Researchers at the University of South Carolina (USC) have found that an ancient yogic practice called Thirumantharim can protect the neurons in our brains, helping to guard against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Sundara Balasubramanian, a biochemist and research assistant professor at Medical University of South Carolina conducted a study wherein a control group sat and read quietly for twenty minutes while another group of participants practiced controlled breathing and Om chanting for the same duration. The results they found were quit shocking.
Sixty percent of the group who practiced yogic breathing realized a marked increase in Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), an important protein the body uses to protect the neurons of the brain.
Balasubramanian calls the practice a systematic exercise, and he couldn’t be more correct.
The Himalayan Academy states that Thirumantharim, from the Sanskrit language, literally translates to ‘Holy Incantation.’ The entire yogic practice involves much more than just breathing, and includes the essence of Raja, or ‘royal’ yoga as well as siddha yoga, a practice which was shared only with a few aspirants, and that could give practitioners special powers called siddhis.
Siddhis are essentially super-natural skills, meaning they are not experienced, sadly, by the common man and woman. Siddhi means ‘accomplishment’ or ‘perfection’ in Sanskrit. These skills are obtained by recognizing the emptiness (or rather zero-point state) of the Universe. It is no wonder that practicing just a small fraction of the exercises from the ancient Thirumantharim text would give someone the ability to avoid one of the most common illnesses of our age.
Maybe breathing like a yogi for ten minutes every day won’t help you walk on water, but Patanjali, a yogic sage who compiled many thousands of years of yogic teachings said in the Yoga Sutras:
Which translates to:
“Births, herbs, mantras and tapas can help you to attain Samadhi and its accomplishments.”
Tapas, or ‘the disciplines’, include breathing properly. Mantras like ‘Om’ also have a known healing component studied by modern scientists and ancient sages alike for its ability to alter the physiology profoundly. This one chant has been proven to alter us at the molecular level – is it any wonder that a combination of deep, yogic breathing, and the utterance of ‘Om’ can change our neuronal health?
The pharmaceutical industry has tried to develop synthetic forms of Nerve Growth Factor to deliver to the brain in order to reverse Alzheimer’s and other forms of neurodegeneration, but a simple practice can profoundly change the brain, as evidenced by the surprising results found at USC. There is no need for another expensive ‘brain medication.’ Ancient yogic practices hold the keys for healing – and they are free for anyone who wants to try them.
Photo Courtesy of: Oscillation Yoga
Featured image: http://www.yogavanam.com/