Unveiling the Secrets of Yogic Practices
Swami Kuvalayananda ji is a true visionary and pioneer in the field of yoga, dedicated his life to connecting the ancient wisdom of yoga with modern scientific principles. In 1920, Swamiji started scientific studies in the field of Yoga to understand and explain yogic practices in modern scientific terminology. Further, he started Yoga Mimamsa Journal in 1924 to publish his research findings.
Swamiji started conducting radiological studies to substantiate the scientific research basis of yogic kriyas while dispelling the prevailing myths surrounding these practices. One of his early experiments was related to the practice of Nauli-Kriya wherein the negative pressure is developed due to which water is raised into the colon without any external mechanical help but there was no possible explanation for this action. Up to that time, the possibility of creating such pressure changes in the alimentary canal by voluntary manipulation was not known, nor investigated in the field of physiology.
In fact, at that time, most scientists put forth the anti-peristalsis hypothesis but anti-peristaltic action is unnatural in the rectum and can lead to serious constipation and a state of auto-intoxication. Therefore, to reject this anti-peristalsis hypothesis, Swamiji conducted a series of experiments to assess pressure changes during Nauli, Uddiyan, and Vajroli. The pressure changes were measured using a rectal tube connected to a barometer. These experiments showed that negative pressure of -33 to -47 mm Hg developed in the colon during these yogic practices. He named this vacuum ‘Madhavadas Vacuum’ out of his deep reverence for his Guru, Madhavadasji Maharaj.
Swamiji conducted several X-ray experiments to evaluate the position and distribution of colon content during the practice of Uddiyan and Nauli. These experiments were carried out to validate the physiological changes brought about by these yogic practices. The reason behind carrying out these experiments was to scientifically prove that water suction in the colon is not a miraculous power or siddhi attained through these yogic practices. Further, these studies showed that the position of the colon could be changed significantly and also the colon content could be redistributed. This work of fundamental importance has demonstrated that the diaphragm and ribs could be moved independently of each other. This observation was against the prevalent notion that the movements of the diaphragm and ribs are interrelated and inseparable.
Physiologically, these practices help the normal function of the colon and clinically they could be utilized in the treatment of adhesions, kinks, herniation and more importantly constipation.
The discovery of the Madhavdas Vacuum holds immense significance. It not only discredited a long-held hypothesis but also paved the way for a more accurate understanding of yogic practices. By demystifying the mechanism behind Nauli-Kriya, Swami Kuvalayananda ji’s research contributed to the scientific validation of yoga and its therapeutic potential.