The Science of Yoga (Part 2 – Posture)


welcome to the science of yoga part two in ancient times the Yogi’s in India intuited that bodily posture has a profound effect on a person’s state they believe that tiny channels called Nadi’s run through the human body carrying through them a force called prana lifeforce and it was said that if these Nadi’s were kept aligned the flow of prana would be smooth and unhindered contributing to overall health kind of like a well-oiled machine when these Nadi’s get impeded energy builds up and we feel it as pressure the idea of yoga is to counter these misalignments and bring the body back into his natural state the Yogi’s saw the body and mind not as separate entities but as a single continuum both influencing each other so if the body was kept energetically balanced the mind would follow suit but was the need for this you might ask well years and years of ignorance smartphones TV watching and poor conditioning has kicked many people’s bodies out of balance and made them habitually misaligned could watching our posture be at least one way of countering this trend according to Western science the answer is yes here’s what some studies have showed simply sitting up straight affects your mood to the point that you’re more likely to remember positive memories as opposed to negative ones it’s also shown to reinforce confidence standing up straight has shown to increased testosterone levels and decrease cortisol which is known as the stress hormone and this may well be because certain postures or asanas claim to affect the organs in a positive way so could it be that the unhindered flow of prana through the body makes us feel more inhabited calms down a wandering mind and energizes the body is this another area that Yogi’s and scientists can agree on another separate area of yogic study is the breath do you know that we breathe approximately 23,000 times a day and for most people these are shallow chest breaths usually involving the intercostal muscles especially in times of stress but they pale in comparison to their counterpart diaphragmatic or belly breaths known by the Yogi’s as a dumb pranayama of course you’re not actually breathing air into your stomach but it’s the diaphragm that’s doing the work not the chest muscles this type of breathing not only improves lung function fitness and posture it’s also said to activate the vagus nerve triggering the parasympathetic relaxation response this is evidence of a stunning link between breathing patterns and the nervous system so while our society thinks mental health is confined purely to the brain our yogic friends are olden times said that the mind and body are inseparable yogic practice or awareness where the postural or breathing does it seems have a profound effect on our state of being you you