Articles on Yoga and Science
If I could choose only a single piece of advice to give to the followers of Paramhansa Yogananda on how to stay healthy and well, I would say attunement with the Guru is the most important thing because everything else will flow from that attunement.
The adolescent brain is affected differently by alcohol and marijuana than an adult brain. None of this is harmless, even to adults, but there aren’t as many permanent effects on cognitive function as are caused by even casual use in these younger years.
For self-preservation, the brain is designed to be hyper-sensitive to situations which, objectively viewed, are dangerous. That’s why when we suddenly see flames, no matter what else we may be doing, all we want to do at that moment is run out of the building.
Antibiotics save countless lives but they also kill beneficial bacteria along with disease-causing bacteria. The destruction of beneficial bacteria is related to the dramatic increase in certain illnesses: Crohn’s disease, asthma, allergies, celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, and obesity.
Pain is a brain phenomenon, and stress turns up the pain signals in the brain. It’s a bit like turning up the volume on a radio. Stress reduction techniques like meditation are so helpful because they turn down the pain signals in the brain.
Scientific research shows that meditation, by improving our body’s handling of stress, not only slows the aging process but, in some instances, reverses it. We now have a readily available way of measuring the effect of meditation on the aging process.
I think Paramhansa Yogananda or Swami Kriyananda would say that our DNA is the physical manifestation of our karma. In other words, we have the genetic material that best fits the karma we need to work out in this particular lifetime.
We live in a culture where eating far too much sugar is very easy to do. Excessive consumption of sugar can cause oxidative stress to the brain, which causes slower thinking and poor concentration and memory.
When you add to his prolonged coma his well-documented lack of brain function, then Dr. Eben Alexander’s near-death experience, discussed in his book, “Proof of Heaven,” becomes the perfect scenario to illustrate the reality of near-death experiences.
We now have solid scientific research explaining how the biological changes triggered by stress undermine the immune system’s function. There is also recent scientific research which shows that meditation is an important safeguard against stress-related diseases and that it can produce effects equal to standard medications.
The most promising new treatment is known as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), a type of therapy that sends short bursts of highly focused magnetic energy pulses to the areas of the brain affected by depression.
There are times when it’s not always clear what is the dharmic thing to do, and trying to see the dharmic way has not always been easy. Over time I have come to know that the best thing I can do is to try to become quiet, to meditate, and try to hear what Master is whispering.
In my opinion there can be no lasting recovery from addiction without a person discovering his or her spiritual path and following it. The natural tendency of the mind is to side with habit, and the natural tendency of habit is to take us back to what we already know.
Vaastu is the science of bringing Spirit into physical manifestation in the form of a building. A building designed and constructed according to Vaastu principles becomes “alive” with prana or life force. The building functions much like a radio that can only receive and transmit beneficial energies, and cosmic energy bathes the entire building.
To understand human origins, a true scientist must not only evaluate the tangible evidence gathered by archeologists and other experts, he must also study consciousness, without which he neglects the most basic human capacity — the ability to think creatively and aspire spiritually.
Scientific knowledge is at the point where we now understand that many physical properties of the universe had to be exactly right for human life to exist. Today there are so many examples of these unique “life-friendly properties” that science can no longer dismiss all of them as mere chance or coincidence.
My Guru guided me into medicine and he has been with me ever since. In my practice I ask for guidance all the time. As long as I remember to ask for help, it comes, and miracles happen.
There’s a considerable body of research showing that music can have healing effects for certain physical and mental disorders. In fact, music therapy is a widely recognized form of treatment for anxiety, depression, chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, and weakened immunity.
Because the authors included in their book studies of a wide range of different religions, they were able to show that the positive effects of religious beliefs and practices on the brain are not tied to any specific religion or belief system.
As devotees, we always need to keep in mind that God-realization is our highest priority. And God may want us to work with our health in a way that differs from our personal inclinations.