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Thread: Is Yoga Scientific ?

  1. #1 Is Yoga Scientific ? 
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    Yoga seems to me to be a investigation into yourself to find the Truth within you. Through meditation (and other practices) that allows you to deepen your awareness of yourself, discarding layer after layer of junk, until you arrive at the core. (it's the best description I can do, sorry)

    You yourself are the apparatus.

    ... or is this kind of stuff off-limits to Science, and if it is isn't that a bit ridiculous ... I mean the one thing that we all walk around with is ourselves, and if it is off-limits to Science isn't that a a bit repressed ? Shouldn't we start here ?

    Yes you can MRI the brain as you are thinking - but that's an external investigation.

    What about if you use yourself to investigate ?

    What would it be like if scientific journals had details of investigations that scientists made on themselves ? "Today I made a 5 hour long investigation of myself using some meditation and discovered ... "

    Or is that not allowed ?


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  3. #2  
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    How would you rule out the placebo affect, observer bias, or mere coincidence?

    You can't, you have to include more than one person to get any sort of meaningful result.


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    Perhaps, but if you do a bit a meditation you can at least see something is there to look at.

    And if Science does not allow you to look at something this basic and this close to you maybe Science needs to widen it's definition.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideforever
    Perhaps, but if you do a bit a meditation you can at least see something is there to look at.

    And if Science does not allow you to look at something this basic and this close to you maybe Science needs to widen it's definition.
    And maybe if biology widen its definition it could prove string theory
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Is Yoga Scientific ?
    No.
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  7. #6  
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    I don't know a lot about yoga. I have done it in the past. And, I am considering returning to the practice.

    It is a form of exercise. Thus it benefits a person by increasing strength and flexibility. It also may have some benefit to the mind from meditative practice.

    There is an institute where people involved in neuroscience work with people who are interested in meditation called the "Mind Life Institute". Thus, there may be some intersection between meditation and science.

    http://www.mindandlife.org/

    My main interest in yoga is the exercise. However, I occasionally add a little meditation in with my religious practice--apart from the yoga.
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  8. #7  
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    The question is far too broad. It's like asking, "Is soccer scientific?"

    What part of yoga? What outcomes? Without a well-defined question, you're doomed not to receive a well-informed answer.
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    Yoga is based on what yogis like to think of as science(thousands of years of personal experimentation), but whether or not something is designed around scientific principles doesn't necissarily make it scientific.

    Scientific activities are things that add to, or dissiminate scientific knowledge, I believe. So yoga, in and of itself is not scientific.

    Nonetheless science can study yoga, or more precisely the correlations between yogic excersizes and physiological and psychological dynamics.
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  10. #9 Re: Is Yoga Scientific ? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by rideforever
    Yoga seems to me to be a investigation into yourself to find the Truth within you. Through meditation (and other practices) that allows you to deepen your awareness of yourself, discarding layer after layer of junk, until you arrive at the core.
    You've pretty well nailed the Western yoga. It goes with "mind, body, spirit" - that code phrase meaning "spiritual self-centeredness". Pamper yourself with yoga me-time, etc.

    Some spirituality.

    It's no more scientific than the celebrated adage that wine is good for your health. The proponents won't honestly examine why it appeals to them.

    I imagine Eastern yogis bring different motives.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Forum Freshman quasistatic's Avatar
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    Yoga originated in India and it is very comman in every household. Everybody from my aunts, uncles, my mum,my grand-parents do it.

    And it is definitely a science. Its true aim in scientific terms is to attain mental peace and that one state of consciousness where your mind is free from any confusions, disturbances or chaos.
    You have to reach a mental and physical state where you have complete control of your sense and physical self.
    It is somewhat like attaining Nirvana only at a much amateur level. In this process
    you can heal your body simply by your mind and science.

    So basically its a sort of Nirvana and Noetic Science.

