Ashtanga Yoga as energy medicine
“In every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accomplished by moving energy.” – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Biochemist / Nobel Prize Winner.
The practice of Yoga, Tai-Chi, Qi Gong, and the practice of TCM are energy practices.
According to TCM there are 14 channels that originate from the Chong Mai. In Ayurveda the Chong Mai is named the Sushumna Nadi. From the Chong Mai two channels branch from the Chong and are known as the Ren Mai and Du Mai, or the Ida and Pingala respectively in Ayurveda. These channels are the core of our bodies development and the root of our essence.
In TCM the outer layers or channels deal with the lower levels of Maslow’s Heigharcy of needs and the chakras related to digestion, while the inner channels protect the heart and the essence of our beings.
As the layers descend we focus on higher level needs including reproduction. In order for these deeper layers to be addressed we must make sure that the individual is healthy enough to reproduce. Scientifically across the board this is know as survival of the fittest, Darwin’s theory of evolution.
In order for reproduction to take place the individual need to be physically and emotionally healthy. There are several contributing factors that lead to impotency however they all fall under two main categories; poor digestive health, and emotional health.
When a body is in poor health they are unable to digest nutrients properly. Without proper nutrients the body goes into self-preservation mode. The body works to establish the lower levels of Maslow’s needs. Reproduction is not a necessary function for survival.
If the body is receiving enough nutrients but not the proper ones to thrive the body will still operate on survival mode. Sex hormones are transported throughout the body in cholesterol. On a low cholesterol diet, hormones that control ovulation, and the production of semen are unable to reach their target organ, the ovaries and gonads.
If a person has excessive levels of HDL cholesterol, this can reduce blood supply to these organs by blocking arteries and veins. This can also lead to a taxation on the liver as it needs to produce more bile to breakdown complex fat molecules for absorption and assimilation into the body.
Abstaining from sex is a traditional Yogic practice, brahmacharya. Like fasting it can be a valuable tool for cleansing and for learning about one’s self. However, the tool can be misused. Each individual is different in their level of sexual need. Fasting from food or sex should never be forced upon an individual and should arise from the individual feelings of a need for self-discipline. On the opposite end of the spectrum, excessive sex can drain the individuals reserve energy.
Another physical taxation on the body’s ability for reproduction is low back pain. Chronic low back pain effects the functions of the kidneys and the Foot Jue Yin organ. The kidneys are physically located in the low back and a portion of the Foot Jue Yin channel passes by the surface there. Chronic kidney disease causes menstrual irregularities, amenorrhea, and can lead to infertility.**** It is important to exercise and stretch this area to avoid low back pain, sexual and reproductive problems.
Factors that contribute to poor emotional health around impotency relate to our particular circumstances in life. When two people engaged in a sexual relationship are unresponsive or unable to have a level of openness about their expectations, insecurities and fears, a level of dissatisfaction is inevitable.
Men, often feel pressured to preform or act in a certain way during intercourse. This often results in prematurely ejaculating without conscious control. Men who often fantasize about sex can build up semen faster causing them to ejaculating earlier during intercourse.
In women vaginal infections, and menstrual cramps can be an expression of emotional stress and pressure. The inability of a women to orgasm can sometimes be attributed to stress and pressure.
In both of these instances for men and women, feelings of; guilt, self-doubt, and fear can be linked back to their Foot Shao Yin organ. The organ that houses our essence and is the original fire.
In the case of bramacharya, when strict morals are forced upon an individual and do not originate from their own desire for self-discipline, this can result in repressed anger. Anger that is pushed down and held inside effects the Foot Jue Yin organ and it’s functions in reproduction by stagnating Qi.
Through the practice of Ashtanga Yoga an individuals digestive health can improve by following the sequence. As a result of following the sequence the individual often adapts a diet that includes foods that are pure, clean, conscious, and energy-containing to assist the body in the development of their practice. As the individuals health improves their physical asana practice also improves allowing them to move beyond the self-survival mode and into Maslow’s next level of self-fulfillment needs, reproduction.