Chemical reactions caused by yoga?


#1

In my personal practice I pause after each asana to experience the “juice”, as one instructor puts it, the resultant release, rush, or however it is defined. It feels good and often evokes a smile.

In sukhasan, I regularly bend forward, then to each side, back to center and then arise with an inhale. A flow of joyful, nourishing, calming energy moves up my spine and fills me with peace and joy. Needless to say, I do this in every saddhana.

I can only imagine that dopamine, nor-epinephrine and perhaps serotonin are incited to release through yogic asanas, yet I have never seen, nor read of any scientific data to define just what happens chemically in the body as one practices yoga.

Anyone have any knowledge to share or know of any credible resources to refer to on this matter?

Aloha, T


#2

To reduce the impact of the yogic sciences to mere chemistry is just scratching the suface of what is happening to your system as a result of the discipline. But, on a gross level, it may be seen in terms of chemistry. Every state of consciousness, emotion, and mental state is itself a kind of chemistry - and the yoga may be seen as a science of triggering a transformation at the level of consciousness through bringing about certain changes to one’s chemistry. Depending on the kinds of processes that you are doing, different chemicals and parts of the nervous system will be activated within oneself. Part of this has much to do with the endocrine glands in the body. These are glands which release different hormones into your system which have different functions. Each of the endocrine glands correspond to the chakras in a certain way - they are gross aspects of the chakras which are working on a much subtler level. Ajna, for example, has a very close connection with the pineal gland in the brain, which releases melatonin and other hormones. That is why, through concentration upon the ajna center, one is also stimulating the pineal gland which releases certain pineal hormones in one’s system. Similarly, all of the energy centers are linked with the endocrine glands. Different asanas will also stimulate different glands. Sarvangasana, for example, activates the thyroid gland which is very much responsible for metabolism and equilibrium. Shirsasana, activates the pituiary gland in the brain. The pituitary gland is like a mother-gland which, when activated, controls all of the other endocrine glands in one’s system, which is why it also activates all of the chakras. That is why in the yogic sciences, Shirsasana is known as the “king of asanas”. As far as the nervous system is concerned, different techniques will activate either the sympathetic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, or bring both into balance. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for all of the relaxation responses of the body, the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for all of the tension responses of the body. A technique like nadi shudhana, the alternate nostril breathing, is intended to bring about a balance between both parts of your nervous system so that you can remain both relaxed, and yet tremendously alert. That is in fact the state which is most supportive for meditation.

All of this is just considering what happens on the gross level of the body. There are other dimensions involved, but they extend beyond the present understanding of modern science and has to do with energies which are working on a very subtle level. If you are interested in understanding the chemical changes that happen in one’s system from the discipline - a good place to start is to research into the workings of the nervous system and the endocrine system.


#3

Amazing how yogis felt long ago what modern science is now beginning to decipher. No doubt Education, knowledge and understanding are helpful in making good decisions but it may also be as important to experience and listen to the subtler energies that run through and around us, kinda like how words come easy for many people but they really don?t mean that much compared with the things that are said in a lovers touch.


#4

Amir,
Thank you for that very detailed response, very educational and informational. :slight_smile:


#5

Great analysis!


#6

[QUOTE=AmirMourad;55068]To reduce the impact of the yogic sciences to mere chemistry is just scratching the suface of what is happening to your system as a result of the discipline. But, on a gross level, it may be seen in terms of chemistry. Every state of consciousness, emotion, and mental state is itself a kind of chemistry - and the yoga may be seen as a science of triggering a transformation at the level of consciousness through bringing about certain changes to one’s chemistry. Depending on the kinds of processes that you are doing, different chemicals and parts of the nervous system will be activated within oneself. Part of this has much to do with the endocrine glands in the body. These are glands which release different hormones into your system which have different functions. Each of the endocrine glands correspond to the chakras in a certain way - they are gross aspects of the chakras which are working on a much subtler level. Ajna, for example, has a very close connection with the pineal gland in the brain, which releases melatonin and other hormones. That is why, through concentration upon the ajna center, one is also stimulating the pineal gland which releases certain pineal hormones in one’s system. Similarly, all of the energy centers are linked with the endocrine glands. Different asanas will also stimulate different glands. Sarvangasana, for example, activates the thyroid gland which is very much responsible for metabolism and equilibrium. Shirsasana, activates the pituiary gland in the brain. The pituitary gland is like a mother-gland which, when activated, controls all of the other endocrine glands in one’s system, which is why it also activates all of the chakras. That is why in the yogic sciences, Shirsasana is known as the “king of asanas”. As far as the nervous system is concerned, different techniques will activate either the sympathetic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system, or bring both into balance. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for all of the relaxation responses of the body, the sympathetic nervous system is responsible for all of the tension responses of the body. A technique like nadi shudhana, the alternate nostril breathing, is intended to bring about a balance between both parts of your nervous system so that you can remain both relaxed, and yet tremendously alert. That is in fact the state which is most supportive for meditation.

All of this is just considering what happens on the gross level of the body. There are other dimensions involved, but they extend beyond the present understanding of modern science and has to do with energies which are working on a very subtle level. If you are interested in understanding the chemical changes that happen in one’s system from the discipline - a good place to start is to research into the workings of the nervous system and the endocrine system.[/QUOTE]

Thank you Amir for writing nothing that could not be found within

Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha

&

The Kundalini Tantra

by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

I must say - the swami says what you said in far more eloquent and yes - simpler terms.

This information actually can be found in other books as well.

I’m wondering when your going to start bringing actual insight to the responses you write, or if you are simply going to keep regurgitating the words of better men?

I’m guessing the latter shall continue to be the norm.

SQWUAK!!!