In the last four years Divya Yog Mandir (Trust)- Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar initiated scientific research on Yoga with a special emphasis on Pranayam as taught by H.H. Swami Ramdevji.
This research effort culminated in a book ‘Yoga In Synergy With Medical Science’ authored by Pujya Acharya Balkrishnakji. (Divya Prakashan, Divya Yog Mandir, Trust, Haridwar, India, 2007). The research is detailed in Chapters 5 and 6.
1. The first set of studies were conducted in a series of Residential Camps at Patanjali Yogpeeth, Haridwar. The participants were patients with a wide range of illnesses, specially targeting (i) obesity, (ii) diabetes, and (iii) hypertension. Medical professionals from national and state government medical institutions were involved in these trials which may be described as ‘prospective non-controlled trials’. To offset the disadvantage of having no control group the trials included large numbers of participants, of both sexes, and varying ages ranging between 1304 and 1868.
Many of the variables (such as pulmonary function tests, blood pressure levels, serum lipid profile, electrocardiogram abnormalities) studied have been reported in earlier trials investigating the effects of Yoga. However an interesting feature of these trials is that results were presented in terms of number of persons who showed an improvement/ who worsened/ or who showed no change.
Given the large numbers of participants this is an interesting innovation in approaching pre-post intervention analysis. Most of the variables did show that patients shifted towards improvement following Yoga. The book also presents a brief discussion on the possible mechanisms underlying the improvement.
2. Another trial was conducted on 128 out-patients department patients who presented with osteoporosis or osteopenia. Assessments were pre-post 40 days of Yoga. This was a prospective, non-controlled, longitudinal trial. Bone mineral density was found to improve after Yoga.
3. Yoga for sports participants – was the third study, carried out on team members of the football team who later played for the World Cup. The physical fitness and exercise performance were assessed with standard variables at the beginning and end of a7-day intensive Yoga training. The results suggested that the training was beneficial and improved various aspects of physical fitness and exercise performance.
4. A separate set of studies were conducted in the United Kingdom (the U.K.) which looked at the effect of Yoga for the most prevalent problems there, such as obesity, hypertension, heart disease, among others. This prevalence was mainly true for specific sub-categories of the Indian immigrant population.
Here also, prospective, short-duration, intensive, non-controlled trials showed that Yoga practice was clinically useful.
5. A controlled trial was conducted on 119 participants in a 10-day Yoga Camp, with a follow-up after 3 months. This trial was conducted with Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation, Bangalore; Sanjay Gandhi Medical Institute, Lucknow, and Sahara India Medical Institute, Lucknow.
Participants were assigned to two groups by the experimenter: Yoga and non-Yoga, control. The variables studied included hormones (e.g., cortisol, endorphins, prolactin); body mass index, polygraph recordings of the heart rate, breath rate, stress indicators (such as skin resistance and cutaneous blood flow), as well as performance in tasks for attention, concentration, and muscle fatigue.
These data were amenable to statistical analysis and the results are presented in detail (pages 172-196). The short term (10 days) and 3 month followup showed various neuroendocrine, autonomic, and performance-related benefits of Yoga.
6. A large scale survey was conducted on 84,663 people from across the sub-continent to assess their attitudes towards various aspects of lifestyle and Yoga. It was of great interest to note that the sample was variegated and representative, including almost comparable numbers of people of both genders. Different age groups, levels of education, occupations, and economic status, as well as their residence in urban or rural areas. This was important to note as this was not a systematic randomized selection; nonetheless it appeared adequately representative. A surprisingly large number of participants mentioned that they were regularly practicing Yoga (81.9%).
This large scale survey also examined the time of the day people were most likely to practice Yoga , the conditions which improved the most and other interesting facts (e.g., a shift in attitude with better respect for older people after practicing Yoga ) or a greater likelihood of stopping the consumption of fast food). Approximately 83 percent reported that they believed that Patanjali Yogpeeth had played a definite role in establishing Yoga as a science.
