This Article is From Jun 20, 2015

Understanding the Science Behind Yoga

Representational picture

New Delhi: Imagine a laboratory where the human body is being continuously monitored with high-tech instrumentation; their heart rate, breathing pattern and nerve transmission are recorded. All this being done as modern ascetics perform the yogic postures or asanas; in an effort to link traditional wisdom to modern science.

A small defence research institute in Delhi is quietly busy unravelling the real science behind yoga, understanding how human physiology and biochemistry reacts to yoga.

Director of the Defence Institute for Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), Dr Shashi Bala Singh says, "There is a science behind Yoga, at DIPAS we are trying to validate yoga asanas in terms of physical, physiological, biochemical responses and even at the genetic level".

Ever since the central government decided to turn International Yoga Day on June 21 into a mega event, yoga may have come into focus. But for these scientists, yoga is a vehicle for keeping India protected and safe from enemies.

When Indian Army soldiers defend our borders at the Siachen glacier, yoga plays an important role in their ability to adapt to near freezing conditions at the world's highest battle-field.

Indian Army today uses yoga to keep fit from the high Himalayas to the warships in the oceans. DIPAS has helped them give scientific validation to include it as a part of their physical training.

"We are trying to understand how these yoga asanas help optimize the performance of soldiers posted in stressful environments," says Dr Singh.

After years of experimentation, scientists have published many of their research findings that validate that yoga helps in general well-being of a person.

Some of the findings are, yoga helps fight stress in soldiers, improve lung function at high altitudes, quicker decision making in war zones and helps reduce harmful enzymes in the body.

This team of scientists have prepared special yoga packages that the army, navy and air force are using to keep their soldiers fighting fit and mentally stable.