If you are new to yoga, or maybe feel uncomfortable with the idea of engaging in yoga, the purpose of this site is to introduce you to the subject through a Western, Scientific lense. We hope to help you see why it is a central part of the Terasem connections, and why we think it is so valuable. Terasem is about technological immortality, for us as individuals, for our collective consciousness, and for the universe, too! Anything we can do to promote our greater longevity and ability to enjoy ourselves and be more creative, is seen as a positive!
If you haven’t yet read Meditation as Medicine, by Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, we highly recommend it to you. The author is an American born and educated anesthesiologist with a medical practice in Tucson, AZ. He is also the President of the Tucson Alzheimer’s Prevention Foundation. This book is a powerhouse of information, with more of a Western slant than Eastern. It takes all those mysterious sounding words like chakras, prana, and nadi, and shows how they relate to our current Western understanding of anatomy and physiology.
Dr. Singh Khalsa says, “Now let’s analyze meditation as a healing modality, using just facts and figures, studies and experiments, charts and graphs. After all, Medical Meditation is based at least as much on rationalism as it is on spiritualism and intuition. It’s important to remember that kundalini yoga, one of the foundations of Medical Meditation, is an ancient science, not a philosophy nor a religion. To be fully credible, Medical Meditation must withstand the scrutiny of the modern scientific method. Only by subjecting Medical Meditation to the rigors of science can we fully appreciate it.”
For a copy of the scientific research bibliography (385 references) from the book, go to the References tab above.
The ancient yogis didn’t know anything about mitochondria in the cells, alveoli in the lungs, or the nervous or para-nervous systems. But just like folks in the Western world used aspirin long before they knew how it worked, the yogis used stretching, postures, affirmations and chanting centuries before anyone knew how or why they worked on the flow of energy, improving blood circulation, and stimulating the endocrine and immune systems, and improving brain function and moods.
Martine Rothblatt’s yoga videos (go to our links) have a little of both the Eastern vocabulary and the Western scientific ideas, but it’s heavier on the Eastern approach. If you want more details about the Western scientific application of these ideas, the best way we know of is to start with the book Meditation as Medicine! But, here’s just a few simplified explanations of how yoga benefits you, from a more Western scientific viewpoint:
The Eastern yogis have a very poetic way of visualizing that we breath in prana energy from the earth and the universe around us, and that by using various different exercises and positions, we move that prana through the chakras, or energy locations, for differing desired results. Our modern understanding is, of course, that as we stretch and breath deeply, we are improving the function of our muscles and the alveoli in our lungs. By doing so, we improve our ability to feed oxygen to the mitochondria in our cells, so they can produce more energy for us. We improve our general health, our limberness, our nervous system, and our body’s ability to feed our brain with better circulation, which in turn, improves our overall functioning, creativity and positive outlook.
PET scans show that different body, hand and finger positions light up specific areas in the brain, and directly affect brain functions. Similarly, much like singing and beating drums, chanting causes vibrations that stimulate our endocrine system. Vibrations also affect the hypothalamus and hippocampus, sites of memory, emotions, and endocrine function. The pituitary, or master gland, which is often referred to as the Third Eye in yoga, it’s located between the eyebrows and just up a little. During meditation, we often focus our attention and our eyes on that spot. When we do, the pressure of our muscles stimulates the pituitary. The words of the chants are not as important as the vibrations they produce. Again, for references to take you deeper into the western research that has been done on this, see the References tab above.
In order to build the protective shield of geoethical nanotechnology that will help us navigate safely through the technological Singularity, we need to begin by building our own strength, and become the best that we can be. Yoga is one tool in our kit for accomplishing this, regardless of whether you prefer a more poetic Eastern approach or a Western, scientific visualization of how and why it is benefiting you.