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SCIENTIFIC MECHANISM OF PRACTISING YOGA

Ramesh Kumar

INTRODUCTION
Yoga is the mind-body workout that enables individuals to attain and maintain a
dynamic sense of physical, mental wellbeing and achieve a state, wherein physical
homeostasis and mental equanimity occurs. In India Yoga was being taught and
practised for thousands of years. Hence Yoga may be considered as the original mind-
body natural medicine.

Physics of Yoga

Through the work of Max Planck, Einstein, Louis de Broglie, Arthur Compton, Niels
Bohr and many others, current scientific theory holds that all particles (gross ) have a
wave nature (subtle form of matter ) and vice versa.[1] As we move from gross to
subtle, the laws of Physics become more generalized and encompassing. In science
generalized laws contain the grosser laws; often, the subtler laws reduce themselves to
grosser laws. The theory of relativity is totally different when the velocity of particles
reaches the velocity of light. But at normal speed, the laws reduce to Newtonian laws [2]

In the same way wave particle duality exist in the human body. The physical body is
the grosser form and the mind thoughts, ego, intellect and consciousness are in subtler
form. The universe itself consists of five gross elements. The five gross elements that
make up the universe including living beings as per Vedic system are called
panchabhutas. These are

1 Earth and its resources (Prithivi )
2 Air/ Atmosphere (Vayu ),
3 Fire/ Sun (Agni),
4 Water/ Ocean (Jal) and
5 Space/ Ether (Akasa),

The five subtle elements are nature sheaths (koshas meaning treasure) provided as gift
by nature to mankind [3]. These are

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1 Physical Sheath (Anamaya Kosha)

The first of the five koshas is anamaya kosha—the subtle body (also called human
aura/ astral body). Purification, refinement and development of annamaya kosha is
possible through the methods of Yoga and meditation.[3]

2 Pranamaya Kosha
The second of the five koshas is pranamaya kosha—the vital energy body, the panic
energy that keeps universe in motion and physical human body alive. Pranamaya
kosha is purified through the practice of pranayama. Pranayama is regulation of
breathing and synchronising with respiration. It makes the pranic energy penetrate each
and every cell and fibre of the body.

3 Manomaya Kosha

The third of the five koshas is manomaya kosha—the mind thoughts and
emotions that play a vital role in the quality of life and character of an individual. There
are three divisions of the human mind the conscious mind, the subconscious mind and
the unconscious mind. The three together are called manas in Vedanta. These are
Perception, cognition and understanding and are the basic and primary qualities of the
mind. We put this mind in touch with the cosmic mind of the supreme power, the
intelligent designer of the universe, through yoga.

4 Vijnanamaya Kosha

The fourth of the five koshas is vijnanamaya kosha—the intellect sheath, the
experience element. Vijnana means knowledge or awareness, inner perception or
experience. The Universal knowledge comes to the conscious mind through
vijnanamaya kosha or the psychic mind on practising yoga. [3]

5 Anandamaya Kosha (bliss sheath)
The last of the five koshas is anandamaya kosha—the bliss sheath,it is the
causal dimension from where all other sheaths emerge. This is the spiritual energy one
possesses and experiences the eternal bliss, a perfect state of peace, comfort, stability
and carefree nature. This svarupa (True Self ) is the ultimate foundation of all life,
intelligence and higher faculties and one attains thru regular practie of Yoga and by
remaining detached from sensory pleasures. [4]

PRANIC ENERGY

Pranic energy or bioplasmic energy is in constant motion throughout life. It is present
in human beings, animals, herbs or trees,oceans and mountains, minerals and bacteria

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etc. The tiniest part of an atom i.e. the space between orbits of electrons, protons and
neutrons is ether while the inertia behind motion of electrons is prana. Wherever there is
prana there is movement, growth, change and activity and where there is no prana
there is no activity. When we die the body dissipates because there is no prana left.

The power of Prana, the life force, has been used in pranic healing in bringing
significant favorable changes in cancer cells published by Gloria Gronowicz[5] from the
University of Connecticut are empirical proof of the above mentioned, holding great
promise of bringing these higher capacities of powered up prana in human systems, to
deal with subtle and modern diseases such as cancer and HIV.

What is Yoga

Yoga is an ancient Indian culture for physical, mental, and spiritual development. The
word " yoga" is derived from the Sanskrit root, " yuj", meaning to bind, join, and yoke.
This reflection of the union of the body, mind, and spirit is what differentiates yoga from
general exercise programs. Both modern physics and ancient yoga move absolutely
parallel to each other in explaining the reality of matter and consciousness.Body, mind
and spirit are interconnected, interrelated and interpenetrating.

