machine to satisfy his boss. This involves not only physical labor, but also mental labor, which is often more overwhelming and strenuous.
I was working as a teacher earlier, but due to the overtime hours as well as the constant struggle to match the expectations of senior staff members and the principal, my health suffered. I got frequent headaches and found myself really exhausted at the end of the day. A lack of appetite and low energy levels were something that had become a common part of my daily schedule.
On taking suggestions from my close friends and medical help from a family doctor, I found that my body was facing low blood circulations. I was displaying the symptoms like numbness in limbs, weak immune system, muscle cramps, brittle hair and obesity; which a person suffering from low blood circulation faces.
As a remedy, my doctor suggested to take antibiotics. But I was reluctant and avoided due to the fact that they have many side effects and I previously endured mild stomach aches whenever taking them. So I was ultimately discouraged by allopathic treatment and that is when I decided to take up the path of yoga.
On taking help from my sister’s yoga instructor, I made a list of asanas that he suggested, for increasing the flow of blood in my body. A lack of exercise had reduced blood circulations in the body, which was the root cause of all my pains and problems. I was very encouraged after a motivating discussion with him but I realized that my hectic schedule and workload didn’t leave me with enough time to sit in isolation for a few hours (or even minutes to be precise). In the mornings, I barely had time to calmly sit on my terrace for a few brief minutes before leaving for work.
I felt like all the doors of solutions had got closed for me. Feeling very morose and weak, I kept working as earlier but my efficiency was decreasing day by day. After some days, I got introduced to Nitai Yoga. It appeared like a bonanza.
Scientific research says that, ‘Body’s circulation system is responsible for sending blood, oxygen, and nutrients throughout the body. When blood flow to a specific part of the body is reduced, one may experience the symptoms of poor circulation. Poor circulation is most common in one’s extremities, such as legs and arms.’
Nitai Yoga was simple, effective and above all could be easily accommodated anywhere in my schedule. There were no time constraints – which was the main reason I was struggling to adopt other therapies and yogic processes.
Nitai Yoga could be practiced any time during the day and it was not essential to have a peaceful environment or a clean place to sit and meditate. This is exactly what I was looking for since the initial days of my search. I started practicing it daily for a few minutes, when I reached my school. I had some gaps between my lectures so I conveniently utilized that time. And sometimes I did it just before sleeping at night.
In a very few days, I experienced a gush of positive energy and enthusiasm within me. I could multitask at a faster pace without fatigue. On getting my blood levels checked after a month or so, my reports showed that they had reached a normal level now.
I realized that Nitai Meditation has a lot of practical and scientific basis backing it up.
From the scientific view point, what happens is when we dot he four modules of Nitai Yoga, then ‘the blood vessels in our arm’s muscles dilate and the blood flow is greater, just as more water flows through a fire hose than through a garden hose. As ATP gets used up in working muscle, the muscle produces several metabolic byproducts (such as adenosine, hydrogen ions and carbon dioxide). These byproducts leave the muscle cells and cause the capillaries (small, thin-walled blood vessels) within the muscle to expand or dilate (vasodilation). The increased blood flow delivers more oxygenated blood to the working muscle.’ As we do Nitai Yoga, ‘the blood from our organs is diverted to the muscles. Blood that would have gone to the stomach or the kidneys goes instead to the muscles.’
As our muscles begin to work, because we are stretching by doing the Nitai Postures, ‘the sympathetic nervous system, a part of the automatic or autonomic nervous system (that is, the brainstem and spinal cord) stimulates the nerves to the heart and blood vessels. This nervous stimulation causes those blood vessels (arteries and veins) to contract or constrict (vasoconstriction). This vasoconstriction reduces blood flow to tissues. Our muscles also get the command for vasoconstriction, but the metabolic byproducts produced within the muscle override this command and cause vasodilation. Because the rest of the body gets the message to constrict the blood vessels and the muscles dilate their blood vessels, blood flow from nonessential organs (for example, stomach, intestines and kidney) is diverted to working muscle. This helps increase the delivery of oxygenated blood to working muscle further. And therefore the supply of blood increases in our arms as well as in other parts of the body.’
Nitai Yoga also included an asana named as sarva hita asana (rope pulling exercise and exercise for arms). This asana is recommended to those who wish to increase their blood circulation. So by stretching the arm up in the air, made me practice this asana on regular basis which earlier I couldn’t do. I also did Nitai Breathing in which we have to breathe in and breathe out alternatively with every stroke of निताइ mantra. Science explains numerous benefits of deep breathing such as:
– When we breathe deeply in Nitai Breathing, the air coming in through your nose fully fills your lungs, and the lower belly rises. Deep abdominal breathing encourages full oxygen exchange — that is, the beneficial trade of incoming oxygen for outgoing carbon dioxide. Not surprisingly, it can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.
– Relieves anxiety: Deep breathing can help the body to relieve anxiety by promoting the production of endhorphine. Endhorphine is a hormone which promotes comfort feeling inside the body.
– Alleviates stress: By relieving anxiety, deep breathing exercise can help in alleviating stress.
– Cleans the blood: During exhaling the bad air, the body releases all toxins that contained in blood. Deep breathing can help in cleaning the blood from any harmful substance and metabolic waste such as carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.
When I could get such dual benefits of visualizing and deep breathing the Nitai mantra, how much helpful must it be for others who practice it for a longer duration regularly? One can just imagine! Moreover, it is both exercise and pranayam combined in a sense, so it saves time to do each separately. So it was the best combo for a time-restricted person like me. It’s like when you have dal, roti, shahi paneer and gulab jamun in one plate, then why to separately order them and increase your bill?
One may say that physical exercises also help in overcoming low blood circulation problems but have you considered that these exercises need time for practicing them and even if one devotes time, there are other concerns to take care of along with the exercise. Like due to physical exercises, one’s breath becomes very shallow and rapid. And we know that the pattern of breaths molds the mind’s emotions and determines its stability. So those with rapid breathing pattern don’t have a peaceful or a cool mind and can’t take decisions with a broader vision. A state of calmness cannot be reached for the ones with shorter breadths because short breadth is a sign of anxiety or anger. Along with this, exercises can cause injury and a lot of sweat which generates bad odor. Specific time is needed for them and can’t be done immediately before and after meals. And numerous others side effects are also there.
Nitai Yoga not only healed me but gave me many beautiful experiences while doing this process. I constantly felt a shield of positivity being created around me and my vision was always broadening. I could think more rationally and didn’t fret over petty things anymore. I was naturally overcoming all the negative thoughts in my mind without any extraneous effort. My memory enhanced a lot. Due to this, I was able to manage my work and services in a much better way.