    But completely scientific in any case.
    "Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
    God said, 'Let Newton be!' and all was light."
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic
    Yoga originated in India... it is definitely a science.
    I agree that Hindu Yoga originated in India. I can make a case that yoga originated in Egypt, and its influence spread to India, where it developed physical as well as mental practices.
    However, yoga means UNION (with God). You might as well argue for God being scientific, but clearly God is not scientific and never can be. So yoga is definitely not a science. It can best be described as a discipline, just like many other things such as gymnastics and golf. Anything that helps relax the body and mind could theoretically be described as yoga.
    Do people who practice yoga live longer and go to heaven? I don't think so. It's more to do with believing in something that takes your mind off the depressing realities of life in the genosphere.
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  13. #12  
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    UNION with god is the reight explanation. But the idea of God in its true sense as the ancient yogis and saints who developed yoga, was not God in some powerful supreme form..not an omnipotent individual. Union with God merely means a union with your mind..your senses...your sub-conscious mind. After all God is in your mind..he exists if you want him to exist..he is the most powerful thing that creates everything.

    And if you notice..your mind is the most powerful thing.Your mind is what creates ideas..or possibilities. The mind makes you do everything. if your mind exists everything else exists. So hinduism is purely based on science..and that you are god..your mind is the the creator.

    But all this was not understood by comman man and he mistook it for union with God as in the all powerful supreme being.

    This is what Nirvana is all about:gaining complete control of your conscious and sub-conscious mind so that you become God.
    Yoga is but a small step..a temporary phase. All science..Religion afterall originated from science!
    "Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
    God said, 'Let Newton be!' and all was light."
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic
    UNION with god is the reight explanation. But the idea of God in its true sense as the ancient yogis and saints who developed yoga, was not God in some powerful supreme form..not an omnipotent individual. Union with God merely means a union with your mind..your senses...your sub-conscious mind. After all God is in your mind..he exists if you want him to exist..he is the most powerful thing that creates everything.
    No, no. Everybody knows that God is a white bearded male cosmic gaseous vertebrate. You are making out that he is not independent of an individual's mind. So how did he create the world? Which came first - Mind or God? You are destroying my faith as an undercover Catholic.
    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic
    This is what Nirvana is all about:gaining complete control of your conscious and sub-conscious mind so that you become God.
    Saints be praised.
    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic
    Yoga is but a small step..a temporary phase. All science..Religion afterall originated from science!
    So how old is science? Surely it only goes back as far as the ancient Greeks or Chinese. Religion goes back about 6000 years.
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  15. #14  
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    science is not merely written text or patented theories.
    Discoveries made by pre-historic man, small inventions by the first humans dating back thousands of years before the very idea of religion was formed..is also science. Science isn't only academics.
    Ancient Greeks and chinese only started recording their discoveries. Any idea that generates progress is science. Besides the very idea of God and religion evolved from science. Let me give you an example, what do you think is the idea of re-incarnation or let's say the existence of a soul and its sustainence after death?
    "Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It can only be transformed from one form to another." A very fundamental law of science...so the fact that your sould persists or takes some other form is only energy changing form.
    So scientific laws and theories were told to the average man in forms of miracles and preached in a way that he can understand them by the very people who knew their true scientific meaning...the saints! But the real meaning never caught on and generations of men have changed religion to mere stories of miracles and omnipotent individuals with magic.

    Regarding who came first:If your mind exists..the world exists. When you die everything ceases to exist. So
    your mind creates the world around you.
    Scientifically there isn't any proof that an individual sitting somewhere in space created the very space he's sitting in! If there was nothing before the creation of the universe,how can god, if he exists, as matter, exist?