Yoga has been found to be effective in controlling Psycho- somatic (both body and
mind) healing of diseases like blood pressure, acidity, digestive, respiratory , excretory
systems, circulatory systems ,diabetes, headache etc. [6] Yoga is good for modern
times for depression, neurosis, mental tensions, insomnia [7] . Yoga is ocean of
great psychic powers hidden within us. Peace or desire or Kama or Violence
originates from Mind. Practice of Yog Sadhana ( elements of Yoga practices )
leads to Mind Changer from Violence to Non Violence

The following are the mechanisms through which Yoga can be said to work as an
integrated mind-body medicine:

ELEMENTS OF YOGA (Yog Sadhnas )

Yog sadhnas are derived from Ashtang Yoga [8] which is practice of

1 Shatkarma (Cleaning of body )
2 Pranayam (Aligning respiration with prana )
3 Asanas /Yoga Postures
4 Ethics ( Yam / Niyam )
5 Pratyahar (Control of sense organs - comes thru advance stage of Yam /Niyam
Observance)
6 Concentration of Mind/ Dharna (advance stage of Pratyahar )
7 Meditation/ Dhyan (Advance stage of Concentration )
8 Enlightenment /Nirvana/ samadhi (Advance stage of Meditation)

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SHATKARAMAS
Most of the lifestyle diseases occur thru air pollution thru nose and indigestion
(stomach ). In yog sadhana a sadhak, does cleaning of both nasal system and stomach,
thru Jal Neti- a process of cleaning nasal cavity by warm saline water and kunjal- a
process of cleaning stomach by warm water, respectively. This enables a Yogi (one
who practices yoga) to stay physically fit and stay away from most of common diseases.
[8]

PRANAYAM
Pranayam is regulation of breathing in, breathing out and holding of breath in a
regular defined format. Practice of Pranayam improves oxygenation, rejuvenate brain
cells and all organs, cultivate immunity to environmental pressures . Our lungs are
porous and have million of aircells (air sacs / alveoli ), which are filled with air during
breathing. In normal breathing, only one third air sacs (alveoli ) are open. During
pranayam, almost all air sacs/ alveoli get active ,open out and diffusion of carbon
dioxide and oxygen is more efficient, thus making lungs and heart to stay healthy .[9]

BENEFITS of PRANAYAMA

Pranayama prolongs life and strengthens heart, lungs and brain.[10]. Pranayama also
aligns vital life force with body respiration and kills evil thoughts and deeds thus
purifying the mind actions. It lets mind remain focused, delights the consciousness,
brings sweetness in the speech and purifies blood

The arteries and veins get lined with calcium ,toxins and inside walls get rough ,getting
narrow and this leads to less supply of blood to body organs thus making them sick or
under perform or leading to blockage of arteries /veins. Pranayam cleans toxins
produced by body at celluar levels thru oxygenation and Cell function improves.[9]

The mind and emotions are related to the breathing pattern and slowing down of the
breathing process influences autonomic functioning, metabolic processes as well as
emotional responses.

YOGA POSTURES (ASANAS )
Asanas in various postures keep our body flexible, joints lubricated and muscles
strong. Asanas are physical postures which stretch and strengthen different parts of the
body, massaging and bringing fresh blood to the internal organs while rejevunating the
nervous system and lubricating the joints, muscles, and ligaments. Each asana is
purported to have different effects. Some are stimulatory to the nervous and circulatory
systems, some develop coordination and concentration, while others have a calming
effect on the body.[11]

The combination of shat-karmas + asanas + pranayama also called Hath Yoga, has a
unique power to cleanse wastes out of the body. No other system has so wide- ranging

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impact on human body, mind, and intelligence. Practice of asanas is also very useful
to enable a Yogi to sit comfortably for longer hours in meditation.

Yam / Niyam (ETHICS )

The science of Yoga considers every aspect of human life. While considering an
individual, Yoga has thought of both the body as well as the mind. As an individual is
a subject belonging to the society, Yoga as a science, has considered the society as
well.

Yam and Niyama are social aspects and individual aspects of good conduct to be
practiced individually as well as in relation to the society. Yamas are social and
universal virtues and obligations for a sustainable society. The five elements of yam are
adoption of love /nonviolence , truth, non-stealing, celibacy and non-greed.

