Yoga: Helping people struggling with mental health, one asana at a time

The inspiration for the theme of this year’s conference came from the fact that over 1500 people sought the assistance of Kaivalyadhama for mental health ever since the Covid-19 pandemic struck

Representative image
Representative image

Garima Sadhwani

If there’s one thing that Covid has taught us in the last two years, it’s that our health comes first. Everything else can take a backseat, but not our physical and mental well-being. With that end in mind, Kaivalyadhama, a Yoga institute in Lonavala, has centred the theme for its international conference on mental health.

“In the last few decades, the focus of Yoga has gone more into the physical aspects. But Yoga has always laid emphasis on the mind as well,” says Subodh Tiwari, the CEO of the institute. The inspiration for the theme of this year’s conference, which is scheduled from 28th-30th December, came from the fact that over 1500 people sought the assistance of Kaivalyadhama for mental health problems ever since the Covid-19 pandemic struck.

Tiwari feels that while people always tend to lean towards the Western concepts of Psychology, there’s a lot in our subcontinent as well that teaches us how to take care of our minds. But, he adds, that neither can be 100% effective if looked at in isolation. “We have qualified people, researchers and academicians who take the best of both worlds, and look into how meditation or other Yoga practices can help those with depression, for instance,” says he.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Tiwari says, a lot of young people under 25 and senior citizens have been struggling with mental health since they are struggling to deal with how unplanned, chaotic the world has become, and of course the trauma of the lives lost.

Yoga helps one deal with all of that and more, feels Tiwari. “We want people to look at Yoga not in a traditional manner, but through a scientific lens that helps you deal with your issues physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually,” says Tiwari. He adds that if you're thinking of just the asanas when you talk of Yoga, you’re just thinking of one whale in the whole ocean.

And though organising this conference when Omicron cases are on the rise might be a risk, Tiwari says he is thankful that he can reach out to people worldwide through today’s competent technology. “We have some great scientists from the US and other nations who are able to participate because it's online. We have fewer people on site, but we’re reaching more people globally,” says Tiwari.

Kaivalyadhama has lined up over 25 speakers, paper presentations and panel discussions, on topics such as post traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, yogic capability of dealing with one’s mind, the importance of relaxation, etc for this year’s conference.

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