Yes, Yoga is not scientific; science is, but a small part of Yoga.
Now you’ll ask: how? Prove it. Give me the scientific evidence.
First an explanation of where science stands in context with Yoga:
Stack five toy blocks on one side and 100 on the other. The five represent the scientific knowledge and the 100 the Yogic wisdom.
Yes, only five blocks have the potential to measure the corresponding five on the Yoga stack. The rest 95 on the Yoga stack are up for debate, as science still has to invent tools and techniques to measure and validate the Yogic wisdom.
I am not making this up.
I am not writing this with any hidden agenda.
I am not saying this because I reject science.
I am a person of logic and rationality. I was educated in some of the world’s best modern educational institutions and at one point; I favoured the five scientific blocks. I didn’t reject the Yogic wisdom but like any conditioned modern mind, I asked for scientific proof.
Thanks to my Indian heritage, I unknowingly was walking the inner path of Yogic wisdom, but was looking for a proof outside.
Finally, a series of inner upheavals shut my brain’s constant need for proof and scientific validation and I surrendered – to Yoga, to Vedanta, to the wisdom of Vedas. And I found the essence of ancient Indian teachings – discover the truth yourself through experience. For experience is Supreme. To help us walk this path, the Indian rishis and intellectuals gave a comprehensive, holistic, philosophical Yogic path.
Yoga is a beautiful analytic, rational, logical path and for the lack of a better word, is “scientific”. It can be followed through two ways:
- Surrendering the ego and embracing Yogic path wholly: Don’t be scared, you will not be trapped into a dangerous cult of some sorts. 🙂 By walking this path, you will discover the truth revealed by the ancient Indian rishis/seers yourself, through you, through your inner channels, without any outside validation. Your own experience will triumph any laboratory experiment. Key is: practice, practice – not only Yoga poses, but also the complete philosophy.
- The modern scientific route validated by laboratory experiments: The five blocks of science have measured and given laboratory proof of some of the physical, and mental benefits of Yoga. As more blocks are added on the science stack, more reports of validation will follow. I salute the critics, analysts and scientists who are devoting time and energy into finding proof of how Yoga is beneficial (most of the research is validating Yogic philosophy). It is a great path, and for those who demand this, it is okay to follow this route. But just be careful, you are not following the one principle of Yogic philosophy: surrendering the ego.
So where is the scientific proof?
It is in the experience. I always tell people, embrace Yoga in entirety for a couple of months and then see if you require a proof (from outside). My point is not to preach and ask you to embrace the Yogic path blindly, but I am asking the serious Yogis, to indulge in reasoning and critique in the framework of Yoga. Raja Yoga is the “scientific” branch of Yoga that details how to apply mind as a tool, and get physical, mental and spiritual benefits out of the practice, instead of finding validation from the five blocks of science.
Full disclaimer: Please understand Yoga is not a substitute for medical attention, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult a physician prior to beginning any activity program, including yoga.
Anupreet Sandhu Bhamra, SandhuBhamra.com blog’s author and/or owner are not liable for any injury, physical or otherwise through any teachings given under the category Yoga through this blog site. Yoga should be started and practiced with a certified Yoga teacher or an established Yoga guru/master. Always listen to your body when attempting a Yoga pose; respect the limits of your body and mind.
Good comparison, Anu. It explains scientific things. It doesn’t explain non-scientific things. Just because something is not science doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Yupp, the yogic wisdom says you cannot see the unseen with your limited human intellect
And the Bible says, “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2:14.)
As a pharmaceutical chemist who worked in research for 20 years demanding proof of everything until Yoga opened my landscape, I really thank you for this post.
I only found about your blog today, I think there will be a lot here for me to ponder about, which makes me happy.
Thank you! My latest post is inviting a lot of discussion. Do participate.