Yoga Overcomes Anxiety


Anxiety disorders, which include panic disorder, are the most common class of mental disorders present in the general population. The estimated lifetime prevalence of any anxiety disorder is over 15%, while the 12-month prevalence is more than 10%. One study estimated the annual cost of anxiety disorders in the United States only to be approximately $42.3 billion in the 1990s.

Specifically, panic disorder, whose key element is an increase in anxiety level, is also a common mental disorder with significant clinical manifestations and socioeconomic impacts. Panic is characterised by the repeated occurrence of discrete panic attacks that features a variety of physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat, hyperventilation, perspiration, dizziness, dyspnea, trembling, and uncontrollable fear (fear of losing control and going crazy, fear of dying).

Between attacks, patients might also develop persistent apprehension or anticipatory anxiety, regarding the possibility of another attack. In addition, about one-half of these patients eventually develop agoraphobia.

The magnitude of the short-term societal costs of anxiety estimate in recent studies is surprising. Greenberg et al. estimated that the annual total societal costs of active anxiety disorders in North America alone over the decade of the 1990s exceeded $42 billion.

This estimate excludes the indirect costs of early-onset anxiety disorders through adverse life course outcomes (e.g., the documented effects of child–adolescent anxiety disorders in predicting low educational attainment and consequent long-term effects on lower-income) and through increased risk of other disorders (e.g., anxiety disorders predicting the subsequent onset of cardiovascular disorder). Therefore, it has become urgent the need for effective low-cost strategies that provide the right tools for patients to cope with anxiety themselves, in order to reduce the economic cost of mental disorder in society.


Anxiety is an emotion that, in itself, would not be inadequate to feel because it is a necessary response to stress. Anxiety is a defensive mechanism aimed at anticipating the perception of danger even before it has clearly manifested itself, it sets in motion physiological mechanisms that lead to exploration, to identify the danger and address it in the most appropriate way.

In the course of daily life, situations that activate anxiety are frequent. In most cases, they resolve themselves positively. Overcoming these experiences, as a physiological phenomenon, represents a fundamental element in the development and maturation of the personality. If, however, we are unable to overcome positively (by deactivating the defence mechanism) a situation of real danger, that is, if the state of alarm does not correspond to a real danger to be faced, anxiety becomes an inadequate or unrealistic response, assuming the connotation of a real psychic disorder. Instead of representing an element of growth and maturation, it becomes an element of the disintegration of the personality.

Integration and adaptation to the external environment are regulated by the nervous system. The nervous system is similar to the hardware of a computer, like a computer, the nervous system analyzes data from outside and inside and then distributes information to various districts and apparatuses.

The functions of the nervous system are:

– Providing sensations about the internal and external environment

– Integrating sensory information

– Coordinate voluntary and involuntary activities

– Adjust and control peripheral structures and equipment


Feeling anxious is unpleasant. You feel like people different from everyone else, inadequate, strange, those who suffer from anxiety try to hide it, often you are teased by other people. The anxious person lives himself as a person different from others, represses his fears by taking refuge in his loneliness, the manifestation of this state is to restrain his breath.

The breath represents an access door, it is the connection between the inner world and the outer world. It represents a bridge between the heart and the brain, that is, between the deep, emotional part and the rational cerebral part. It is a key to access the labyrinths of the unconscious. In moments of anxiety and fear, as an act of protection, the breath becomes superficial (almost freezes), the body stiffens the muscles contract.

When the anxiety takes over, the breathing accelerates and increases the anxiety itself. There is an increase in oxygenation of the blood, too high a level of oxygen in the blood prevents the tissues from absorbing the oxygen they need. It seems a paradox, yet too high levels of oxygen in the blood, do not allow the tissues to receive the oxygen they need, while on the contrary, a higher level of carbon dioxide, would allow the oxygen to pass through the tissues.

The Study observed significant improvement in panic symptomatology following both the practice of yoga and the combination of yoga and psychotherapy.  

Scientific search results:


Yoga acts on both the outer and inner spheres of the human being. Yoga is able to recompose the state of dispersion and tension, integrating all the systems: the bodily, emotional and mental system. The ultimate goal of yoga is to sever the connection with what causes suffering.

The yoga practice normally taught concerns the practice of technique. Yoga applied as a resolution of anxiety, on the other hand, must be oriented towards the individual rather than the technique. When we speak of an individual we mean an indivisible being made up of:

1- a material body

2- a functional body

3- an emotional body

4 – an intellectual body

5- an existential body

We move from the material, visible, to the invisible, immaterial, thinner aspect

Yoga applied against anxiety is different from any other therapy. In conventional therapy it exists:

  1- The Therapist

  2 -The Technique

  3- The Patient

During medical therapy, the person can be treated, consciously or unconsciously. With yoga it is we who treat ourselves: the path is individual. The yoga teacher is not a doctor who does everything for us.

