Sudha Prathikanti: Tapping into the Transformative Power of Yoga

Via William Harryman
on Mar 27, 2010
get elephant's newsletter

In the West, it seems to me, Yoga has become another way we can obsess about our bodies and our health. To be fair (as a personal trainer/strength coach) I often recommend yoga classes to my clients to increase their flexibility, balance, and core strength.

But traditional yoga has so much more than this to offer, if only we in the West might slow down and learn that body and mind are NOT separate and that training the body is a way to train the mind.

This video takes an overview of yoga and its 5,000 year history (although I would wish the speaker might have looked a little more at the spiritual than the physical benefits, although she does a nice presentation of the spiritual ideas).

Sudha Prathikanti, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCSF, presents an overview of the history and philosophy of yoga, including its measurable benefits to your health. She also provides a short demonstration of proper yoga breathing.


About William Harryman

I am a writer/editor, fitness trainer, integral coach, and a graduate counseling psychology student. I blog at Integral Options Cafe and The Masculine Heart. I am an occasional contributor to Elephant Journal.


2 Responses to “Sudha Prathikanti: Tapping into the Transformative Power of Yoga”

  1. I love seeing scientists confirm the things we experience with Yoga every day.

    For those who didn't have time to view the whole video, it's an excellent primer on Yoga, but what makes is special is that Sudha, like any good scientist, is deeply involved in the scientific evidence for Yoga and how it can be integrated with traditional Western psychology.

    And she goes into some depth in explaining the difficulties of creating controlled environments for studying the effects of Yoga, especially determining cause and effect, since the whole subject of study is the workings of the mind, which are always subject to a strong placebo effect.

    For example, she deals directly with the question of how do you know it's actually the Yoga that's producing the beneficial effect and not just the process of relaxing, Yoga or no Yoga. Even the most basic of poses like Savasana are up for scrutiny. Is it the Yoga that's working, or is it just the fact that people are relaxing?

    For the truly gung-ho, here is a page full of related videos on Facebook from Sudha and Deepak Chopra ,

    Thanks for posting, Bill.

    Bob Weisenberg

  2. Hi Bob – I was hoping that you would comment, since yoga is your path. Glad you found the video useful. I like the science stuff, and I like the she opened with the spiritual history. It is a long video, but I learned a lot from Sudha.