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29 July 2009, 04:15 AM

Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity categorically states that each man carries his own time and his own space with him. Stephen Hawking makes it more interesting read, when he quips, each man carries his own clock. To add one second to his life, one has to travel four million times around the world in an airliner; it is another matter that one looses it by eating what they serve. Bill Bryson, in his best seller, ‘Short History of Nearly Everything’, muses, “Fly across the United State, and you will step from the plane a quinzillionth of a second, or something, younger than those you left behind.” It is therefore; scientifically safe to assume that it is possible to increase life span and each man grows older in his own space-time. [/FONT]
Hindu philosophers, through ages, have professed easier methods than going around on a jet, to retard natural aging process. ‘Uttar Gita’ (ch 1, verse 8) says, “He who is always able to retain his prana (life breath) within himself, both at the time of walking and rest, can extend his period of life…” In the ‘Autobiography Of a Yogi’, Paramhansa Yoganada writes “The restless monkey breathes at the rate of 32 times a minute, in contrast to man’s average of 18 times. The elephant, tortoise, snake, and other creatures noted for their longevity have a respiratory rate that is less than man’s. The giant tortoise, for instance, which may attain the age of three hundred years, breathes only 4 times a minute… Kriya (Yoga) serves to prolong life...” The catchword in both instances is the rate of breathing.
Swami Sivananda, founder of ‘Devine Life Society’, in his book ‘TheScience of Pranayama’, writes, “The ordinary length of air current when exhaled is 12 digits (one digit equals one finger width) or 9 inches. In singing its length becomes 16 digits (1 foot), in eating it comes to 20 digits (15 inches), in sleeping 30 digits (22.5 inches), in copulation 36 digits (27 inches) and in doing physical exercise it is much more than that. By decreasing the natural length of the expirer air current (from 9 inches), life is prolonged and by increasing, the duration of life decreases.” This may be the reason for a Yoga teacher to stress on performing Savasan (dead man posture) after each yogic exercise and posture to bring the rate and length of breath to normal.
‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’, the principle treatise on Hath Yoga was written by Yogi Sivatmarama in 15th century. In its chapter 2, verse 3 reads, “So long the prana (life breath) stays in the body, it is called life. Death consists in the passing out of the prana. It is therefore, necessary to retain the breath.” Pranayam is a science, outlining breathing exercises to regulate prana. During pranayam, the emphasis is always on restraining the breath (kumbhaka –holding the breath). This is apparent when we note the time recommended for completing the three elements of breathing in one cycle. Puraka (inhalation) has been recommended to be completed in 1 unit, kumbhaka in 4 units and richika (exhalation) in 2 units of time (in the ratio 1:4:2). Note the emphasis on reducing time of one breathing cycle. Kumbhaka is also suggested by Patanjali’s units and richika (exhalation) in 2 units of time (in the ratio 1:4:2). Note the emphasis on reducing time of one breathing cycle. Kumbhaka is also suggested by Patanjali’s aphorisms that are the highest authority on Raja Yoga. Pranayam has been defined thus in chapter 2 verse 49 “After perfecting the Asana (posture), stopping of inhalation and exhalation is pranayam …”
Our breath is always warm. We are constantly giving out Lifetrons, as Paramhansa Yogananda prefers to call, as we breathe out. We are always exhaling energy in terms of heat. By constant and regular practice of pranayam the normal breathing cycle naturally becomes slow and lean. By reducing number of breath per minute, we save enormous amount of energy over the years that we live. We need not know Einstein’s famous E=MC2, to learn that any radiation of energy ‘L’ from a body reduces it’s mass by L\C2.
Like Yoga, Chinese system of exercises and breath control ‘Qigong’, is also gaining ground in USA, Australia and Canada. Nearer home, Swami Ramdev and others are rendering huge service to society at large to revive and popularize the science and practice of Hath Yoga. They proudly and loudly claim that regular practice of pranayam, alone, can make one healthier and hence live longer, save retribution of sanchit karmas.
One only has to look at the youthful glow and graceful body movements of a yogi, to believe in our ancient systems. Brian Dana Akers, in his translation of ‘Hath Yoga Pradipika’, concludes, “Finally, you may be wondering if things described in this book are really true. I invite the scientifically minded to do some empirical research….”. A query, “increasing life span”, on Yahoo Search Engine alone returns 3,460,000 hits. Brief examination of these sites makes Mr. Akers appear correct, as no research seems to be conducted on yogic kriyas, per say, for increasing life span. Patrick J Bird, PHD, of Collage of Health and Human Performance, University of Florida says “Yes, moderate exercise may help us live longer.” The fact, first made news in 1986 following the publication of an extensive study in New England Journal of Medicine by Dr Ralph Paffenbarger Jr of The Stanford University Medical School, based on data collected from 17,000 Harvard graduates for about 20 years. Dietary restriction (DR), the extension of life span by reduction of nutrient intake without malnutrition, is often used as a benchmark comparison for interventions that extend life spans since McCay’s pioneering experiments on rodents. Both these conclusions have been part of our yogic system of exercises and recommended sattaivk food since ages.

27 August 2009, 11:48 PM
Namaste ,

It is interesting to read your article especially with regard to NEJM.The system from china is a new forum for us.

Thanks for your elaborate article.

08 September 2009, 03:05 AM
Hi rkpande,

I am feel good to read your article as it gives me good feelings of yoga. From these article ,I come to know the importance and advantages of yoga.I want to ask that can yoga is helpful to cure Cancer and AIDS diseases or is is any way to reduce the pain which occur due to diabetics and cancer. I am waiting for your positive reply.


08 September 2009, 03:25 AM
swami Ramdev, who has millions of followers in India, who has brought millions of house holders to the realm of yoga, proclaims that he has cured lots of people of cancer.. You may google him. he has patanjali Yoga peeth at Haridwar,India.he has been visiting USA and many other countries. He also runs Ayurveda treatment centres.. You can watch him on AAstha channel (INDIA) at 8pm every day(India Time)

04 February 2010, 05:03 AM
yes swami Ramdev is a true yog Guru and he get yoga into every house in his life and he really making India healthy
yoga retreat (http://www.sivanandabahamas.org/yoga-retreat.htm)