Yoga Therapy Changing Lives in Bhopal

Yoga therapy has been used to help gas survivors since Sambhavna first opened in 1994

Yoga Therapy, offered at the Sambhavna clinic in Bhopal, is changing the lives of women survivors of the 1984 gas disaster. Among the survivors, Women in Bhopal have been particularly badly affected by the contamination and, in addition to respiratory, musculo-skeletal and neurological health complications experienced as a result of the disaster, thousands of women are also affected by gynaecological and endocrinal problems. In a city where many Muslim and Hindu women still wear the veil, these intimate matters are not readily discussed with strangers.

At the Sambhavna Trust Clinic, many patients receiving free care had thought the relief from their pain and health complications could come only in the form of a pill. But Yoga’s remarkable efficacy as a drug-free therapy has had tremendous impacts on the lives of Bhopali women of all ages. Yoga costs nothing, and once learned can be practised outside the clinic. Yoga calls for the patient to be an active participant in her own healing.

The Sambhavna Trust Clinic carried out a study of how Yoga has affected the menstrual problems of gas-affected women. The sample was of women between 18 and 38 years old who were divided into a test group and control group. In the month before the study began the women in the test group received a month’s training in specified Yoga asanas. After this, they took no medicine for their menstrual problems for six months, only practising Yoga.

The control group took medicine and no Yoga. All the women in the test group practised a special set of asanas. Surya Namaskara, which improves transmission of ‘vital air’ in the body and helps balance the nervous system and the endocrine, and Bhujangasana, Shalabha Asana, Dhanurasana and Ushtrasana, which mainly affect the ligaments and muscles of the pelvic region.

When the study period ended, the women brought their menstrual charts to the clinic hidden in the folds of their saris and shared them in complete privacy. The results were striking. Women in the control group showed no particular improvement in the regularity of their cycles or feelings of pain. However, in the test group more than half the women with abnormal cycles reported that they had now regulated- and most of them also reported significant relief from pain.

The Sambhavna clinic continues to break new ground by combining traditional medicinal practices like Yoga with modern medicine to provide a program of holistic healing for gas survivors. If you are interested in supporting their work you can join our Yoga for Bhopal program, where yoga studios and instructors in the UK put on fundraising yoga events to support the work at Sambhavna clinic.

Learn more about Yoga for Bhopal: https://www.bhopal.org/yogaforbhopal/

Yoga therapy at Sambhavna today follows the same traditional techniques

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We believe Dow must finally accept responsibility for Bhopal. Until then, The Bhopal Medical Appeal funds two award-winning clinics in the city. Both offer free, first-class care to victims of the gas disaster or the ongoing water contamination. The survivors have nowhere else left to turn – please help if you can.