Niyams are personal discipline, prohibitions and abstentions. These are also five
cleanliness, contentment, austerity, study / introspection of self and study of good
scriptures and dedication and faith in supreme power.[8]

Adoption of yam and niyam over a prolong period transforms the life of a person and
is the first step on the righteous path of Yoga and leads to better Management of
ego ,intellect, mind and consciousness for a successful life.

As per following Yoga sutra 1.2 from Patanajali [4] India
 “Yogasgchritvritti nirodhah”


That means the self- realization occurs thru management and coordination between
mind, intellect, consciousness, physical body and the ego. Self-realization leads to self-
transformation. The perfect coordination is achieved thru yoga and meditation and leads
to pure mind and pure thoughts.

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Yoga and meditation is found to have been associated with a positive correlation
between acute increases in thalamic GABA levels. GABA is so essential for feeling
happy and relaxed, it’s been called “nature’s Valium.”[12]

After mastering Yam and Niyam a yogi (one who practices Yog sadhna ) moves to next
higher path of Yoga and that is Pratyahar ( Withdrawal/ Detachment )

Pratyahar Withdrawal of mind from desires /feelings/emotions, passions/greed
/jealousy. The five enemies of us are ego, lust, anger, greed, attachment. Main cause
of unrest in self ,family relations, society ,nation and world is due to egoism. Pratyahar
/detachment is easily achieved when one starts getting mastery on observance of Yam
and Niyam in his daily routine life. We can say the advance stage of Yam and Niyam
leads one to Pratyahaar. Next stage on path of yoga is concentration.

Concentration /Dhaarna - It is practice of concentrating mind on an object or process
.The mind is full of thousands of thoughts. Concentration enables us to filter out
unwanted thought and focus on desired target. The filtration of thought waves of mind
and making thoughts zero, enables a Yogi to purify his consciousness and enables him
to meditate.

Once a sadhak starts following Yam and Niyams and pratyahar is achieved by him he
can sit to practice for meditation for longer periods.

Meditation/ Dhyan _ This is next level of Yogi, where he can sit in concentration
continuous for longer periods. Success is assured if one continues to do yog sadhans
as above . A Yogi realizes self, gets bliss from supreme soul and is able to know more
about self.

Enlightenment – When a Yog Sadhak reaches a state of meditation where he can sit
and meditate for longer hours without getting distracted and feeling of discomfort, he
gets enlightenment and gets knowledge of god ,universe and nature. However, the
materialistic society around which we live, it is very difficult to attain this stage now a
days.

But there are several practitioners of meditation who have experienced divine blessings
and transformed their life to a more calm, cool, successful and contented state. The
author has also experienced the benefits of Yog sadhna in transforming his life to more
contented, peaceful, harmonious and selfless life now than it was in the past.

BENEFITS OF YOGA

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Lifestyle changes are leading to early onset of diseases at young age. Urban
Environment and Pollution, the late night eating, junk food, erratic work timings, the
wide use of mobile, Computers ,TV ,Gadgets etc is leading to onset of diseases at
very young age like Spondylitis , back pain ,eye sight , migraine, heart attacks , cancer
,obesity , hyper acidity ,diabetes, asthma, arthritis etc However, these diseases are
curable thru practice of Yog Sadhnas.

Benefit of yoga in general are

1 Cleanses the accumulated toxins through various shatkarmas / shuddi kriyas.
And prevents the various infections that may occur when pathogens stagnate therein.

2 Practice of Yog sadhnas improves control over autonomic respiratory
mechanisms, and enhances emotional stability.

3 Integrates body movements with the respiration thus creating psychosomatic
harmony.

4 With meditation practice one is able to focus the mind positively on activities
being done, thus enhancing energy flow.

5 Yoga works towards restoration of normalcy in all systems of the human body
with special emphasis on the psycho-neuro-immuno-endocrine axis. Yoga has both a
preventive as well as promotive role in the healthcare of our masses. It is also
inexpensive and can be used with other systems of medicine in an integrated manner to
benefit patients.[11]

6 Consistent yoga practice improves depression and can lead to significant increase in
serotonin levels, the happy hormones and increase immune system.

