In the West, we think that many of the problems of human suffering are to be found in the mind. The East thinks differently, they do not believe that problems are IN the mind; they think the problem IS the mind.
The mind's function is to think, and left to its own devices it will think the same (rubbish) thoughts today as it did yesterday – interspersed with a few useful ideas. To think differently, one must focus or channel the mind. But how?
One of the oldest Yoga institutions in the world is Kaivalyadhama in western India near Pune. Its founder, Swami Kuvalayananda, had the foresight in 1924 to establish a centre dedicated to the scientific aspect of Yoga in order to:
Dispel any misconceptions
Make yoga a fit medium for social well-being
To promote eternal joy
He correctly deduced that if the problem is the mind then the solution must be to focus or channel the mind away from the problems. You may practice such focussing through mindful awareness or meditation but he found that direct (physical) influence of the mind was possible through the breath, or prana.
Thus Pranayama, or breath control, was scientifically studied at the institute and its results published in its own peer-reviewed scientific journal that has been in print since the institution began.
If the West is to think differently, it needs to be convinced by ‘proof’. Kaivalyadhama has compiled that proof for over 90 years and has earned its status as one of the most respected Yoga institutions in the world. You may hear more about Pranayama and why as well as how it works, at the World Yoga Festival this July where the head of Kaivalyadhama, Sri Subodh Tiwari, is running workshops. Book your tickets here.