June 7, 2013

How Scientists & Sages See the Same Inner Peace Circuitry. {Video} ~ Morgan Webert

With conclusions and statistics, bold scientists are rephrasing the wisdom discovered by meditating yogi sages thousands of years ago. One such scientist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, calls what she discovered our “deep inner peace circuitry.”

Taylor, a Harvard brain scientist, had a stroke in the left hemisphere of her brain. Her “stroke of insight,” as she calls it, gave her the rare opportunity to study her topic matter, the brain, from the inside out.

Even more astounding, she experienced cognition solely through the right hemisphere, recovered fully enough to speak eloquently and scientifically about her experience and shares with the world what we, as a human race, can learn from her experience.

The right side of the brain processes the here-and-now; it takes in all the sensory input of the world around us and creates a collage of the present moment. This side of our brain experiences emotions and intuition. It thinks subjectively and learns kinesthetically through the movement of our bodies, and sees the big pictures and connections in the world.

As Dr. Taylor puts it, “I am an energy being connected to the energy all around me through the consciousness of my right hemisphere.”

The left side of the brain, on the other hand, deals with thinking linearly, objectively and logically. It processes sequentially and picks details out of the present moment, categorizes and organizes all of those details, associates them to past experiences and projects them into the future as possibilities. The left is the language processing center responsible for all of our brain chatter.

Most notably as Dr. Taylor describes, “it is the little voice that says I am—and as soon as the left hemisphere does that, it causes us to feel separate.”

Ancient yogi sages understood the differences between the right and left brain in a system called Swara Yoga. These ancient sages observed that at some moments the right nostril dominated, at other moments the left nostril. They noticed regular patterns of alternation between left and right nostrils, and began to understand mental and physical qualities associated to nostril dominance.

Take a moment right now, can you feel which nostril you are breathing through?

Modern scientists call this the nasal cycle and describe it as a physiological congestion of the nasal concha due to selective activation of one half of the autonomic nervous system by the hypothalamus.

If that was all too scientific for you, no fear, it’s really quite simple. The left nostril (physiologically connected to the right brain) associates with the Ida Nadi representing the moon, feminine energy, emotions, relaxation and is deemed as virtuous by these yogi sages. The right nostril (connected to the left brain) associates with the Pingala Nadi representing the sun, masculine energy, logic, action and has been deemed as non-virtuous.

Dr. Taylor learned from her experience that, “we are the life-force power of the universe, with manual dexterity and two cognitive minds, and we have the power to choose moment by moment who and how we want to be in the world.”

She then says with ferocious conviction, “I believe that the more time we spend choosing to run the deep inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres the more peace we will project into the world, and the more peaceful our planet will be.”

This is the exact same conclusion yogi sages came to over 2000 years ago, and the yoga practices suggested by these sages teaches us to activate this “inner peace circuitry of our right hemispheres.” Through slowing down, observing our body and deepening our breath we relax, switch on the parasympathetic nervous system, the Ida Nadi, and choose as Dr. Taylor suggests we can, who and how we want to be in the world.

Watch as Dr. Taylor eloquently describes her “stroke of insight” in the video below:


Morgan Webert studies, teaches and often obsesses on Yoga. Originally from Colorado, Morgan now enjoys a life on the Northern Beaches of Sydney where she teaches hatha yoga, surfs and dances as much as she can, and scribbles down her philosophical mental meanderings on her blog www.yogawithmorgan.wordpress.com.


Like elephant spirituality on Facebook.

Ed: Sara Crolick & Brianna Bemel

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

Padma Kadag Jun 9, 2013 7:59am

We run a risky game when we try to interpret tantric/yogic method and teaching with scientific analysis or findings. If we are truly commited to tantra then there is no need for scientific validation. If we are using science as a means to convince or legitimize tantra or even sell tantra then I think we need to check our motivation. Yes it is all very interesting but the science we use cannot be cherry picked for our own devices. Nor can we make sweeping judgements such as right side is more virtuous than left side so we must put all of our concentration on the right side in order to be yogically realized…and use science as the legitimizer. Tantric buddhist method from India and Tibet recognizes 3 main channels left, right, and the middle channel where everything is reconciled. All of the channels must be working properly in order to accomplish.

SaraCrolick Jun 7, 2013 11:05am

Hi, JWL! Perhaps this would be helpful? It discusses the three types of swara: http://www.yogapoint.com/info/article6.htm

JWL Jun 7, 2013 7:31am

Thank you for the wonderful article. Do you have an exerpt from an old yoga text backing your claim that Pingala is deemed non-virtuous? My understanding is, all aspects of ourselves are necessary – not good or bad. Logical brain and intuitive brain are both needed to live out the full human potential. Hope to see more of your posts about yoga.

Read Elephant’s Best Articles of the Week here.
Readers voted with your hearts, comments, views, and shares:
Click here to see which Writers & Issues Won.

elephant journal

Elephant Journal is dedicated to “bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society.” We’re about anything that helps us to live a good life that’s also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant’s been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter’s Shorty Awards for #green content…two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of elephantjournal.com. Questions? Send to [email protected]