YOGA AND SCIENCEYoga and Science both fields have existed for hundreds of years but they have not been often mentioned together or regarded as related to each other. While there was not the denying of the health benefits of Yoga but a greater acceptance of Yoga as an advanced Science is still to happen. Modern times are surely opening up to the possibility of an existing connection between Yoga and Science! Can there be any parallels drawn between the Spiritual practice of Yoga and Science? Let’s explore.
We are all aware of Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity which remains till date one of the most significant discoveries of Science. One of the ways in which this theory can be explained would be to say that incidents occurring in time and space framework are relative for different observers with respect to time and space. This implies that if for instance two events occur SIMULTANEOUSLY in space for observer A, then for another observer B who is in “motion” relative to observer A, the events will not appear to occur SIMULTANEOUSLY but one of the events will appear to happen earlier than the other; the difference arising due to difference in states of motion of observers. A direct implication of the above fact is that time is a relative concept. Another similar scientific concept is length contraction, according to which the length of an object appears to decrease for an observer who is travelling at a certain velocity relative to the object.
This means as long as one is living in the time and space framework, he is limited to the experiences that are relative. And this is exactly what Yogis had also said thousands of years ago!! Ancient Yogic Scriptures like The Bhagwad Gita have described this world as “Maya” which means illusion. To experience Absoluteness, to experience the Absolute Truth one has to cross the boundaries of time and space and that is what one does through the practice of Yoga. (To understand how Yoga can help go beyond time and space read our blog http://yogagita.org/beyond-space-and-time/)
Let us now consider another scientific law, this one most of us might remember from High School- Newton’s first law of motion. According to this law a body in state of rest will remain in state of rest and a body in motion will continue to be in motion in a straight line at a constant velocity unless acted upon by an external unbalanced force. So a moving car should continue to move in the same direction at a constant speed forever unless it is brought to rest by an external unbalanced force (of friction of road and of brakes). Now we try to apply this scientific law to our practice of Postures in Yoga.
Patanjali Yoga Sutras give two qualities to describe a Posture; STHIRAM SUKHAM ASANAM. Any posture in which the practitioner is stable and comfortable is a Yoga Posture. Are we stable and comfortable in a Yoga Posture? Umm,,, for a little while may be? Yes. What happens after that? Why can’t we stay still and at rest, in Vrikshasana (Tree pose) or Padmasana (Lotus pose) forever (as indicated by the Newtons’ law)? Because we are being acted upon by external forces of gravity, of weight, pressure, etc. Patanjali Yoga Sutras thus indicatively mention that when one is free from the influence of external forces, he is in a Yoga Posture. In fact, the aim of Yoga practice is to free the practitioner from the influence of all external natural forces to realize your SELF .(To understand more deeply the art of practicing postures watch this video by Vijay Gopala https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0sE_nsnOdw)
We see here how two of the major scientific theories/discoveries compliment the principles of the practice of Yoga. What is proposed by one is also supported by the other. In fact, if one makes an attempt to go deeper into the subject of Yoga, one will find that Yoga is a completely Scientific Subject and the Sages who brought Yoga were no less than Scientists. As our teacher Vijay Gopala often quotes during the lessons “This Yoga mat is your laboratory where you perform your experiments”. So let’s continue to make experiments in our laboratories!View All Post