The regular and conscientious practice of Hathayoga allows one to keep fit by preserving and expanding one’s physical and mental faculties. It slows down the ageing process and helps one remain strong and active, well up to old age.
The exercises indicated in the present book can be harmful if they are performed incorrectly and without the guidance of a qualified instructor. Before accepting a pupil, the teacher should be informed about the pupil’s state of health and he should offer the pupil necessary advice on how to carry out the exercises correctly.
Some exercises should not be performed by menstruating women; by those suffering from spinal problems or with hyper or hypotension, and with various other problems such as asthmatic and heart problem or orthopedic ailments like arthritis, ostoarthritis, muscle spasms etc. The exercises in question can be modified or replaced with more suitable yogic practices.
The exercises must not be practiced during digestion period. They should be performed before eating, or at least 4 1/2 hours after a substantial meal.
Obviously, a choice must be made from the exercises described in the present chapter. These should be practiced during a complete session of Hathayoga. The asanas marked with an asterisk (*) should not be performed during menstruation.
The duration and number of repetitions for each exercise should gradually be increased. In Strict accordance with the instructor’s guidance. At the end of a Yoga session, one should not feel tired, but exact the opposite, i.e. fresh and full of energy.
The following are the asanas, including one mudra and one bandha, which are recommended for fostering reproduction and combating impotence and sterility. Some of the postures reappear in either modified or original form in the chapters devoted to ‘For Easier Childbirth and a Healthy Baby: Asanas and Exercises During Pregnancy’.’
Asanas – The Yogic Postures
Sirshasana*: The Head-stand
All human activity, whether mental or physical, is governed by the brain, and the nervous system is directly linked to this organ.
By performing Sirshasana or the head-stand, one causes an abundant influx of arterial blood to the brain, thereby ‘irrigating’ and regenerating not only this organ but the entire nervous system.
Some of the most important endocrine glands, situated in the area above the heart hypophysis, pineal and thyroid, but particularly the first two-are regenerated and maintained in perfect health by the head-stand.
The digestive and excretory organs will also function better in cases where their malfunctioning is due to a poor circulation, the descent of organs or a generally deficient nervous system. This posture helps combat psycho-somatic imbalance and ensures that the organs remain highly active.
It has beneficial effects in cases of hernia and constipation. It also provides a remedy for seminal weakness. Since the testicles are situated between the bladder and the recturu, if these become overfull, especially the rectum of people who are constipated, nocturnal emissions may take place. The headstand is extremely effective as far as this problem is concerned.
Sirshasana also helps prevent premature ejaculation, where this is caused by congestion of the genital organs. It is also excellent for women suffering from certain uterine or ovarian troubles, or from the downward displacement of the womb.
When practicing Sirshasana, begin by remaining in this posture for five seconds, then gradually increase the length of time by fifteen seconds every week until a maximum of three minutes is reached. Be sure to practice this posture every day.
This asana should under no circumstances be performed by those with hyper or hypotension, weak cervical vertebrae, and also by those who are suffering from a heavy cold or have problems with their ears or eyes. Those with a weak heart should practice this posture with great care, and on no account should it be performed less than 30 minutes after strenuous exercise.
Sarvangasana* The Shoulder-stand
This posture differs from Sirshasana, in that the head and neck are in a different position. The pressing of the chin against the hollow area situated above the sternum allows this asana to produce a more powerful effect on the thyroid gland.
Like Sirshasana, it remedies seminal weakness in men, arising from the degeneration of the testes, and gives a beneficial effect on the uterus and ovaries in women. It also ensures the correct functioning of the reproductory glands in both sexes.
Sarvangasana is the ideal posture for combating female barrenness. It is also recommended for those suffering from ptosis or downward displacement of the womb.
Sarvangasana is the asana par excellence for counteracting the faulty functioning of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, and for revitalizing them. Situated in the neck region, these glands play a part in the correct functioning of the metabolism, influence one’s state of mind, and produce a considerable effect on the sexual maturing process. This posture enables one to remain active to a great age.
