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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2

Protecting essential nature of yoga through its experiential phenomena

Scientific Research Department, Kaivalyadhama, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication13-Jun-2019

Correspondence Address:
Ranjeet Singh Bhogal
Scientific Research Department, Kaivalyadhama, Pune, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ym.ym_10_19

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How to cite this article:
Bhogal RS. Protecting essential nature of yoga through its experiential phenomena. Yoga Mimamsa 2019;51:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Bhogal RS. Protecting essential nature of yoga through its experiential phenomena. Yoga Mimamsa [serial online] 2019 [cited 2022 Nov 28];51:1-2. Available from:

Much has been said, in the recent most previous editorial pages, about the pure and pristine nature of yoga and its all important experiential phenomena. In view of the often evident arbitrary modes of yoga practices, made popular by vested interests, often overlook basic tenets of yoga philosophy. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to evolve fairly acceptable modes of performing yoga practices, at the same time integrating all the basic tenets of yoga, adequately, into these modes. Broadly, these modes of yoga practices can be appropriately circumscribed for: i. General Health & Fitness ii. Therapeutic gains iii. Spiritual Pursuits.

All the above modes must include common yogic tenets as follows: (i) Drashta bhava (seer/witness principle), through attending the vast expanse around (Ananta samapatti concept of Patanjala Yoga) or through Mahahrid dharana, as recommendedby Swami Kuvalayananda; (ii) experientially graceful modes of performing yoga practices and a meditative mental set during yoga practice; and (iii) breathing awareness as gets expressed in the parts of the body being worked upon and within the whole body, as the yoga practice is being performed.

  General Health and Fitness Top

Practices from various schools of yoga can be accepted, provided these follow general anatomic physiological principles. However, a common terminology of various practices may be agreed upon with mutual deliberations through conferences and symposia. This would project yoga practices as a unified system. Attempts should always be continued to see that the practice do not become merely physical exercises, as we should remember we are working mainly with Prana and not merely with muscles, ligaments tendons, and joints. Researchers of Kaivalyadhama have shown that minimum muscular fitness and minimum physical fitness can, amply, be gained through classical and experiential mode of yoga practices. Yoga teachers should get guided by tonic element and not get tempted by phasic element in asanas, as well as should take care that they do not resort to isotonic and isometric modes of asana practice, if they aspire to obtain yoga-specific effects and not merely exercise-specific effects.

  Therapeutic Gains Top

Practices are often, justifiably, modified within the acceptable medical considerations, as per the age, medical conditions, and history of the psychophysiological disorders. However, the mode of practice should have a meditative base, wherein the conscious participation of the respondents should be encouraged, more and more, in a gradual manner. Even though breathing manipulations are acceptable as per the cases in question, the mode of breathing-in and breathing-out processes should still follow experiential modes such as touch of air at some sensitive parts of the face, nose etc. Patanjala principles of Citta Prasadanam and Pratipaksha-bhavanam, as well as Buddhist methods of breathing awareness, can, fruitfully, be adopted, with advantage for therapeutic purposes. Thus, Citta Shuddhi leads to Prana Shuddhi. Promising fields of spiritual and yogic counseling should play a creative role in therapeutic sessions, alongside the client centered therapy (CCT) and rational emotive therapy methods of psychology. A thorough understanding of yogic lifestyle and Patanjali's Pratyahara concept may be communicated as a treatment substrate on which the therapeutic yoga can be based for maximum advantage.

  Spiritual Pursuits Top

Patanjala Yoga Sutra and Bhagwat Gita should form a theoretical base for those aiming at spiritual advancement through yoga. As only classical mode of practicing yoga is the only route to spiritual advancement, one must enhance Citta Shuddhi by various known means from Patanjala Yoga, Buddhism, and Jainism. Laghu Yoga Vasishtha has recommended yogic lifestyle, mantra recitation, and company of spiritual personalities for Prana Shuddhi. Deeper imports of yama and niyama should be shared with the aspiring persons. Ancient yogic treatises such as Viveka Chudamani and Tattiriya Aranyaka should form essential part of yoga program for spiritual evolution. Kriya Yoga practices, Pranayamas such as Sagarbha Pranayama, and also subtler modes of mantra recitation may be used before practicing Pratyahara techniques available in Vasishtha Samhita and in various living traditions.

Samprayoga and Samprasada concepts may be integrated in all yoga practices. Nondoing, happening, and witnessing principles of classical yoga may be given due emphasis. Forms (gross body, subtle body, and causal body), states (waking, dream, and deep sleep), and levels (Vaishwanar, Tejas, and Prajna) of consciousness must be taken into account for obtaining holistic effects of practical yoga. Swami Kuvalayananda and Vinekar (1961) have succinctly stated the characteristics of practicing classical yoga. Brahma Sutra, Bhagwat Gita, and various Upanishads, as well as puranas (such as Shrimat Bhagwat), are replete with valuable tips for experiential modes of yoga practice. These tips can further be circumscribed and made user-friendly, by yoga experts, as per the nature of yoga practices in question.

