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Medical Understanding of Yoga

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About the Book Medical Understanding of Yoga is a research-based book that reveals several facets of yoga that are unknown either to yogis or to medical doctors. The book describes how periodic fasting can benefit people suffering from obesity, menstrual disorders and several autoimmune diseases. Medical Understanding of Yoga states that several yogic techniques like Pravayama, Nauli-kriya and Agni -sara offer several benefits through brief intermittent hypoxia, such as increasing Nitric ...
About the Book

Medical Understanding of Yoga is a research-based book that reveals several facets of yoga that are unknown either to yogis or to medical doctors. The book describes how periodic fasting can benefit people suffering from obesity, menstrual disorders and several autoimmune diseases. Medical Understanding of Yoga states that several yogic techniques like Pravayama, Nauli-kriya and Agni -sara offer several benefits through brief intermittent hypoxia, such as increasing Nitric Oxide production, generation of collateral vessels in ischemic areas and facilitating stem-cell trafficking. Chapters in this book discuss the positive role of air in the gastrointestinal tract, in inhibiting the causative organism of peptic ulcer, contributing to satiety and uplifting mood; and also helping release of factors that prolong life of insulin-secreting beta cells and facilitate their regeneration.

This book reveals that breath-holding beyond comfort zone switches on non-shivering thermogenesis. Activation of parasympathetic nervous system by nose-gazing, by Aunkarjapa and some other techniques and that of sympathetic nervous system through mulabandha which bring about favorable changes in heart rate and blood pressure have also been discussed. A new twist has been given to the understanding of the well-known Saryanathaskora which, according to the author, is not a physical exercise but a great technique to fill the intestines with air, which can enable one to reduce food intake without getting the usual cravings and also inhibit several intestinal pathogens. One can even bloat oneself to buoyancy and stay afloat on waters of immeasurable depth. The secret air-drinking yogic technique has been revealed in this book. With revolutionary concepts like 'Eating Protein is Madness' and possible reality and utility of Human hibernation (Hatha-yogic Samadhi) this book will serve as an invaluable companion not only for doctors but for those who are established in Yoga practice or involved in Yoga-teaching or Yoga-research.

About the Author

Prakash C Malshe MD PGDYM is a medical graduate of MGM Medical College, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India. His quest for in-depth knowledge led him to learn Yoga first hand from Swami Adhyatinananda of Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India in the year 1986, from where his journey in Yoga started. By studying the original Sanskrit scriptures, such as the Gheranda Sarhhita, the Hathapradipika and Siva svarodaya, and by conducting research almost

Single-handedly, he has unravelled several facts unknown to either the yogis or the medical doctors. His constant practice of yoga and meditation enabled him to see the hidden meaning of several yogic techniques.

This present book is a result of his strong zeal to share the revelations. Hypoxia as a mechanism of beneficial effect of Pranayama, Sttryanamaskara as the technique for filling the intestines with air, instant voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system with malbandha and concepts like'Eating Protein is Madness'are but a few of them.



For centuries, medical doctors have denied Yoga its due place in maintaining good health, achieving longevity and a positive attitude, and preventing illness. It has been so because Yoga cannot be learnt by dissection of a Yogi's dead body, or by animal experimentation. For this reason, when earlier doctors became disciples of Yoga, they almost gave up their framework of medical knowledge before accepting it. To understand Yoga they had to take recourse to the concepts of cakras and nadis, of the five-sheath model of human body-mind-soul complex, and the principle of Karma.

Efforts have been made to understand the yogic phenomena in terms of modern medical science in the past; notably by NC Paul as early as 1851, and then in the twentieth century by Swami Kuvalayananda, who also conducted substantial research at Kaivalyadhama, Lonavala. This book is the latest serious attempt to understand the yogic phenomena in terms of Medical Physiology. It does away with the concepts of cakras, nadis and koSas (sheaths), and uses the framework of medical physiology to find explanations of yogic phenomena. Not only that, but it also demonstrates that once we understand the basic objective of a certain yogic practice, we can design easier techniques to achieve the same objective. Use of a pierced straw to drink air that is described in Chapter 14 of this book is an example of the same.

Some discoveries and research fmdings are so unique and ahead of time that it is difficult to fmd contemporary peers to review them or the journals that would be willing to publish them- are presented in this book; and only time will highlight their value. Activation of non-shivering thermogenesis by forceful voluntary breath-holding, uses of filling the intestines with air from the control of Helicobacter infection to release of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and instant voluntary activation of sympathetic nervous system by mulabandha are other examples.