    So basically that one supreme power that controls everything is your mind! nothing or nobody else. We are all praising the most powerful thing in the universe-our mind.
    "Nature and Nature's laws lay hid in night:
    God said, 'Let Newton be!' and all was light."
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    Of course your stance on this subject (the latter not what the topic was based on) depends on what your personal definition of God is. Yoga makes the most sense with respect to God if you believe that God is an energy that binds the body and the mind. I do meditate regularly but mostly to clear my head and not because of any form of God nor to I take part in Yoga.
    Many things (including God and Yoga) aren't scientific but can be studied from a scientific point of view.
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    Of course yoga is not science. Neither is religion, astrology or tarot cards.

    Science is a process of discovery, and while I cannot easily define science, I can list some of the essential components, without which something is not science.

    Science requires a search for explanations, in which trial explanations are presented (hypotheses), which are then tested. The testing of a hypothesis requires a novel prediction to be made based on that hypothesis, and which can be tested by novel experiment or observation, carried out objectively in the real world (as opposed to being in someone's mind, or via religious revelation, or done on paper). The testing is done, with an attempt to falsify the hypothesis. Only if said hypothesis fails to be falsified, can the hypothesis be said to be a strong possible model of reality. Any search for explanations that does not follow this process is not science.

    Yoga does not come up with hypotheses, to be tested. Instead, people believe the assertions of yogis without strong evidence. This makes it closer to religion than science.
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  18. #17  
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    That i agree with. I was merely talking about the origin of yoga.
    And don't you think clearing and relaxing your mind, through yoga, actually mean that you are controlling it in a way?
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    God said, 'Let Newton be!' and all was light."
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  19. #18  
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    To quasistatic

    While yoga is not a science, it can be studied by science, and has been. There are clear psychological and emotional benefits to doing yoga, along with physical benefits from yogic exercise.

    The psychological and emotional benefits are akin to those you obtain from relaxation. The physical benefits can also be obtained from other forms of exercise. I make no judgement about which you choose. Personally, I walk frequently through quiet hills and along a serene beach. From these walks I gain the same physical and emotional benefits. But that is my choice. What you do is yours.
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    I agree. Personally, i'm not a yoga person.
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  21. #20  
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic
    And it is definitely a science. Its true aim in scientific terms is to attain mental peace and that one state of consciousness where your mind is free from any confusions, disturbances or chaos.
    This is perfectly legit according to a much longer tradition of the meaning of the word science from the middle ages to the dawn of time. The last 500 years in which modern science took the European community by storm and much shorter time for the rest of the world is really a drop in the bucket of human history and civilation. India has been practicing its "sciences" for a far longer period of time than that.

    It may have no control groups, peer reviewed journals examining its claims, or factories polluting the environment but it has millions of satisfied practitioners and most importantly no harmful side effects -- I think I wouldn't mind yoga comercials on television a thousandth so much as all these disgusting drug comercials and I think I would even find it more believable that what they are selling is actually worth what they are charging for it.
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  22. #21  
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    "Its true aim in scientific terms is to attain mental peace and that one state of consciousness where your mind is free from any confusions, disturbances or chaos. "
    These are scientific terms? o_0
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  23. #22  
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    "Its true aim in scientific terms is to attain mental peace and that one state of consciousness where your mind is free from any confusions, disturbances or chaos. "
    These are scientific terms? o_0
    When one is contrasting science with religion, most certainly NOT. It is implicit in that context that what we mean by science is "modern science" and the terminology of that statement in that context is clearly religious rather than scientific.
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  24. #23  
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    We could end up discussing semantics here. The word 'science' is ill defined, and (as Mitchell implied) there is a difference between the general term 'science' and the term 'modern science'.

    I dislike ill defined words, and I would prefer we stuck with the concept of 'modern science', meaning the process of studying the universe using the modern scientific method, plus the knowledge so gained.

    If we use the older term 'science' it can mean any damn thing. Even astrologers use that term to refer to their own brand of nonsense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    How would you rule out the placebo affect, observer bias, or mere coincidence?

