Saturday April 21, 2018

Super Brain Yoga: Another case of digestion?

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By Nithin Sridhar

While browsing through the net, I came across this video about an exercise intended to stimulate neuron activities in the brain that in-turn leads to increased concentration, memory power, and significantly improve other functions of the brain. The anchor in the video calls it ‘Super Brain Yoga’.

But, even a cursory look will make it obvious to Indians, especially South Indians, that the so-called ‘Super Brain Yoga’ is nothing but a squatting ritual that many South Indians do in temples, especially in the temples of Lord Ganesha.

In Tamil, this Hindu ritual is called as ‘Thoppukaranam’, which means to hold ears. The ritual involves holding of the earlobes with hands crossed in front of the chest and using thumb and forefinger, and performing squats. The squats may be performed for 18, 32, 108, or 1008 times depending on the Sankalpa (vow) taken by the devotee.

It is important to note that this practice is mainly prevalent in temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Ganesha is presiding deity of this sensory universe and thus is the remover of obstacles and the granter of wishes. More importantly, Ganesha represents knowledge, intelligence, wisdom and Vivekam (discrimination) and his wives Siddhi and Buddhi are the representation of worldly accomplishments and transcendental knowledge respectively. Thus, Lord Ganesha is intimately connected with faculties of brain and mind.

The general belief among the Hindu devotees who practice ‘Thoppukaranam’ is that the practice is a kind of austerity, which would grant wisdom, intelligence, and success in all endeavors. The practice is also used as an austerity of repentance (prayashchita) so that people may develop better Vivekam (discrimination) to not commit the same mistakes again.

This general belief combined with the fact that Thoppukaranam is mostly prevalent in Ganesha temples, clearly establishes the fact that the connection between Thoppukaranam and the functions of the brain has been well ingrained in the minds of the devotees, who have been practicing it for a very long time now, though this fact may not always be explicitly acknowledged because the useful effects on the brain is just one aspect of the whole ritual. In any case, Thoppukaranam is clearly a Hindu practice rooted in Hindu philosophy and Yoga.

Therefore, it is very alarming to discover that even a simple practice as Thoppukaranam has become the target of secularizing forces, who uproot Dharmic practices from their roots, secularize them, and finally digest them. Thanks to these secularizing forces that Thoppukaranam has now been transformed into ‘Super Brain Yoga’, which is being taught to the people as a brain-stimulating ‘scientific’ exercise, and which is being touted an outcome of decades of recent scientific research, but without any significant reference to the Indian practice. More importantly, the practice that is being promoted as ‘Super Brain Yoga’ is only a diluted version of Thoppukaranam, which has been completely uprooted from its spiritual and Dharmic foundations. And this Super Brain Yoga has also been registered as a trademark and is being promoted as such.

Rajiv Malhotra in his Indra’s Net explains how in two stages Dharmic spiritual practices are uprooted, digested, and reformulated by secularization forces. In the first stage, the practice is reformulated as a health program. This will bring it on a neutral ground. This digested practice is then reformulated as the practice of Abrahamic religions. The first stage has already been accomplished in the case of Thoppukaranam and slowly the second stage may also materialize.

It is high time for Indians and advocates of Hinduism to awake from their slumber and reclaim their knowledge systems and practices. In this direction the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is doing a very good job. The work must be expanded to include other branches of Indic knowledge. More importantly, it is necessary for Hindus to study, learn, and practice their own Dharmic practices. Such an adoption of Dharmic practices on a mass scale will not only help people in their lives, it will also help to transmit the Indic knowledge to future generations in an unadulterated form. Further, it will assist Indians to counter any cultural appropriation attempts in the future. (Photo: Youtube)

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  • Rakesh Manchanda

    Commendable

  • Jennifer Alterman

    Mr. Shridar, I am very sorry that you feel this ancient ritual has been stripped from the Hindu people. I am saddened by your perspective, yet fully understand and respect it. However, I am very thankful for this practice as my students with anxiety, PTSD, chemo brain and physical conditions have been able to find relief from their suffering. I sincerely thank the the Hindu people for having the foresight to share this ancient practice and I thank God that He is opening the doors of healing for those in need. नमस्ते

  • Rakesh Manchanda

    Commendable

  • Jennifer Alterman

    Mr. Shridar, I am very sorry that you feel this ancient ritual has been stripped from the Hindu people. I am saddened by your perspective, yet fully understand and respect it. However, I am very thankful for this practice as my students with anxiety, PTSD, chemo brain and physical conditions have been able to find relief from their suffering. I sincerely thank the the Hindu people for having the foresight to share this ancient practice and I thank God that He is opening the doors of healing for those in need. नमस्ते

Next Story

Health Benefits of Sendha Namak Consumed During Navratri Fasting

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sendha namak
Rock Salt. Pixabay

Sep 25, 2017:  Rock salt or Sendha namak, is mostly consumed during the fast. In Ayurveda, it has been suggested to consume sendha namak during a fast, as it has constituents which are soft on stomach and body. It is believed that sendha namak is the purest form of the salt, hence can be consumed during the Fast.

Sendha Namak is found in the crystalline form and is considered to be the best quality out of all forms of the salt. It is unprocessed and raw salt which constitutes potassium, copper, iron, calcium, copper, etc.

Some incredible health benefits of Sendha Namak (Rock Salt)

 

Metabolism and Immunity

Sendha Namak enhances the functioning of the body and lifts levels of metabolism. It reinforces immunity system to battle sicknesses.

Stabilises Blood Pressure

As table salt has the high amount of potassium, individuals with hypertension are encouraged to control the use. One can incorporate sendha namak in their eating routine as it helps in controlling blood pressure.

Digestion

Sendha name or Rock salt is helpful in stomach infection and also enhances absorption. It is effective in acidity.

Also Read: Navratri 5th Day, The Tales That Speaks About Mother-Son Relationship 

Respiratory problems

Sendha namak rock salt is helpful for individuals having respiratory issues. A sore throat, dry hack, tonsils, and so forth can be dealt with by gargling with sendha namak in tepid water.

Skin benefits of sendha namak

Sendha namak or Rock salt can enable you to evacuate clogged pores. You can likewise utilize it as a face wash for sound and shining skin. It is a brilliant exfoliator and can enable you to dispose of dull and dead skin

Hair benefits of sendha namak

Blending rock salt with cleanser will enable you to retain normal scalp oil. Utilize it with conditioner to increase voluminous hair.

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