Nowadays people connect asanas with the body and disease. They say, if this asana is performed then that particular disease will be cured. These are words spoken by people not yoga. Teachers may say that they can cure a particular disease with the help of yoga, yet yoga does not say so. According to yoga, diseases are not cured and one should not even try to cure them. All one has to do is manage and discipline one’s life, and diseases will be cured automatically.
Sri Swami Satyananda said that people generally believe that yoga cures the disease. However, if a sick person always thinks about his sickness and believes that he is sick, then no form of medical practice is going to help. Therefore, the first therapy for a sick person is to remove the thought from his mind that he is sick. As long as one does not remove this thought, there won’t be freedom from the disease. The first thought which must come to a sick person is ‘ I am not sick, I am not sick’.
When the person thinks ‘I am not sick’, the mind starts affecting the body. If one constantly thinks about physical ailment and disease, then even a healthy person will get sick due to constant negative thinking. The first principle is ‘I am not sick’, and the second principle is the appropriate practices. It means for every condition there are not more than four to six practices. The general practices are for the enhancement of health and not for the cure.
When one connects the body with yoga in hatha yoga then three effects are seen. The first effect is if there is any disease or ill health then its removal becomes possible through yoga.
After that, one strives to enhance health, to become free from disease and ill health, and to make the healing condition all the more powerful. After that comes prevention. If any condition, tension, germ, bacteria or pollution affect the body, the body must have the immunity, power and strength to fight it. If before one would have fallen sick for ten days, then now one would fall sick only for two days.
Yoga has three aspects considering the body: curative, preventive and promotive. Generally people should practise the promotive aspect. They should do the practices for the enhancement of health, and allow regulation, discipline and organization to come into their lives.
Otherwise people sleep until eight o’clock, eat at eleven and call the yoga teacher at ten. They complain of pain and ask to be taught asanas. They eat breakfast at twelve, lunch at three, sleep at eleven in the night and want to keep themselves ft. By being in the mud, they want to keep their clothes clean. That is impossible. By going into the coal mine, they want to keep their clothes clean. That is impossible. Wherever they will go, the clothes will be stained.
If you go into the world, you have to bear the suffering of the world, with discrimination, not with fear and anxiety. When you are afraid of disease and tension you cannot treat yourself. However, if you perform your work with discrimination, then every type of cure becomes possible.
—29 July 2014, Netaji Subhash Stadium, Kolkata