‘Yoga can cure every disease, but don’t universalise’

Yoga therapy can cure every disease and disorder, even cancer, says a Delhi-based yoga therapist but warns against the mass teaching of yoga – including popular pranayams like kapalbhati and anulom vilom – saying they “can cause complications”.

“Yoga cannot be universalised…like prescribing a paracetamol tablet,” says Subhash Sharma, a yoga therapist who spent 19 years in a gurukul in Rajasthan and is also a post-graduate from the Kasturba Medical College, Manipal.

Sharma said: “People have different physiologies and each person’s response to yoga is individualistic. Therefore, there can’t be standardisation of yoga for any particular disorder.”

Sharma, who describes himself as a pioneering yoga therapist and runs a busy practice in south Delhi, says even a step-by-step book on yoga can be “fatal”.

Recounting a particular case, he says one gentleman had come to him with a problem – he had lost the sensation of the nerves to the anus that tell us when to pass faeces.

“He had learnt the steps from a book and started practising ‘nauli kriya’, or rotating of the intestines. This paralysed the nerves to the anus. He did not know when he was passing stools, he would only make out from the bad smell.”

Bhastrika, a popular yogic pranayam that many people do while following an expert on television, can cause asthma, warns Sharma.

“In bhastrika pranayam you pump the lungs. It can hyperventilate the lungs and people can develop asthma.”

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