Earlier most male reproductive problems were related to age factors. However today other factors are found to play culprits too: the most common ones being stress, poor or a nutrient deficient diet and irregular eating habits, certain chronic ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure, certain medications used to treat problems like insomnia, depression, high blood pressure and diabetes can also cause these issues.
The treatment for this has to be clearly multi-pronged and yoga must be part of this therapy. In classical yoga, there are several spiritual practices used to sublimate one's sexual energy that are also, intriguingly, used to treat problems in the uro-genital system.
To ensure the results are sustained, one needs to keep certain factors into account. The main one, being regularity of practice, and inclusion of pranayama or breathing practices, and meditation. Important poses like the vajrasana, the thunderbolt pose, must also be regularly practiced, with increased duration of time in the pose, to enhance the results further.
And once this pose is mastered, you must attempt variations of this pose and series created with this pose as the base. Focus on poses that stretch or apply pressure at the pelvic region. These work by improving the area of blood circulation, plus gently massage contracted muscles back to a state of normalcy and health.
Other poses that are well known and not included here are the butterfly (titali), fish (matsyasana), forward bend (paschimottanasana). In the advanced poses, you may include the headstand (shirsasana) also. Pelvic tilts, standing twists, lunges and their variations should be part of the deal.
Shameem Akthar, yoga acharya trained with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center, shows you five poses that can help you overcome this issue. Some poses require expert guidance.
For more of Shameem's yoga writings visit http://jaisivananda.blogspot.com. Shameem's second book Yoga in the workplace, with photographs by ace photographer Fawzan Husain, is now available at online shops and bookshops across the country. It is also available as e-book, with Kindle, Amazon.
Disclaimer: This column just shares the columnist's passion for yoga which is ideally learned under the guidance of an expert.
1. Ardha Ushtrasana (Half camel pose)
Sit on your knees. Use a cushion under them, if necessary. Place palms behind, as shown. Inhale. Tilt back, lifting hips up. Hold the final position, adjusting yourself to hold it with hips high, but knees firmly on ground. Ideally knees should be together, but this may take a few weeks to cultivate, till body acquires the flexibility for it.
Continue normal breathing throughout. Hold for ten seconds, or so. Repeat thrice.
Benefits: This is a gentler version of the full camel pose. It tones the entire body, gives powerful stretch along the hips, thighs and the pelvic region. Positively affects the urogenital system. Boost immunity and promotes breathing. Stimulates the mind, removing lethargy.
2. Udarakarshanasana (Abdominal twist)
Sit on your knees as shown. Let the right knee be higher than the left. Draw right knee with your left hand, towards yourself. Hold right hand behind, at waist, elbow pointing back as shown. Inhale. Exhaling, twist to the right side. Continue normal breathing. Deepen the twist. Hold for five to ten seconds. Release to repeat for the opposite side. You may do thrice for each side, alternately.
Benefits: Relives tension along the waist and pelvic region. Helps with weight loss, removes lethargy. Gives liver a gentle squeeze, aiding detox. Promotes uro-genital system health. Gives traction to the spine. Relieves constipation. Prepares you for advanced asanas.
3. Hasta-pada uttanasana (Hand to feet, full stretch pose)
Stand up straight, feet pointed ahead. Feet should be two feet apart. Hold the big toe of each foot with either hand. Inhale. Exhaling, squat low, so you are squatting between feet. This is one round. Do up to ten rounds.
Benefits: Boosts blood circulation to the pelvic region, managing the uro-genital system and the excretory system, making them efficient. Improves stamina. Tones legs and spine. Relieves constipation.
4. Ardhachandrasana (Crescent)
Kneel. Keep the right foot ahead, bending leg at knee. Left leg remains bent, at the back, as shown. Inhale, raise hands overhead, palms together, arms close to ears, as shown. Exhaling, lunge from the hips, moving the torso ahead. Then look up at the hands overhead. Maintain normal breathing throughout.
Return to starting pose. Repeat for the other leg.
Benefits: It gives a powerful toning effect at the pelvic region, boosting the health of the uro-genital system. Improves stamina. Stimulates the mind, removing dullness.
5. Ardhapadma viparitakarani mudra (Half lotus psychic union pose)
Lie on your back. Stretch out legs in front.
Inhale, lifting legs up. Exhaling, hoist hips up. Hold waist lightly with both hands. Continue normal breathing.
Bend right leg at the knee, placing foot high up the left thigh, as shown. Inhale. Exhaling, lower left leg as shown over head. Hold for as along as is comfortable, breathing normally. Release the leg, resting hips back on the mat. Then raise up into viparita karani mudra, the basic pose, before repeating the entire sequence for the other leg.
Benefits: Both the bent leg and the stretched leg provide a powerful massage to the pelvic region. It promotes blood circulation to this region, rectifying problems.