By Patwant kaur
Photo: Camila Muradas
The radiologist and professor of Kundalini Yoga, Rodrigo Yacubian, develops a multidisciplinary work at the Syrian Lebanese hospital in São Paulo combining conventional medicine with the practice of yoga.
In this interview, he talks about the importance of Kundalini Yoga for the pursuit of physical, mental and spiritual health, and how this practice can be useful in treating various diseases.
Below, a brief technical explanation of the patterns of the human mind with the approach of Kundalini Yoga to facilitate understanding of the following issues.
* Positive Mind: mind that encourages, boosts the person; * Negative Mind: Protective mind that prevents the individual from acting by impulsivity; * Neutral Mind: meditative mind, silent mind, which brings presence, helps people access the intuition and allows communication from the heart and not from the ego.
1 – How practicing yoga can be reconciled with traditional medicine for the treatment of diseases?
All types of yoga, in general, help to bring physical, mental and spiritual health. They help individuals to come back to themselves, do a self-research of their lives, expand awareness and seek balance that can generate healing. Kundalini Yoga, which is the yoga that I practice and teach, came to the West in the late 1960s. It is a powerful practice with relatively quick results. It integrates postures, breathing and meditation. It is a technique that gives people the strength to find their center and live fully. This yoga, applied as a complementary therapy to conventional allopathic treatments, has shown good results. The practices promote calm, relax and, thereby, improve the overall balance of the practitioner, including the immune and neurohormonal systems.
2- Are there any researches in Brazil about the benefits of practicing meditation?
Yes, there are researches about meditation in Brazil. With Kundalini Yoga, we are developing a work that deals with practices for the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. These researches about meditation show positive results and those who practice it daily know that the benefits are many: it enlarges the perception of reality, promotes well-being, inner peace, calm and stability; develops intuition; increases mental clarity; brings focus, presence; eliminates stress; releases fears and blockages.
3- How can yoga and meditation reduce stress and anxiety?
Kundalini Yoga and its meditations are very effective in reducing anxiety and stress. This Tradition helps the individual to achieve a meditative state and neutrality of mind. * The neutral mind helps one to contact a high level of consciousness. This state can reduce symptoms of depression that, in most cases, is related to the past and the experiences that the person has lived. It can also reduce anxiety and stress when there is an anticipation of future problems. The person who is anxious is generally projecting the mind in the future, he/she often is fantasizing things that are not going to happen. This creates anxiety and stress. The meditations bring the mind to the center, to neutrality. * The neutral mind does not project into the past or the future. This mental state is very favorable for reducing stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms.
4- How Kundalini Yoga can help people with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and insomnia?
Kundalini Yoga is a powerful tool to help people with these disorders. The American biologist David Shanahoff-Khalsa addresses specific techniques of breathing for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorders, panic and insomnia. He has been studying the subject for over 30 years. There are protocols that can be used in different contexts and clinical settings. Here in Brazil, I represent David’s work. I’ve been applying these procedures in patients with satisfactory results. When a person is committed to the practice and the treatments, the results are amazing. Even complete remission of the disease can occur. In sleep disorders, for example, it is possible, through these techniques, to induce sleep and increase its quality. And in cases of panic disorder and generalized anxiety, patients can significantly improve their quality of life.
5 –Can the practice of Kundalini Yoga help people who use prescription drugs and want to reduce or stop the medication?
It is very common for people to feel good with the practice of Kundalini Yoga and cut down or cut off their medications. But each case must be evaluated carefully. Some patients need medication for a time. The teacher of Kundalini Yoga should be ethical and should not suggest that people change their treatment without consulting their doctor or psychiatrist. Sometimes it is possible to reduce the dosage or to stop, but for this to happen there must be a prior analysis of the situation and consensus among the professionals involved. In this case, the psychiatrist and yoga teacher must work together. The decision regarding the medication must be taken together and with the commitment of the patient.
6- Can the practice of Kundalini Yoga improve the quality of life of people with HIV, cancer, autoimmune diseases or drug addiction, or even cure them?
Yogi Bhajan (master who brought Kundalini Yoga to the West) emphasized the importance of using the techniques of mind and body to reduce anxiety and increase the activity of the immune system. People with autoimmune diseases need to keep this system active. The medicines and meditative practices to achieve the *neutral mind are great allies in these treatments. HIV patients can and should use anxiety reduction techniques. The yoga and meditation, reconciled to allopathic medicines, ensure a better quality of life for the patient.
In cases of cancer, the stress, the anxiety and the depression can interfere with the stages of the disease due to its interference in the immune system. When a person receives the diagnosis, it is usually traumatic for them and their family. First comes the acceptance of the disease, which is not simple. Then come questions about how the person deals with life issues. Finally, there is the issue of the treatments (surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, etc.). Patients should be aware of their medical condition, seek what is available in allopathic medicine and include the complementary therapies in the treatment. The protocols help to reduce depressing thoughts, and fear of treatment and death. Multidisciplinary work is indicated because it provides to the patient comfort and good conditions for dealing with the disease.
About addiction, it is important to say that Kundalini Yoga is well known as the yoga of awareness. The purpose of this practice is to raise awareness in a healthy way, without the use of illicit and exogenous substances. The practice of Kundalini Yoga can be used preventively against addictions and for treatment purposes. There are specific practices of Kundalini Yoga and programs, like Super Health (directed by Professor Mukta Kaur Khalsa), that offers breathing protocols. David Shannahoff-Khalsa also proposes protocols for detox of drug addicts. Conventional classes of Kundalini Yoga are also great allies for this purpose. People interested in learning more about the programs mentioned in this interview can access the links below for more information.