    You can't, you have to include more than one person to get any sort of meaningful result.
    How would you propose that one scientifically investigate consciousness?
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    Consciousness is how alert you are to your surroundings. Assuming yoga did affect your alertness to surroundings you could easily test this by placing something in the surroundings that shouldn't be there to see how the subject reacted.
    Large subject group, all yoga masters. Half of them do some yoga half don't. Allow the yoga subjects to get into a meditative state, introduce stimulus, observe reactions. Repeat with second group to act as control group.
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    Quote Originally Posted by loftmarcell
    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    How would you rule out the placebo affect, observer bias, or mere coincidence?

    You can't, you have to include more than one person to get any sort of meaningful result.
    How would you propose that one scientifically investigate consciousness?
    The way it already is being investigated by science for starters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic
    Its true aim in scientific terms is to attain mental peace and that one state of consciousness where your mind is free from any confusions, disturbances or chaos.
    I would like to consider the contrast of quasistatic's talk of seeking to discover ways in which mental peace and states of consciousness can be achieved, with SkinWalkers talk of a scientific investigation into the phenomenon of consciousness.


    Like the difference between being alive and reading Biology textbook, it is the difference subjective participation and objective observation. There is a definite conflict between these two but all this means is that the activities of one should be kept separate from activities of the other. It most certainly DOES NOT mean that one has to choose as some kind of life choice. IN FACT, if anyone suggests that they have made objective observation a life choice then I am afraid that they are the obvious victim of a delusion, because that is simply not possible.
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    No, it definitely isn't a life-choice. What i said was regarding the origins of yoga...the fundamentals behindits evolution and development centuries ago.
    Today, if you get bugged of reading the biology text book and you want some mental peace..im sure you can get it in a lof of different ways such as yoga, taking a walk or even playing on the x-box!
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    Quote Originally Posted by quasistatic
    No, it definitely isn't a life-choice. What i said was regarding the origins of yoga...the fundamentals behindits evolution and development centuries ago.
    Sorry. Although I quoted you, I was not speaking to you specifically or exclusively. The people who seem to be claiming that science or objective observation is a "life choice" are a particularly irrational brand of anti-religous atheist -- thus they have remade modern science into some kind of religion of their own and I find that a little hilarious.

    I would suggest that my first post in this thread may be the one that is of interest to you personally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonViper
    Consciousness is how alert you are to your surroundings. Assuming yoga did affect your alertness to surroundings you could easily test this by placing something in the surroundings that shouldn't be there to see how the subject reacted.
    Large subject group, all yoga masters. Half of them do some yoga half don't. Allow the yoga subjects to get into a meditative state, introduce stimulus, observe reactions. Repeat with second group to act as control group.
    "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."
    —Schneider and Velmans, 2007[4]
    so that might be a great way to examine part of our consciousness, but not really that great a means to give some sort of definitive way to determine it in totality
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  32. #31  
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    Yoga means union.
    This indisputable fact is repeated many times by the peerless Aleister Crowley in his book '8 Lectures on Yoga'. Yoga really has nothing to do with contorting the body into different shapes (that's gymnastics), or regulating and then suspending the breath (that's simple breathing exercises).
    Yoga means union.
    As an example of what is meant by this, take the ancient Egyptian practice of worship. The (original) Egyptian trinity of Isis, Osiris and Horus is of course echoed by the Hindu and Christian trinities, among others (as every schoolchild ought damned well to know, but due to religious bigotry never does!).
    Horus is the incarnate child of Isis and Osiris. By worshipping Horus the practitioner transfers their consciousness to a relatively easy to understand divine human, as to comprehend the actual gods is not possible in human terms. In order to achieve this the practioner will imitate Horus and make sacraments (eg. pray, chant, eat fish on a friday, wear appropriate colours). For Horus you can of course substitute Christ, Chrishna etc. So that is what yoga is - a transfer of consciousness to your favourite deity, in order to understand God.
    Yoga means union.
    As consciousness itself is unscientific (although many scientists have tried and failed), then yoga cannot be scientific, as yoga is simply a transfer of consciousness from the mortal to the perceived divine.
    Yoga means union. (got it now?)
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    So much to correct. So little time.
    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    Yoga means union.
    This indisputable fact ......
    If I dispute it, is it still indisputable?