Finally, Chapter 8 has a vast number of detailed testimonials from people who have benefited from Yoga practice as taught by Swami Ramdevji, most often in the Yoga Camps. These cover widely differing conditions and include cancer, degenerative disorders, as well as the to-be-expected conditions such as obesity.
PRESENT RESEARCH (2007-2009)
Patanjali Yoga and Ayurveda Anusandhan Sansthan is committed to scientifically evaluate the physiological and clinical effects of Yoga and Pranayam as taught by Swami Ramdevji and the Ayurvedic medicines formulated by Acharya Balakrishanji.
Under the Chairmanship of Acharya Balkrishanji, a team of reputed Yoga Scientists has been formed to carry forward the work of Yoga research in Patanjali Yogpeeth.
Dr. Shirley Telles, M.B.B.S., M.Phil., Ph.D.(Neurophysiology), D.Sc. (Yoga), a world renowed name in the field of Yoga research has been working as Chief Research Consultant for Patanjali Yogpeeth.
INSTITUTIONAL ETHICS COMMITTEE:
The IEC has been formed according to the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi and meets every 6 months or as required. All clinical trials are registered with the Clinical Trials Registry of India.
ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR YOGA AND PRANAYAM RESEARCH:
A National and an International Advisory committee have been established.
1. Physiological effects of Yoga (emphasizing the techniques of Swami Ramdev) we would use a 16 channel polygraph (to measure the BP non-invasively, the cardiac output, the heart rate variability, respiration, blood flow to the periphery, and electrodermal activity. We also record basal metabolic rate, and lung functions. Our biochemical assessments include routine investigations (e.g., the lipid profile) as well as other hormones such as leptin and ghrelin).
2. Skill, perception & cognition following yoga. Applications in education and specific occupations. For e.g.,the armed forces, in children who are slow learners.
3. Yoga as a therapy
• Single group trials
4. Yoga and rehabilitation
•Medical (e.g., for persons following stroke.)
• Social: e.g., survivors of the 2008 Bihar floods
5. Yoga, ayurveda and related areas e.g., Use of Ayruveda in promoting dental health and preventing caries.
6. Basic physiology e.g., comparing body composition in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and in normals.
The Department has taken advantage of the fact that large numbers of healthy persons and patients attend the Yoga camps here. Hence we are developing databases of various physiological and attitude/behavior related-data to contribute to norms in the Indian population
1. Field studies on the effects of pranayam camps (Yoga vijan shivir) were conducted in collaboration with local medical institutions viz., Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow and Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation [A Yoga University], Bangalore.
2. Effects of a ‘7 day residential Yoga camp were studied in persons with varied psychosomatic illnesses.
3. Effect of two pranayama techniques in experienced Yoga teachers were studied on attentional tasks in medical students, middle aged and older adults and in children.
4. Effect of Yoga on physical fitness, work performance and psychological stress in new army recruits [Collaborative Project with Bengal Engineering Group & Center, Roorkee and Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation [A Yoga University], Bangalore].
5. Effect of Yoga on physical fitness, mental health, scholastic performance, vision and oral hygiene in children at a residential school:
A randomized longitudinal study. A multi-disciplinary project between Dept. of Yoga Research, Dental Sciences and Opthalmology in collaboration with Divya Prema Seva Mission, Haridwar].
CENTRALIZED RESEARCH FACILITIES
1. Centralized Facility for Biochemistry, Haematology, Histopathology and Serology
2. Centralized Facility for Microbiology and Cytobiochemistry
3. Centralized Facility for Panchakarma
4. Centralized Facility for Dental Sciences
5. Centralized Facility for Opthalomology
6. Centralized Facility for Medical Imaging
7. Centralized Facility for Cardio-respiratory diagnostic services
8. Centralized Facility for Medical Library and Information
9. Centralized Facility for Medicinal Herbarium
The Department conducts one day seminars and longer duration workshops. Between May 23 – June 5, 2009 the Dept is conducting a course on “Advanced Training in Yoga Research”, attended by scientists from other yoga institutions .
LIST OF PUBLICATIONS IN YOGA RESEARCH