The book is intended to motivate medical personnel -doctors from various streams, physiotherapists, medical students and researchers- to use yogic techniques for the benefit of themselves and for their patients, to emphasize that yogic phenomena can be explained with the concepts of human physiology; and that there is a treasure house of knowledge to which the medical student is not exposed, and a goldmine of opportunities for research exists.



For centuries, Yoga has been taught and practiced in India. It has been a part of religion and culture and for some, a family tradition. Yoga has been defined by certain scholars as the most scientific way to achieve the ultimate: what has been termed variously as enlightenment or realization of God.

Commonly, we are supposed to accept the religious teachings as they are taught; without or reasoning. One is supposed to have faith and lead a religious life accordingly. In its complete form, yoga has eight limbs (Mtanga yoga), namely, Yama, Niyama, Asana,Prtinayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, DhAna and Samadhi. It is Samadhi -the ultimate state- which every follower of Yoga craves to achieve, or should crave for and should settle for nothing less, the Yoga gurus say.

A variety of achievements have been described in the scriptures known as siddhis like anima,laghima, mahimii, etc.; referring to the magical powers of getting smaller or larger and moving with speed of wind and so on; but I have never seen or heard of anyone achieving any of these. Who will like to make a lifetime effort to attempt to achieve those siddhis, which we do not believe to be of much use?

In today's changed scenario of the world, which has more physical or material inclination than spiritual, Yoga has found its value because we have seen that with regular practice of Asanas, Mudras and Premayama one can maintain good bodily health and can probably live longer. There are also certain bodily ailments in which Yogic practices can help the patient stay fit for several years without medicines. Diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemias, acid-peptic disease, hypertension and coronary artery disease are a few of them. Yogic practices have alleviated the sufferings of thousands of persons suffering from arthritis, chronic bowel problems, asthma, bronchiectasis, migraine, insomnia and psychiatric problems such as depression. These have proved sufficient incentives to pursue Yoga for us today in the modern world. We have selected the useful aspect of Yoga, namely Hatha-yoga (the physical aspect of yoga) without feeling compelled to pursue the higher spiritual goals, i.e., the state of enlightenment, which is rather subtle and relatively difficult to attain.

The discipline of Yoga has its own explanations of the structure and functioning of the human body, commonly described in books as Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga or Yogic Physiology. There one finds a description of the seven cakras or energy points as they are commonly referred to but whose existence is only imaginary. I shall explain them as under:

While studying astronomy, we commonly draw the planets and their orbits around the Sun. We have separate orbits of the earth around the Sun and the orbit of the Moon around the earth. The points where these two cross each other are called 'nodal points' -the Raltu and the Ketu in Indian Astronomy- and their movements are useful for calculations of timings of solar and lunar eclipses.

The nodal points exist as simple concepts having no physical existence of their own. If we go in the celestial space in a spacecraft, we do not find the existence of any of these orbits or nodal points. In the same way, the diagrams of the 6 cakras and the various nadis might have been concepts useful to explain various physiological phenomena. The concepts such as those of an 'astral body', 'causal body', lunclalinr , cakras, !laths, etc., are all abstract and have not been seen in the first hand study by dissection on cadavers and by the study of Physiology by direct experimentations, either on animals or on humans.

Now that the neurochemical connections of the various parts of our nervous system are part of standard medical teaching, it is time to think if there is any way to explain the mechanisms that lead to the beneficial effects of Yoga without taking resort to the Yogic concepts of Sat-Cakras (6 plexuses) and keeping in mind the modern Anatomy and Physiology?

The present work is an effort to answer these questions. The author does not beg the reader to just believe or have faith but offers scientific explanations of the principles that may underlie the beneficial effects of yoga so that the reader can get convinced about their efficacy. Here I have tried to refrain from using such terms as, Pranic energy', 'cletoxificationVpurification', etc., which have no foundation in modern science, and irk authors like Joseph S Alter.

The question left unanswered here is whether the Asanas and Prartayamas as described will benefit the aspirant even if performed without faith? Although the stand here is that all that relates to the body is purely physical and there is nothing metaphysical or mystical; we shall also discuss the value of faith, in as much as it motivates one to follow a certain course of action regularly. That is why such a following is called 'religious'.

