Ulrich Koch is a doctor, yoga teacher and head of the homeopathic practice in the Psychiatric Institute Outpatient Clinic in Hofheim. He is a pioneer in the research and clinical application of yoga and meditation for people with mental disorders.
Epigenetics is a still quite new discipline of biology and medicine, which deals with the readiness and activity of a gene at a certain point in time. Whereas the actual hereditary characteristics are fixed in the DNA (Prakriti), the activation or deactivation of the individual genetically laid down functions is controlled by a variety of mechanisms (Vikriti). Epigenetic mechanisms thus control gene expression and are continuously modulated by various environmental influences up to specific behavioral patterns. This mainly serves a constant adaptation to changing environmental conditions in order to keep the organism as responsive, stable and healthy as possible. These processes are specific to the moment, plastic and reversible. They are predominantly controlled by four main factors:
Epigenetic information is also hereditary and thus reactions to special living conditions, e.g. hunger, excessive calorie intake or traumatic experiences, can be passed on over generations, whereby the stronger the respective influence was, the more stable the epigenetic genetic information also behaves in the offspring.
From these connections, a health-promoting way of dealing with stress factors, as suggested by Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years, can be directly derived: Vihara, Ahara and the therapeutic purification procedures (e.g. Pancha Karma), also to prepare both parents for offspring planning, as well as yoga and meditation can play an important role here.
The lecture will briefly introduce the individual mechanisms of epigenetic regulation with their respective mode of operation, show the changes caused by the above-mentioned main factors and also in the course of a life span, and present the specific treatment approaches of Ayurveda with their effects on the epigenome.
The purification of the spirit
Ulrich Koch MD
In Yoga and Ayurveda, cleansing processes are essential for spiritual development as well as physical health. A holistic way of life and a balance of the inner forces of Dosha and Guna are the basis of a healthy life. Yoga offers many methods and techniques on the mental level to clear the mind and to bring thoughts to rest. Ayurveda offers the knowledge to remove obstacles and ama on the physical level to create the basis for the development of a calm mind. The most important methods of purification and their interaction for mental clarity and a fulfilled life will be presented and practically illustrated with simple exercises and methods suitable for everyday life. Yoga, meditation and lifestyle modifications are the main focus.
The clinical use of Yoga and the current state of research
Ulrich Koch MD
In recent years, lifestyle modification, relaxation techniques and meditation have become increasingly important in the medical treatment of many internal, orthopaedic and mental illnesses. There has been a shift towards traditional healing methods, and interest in yoga and research into its possible applications has increased considerably.
The study results, which are predominantly positive, will be summarised and the possible applications and connections to the Ayurvedic treatment approach will be explained by way of example. Individualisation and integration into a holistic treatment concept will be presented in a practical way. With the expansion of mainstream medicine through yoga and Ayurveda, self-responsible health care and the activation of self-healing powers find their way into the consciousness of many people, but also into university medicine in the western world.
Sattvavajaya Chikitsa is the general term for psychotherapeutic methods used in Ayurvedic treatment. Literally this means to gain control over the mind and thus to restrain the senses from unwholesome influences and to increase Sattva. This psycho-spiritual approach unites many different techniques on the basis of the Vedic conception of man without combining them into a unitary concept. As helpful as this method is for stabilization and spiritual development, it does not provide any concrete approaches for dealing with and solving concrete problems and inner conflicts. Thus western psychology and the Ayurvedic approach can complement each other to form a more comprehensive therapy system.