The reflections above are by no means sacrosanct and exhaustive. Expert yoga masters are invited to evolve and add many more experiential inputs. Not only, would it, undoubtedly, help protect the classical yoga from further dilution it would also pave the way for its evolution.

The review study, “Yoga as a therapeutic tool in autism: A detailed review, ”by Soccalingam, Artchoudane, Dr. Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani, Dr. Meena Ramanathan, and Mrs. Mariangela Artchoudane, encompasses 36 studies that have been critically analyzed for musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and neurological functions, as well as for behavioral outcomes of yoga interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

The review suggests that approach built on yoga intervention is worth pursuing for desired outcomes, including reduction of autism rate and improved quality of life. The study is a pointer toward continued research and application of yoga for autism, particularly in view of only a marginal effect evident with modern-day methods on autism.

Dr. Sunil Sapkota, Dr. Shashi Kiran, Dr. Prashant Shetty, and Dr. Honnegowda, in their clinical study, “Effect of yogic colon cleansing (Laghu Sankhaprakshalana Kriya) on bowel health in normal individuals, ”have shown that Laghu Sankhaprakshalana (LSP) has a significantly ameliorating effect on the bowel health. They also observe that the practice of LSP once a week, for 4 weeks, is safe and effective in a normal individual. Effective randomization and absence of any side effects, evident in the study, suggests that this yogic practice can be included in cleansing modalities of naturopathic and yogic treatments, regularly.

The study, “Effect of yoga on mindfulness in school going adolescents: A comparative study, ”by Ms. Soniya Tiwari and H. K. Rajesha shows an objective promise of enhancing mindfulness as a result of a well-designed yoga module in case of schoolgoing children. The study indicates amply that the time is ripe that we take a cognizance of the stressful school environment prevailing today and do something for the young students, through need-based yoga modules.

Dr. Danielle Thompson-Ochoa, in his article, “Is yoga cultural appropriation?, ”states that even though the Global Consumption Space facilitate acceptance of yoga by the international community and also unite distant and varied cultures, it may also leave indigenous cultures unprotected against cultural appropriation and domination. Healthism trend of the West seems to have appropriated yoga as merely a health regimen bereft of spiritual implications. The author hopes to see the positive impact of cultural appropriation of yoga in terms of its ever-increasing awareness, popularity, and evolution worldwide. The author has attempted a timely debate. However, the fact remains that Indian sages have transcended boundaries of time and space, as well as mastered psychophysiological and sociocultural limitations in their journey to Kaivalya or absoluteness, thus leaving no cultural impact on yoga as a spiritual science.

Dr. Hitesh C. Sheth, in his thought-provoking article, “Psychiatry, spirituality and quantum science, ”questions the very scientific inquiry into the nature of reality as the only tool to discover truths. He further elaborates; we may not understand psychiatric disorders, as there are limitations of our brain. As ancient people were not fully aware of scientific knowledge of the human body so, we might also not be fully aware of the hidden realms of a mind or even a body. Therefore, due to imperfect knowledge, we may be pathologizing the experiences that are out of normal range of human experiences. It is open mind which would help us discover the secrets of the universe most objectively.

Dr. Bijaya Nanda Naik, Dr. Mahendra M. Reddy, Dr. Mahendra M Reddy, and Dr. Srikanta Kanungo, in their letter, “Elderly and health: Role of spirituality in Indian context ”to the Editor, have raised important issues relating health and spiritual well-being of the elderly. The authors lament, even though Health Care of the elderly has been envisioned to be inclusive within the medical education and services, by the National Health Care for the elderly, it calls for capacity building among the family members and primary caregivers. So also, Spirituality has not been discussed as an inclusive part of elderly Health Care, despite being considered as an important part of life by the elderly population. The authors suggest for developing a humanely sensitive, yet a creative approach, in encouraging the elderly to practice spirituality with advantage. It is a challenge to spiritualists of India to lead this movement, as India has a rich spiritual legacy replete in ancient treasure of yogic scriptures, treatises, and living traditions.

Mrs. Manonmany P Parthiban in her review article, Thirukural and Vethathiriyam: A Comparative Study compares philosophy of Thirukural, an extraordinary treatise on the art of living with the philosophy of Vethatriyam, the very yogic lifestyle philosophy. The comparison affirms our faith in spiritual phenomena so succinctly delineated in these philosophies, as each one of these gives us a sound conformation about perennial truths of life, as well as guides us on the spiritual path with a rare conviction.


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