Aches and pains in our backs, necks and joints can creep up on us over time or happen suddenly. However,once they arrive, they can become a huge burden and limit our mobility, increasing stress and even distrupting our peace of mind. After returning to Singapore to undertake this Yoga course in Singapore during my summer vacation, I was saddened to see my mother suffering from immense joint pain especially in her ankles and feet. Her feet were always bandaged and she was always lying on the bed or sitting on the chair. Moving around to do even simple housework became difficult for her and as her daughter, I had to do something quick. Mum is a pres-school teacher and very active even at 60 years, however this pain that affected her arrived very suddenly. Luckily under the guidance of Masters Paalu and Satya Chong Wei Ling, I received support to guide my mother through a series of yoga postures where the focus was on the breath to alleviate the pain hopefully sending the aches and pains on their way for good.
The techniques described by Master Satya Chong Wei Ling followed a certain sequence – Pawanmuktasana which targeted these body parts: Toes , Ankles, Chin, Head, Knees, Legs, Spine, Shoulders and ended with the breathing technique of Nadi Shodhana. Translated from Sanskrit, Paawan means wind or vata in Arurvedic term, whilst mukta means liberation and asana means posture. Hence, it refers to yoga postures which liberate wind. Here are some examples of her routine: Inhale- clench the toes, Exhale- relax the toes, Inhale -point the ankles forward, Exhale- flex the ankles, Inhale – extend or straighten the knees , Exhale bring the knees back. Simply put, the asanas generated movement in the physical body- where there is movement there is life and where there is no movement there is decay or death. In these anti-rheumatic exercises her muscles are stimulated in a very systematic manner that is also very relaxing. There is minimum contraction to tone the lengthening reflex, just as there is the antagonists stretching to stimulate the stretching reflexes and maximum stretching is present to develop flexibility, releasing physical tension. Through flexion extension, rotation the muscles are stimulated and function is regulated. My mums joints are mobilized in easy ways to stimulate the circulation of synovial fluid, its secretion and absorption. This improves the process of lubrication and revitalizes the tissues. As the muscle pump maintains its shape, the veins are massaged thereby stimulating blood flow and circulation which allows adequate nutrition and elimination functions to take place in the whole body. The exercises not only stimulate the extrinsic lymphatic pump but helped her heal as it redistributes the prana and removes pranic blockages. She practises this routine twice a day- at 7 a.m in the morning, at 4 p.m in the afternoon. She has stopped bandaging her feet and her mobility has returned. As such she is walking, able to do the simple housework which was once so difficult and even got back into basic yoga. Yoga is truly beneficial!