7 One of the main goals of yoga is to achieve tranquility of the mind and create a sense
of well-being, feelings of relaxation, improved self-confidence, improved efficiency,
increased attentiveness, lowered irritability, and an optimistic outlook on life.[11]

8 Yoga leads to an inhibition of the posterior or sympathetic area of the hypothalamus.
Yogic practices inhibit the areas responsible for fear, aggressiveness and rage, and
stimulate the rewarding pleasure centers in the median forebrain and other areas
leading to a state of bliss and pleasure. This inhibition results in lower anxiety, heart
rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and cardiac output in persons practicing yoga and
meditation. [6]

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Yoga is not any religion

Yoga is science of both body and mind. It is universal and can be adopted by all
irrespective of religion. Yoga can be a common thread for connecting all people
under one social platform. Imagine a society in which all people practice Yoga.
This will reduce conflicts, ego centric problems, will lead to non- violence,
develop tolerance and harmonize the society faster.

Evils of the society begin from minds leading to rise of hidden enemies within us which
are ego, pride, greed, jealousy, lust, attachment, anger, selfishness, injustice, cruelty /
violence etc. The practice of Yoga is a MIND CHANGER from Violence to Non
Violence.

CONCLUSION
Peace or desire or Kama or Violence is a state of Mind. Practice of Yog Sadhana is
Mind Changer From Violence to Non Violence, hence vital tool improving lifestyle of
people and showing them right way to success, growth ,prosperity, and more useful
contented life . World will be more human as they respect equality and every human
being as brother sister of common supreme soul. Yoga and meditation is for all and can
unite the world under one umbrella, leading to oneness, the old vedic saying ‘
Vasudhaivah Kutumbakam “ .

REFERENCES

[1] Walter Greiner (2001). Quantum Mechanics: An Introduction. Springer. ISBN 3-540-
67458-6.J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Nov; 16(11):

[2] Nagendra H R. The power of prana. International Journal of Yoga 2009, Vol 2, Issue
2 , http://www.ijoy.org.in/text.asp?2009/2/2/45/60042.

[3] Swami Satyananda Saraswati Satsang in Toulon, France, June 9, 1984 The Five
Koshas,http://www.yogamag.net/archives/1979/isep79/pranicb.shtml

[4] http://www.swamij.com/index-yoga-meditation-yoga-sutras.htm

[5]. Gronowicz G. Therapeutic touch affects osteoblast proliferation and bone formation
in cell culture “Connection” J Nurse Healers Prof Assoc Int. 2007;27:1–3.
[6] Catherine Woodyard, Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to
increase quality of life
International Journal of Yoga. 2011 Jul-Dec; 4(2): 49–54.

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[7] Arthur Brownstein, M.D., M.P.H., D.Y.Ed., John A. Burns School of Medicine
University of Hawaii, USA. Presented at Psychology: Mind-Body Interactions in Health
and Healing: A Yogic Perspective. The Indian Contribution
National Conference on Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of
Education Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

[8] Ramesh Kumar, Yoga A Gateway to Curb Social Evils ,published by Pragun
Publications in 2008 ISBN 97881 899 2077 7 .
[9] Prof Raghunandan Lal Sood ,Panchkula India, “Adbhut Jeevan Gaatha “ P 135

[10] Ankad RB, Herur A, Patil S, Shashikala GV, Chinagudi S. Effect of short-term
pranayama and meditation on cardiovascular functions in healthy individuals. Heart
Views, 2011; 12: 58.
[11] Yogacharya Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani ,MBBS, ADY, DPC, DSM, PGDFH,
PGDY, FIAY Programme Co-ordinator ACYTER, PSYCHOSOMATIC MECHANISMS
OF YOGA, Apr 2013
.https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237077530_PSYCHOSOMATIC_MECHANIS
MS_OF_YOGA.
[12] Chris C. Streeter, MD, 1 Theodore H. Whitfield, ScD,2 Liz Owen, BArch,3 Tasha Rein,
BA,1 Surya K. Karri, MD, MPH,4Aleksandra Yakhkind, MS,5 Ruth Perlmutter, MA,6 Andrew Prescot,
PhD,7 Perry F. Renshaw, MD, PhD,8 Domenic A. Ciraulo, MD,1 and J. Eric Jensen, PhD9. Effects of Yoga
Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA Levels: A Randomized Controlled MRS Study
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Ramesh Kumar, GHA Executive Director (CEO), India
Global Harmony Association (GHA) ,Trustee GHA Trust India-
Global Harmony & Peace Centre
www.ghpc.org.in
Sewak, Yog Niketan , Ex DRDO Scientist
Ph 129 4124129, Mob 9971001318 , Email: ngocosro@gmail.com;
Founder, NGO: Consortium of Social Reforms Organisation
Life Member International Naturopathy Organization www.inosurya.com
http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=658, ngocosro@gmail.com

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