Improving Lives through Samattvam (WHY Convention 2012)

Shri Yogendraji, in 1918, founded The Yoga Institute where through his pioneering work in Yoga Theraputics and Research, he helped cure many people from various kinds of diseases.
94 years later, his legacy still continues at the Institute in the form of many special programmes and activities. One such programme is Samattvam. Samattvam means a balanced state of mind. A balanced mind can free us from most problems. This is the very essence behind all the teachings of The Yoga Institute.

Samattvam started around 28 years ago. It is a programme where people suffering from various ailments come to The Yoga Institute, every Saturday from 2 to 5:30 pm to meet a special group of doctors and yoga counsellors. About 50 to 80 people visit Samattvam every week.

Smt. Hansaji explains the importance of Samattvam, “The whole day people go around doing their work. They have no idea about their health and well-being. They want to learn yoga, but if they go straight to the regular classes, they may not be able to explain their conditions clearly to the teachers. So to create awareness and understand the obvious underlying health or emotional issues, first a health oriented session is needed.”
“Diseases are psychosomatic, so it is important to also understand the level and intensity of the disease. We have General Physicians, Orthopaedic surgeons, Gynaecologists, Psychiatrists, Physiotherapists, etc. So, the best thing about Samattvam is that if a person has multiple problems, they can meet all different specialists and also get yoga counselling,” shares Mr. Shirish Ghurye, co-ordinator of Samattvam.
Registration and Introduction

Samattvam begins with registration where the patients inform about their past and current health conditions. The blood pressure of all patients is checked. “Many people have high B.P. but are not aware of it or do not take it seriously. This can lead to more complications in health like kidney failure, etc. These patients are not supposed to do certain Asanas,” informs Mr. Ghurye.

After registration, a short video is shown, where Smt. Hansaji gives a basic guidance of how every human should have a healthy approach to life, diet, routine, etc. Many people cannot change their lifestyles because of their work timings or other factors. This is why, after the video, Smt. Hansaji herself gives a talk giving them alternatives.
Medical Assessment
The patients are then made to meet the specific doctors. Here, their medical reports are analysed and doctors advise on the course of action.
Patients suffering from more of degenerative musculo-skeletal problems, Obesity and related problems like PCOD, Thyroid, etc. and lifestyle related diseases such as Hypertension, Diabetes and Cholesterol, etc. have become rampant.
Orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Suhas Kate shared that a man with Lumbar Canal Stenosis was unable to walk long distances but was able to walk after practicing the standard mobilizing exercises through Asanas. “Many cases which were advised surgeries were able to recover without surgery after coming to Samatvam,” he says.
Yoga Counselling

After medical assessment, patients are taken for yoga counselling. A problem’s root may be elsewhere, for example, in the relationship or anger, etc. Through counselling, patients can then understand and relate to how these are affecting their health.

“A few years ago, a couple on the verge of divorce came here. A combination of relationship and financial issues was creating problems for them. Fortunately, they followed the suggestions given here and joined the special class and couple’s class at the Institute. Now they are happily settled and even have a child. Everyone in the family has learnt to adjust to each other,” narrated yoga counsellor, Shri Sharad Waghmare.
Certain severe cases such as Schizophrenia, Epilepsy, etc. require life-long medication with management through yoga, shares Smt. Priyam Waghmare. In other cases such as Hypertension, medication is required in the beginning and is slowly reduced if one follows instructions diligently.

Those who live very far or cannot travel often to the Institute on accord of their health; can come for free follow-up sessions over a week, fortnight or even a year. There is strong emphasis on following the suggestions given. “Follow-up is a very progressive method. A couple of instructions are given; the patients do it and find that it helps them. Then the next time, something more is told to them. The focus is not just on Asanas, but also on daily habits. Some people who followed it have seen tremendous improvement,” explains Shri Sharad Chauhan who handles follow-up cases.

Instructions and Physical Practice

Following the meetings with doctors and counsellors, each patient is explained how to make small practical changes in his/her lifestyle, based on the recommendations made by Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra. They are then taught specific Asanasand Pranayamas that would help them personally.

Meeting with Dr. Jayadeva Yogendra
Very severe health problems with complications, such as a combination of mental, physical and emotional issues, multifarious diseases and post-operatives, etc. are finally taken to Dr. Jayadeva for his advice where he suggests whether a patient should go for medical intervention or manage it through yoga. “In cases like High B.P. they are asked to take regular medications, improve their dietary habits and practice more relaxation during the day,” says Dr Jayadeva.

In this way, through the combined effort of the Gurus and dedicated doctors and Sadhakas, a wonderful, selfless and life-changing programme like Samattvam is created.

On 25th and 26thDecember, 2012, as The Yoga Institute celebrates its 94th Foundation Day, with the World Householders’ Yoga Convention we invite you all to celebrate this kind of relentless and dedicated service to mankind.
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