The endocrine system also suffers from protracted tension. In our body we have an instinctive mechanism which prepares the body for maximum alertness and efficiency during emergency situations; it is often called the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism. This mechanism is part of the endocrine system. When we make an emotional response, a chemical called adrenaline is automatically injected into the bloodstream from the adrenal glands. The adrenaline causes contraction of the muscles of the main limbs, constriction and dilation of various blood vessels, increases the heart and respiration rate, stops or reduces the digestive processes and so forth. This reaction is intended for use only in emergencies, but the stressful, competitive modern way of life makes mam people regard almost every situation as a crisis. It might be fear of the boss, of loss of respect in the eyes of friends and neighbours, fear of not being able to pay bills, fear of one’s wife or husband and so forth. Under these circumstances, an individual is always tense, liable to sudden fluctuations of mood and in an almost continual state of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. This leads to a vicious circle, since adrenaline is constantly pumped into the bloodstream, maintaining a high state of physical and mental tension.
The whole endocrine system is forced to function at a higher level to cope with the corresponding high functioning level of the body. This can eventually lead to a breakdown :n a part of the endocrine system, resulting in common ailments such as diabetes, sterility, etc. Moreover, as the body weakens through tension, it becomes more vulnerable to attack by bacterial diseases.
Mental tension brings many profound changes in the body. We have only mentioned a few simplified examples. The important question is: How can this tension be removed or prevented? Many people use tranquillizers as the answer. But tranquillizers further interfere with the normal functions of the body. They may bring temporary peace of mind, but can also produce negative side effects. Moreover, tranquillizers cannot remove the root cause of tension; they can only treat the symptoms. They do not bring permanent relief.
We believe that the best method of reducing tension and thereby eliminating various diseases is the practice of yoga, in particular yoga nidra. We regard yoga nidra as a yogic tranquillizer. It is a natural method of relaxing the mind and body, and combating disease.