Sunday, March 21, 2010

More yoga thoughts

It all started when a friend forwarded an email about differences between right nostril breathing and left nostril and effects it have on your body and mind, commenting "yeah sure". I had to butt in and defend pranayam. Another friend asking how and why it works and its benefits which are "scientifically proven". He had a very valid point and a right to be skeptical. His point is that he is piqued, more than peeved, that there seems to be so much general agreement about the benefits of anything vaguely Indian nowadays. It smacks of slum dog millionaire.

He wanted go beyond the cursory checks and actually try to dig out whatever truth he can.

So I gave him a few links which I am copying below

Post about alternate nostril breathing from a blog written by a medical doctor

http://yogashaastra .blogspot. com/2009/ 09/nadis- or-nervous- system.html

Another couple of links about pranayama

http://yoga- health-benefits. blogspot. com/2009/ 12/brahmari- deep-breathing- exercise. html

http://yoga- health-benefits. blogspot. com/2009/ 09/kapalbhati- pranayama. html

For the "scientifically proven" part (I personally do not wait for things to be proven scientifically coz then there could be another debate as to caliber of the scientist and who sponsored it, which science journal, it's authenticity and so on and so forth)

http://www.naturaln yoga_brain_ health.html

These were very general posts though, what we call Holistic marketing - which means enveloping your product in feel good, positive, key terms that sell today. much like "organic foods", and "free range chicken" and Green Energy.

What followed is my thoughts, rants, views, opinions on this matter…

Western mind is analytical, inquisitive and want quantitative measurable parameters before embracing anything. That is the way to go. Why take it for granted without testing it just because some Indian dude wrote it in "yoga sutras" or "hatha yoga pradipika" hundreds of years ago. we need to experience it ourselves in order to believe it. Which certainly should be the way to go.

I am 100% with you when you say that anything vaguely Indian sales these days or anything with feel good, positive, key terms.

In the world of my "firang" yoga friends, if one has fallen ill then rest of them send messages like "sending healing energy your way", or "healing vibrations to you sweetheart" which really make me cringe. I say what's wrong with plain and simple "get well soon". Is that not authentic, genuine, heartfelt enough?

I get invitation to attend kirtans every now and then but I can't get myself to go there as I do not have that devotion in me. It does not feel like me.

I find it weird when my yoga friends dig stuff like incense sticks, OM pendants, Ganesh idols, drink chai, love the vibrant costumes, chant gayatri mantra. I feel like telling them that they do not have to like anything and everything Indian. Not liking Indian food or any of the above mentioned things is not going to make them less of a yogi.

In the same way, I also find it weird when we dismiss things just because they are Indian.

Having said all that, I also have to say that unless we have open minds and non judgmental attitude there is no way one can convince anyone about anything(yogic or non yogic) .

I am glad that this email exchange is making me revisit my books and making me question myself and ask myself tough questions. I will compile a separate email about how PRANAYAM benefits on physical and mental levels. I will be doing that from my yoga books are not science journals:)

Now, anyone of you reading this post has already done your research and found scientific reasoning of how and why PRANAYAM works and benefits us please do share with me in the comments section. I love short cuts :)


sfauthor said...

Nice posting. Do you know about these yoga books?

Random Thoughts said...

thank you for reading the blog. I will look at the link you provided. I appreciate it.

maryastell said...

Fortunately, BJ recently wrote me and said I could assist her anytime in S. America.