The restrictions which apply to Sirshasana also apply to Sarvangasana. The exercise can be repeated once or twice in succession for fifteen seconds to three minutes. The duration must be increased gradually.
Matsyasana-The Fish Posture
This posiure completes the preceding one i.e. Sarvangasana. It should be done for five seconds to one minute (i.e., one third of the time spent in Sarvangasana). This asana is usually performed once. It greatly helps the correct functioning of the thyroid gland (producing a tonic effect on it) and the endocrine system. It also eases constipation and in the case of women, ensures a healthy uterus.
Viparita Karani – The Inverted Position
This inverted posture revitalizes the entire organism. It is easier to perform than the Sirshasana and the Sarvangasana. It combines the effects of both Sirshasana and Sarvangasana, though less powerfully. Viparita Karani can be practiced to replace both of them.
Viparita Karani can be practiced one or two times in succession, lasting for fifteen seconds to three minutes the duration should be increased gradually. It should not be performed by those suffering from high blood pressure.
Sirshasana, Sarvangasana and Viparita Karani are inverted positions which have a direct action on the brain, the thyroid and other endocrine glands. This action prevents premature aging and rejuvenates the cells. These yogic postures are among the most important as far as fostering procereation is concerned.
The following asanas produce a far-reaching action on the pelvic and sacro-lumbar regions, as well as on the abdominal organs. They improve the circulation, thereby producing a tonic effect on the nerves connected to the sexual organs, and on the male and female reproductory glands. These asanas can therefore provide a remedy, in certain cases, for impotence and sterility.
Halasana – The Plough Posture
This posture tones up the nerves of the spine linked to the sexual organs and the neuro-muscular system of the pelvic region. It combats dyspepsia and constipation, and has a beneficial effect on the liver. Halasana also regenerates the thyroid gland-in the third stage of this posture, the chin presses against the hollow region at the top of the sternum.
In addition, this asana strengthens -he male and female reproductory glands. It can be practiced two or three times in succession for the duration of five seconds to one minute.
Bhujangasana – The Cobra Posture
This posture helps the blood circulation, regenerates the spinal nerves, the sympathetic nervous system, and remedies insomnia. It combats flatulence and digestive problems, and, in the case of women, ensures a healthy uterus and ovaries. This asana also helps correct irregular menstruation.
Bhujangasana is performed two to five times over a period of five to ten seconds.
Dhanurasana – The Bow Posture
This posture helps exercise the spinal column, the abdominal muscles and the articulation of the hips. It produces a tonic effect on the pelvic region and the digestive organs. It helps regenerate the male prostate gland, and the endocrine glands and genital organs of both sexes. It is also recommended to women as a way of ensuring proper functioning of uterus and ovaries. Dhanurasana can be performed two to five times for five seconds.
Salabhasana – and Ardha-Salabhasana
The Locust Posture and The Half-Locust Posture
These two postures have an invigorating effect on the pelvic and abdominal regions, and on the male and female sexual organs. They produce a beneficial action on the urogenital system, the stomach and the intestines. Salabhasana and Ardha-Salabhasana ensure, in women, correct functioning of theovaries and that menstruation is regular and painless. They should be practiced two to five times in succession for several seconds.
The Cobra, Locust, Half-Locust and Bow postures are an excellent means of combating female sterility resulting from the poor functioning of the reproductive organs and irregular menstruation.
Paschimottanasana – The Posterior Stretching Posture
This posture is good for the sciatic nerve and especially beneficial to the sacro-lumbar pelvic and abdominal regions, in -which it tones up the blood circulation. It is an useful way of combating constipation and dyspepsia. It revitalises the nerves connected to the genital organs as well as the sexual glands of both sexes. This asana is known-in India for its tonic effect on the organism as a whole and for remedying impotence. It is recommended as a way of curing seminal weakness and controlling sexual energy. Paschimottanasana is performed two to five times for five to ten seconds.
