(Gurudev addressed over 200 medical professionals through The Symposium for the Medical Fraternity of Calgary, at the Libin Theater, Health Sciences Center.
The health providers in attendance came from a wide variety of health professions; doctors, nurses, social workers, psychologists, internal medicine specialists, naturopathy, homeopathy, as well as some working with veterans, medical students and residents.
Below is a transcript of what Gurudev said.)
You must have heard a lot about meditation and pranayama. Do you know, this ancient science has been there in India for the last 5,000 years to 8,000 years? This science combined with Ayurveda (the herbal science prominent in the East), has been responsible for taking care of the health and wellbeing of generations of people.
Millions of people have benefited by this ancient science, but unfortunately, there has been no scientific documentation, as such. So we have started taking a step in this direction. Our foundation, The Art of Living, is making a small effort in documenting the benefits experienced by people. Until now, what was missing was this documentation.
In fact, the Government of India is now putting together an Ayurveda Research Wing as well.
We have a Medical College based on Ayurveda, which has been running for five years successfully. And we have also started an Ayurveda Hospital in Bangalore, at our campus, which is one of the best Ayurvedic hospitals in Asia. I would like to invite all of you to visit the hospital and also our Ayurveda Medical College.
There are a number of different research studies that has been happening at our college. We are treating Varicose Veins and Piles with a near 100% success rate. Only 0.1% of people have had a recurrence of piles after the operation, which is done using the ancient Shara techniques. It would be nice if we could have a dialogue to exchange views between Allopathic and Ayurvedic medicine researchers and practitioners. I think it would benefit the world population.
Coming back to meditation and pranayama, you have already heard a lot from the research experts. I am a lay person. But one thing I would like to say is, if you observe a baby, from the time it is born to the age of three, it does all the yoga postures. You only need keen observation to recognize this, not a yoga instructor.
When a baby is born, it is born in a particular mudra, which is called Aadi mudra (thumb tucked into palm and other fingers wrapped into a fist) in the science of yogic texts.
When babies sleep, if you notice, they sleep with their hands in Chin mudra (tip of thumb and fore finger touching and other fingers are extended), and Chinmayee mudra (tip of thumb and fore finger touching and other fingers are rolled in touching the palm).
They also do the Merudanda mudra (thumb pointing up and other fingers rolled in) when they suck their thumb.
A mudra (hand posture) stimulates certain parts of the brain and certain parts of the body. So babies do all these different mudras.
If you notice, whenever someone feels cold, the first natural tendency is to hide the thumbs under the arm-pits, to keep the thumbs warm. Actually, in yoga, the thumbs are very important. It is said, if you keep the thumb warm, the whole body is kept warm.
In yoga, it is also said that the tips of our fingers are energy points. Similarly, our ears are also energy points. In Ayurveda, these are called Marma points; the secrets points of energy in the body. When these points are stimulated, they release energy into the system. This is the tradition of Ayurveda.
Coming back to observing children, if you notice they also do the Cobra pose, where they lie down on their stomach and lift up their neck. Then they do the Boat pose, where they lie on their backs with their hands and legs off the ground.
They do almost all the yoga poses before the age of three. We simply need to observe them. Also, the way children breathe is different; they breathe from the belly.
Every emotion has a corresponding rhythm in the breath. You may have observed that when you are happy, your breath moves in a different rhythm as compared with when you are unhappy. The temperature, speed, length and the volume of your breath is different. (This is even taught in theater classes; how to express different emotions by changing the breath.) So, our emotions are linked to the breath and to some parts of the body.
In The Art of Living Advanced Meditation courses, we teach about Chakras, energy centers in the body.
In Yoga, it is said that these energy centers have specific qualities and specific rhythms, and they are connected to certain elements. So working with chakras bring a lot of benefit.
In the whole body, there are 108 chakras, of which 12 are very important, and seven of those are even more important. By placing our attention on these centers, we stimulate and relax these centers in the Advanced Meditation Program.