This book is not just another 'cut-and-paste' publication. The reader will realize that it contains several discoveries -facts and revelations regarding the mechanism of action of Yogic practices that are being revealed for the first time to the world. Some of them are so important, I am sure they will have far-reaching consequences on our understanding of some aspects of human physiology at large. For example, voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which, till date is considered as totally autonomous; and Physiologists think we have no control on its activity. The reader will learn for the first time that one can activate ones sympathetic nervous system. With the practice of mulabandha, it is possible to increase the heart rate, elevate the blood pressure and even dilate the pupils. (The reader can find a demonstration of voluntary dilatation of the pupil by the author by searching on the internet.) The method can have a direct impact upon how we deal with any medical conditions like vasomotor rhinitis, nasal congestion and bronchoconstriction, just to name a few. Just imagine: here is a know-how to acquire a tool that pumps endogenous adrenaline into our system! We shall discuss this in the appropriate chapter.

The first edition of Yoga Book for Doctors was published in the year 2005. Thereafter, in 2007, a booklet Drink Air, Stay Fit was published in which, for the first time, the importance of filling the intestines with air was discussed, and the benefits of drinking air were described in detail. A new definition was given to Saryanamaskeira- the ancient traditional practice of prostration before the Sun (Sun Salutation). Some yoga garfish consider it as a part of Yoga while others have rejected it totally, considering it simply as a form of physical exercise. The controversy should now stand to be solved forever with the author providing convincing arguments for this new definition that it is a sequence of postures aimed at filling the intestines with air, for the Yogic procedures of Vata-Sara (Cleansing the gut with air) and Plavani (Staying afloat in water). Like any new concept, like the roundness of the earth, it is likely to take a long time to get widely accepted.

The present edition is a suitably enlarged and modified version containing all the elements contained in these two earlier publications.

Continuing further on the discoveries, this book, for the first time, tells the reader that some specific sequences in Prantiyama are the easiest way to produce intermittent hypoxia, and one can, without the need of sophisticated gadgets like hypoxicators, get all the benefits of the less known `Intermittent Hypoxia Therapy' (IHT) with which the Russian scientists have worked for more than 50 years.

Another new concept that has been proposed here is about the thinking process that is largely involuntary. Traditionally, we have been taught that the cognitive functions are located in the cerebral cortex and lie under voluntary control. However, a large majority of people admits that thoughts keep coming to the mind whether they wish or not. The recurrence of undesired thoughts is a matter of common experience. Sometimes, a thought which enters into the mind becomes so difficult to get rid of that, the person feels compelled to follow a certain course of action at any cost. Most of the acts of revenge result from such recurring thoughts. In other words, it is not we who think, it is the thoughts that keep coming to our minds. As we shall see soon, this is precisely what the Yogic concept of Citta and Vrtties is, and if we learn to control the autonomic activities of the body, we also simultaneously learn to control the thinking process as well. In e-language, the second sutra of Patafijali's Yoga Sutras (PYS)- YogaScittavrttinirodhah can be translated as 'Yoga is formatting of the hard disc of the human mind. Which releases it form the influence of incorrect programming.




1 My Word 1
2 The Morning Prayer 19
3 The Preliminaries 21
4 The Cooling Down AUNkara japa 25
5 A Periodic Fast : The Easiest 'Tapa' and a Great Benefactor 29
6 The Asonas 38
7 The Pranayamas Physiological Basis 71
8 The Eight-Plus Types of Pranayamas 87
9 Hypoxia , Intermittent Hypoxic Training and yogic Techniques that Produce Brief Intermitent Hypoxia 100
10 Internal cleansing Procedures 111
11 Voluntary Control over Autonomic Functions 120
12 Application of Yoga in Disease States-1 133
13 Application of Yoga in Disease States-2 Common Disorders of he Gastrointestional System 149
14 The Suryanamaskara Series of Maneuvers to Fill the intestines with Air 160
15 Application of Yoga in Disease Conditions 3 178
16 Samashi and Human Hibernation 185
17 Haptha- Yoga as Manipulator of Nature 193
  Summary 194
  Index 195


Sample Pages

Item Code: NAP426 Author: Prakash C Malshe Cover: Paperback Edition: 2018 Publisher: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd., New Delhi ISBN: 9789352700141 Language: English Size: 9.0 inch X 7.0 inch Pages: 225 (Throughout Color Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 400 gms
Price: $26.00
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