Janusirasana – The Knee-and-Head Posture
This posture is beneficial to the nerves of the spinal column which are linked to the genital organs. It is also good for the sciatic nerve, and the sacro-lumbar and pelvic regions. In addition, this asana promotes health to the prostate gland and helps cure prostatic enlargement problems. It also stimulates. the abdominal organs.
In the case of women, this posture strengthens the uterine muscles and Fallopian tubes, while at the same time improving the functioning of the ovaries.
janusirasana should be repeated two or three times on either side for five seconds.
Supta-Vajrasana – The Supine Pelvic Posture
This posture produces a highly revitaliszing effect on the reproductive organs and the entire pelvic region. It is also a powerful means of fighting constipation. The asana is performed two times in succession for fifteen to thirty seconds.
Ardha-Matsyendrasana – The Half-Matsyendra Posture
This posture is effective against constipation and dyspepsia. It is very effective against an enlarged and congested liver and spleen, and revitalises the functioning of the kidneys, bladder and genital organs.
It guards against enlargement of the prostate gland, and continues to rejuvenate the spinal column and reproductive organs until quite late in life. When combined with some other postures, the tonic effects of this asana is increased.
Ardha-Matsyendrasana should be performed two or three times in succession for five to fifteen seconds on either side.
Badha-Konasana – The Yoga-Mudra Feet joined
This posture stimulates the abdominal organs and the sacro-lumbar region, and ensures the correct functioning of the sexual organs. It helps ensure regular menstruation, and is recommended to those suffering from urinary problems.
Badha-Konasana should be repeated two or three times in succession for five to ten seconds.
Yoga-Mudra – The Symbol of Yoga
This exercise stimulates the brain by provoking an influx of fresh blood. It has a rejuvenating effect on the coccygeal (i.e. tail-end of spinal column) nerves and on the sacral and lumbar plexus. It ensures the correct functioning of the abdominal organs and combats constipation. This asana also revitalises the male and female genital organs.
This Mudra remedies nocturnal emissions and seminal weakness. It also fosters control of sexual energy. Yogamudra plays a vital part in the spiritual (esoteric) practice of Hathayoga.
Uddiyana-Bandha – The Raising of the Diaphragm
Uddiyana means raising up’ and Bandha means ‘voluntary contraction of a group of muscles.’ This Bandha helps purify the organism, stimulate the digestive organs, and fight against constipation and dyspepsia. It ensures proper functioning of the liver, pancreas, suprarenal glands and genital organs.
This exercise revitalises the sacral and solar (lumbar) plexus-the latter of which controls the principal internal organs. The solar plexus is a vital center connected with the sympathetic nervous system, a fact, which explains why it also plays such an important part in the control of our emotions. It is the place where our vital energy-Prana is stored.
As its name suggests, the plexus in question is the sun of our nervous system. When functioning properly, it radiates strength and energy throughout the body.
Uddiyana-Banda is of great importance to the spiritual. practice of Hathayoga. It should always be performed on an empty stomach, and is not recommended to those with high or low blood pressure or with serious problems affecting the blood circulation or the abdominal region. This Bandha may be repeated two to five times for five seconds.
As may be seen, the Asanas, the Mudra and the Bandha we have selected for the present chapter revitalise the sexual glands and organs, the thyroid, tile nerves, and other organs which play an important part in reproduction.
We must emphasize however, that one cannot expect the body and reproductive organs to function correctly if one overworks, smokes, drinks too much tea, coffee or alcohol, takes drugs, fails to eat a balanced diet, or indulges in emotional or sexual excess.
It is a well-known fact that the emotions exercise a considerable influence over the nervous system and the endocrine glands, and, by extension, the entire organism. Excessive emotion or passion is harmful.