National workshop on stress and its management by yoga relaxation techniques 
- Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, Pondicherry

March 24, 2005  

A National Level workshop on, “Stress and its management by Yoga relaxation techniques” was organised by the Department of Physiology, JIPMER, Pondicherry from 16th to 18th of March 2005. 

More than 55 delegates were selected to participate in this workshop that had invited 17 eminent faculty members from all over India. The faculty members were from eminent medical and Yoga institutions of repute such as AIIMS, NIMHANS, JIPMER, ICYER, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Moraji Desai National Institute of Yoga, Aurobindo Ashram, Manipal Hospital and Dept of Psychology, Madras University.

The eminent Yogi TKV Desikachar of the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, Chennai presented a stimulating healing chant at the inauguration of the workshop along with his wife Menaka Desikachar. All the participants were bathed in the divine chanting as the vibrations of Nada Yoga unfolded through the chanting of Vedic mantras for healing as well as for the healer. The group chant of the ‘Asatoma’ Mantra created the spiritual ambiance that contributed to the success of the entire workshop.

Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani, Director ICYER presented an enlightening guest lecture entitled, “Divine Indian music and dance for the management of stress” that was followed by a cultural program by the Yoganjali Natyalayam troupe. “Fear is the key cause of stress due to dichotomy of spirit, and Indian music and dance help us realise that we are one with the Divine. Once we have this realisation, there is no cause for fear and thus all stress is lost,” said Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani. The director of JIPMER Dr KSVK Subba Rao praised Yognat’s performance as the best cultural program he had seen at JIPMER.

Meenakshi Devi Bhavanani and Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani were amongst the panelists on the open forum that was held to generate public interest in the science of Yoga. The panel that included Dr Madanmohan, Dr RL Bijilani, Dr Alok Pandey, Dr A Malathi, Dr KK Deepak, and Girish Jha tackled many questions on the role of Yoga in modern life and methods of practice. Dr KR Sethuraman and Dr Chandirasekaran joined the eminent panelists on another panel discussion held the next day where different questions on Yoga and its management of stress were discussed. 

Ten different invited talks were given in the three-day workshop in addition to many practical and practice sessions of yogic techniques to manage and combat stress. Dr G K Pal, Chairman, Scientific Committee, organised a session on experimental techniques for Yoga research, where the participants were exposed to numerous techniques such as autonomic testing and HRV analysis. A hand on training was imparted in small batches so that all participants took home a lot of the knowledge so gained by them.

Dr Madanmohan, Director-Professor and Head, Department of Physiology, JIPMER was the Yogic-scientific brain behind this much needed workshop and had put in months of dedicated work in planning every intricate detail to perfection. All participants and faculty appreciated the smoothness with which the entire workshop was held and felt that more such workshops and seminars needed to be organised to present the right picture of scientific Yoga to the world.

Dr Madanmohan was ably assisted in his work by his faculty, residents, scholars and staff at JIPMER including Dr GK Pal, Dr P Vijayalakshmi, Dr GS Gaur and Dr Pravati Pal. The senior and junior residents of the department guided by Dr ES Prakash and Dr Asmita Patil worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the workshop. Dr ES Prakash was highly commended for his sincere and dedicated organisation as well as compeering the workshop in a pleasing manner. P Pavitran, a pre-doctoral fellow provided great assistance to Dr Madanmohan in his Karma Yoga Seva as did the entire staff of the department.

A grant from the Central Council for Research In Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of India, New Delhi sponsored the workshop.

Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani is Chairman of Yoganjali Natyalayam and ICYER. He was honored with the prestigious Fellowship of the Indian Academy of Yoga at its Annual Meet held at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India from 12th to 14th March 2005.