    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    As consciousness itself is unscientific...
    This is a statement devoid of meaning.
    Consciousness can and has been and is being investigated scientifically. The fact that science has not yet established how it arises, or exactly what it is does, does not make it unscientific.

    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    the peerless Aleister Crowley
    The drug taking, bisexual, philandering, opportunistic, self aggrandising, hedonistic Aleister Crowley is what you meant to say.


    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    Yoga really has nothing to do with contorting the body into different shapes (that's gymnastics), or regulating and then suspending the breath (that's simple breathing exercises).
    Except that contorting the body into various shapes and carrying out breathing exercises can create a mental state in which you can pretend union has taken place.

    (got it now?)
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    I can pretend union has taken place without meditation. The difference is that while meditating, union takes place without any effort and is not something that requires being thought about or pretended. It just happens, whether you like it or not, and you make what you will of it.
    I prefer to use my right brain to study the universe rather than my left brain.
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  35. #34  
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    Union is a noun, and in some cases an adjective, but never have I heard it used as a verb. Can you define it as a verb please? And clarify what separate things are being united in the state you refer to as 'union'?
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic
    Of course yoga is not science. Neither is religion, astrology or tarot cards.

    Science is a process of discovery, and while I cannot easily define science, I can list some of the essential components, without which something is not science.

    Science requires a search for explanations, in which trial explanations are presented (hypotheses), which are then tested. The testing of a hypothesis requires a novel prediction to be made based on that hypothesis, and which can be tested by novel experiment or observation, carried out objectively in the real world (as opposed to being in someone's mind, or via religious revelation, or done on paper). The testing is done, with an attempt to falsify the hypothesis. Only if said hypothesis fails to be falsified, can the hypothesis be said to be a strong possible model of reality. Any search for explanations that does not follow this process is not science.

    Yoga does not come up with hypotheses, to be tested. Instead, people believe the assertions of yogis without strong evidence. This makes it closer to religion than science.
    Strangely enough, the writings of Pantanjali (the personality attributed with establishing yoga - or more specifically astanga yoga - as it is most commonly understood) conform to your definitions of science ... that said, its no secret that popular strands of yoga are quite dramatically divorced from such writings[/code]
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    Union is a noun, and in some cases an adjective, but never have I heard it used as a verb. Can you define it as a verb please? And clarify what separate things are being united in the state you refer to as 'union'?
    Yoga comes from the root "yukta" (which is the same sanskrit derivative that gives us words like "yoke" in the english language). The grammar is a little different than english in that a word can take on the role of an adjective, verb or noun according to the other words that encompass it.

    A for the framework of yoga, the idea is that the constant mode of existence places the individual living entity under the duress of illusion of separation. There are a range of philosophies about the nature of the union. For instance some advocate that the notion of individual existence is illusion and union culminates in the disintegration of ego (much like the popular Buddhist notion of nirvana) while others say that the self has a persistent quality that culminates in a direct conscious awareness of god. Either way, the definitions of disunion are practically identical.
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  38. #37  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    So much to correct. So little time.
    You sound like Crowley - 'So much to do, so little done'.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    Yoga means union.
    This indisputable fact ......
    If I dispute it, is it still indisputable?
    Of course.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    As consciousness itself is unscientific...
    This is a statement devoid of meaning.
    Consciousness can and has been and is being investigated scientifically. The fact that science has not yet established how it arises, or exactly what it is does, does not make it unscientific.
    Science is unlikely ever to fully understand consciousness, let alone subconsciousness. We have debated this one before.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    the peerless Aleister Crowley
    The drug taking, bisexual, philandering, opportunistic, self aggrandising, hedonistic Aleister Crowley is what you meant to say.
    You forgot to mention he was a traitor too. The dangerous drugs act was not in force then. He wasn't the only bisexual in history, or the only philanderer. That tag can be placed on many members of the British Royal Family. 'Opportunistic, self aggrandising, hedonistic' - Shock horror, gosh!
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    Yoga really has nothing to do with contorting the body into different shapes (that's gymnastics), or regulating and then suspending the breath (that's simple breathing exercises).
    Except that contorting the body into various shapes and carrying out breathing exercises can create a mental state in which you can pretend union has taken place.
    Pretend - yes. The true charlatans are the likes of the Indian 'yogis' Patanjali and Iyengar. They have turned simple floor exercises into their own discipline for spiritual liberation, and in so doing have fooled millions.

