Thursday, September 25, 2008



Dr. Nagarathna

Family, in general refers to a group of closely knit individuals, caring for one another. Family health refers to the health of its individual members. By health we mean holistic well-being at a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. We shall see how yoga helps us to achieve this.

It is important to realize that all health related problems that a person faces have their origins in his mind. So inter-personal relationships between family members have the potential to affect family health because they affect the minds of the individuals involved. Factors which cause problems in inter-personal relationships are ego and fast emotions (like anger, anxiety etc.).So we conclude that factors such as ego and fast emotions have a direct and negative effect on family health. So the key to positive family health lies in defeating ego and slowing down emotions. Yoga, thankfully provides this key.

Yoga is a way to master our mind. It helps us to reduce our ego and control our emotions. Here its important to understand that in a family , emotions are necessary(like a father getting angry with a errant child etc.). Yoga helps us to master our emotions. The above said benefits can be achieved by any of the four paths of yoga, namely Bhakti Yoga(path of pure love),Gnana yoga(path of philosophy),Raja Yoga( path of psychic control) and Karma Yoga(path of service).

Bhakti Yoga is pure love which can be acquired through self-surrender. There are various spiritual practices like puja, bhajan and chanting through which one can grow in Bhakti Yoga. Even loving one’s relatives, neighbors even nation can help in growth of Bhakti. Bhakti helps us to expand our personality to the entire universe(vasudha iva kutumbakam).It helps us to change our mentality from I-ness to We-ness. Bhakti helps us to defeat ego and control our emotions.It helps to smoothen out our mind and thus reduce inter-personal frictions. It therefore leads to positive family health.

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