Refuting “Scientific Research” on Sudarshan Kriya
The following excerpt is taken from http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-04122005-173708/unrestricted/Shankar_thesis.pdf. Many thanks to Dayalu for bringing this to our attention. It is a fascinating read as it actually reinforces many things covered throughout these blogs, yet it predates their existence by several years (it was published in 2005). In future we hope to publish excerpts from this thesis, and I would strongly recommend that if you have the time to read through the document in its entirety.
It also sheds a whole new light on the purported scientific research which Art of Living claims has been carried out on Sudarshan Kriya, and this again leads us to question the lack of ethics which we are now finding seems to be rampant in the organization.
From Anonymous May 6, 2011 6:32 am:
That is an in interesting read. The author has spoken to the actual guys who conducted the research on SK.
If you see the Aol research site, http://www.aolresearch.org/published_research.html – they used the name of Dr Janakiramaiah, N and all. I heard that name even in some basic courses.
Funny, and here is the extract where the author of the thesis is actually speaking to Dr. Janakiramaiah
There were others from the scientific community especially who did not have many good things to say about the Art of Living. Dr. Janakiramaiah was one person who recognized the marketing behind the spirituality and expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that although the research had been conducted jointly between the Art of Living and NIMHANS, he felt that the research findings had been published much before any valid testing could be done to prove the results were valid. Especially claims like improved areas of function in the brain etc were not done according to the approval of NIMHANS. The preliminary ‘positive’ effects had been observed and then published and used as a validation for the SKY before any actual scientific testing could be done.
He referred specifically to one example and said that in one of the brochures they describe that doing SKY leads to a tingling in your fingers and toes. The brochures claim that this has to do with ultimate brain function and is a result of SKY. “But if anyone keeps breathing like that- essentially they are hyperventilating and flushing their body with oxygen, which is what is going to happen. There is no mystical meaning behind the tingling in their fingers and all that.
Then you have those people who will say that they felt guruji’s presence while doing the SKY and when you ask them why they will say the same thing- that they felt this tingling sensation-Arre if you keep breathing like that then what else will happen. I know these things- they say all this because they are swayed into believing that what is happening to them is spiritual or mystical but it is not. It is a common physiological reaction to hyperventilation. Then they throw in all this science and research that they have done with SKY and all that. One very clever thing they do- they tell you that other than teaching you the SKY method the rest is up to you. They have this subtle way of attributing any changes to you and this goes down very well with the western audience. It is easily accessible also so there are a lot of people who are coming in to do AoL courses.’ By attributing some aspects of the course as appealing to the western audience, Dr. Janakiramaiah is referring to the marketing of the AoL which takes into consideration the different backgrounds of people that it can refer to and then works on that basis.
Many of the conclusions drawn in the above excerpt have already been expressed elsewhere on these blogs, and summarized in the post https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/is-sudarshan-kriya-safe/. In particular note what Dr Janakiramaiah has to say about the effects of Sudarshan Kriya being the same as hyperventilation, and also that participants are made to believe that they are having some sort of spiritual experience whereas in actual fact it is just the known effects of hyperventilation.
However, what is most startling about the above is that it came from one of the key people who Art of Living claims carried out the original research which they say verifies the many benefits SKY purportedly gives its practitioners.
Doesn’t this simply indicate that Art of Living are in fact lying about a great deal of what they claim about Sudarshan Kriya, and that in actual fact there is insufficient scientific evidence to support their claims?