Okay. So. I'm currently in my Anthropology of Religion class. The teacher (someone who I'm convinced was an acid-dropping hippy when she was younger... she's rather... erm... "ethereal") brought her Yoga instructors to talk to the class.

First, they talk about spiritual nonsense as if it's fact: "we all know that humans are just spirits experiencing the human condition" and "we know that there are higher realms of understandings". This stuff was proven? Did I miss a memo? Is there a peer-reviewed article on it?

Then they call Yoga a science. I'm sorry, but how has Yoga answered any questions about the nature of reality?

Now they're talking about "om" (or "aum"). Yes, the "om" of what I thought was a goofy satirical stereotype of Buddhist monks. They said "science has proven that everything resonates to the sound of 'om'."

What? Anyone got anything on this? I'm confused...

ETA:

All of this is proven scientifically? Really? Boy do I wish a physicist was here right now... how great it would be if Professor Stephen Hawking himself were in here right now... *sigh*

Views: 93

Tags: Yoga, spirituality, woo-woo

Comment by Denise W on February 27, 2012 at 6:09pm

I'm all for yoga, taichi, qi gong, pilates, etc. They are excellent stretching exercises, and yeah, moving meditation is a way to relax all the senses. I also agree with Alex that science supports meditation from a cognitive therapy standpoint. Does that intersect with yoga? Perhaps...I really don't know...I would actually need to go research the academic library. But admittedly, seems a touch far-fetched.

Comment by Nathan Hevenstone on February 28, 2012 at 8:10am

I'm aware of the actual benefits of Yoga, meditation, and stretching. These two people were saying that the spiritual components were proven by science: we have souls, everything vibrates to the sound of "om", there's a higher plane of existence...

That is what they claimed has been proven by science.

Since when?

Comment by StarStuff on February 28, 2012 at 1:25pm

For me, yoga is exercise & learning to be in the moment.  So, yeah, I believe it definitely has a cognitive component as well - not really "science" though.  I don't buy into the "chi" & vibrations & all that but you don't have to order to reap the benefits of yoga.

Comment by Jessica Jacobs on February 29, 2012 at 12:41am

Ha! I took that class. My professor was a retired, but still practicing, Catholic monk. Best guy ever. Hated the pope. 

/shrug, let them have their woo. Nothing I can find suggests there is any evidence for those particular claims. I'm slightly embarrassed that someone will see that in my search history though, I'll have to bury it under lots of porn. It has been shown in many studies that meditation is very helpful. More interesting is something called Progressive Muscle Relaxation, buddy called Edmund Jacobson ended up proving the connection between excessive muscular tension and different mental and physical disorders. In addition to helping patients with anxiety, it has also been shown in studies to reduce nausea, vomiting, and depression in breast cancer patients, and has been used as a therapy for insomnia. It has also been highly effective in reducing the acute anxiety and psychological stress experienced by schizophrenics, as well as improving subjective well-being. So there's that. I can see how a person so inclined would translate such effects into a spiritual paradigm. It easier. 

Comment by Scott Howard on March 3, 2012 at 10:11pm
In my experience, yoga practitioners fall into two camps: exercise and spirituality.

The vast majority are just exercisers. Theses are the types one sees on TV or can purchase DVDs from. The others view yogabas a means to a spiritual end. They cmbone their practice with meditation, vegitarianism, Hinduism and or Buddhism.

I tried really hard to get "into" my practice like that, but my brain kept getting in the way. While I do meditate, i don't expect any "enlightenment" just relaxation and that's what I get.
Comment by Scott Howard on March 3, 2012 at 10:12pm
Damn! I really shouldn't do these posts on my ipad!

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