Yoga & Science

Dr Shirley Telles: How To Quantify Yoga?

Dr. Shirley Telles describes a survey asking people why they practice yoga. The top two replies were health, and a sense beyond themselves. While people are getting more and more involved in the spiritual aspect of yoga, and people feel an awareness of its benefits, researchers are still working to figure out a means for quantifying the spirituality of yoga. She describes how research she herself has conducted to quantify aura have failed to provide tangible results.

Dr. Telles was studying neuroscience when she was assigned yoga as her thesis topic. She received her degree in conventional medicine (MBBS) and a MPhil and PhD in Neurophysiology and wrote her theses on the effects of yoga practice. Her fascination with the topic of yoga naturally evolved from this work. She received a Fulbright fellowship in 1998, and in 2007 she received an Indian Council of Medical Research Center for Advanced Research to study the effects meditation through autonomic variables, evoked and event related potentials, polysomnography and fMRI. Dr. Telles has been the director of Patanjali Research Foundation in Haridwar, India since 2007 and has written over 160 research papers cited in major databases.

In this episode, Dr. Telles discusses the difficulty of quantifying the impact of yoga, and discusses yoga modules designed to help people enhance their attention without creating arousal or anxiety. How is it possible to be attentive without being hyper aroused or anxious? People who do yoga daily know it does them good, but how can practitioner satisfaction be properly quantified? Dr. Telles finds the current methodology to be questionable. The ability of practitioners to self-soothe and reduce unnecessary activity in the brain is possible through yoga, but it needs to be measured adequately.

06:19 | 2019

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