Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Effect of Lotus Posture on Acupuncture Meridian Energies: A Controlled Trial

Academic journal article International Journal of Yoga

Effect of Lotus Posture on Acupuncture Meridian Energies: A Controlled Trial

Article excerpt

Byline: Kuntal. Ghosh, Alex. Hankey, T. Srinivasan

Background: Many studies have assessed Yoga practices using instruments such as AcuGraph, which measures conductances at Jing-Well points of acupuncture meridians. Such studies find that participation in Yoga programs ranging from a weekend to many months systematically increases subtle energy. Here, we report comparison of Jing-Well point conductances before and after sitting in Lotus Posture with those before and after sitting in a chair. Methods: This was a controlled study conducted on 52 male Yoga practitioners (mean age in years 23.03 [+ or -] 3.23), all with >1 year experience of Yoga practices. Participants were alternately assigned into two groups, sitting in Lotus Posture and sitting in a chair. Each was measured on 3 successive days, before and after sitting as instructed for 10 min on the 1[sup]st day, 20 min on the 2[sup]nd day, and 30 min on the 3[sup]rd day. Results: The two groups yielded completely different results: those sitting in Lotus Posture for 30 min showed increases in subtle energy levels (E_Ls) in all acupuncture meridians; those sitting in chair produced universal decreases. Results for 10 and 20 min showed how these changes in energy values took time to build up with increasing time. Conclusions: Sitting in Lotus Posture is held to strongly stimulate subtle E_Ls, so results agreed with the experimental hypothesis. Nevertheless, decreases in E_Ls of those sitting in a chair were surprising since the rest might be expected to have no effect.

Introduction

Traditional knowledge systems in India and China make consistent distinction between “gross” and “subtle” energies. The Vedic system of ancient India denotes “male” and “female” subtle energies as prana and shakti, respectively,[sup][1],[2] while the Chinese system term them Yang Qi and Yin Qi.[sup][3] In the Vedic system, Yoga practices such as physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation restore well-being by improving autonomic function,[sup][4] improving ability to focus,[sup][5] improving memory, reducing anxiety,[sup][6] and reducing stress.[sup][7],[8] Yoga enhances human well-being by improving and regulating practitioners' levels of vital energy.[sup][9]

Yoga postulates that vital energy (prana) flows through channels called nadis [sup][10] forming the human vital energy system. Similarly, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) says that blockages in energy flow cause physical, mental, or emotional disturbances and disease.[sup][11] Restoring personal well-being is achieved by improving prana through Yoga postures (Asanas), breathing techniques (Pranayama), and meditation (Dhyana).[sup][12]

In TCM, the concept parallel to prana is known as Qi [sup][1],[2] and is said to flow along “meridians.” Each meridian is connected to many points on the surface of the skin called acupuncture points which reflect aspects of meridian function.[sup][13] TCM uses 12 pairs of meridians (left and right), six in each limb with bilateral symmetry.

TCM and Yoga represent two different methods that claim to improve level and balance of Qi/prana in order to restore or improve individual health. In TCM, acupuncture, acupressure, and qigong are major methods for removing blockages and allowing free movement of Qi.[sup][3],[14],[15] Acupressure is a technique where physical pressure at acupoints stimulates meridian activity.[sup][16] In Yoga, a science with eight limbs (angas), Asana is the limb using particular positions of the body combined with recommended attitude of the mind, which exerts a profound influence on an individual's physiological and health parameters.[sup][17],[18] Asanas promote revitalization of specific muscle groups and activate prana, increasing pranic energy and efficiency of its use.[sup][19]

In terms of TCM, the various joint and spine movements involved in Yoga Asanas are recognized to stimulate meridians. …

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