    Crowley's works range from the sublime (8 Lectures on Yoga, 777, Book 4) to the ridiculous (Astrological Writings, Commentaries of Al, Magical Diaries). If you haven't read the Confessions, that is a good start. Second best book of the 20th Century in one influential list.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    Science is unlikely ever to fully understand consciousness, let alone subconsciousness. We have debated this one before.
    This is only the case because consciousness is one of those concepts that comes preloaded with a plethora of non-scientific connotation. This makes it resistant to a precise scientific definition in much the same way that the concept of life is. You could argue that science doesn't understand life as a single self-contained concept, it can only describe it as a collection of scientific perspectives that might loosely fit the concept.
    I suspect consciousness is pretty well the same - science could understand it in so far as it could even be defined scientifically but would be unable to deal with the definitions that arise out of non-scientific disciplines such as yoga.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by ox
    the peerless Aleister Crowley
    The drug taking, bisexual, philandering, opportunistic, self aggrandising, hedonistic Aleister Crowley is what you meant to say.
    You forgot to mention he was a traitor too. The dangerous drugs act was not in force then. He wasn't the only bisexual in history, or the only philanderer. That tag can be placed on many members of the British Royal Family. 'Opportunistic, self aggrandising, hedonistic' - Shock horror, gosh!
    You are confusing observation with judgement. That suggests a mind wedded to a particular agenda.
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    Quote Originally Posted by marcusclayman
    Union is a noun, and in some cases an adjective, but never have I heard it used as a verb. Can you define it as a verb please? And clarify what separate things are being united in the state you refer to as 'union'?
    union as a verb would be unite. my own use of the noun is in reference to the union of the conscious and subconscious thought processes, where the mind no longer acts as a discussion between the two and instead acts as a whole.
    I prefer to use my right brain to study the universe rather than my left brain.
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  42. #41 Yoga Guide 
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    here is a site for your help on Yoga
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    That is business yoga. They only want your money. They will not help you climb the 8 limbs of yoga because that is pure fantasy, a money making scheme to fool the gullible into thinking that contorting your body, regulating your breath and trying to stop your thoughts through 'meditation' is a way through to spiritual enlightenment. Remember the TM craze? The only person who profited was the Maharishi with his Rolls Royce etc. It was like a pyramid selling scheme.
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    Quoted," Regarding who came first:If your mind exists..the world exists. When you die everything ceases to exist. So
    your mind creates the world around you.
    Scientifically there isn't any proof that an individual sitting somewhere in space created the very space he's sitting in! If there was nothing before the creation of the universe,how can god, if he exists, as matter, exist?

    So basically that one supreme power that controls everything is your mind! nothing or nobody else. We are all praising the most powerful thing in the universe-our mind."
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    There are layers of mind:the lowest is the mind you are talking about. When you reach the higher level, the subconscious mind , then you will know, when you go deeper, say , it is the unconscious mind. You seem to have reached this level. Go deeper, and you will find another level of mind...the supermind, the divine mind which you can find in all religions.

    jsaldea12

    8.31.10
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