Scientific Effects of yoga practices

Scientific Effects of yoga practices

Yoga, the ancient cult of Indian heritage has become popular the world
over during the past few decades. Not only as a health preserver and
its promoter but also on its way very much like a side effect or a
bonus it helps provide relief in many diseases which are resistant to
conventional forms of therapy. Yoga has proved remarkably effective in
managing almost all types of human ailments. Besides being free from
the side effects commonly encountered in the drug therapy, yoga is a
simple, safe, effective and highly economical form of adjunctive
therapy. Therefore, though slowly but surely, it is being integrated
into the mainstream of modern medicine. Many prestigious hospitals,
universities and medical stores around the world have now established
departments of yoga research and therapy.
Whether yoga works or not, is no longer the question today, the only
question is “how does it work?”. This is not an easy question, which
can be fully answered in our present state of knowledge. After even
several decades of dedicated research we know very little of how the
normal nervous system
or cardio-vascular or respiratory systems function in health, what to
talk of diseases. Serious research on yoga in fact commenced only few
years ago, and such a short period of time has been insufficient to
unravel all the mechanisms of the complicated neuro-physiological
phenomena, which yoga .evidently influences. Part of the difficulty
lies in the fact that yoga in its way of preserving and promoting
health works as a side-effect in a great variety of disorders and its
action must, therefore, be assumed to vary, to some extent with each
type of pathology. Nevertheless, many aspects of its action are now
being understood in the light of recent researches and these are now
being pierced and probed together in an attempt to solve this profound

The effects observed on yoga are both, subjective and objective. One of the
subjective effects is related to the feeling of wellness. As regards
the objective
influences produced by yoga, six different, effects may be recognised,
of these the best known is sedation. Some people may even fall asleep
during the adoption of Shavasana posture (corpse posture) or during
the practice of Meditation done in the seated postures of Siddhasana,
Swastikasana or Vajrasana, but wake up refreshed. It has been
demonstrated that there is an increase in the spread of the alpha wave
activity from occipital region to the frontal region on the
electroencephalogram (EEG) and concomitent decrease on the other hand
in delta and theta wave activity during the practice of some of the
yogic techniques, such as meditative postures, shavasana, pranayamic
techniques of Ujjayi, Bhastrika and Kapalbhati and variety of
meditative techniques including Turiya Meditation. These affects are
utilised in the yogic treatments of insomnia, anxiety states,
addictions, epilepsies, mental disorders and behavioral problems.
The 2nd effect of regular practice of yoga is very important; it is
called the homeostatic or regulatory effect, which means the minute
adjustments of the internal environment (internal milieu) of the body
towards a state of normal and optimal balance. Generally, homeostasis
is maintained by the balanced activity of the sympathetic and
parasympathetic divisions of the autonomic nervous system and also by
the endocrine system. In addition, there are numerous homeostatic
mechanisms in the body for regulating the respiration, heart rate,
blood pressure, urinary excretions, metabolic rate, sweating,
temperature, tonic or electrolyte balance of the blood and many
other vital parameters. These mechanisms are seriously deranged in
many diseases and in such cases, yoga has been found to be very
helpful in restoring the original state of equilibrium. Very often the
different sets of yogic exercises and techniques may be used for
treating opposite disorders like high and low blood pressure, or
diarrhoea and constipation. These are some of the selected examples of
the homeostatic or normalising action of specific integrated set of
yogic techniques.

Thirdly, there is definitely an immuno – enhancing action of yoga,
whereby body resistance to disease is strengthened. This has been
shown to be due to an increase in the white corpuscles (leucocytosis),
antibodies, gamaglobulins, and other substances, which increase the
resistance power of the body. The increase in antibody titre is
presumably due to the activation of the reticulo-endothelial system.
Yoga by its unique cleansing processes of Shatkarma (yogic
purificatory technique) postural exercises of asanas, energy
controlling techniques of pranayama and concentration building up due