Saturday, October 13, 2012

Yoga, Ayurveda & Harvard

Here I came across this new piece that Harvard has written to Patanjali yogapeeth for a collaboration, especially for starting some courses in Yoga and Ayurveda. There is increasing research suggesting benefits of Indian practices for health and wellness, and its being applied in context of children as well as people struggling with problems like PTSD.
Coming back to Ramdev baba, in spite of many criticisms I still feel he and his group really made a difference for public health in India & probably world. Most health professionals in India had this experience of one of their patients walking in their clinic with miracle stories of their recoveries through yoga. I was initially skeptic, till i had too many anecdotes. My own mom's eye sight improved as a side effect of yoga.
Although the problem with televised free yoga is that, sometimes people do not know what asana/ pranayama to do and how. It requires close supervision, especially for those who have a physical illness. My diabetic dad stopped pranayama completely after experiencing giddiness. He restarted only after a 2 week expensive retreat in my current campus, where he and my mom were trained into it all, once again under supervision.
Who can stop something to become elitist when its all over hollywood/bollywood ;)

Coming to ayurveda, well my dad's western medicine for diabetes was completely stopped after 2 weeks of ayuredic medicines in the same retreat. He is living normally now, but we will need to supervise his blood sugar for few more months.

It is inherently difficult to do research studies in Ayurveda or similar traditional medicines, especially because of their individualized approach to treatment. I recently heard a wonderful doctor Dr. Ram Manohar whose research collaboration with some American universities was path breaking. They even run a digital helpline DHARA.

Ok, this is on the physical part. There is far too much of research lit. on meditations. Although there might also be an effect similar to 'regression to mean' where everything which is wrong, improves with these practices. But little more...

And here comes the idea that there is lot more to offer, if we look deeper. Which is the kind of possibilities in Indian Psychology. I am teaching modern psychology to students of Ayurveda & Yoga and its getting more and more fun to discuss how where modern psychology leaves, the ancient Indian psychology often takes off.
I'm actually getting more clear in my mind and connecting various ideas as I teach. Well, I guess the center for Applied Indian Psychology should work now. Its high time :)
Or I need to start it myself if everyone else is too old, or too young or too busy :)

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