The yoga teacher only acts as a guide (this explains why it is not enough to bend well to be a yoga teacher).

In yoga, each individual has to take responsibility. With yoga, we can only work with a conscious person who actively participates in their “treatment“. The essence of yoga applied as anti-anxiety is based on the use of the only function of the body that we can modify and experience with the will: breathing.

Pranayama, the yoga practice that uses breathing. But pranayama cannot be considered as a simple breathing exercise, it is a deliberately controlled breathing. It has as its purpose the control of the upper brain centres.

In the ancient yoga text Hatha-Yoga Pradhipika cap.II v.2:When the breath is irregular the mind is unstable, but when the breath is quiet so is the mind”.

So learning to breathe properly in a deep way helps our body to function better, helps our mind to have more clarity and greater control over our emotions, especially over emotional states such as stress and fear.

To be effective, yoga must be practised in its entirety. Integral yoga consists of both external practices, on the muscles, on the joints (Asana) and on the organs (Pranayama), on the mind (Meditation) that is.

In yoga what is really important is the inner aspect, to reduce the suffering of the person is necessary an inner workable remove the cause of anxiety, not a kind of temporary sedative that soothes the symptom. The whole of the practice of Asana, Pranayama and Yoganidra is what can lead to a new consciousness, to the awareness of being but also of power, of one’s own strength, an inner force that takes us beyond fear and anxiety.

Given the relationship between breathing and mental states, for a yoga teacher it is essential to know how pranayama works in the human being, even before knowing the techniques of pranayama. Especially when dealing with anxious students, who are becoming more and more frequent today.

Practising and knowing in-depth pranayama, for the yoga teacher, today is the ingredient to make a yoga lesson truly healthy.

Om Shanti

Felice Vernillo (Arjun yogi) owner Author of Books of Yoga 

Felice Vernillo-author Yoga Shakti Theory and Practice

Largest Yoga Championship in the World Beijing 2018


The largest ever World Championship of Yoga Sports to kick off  Saturday December 1st 2018 in Beijing

The Swiss based International Yoga Sports Federation is organising the largest ever World Championship of Yoga in Beijing, China. This is the first time that the competition is organised in Asia after running in London in 2014 and Italy in 2016 (Pordenone Yogah School).

135 athletes from 32 nations and 5 continents will be participating in this exceptional event, the biggest ever from the foundation of IYSF in 2013, raising interest for Yoga Sports all over the world. Each competitor will be evaluated by 10 international judges on a series of 6 asanas, 1 forward compression, 1 backward, 1 stretching, 1 spine twist, and 2 optional postures. This year the whole event will be placed under the high patronage of Rajashree Choudhoury, who has decided to handover her position of Executive President of IYSF at the end of the competition.

Two Italians are the youngest competitors in the Youth category. One is the 2016 World Champion who will defend “Like a Champion” the well deserved title!   

Let’s see what their Yoga Alliance (Italia/International) ERYT -1500 yoga teachers Nicola De Simone a Bikram qualified teacher and his wife Gabriella Buzzacchi owners of Yogah school in Pordenone with over 40 years teaching experience between them have to say about their young students:

We are glad to bring our champions Davide Toneguzzi and Riccardo Basso, students of the Yogah School since they were five years old, at World Yoga Championships, scheduled in Beijing. Davide Toneguzzi, 15, a student of the “Torricelli” sports school in Maniago, is the current world champion in the Youth category and on December 2nd (at 3 pm local time) in the Chinese capital, he will defend the title won in 2016.

Thanks to the Yogah school and its young athletes, Pordenone has received unexpected planetary visibility. The city and the territory have now repaid the boys of the Yogah School supporting them in this new, exciting sporting adventure. “Pordenone responded with great warmth to our appeal – explains Nicola De Simone, who with Gabriella Buzzacchi directs the Yogah School and is the Master of the two athletes – really a choral participation, almost moving.”

Along with Davide Toneguzzi there will also be a club and contemporary partner, Riccardo Basso. Student of the “Grigoletti” scientific high school, he is twice world and European champion of the Youth category. In short, Pordenone holds world leadership among young yogis.

Yoga Youth World Yoga Champions

Youngest World Yoga Champions from Italy Yogah School- Pordenone and their Master Yoga Teacher Nicola De Simone

Rajashree Choudhoury President International Yoga Sports Federation

Rajashree Choudhoury President International Yoga Sports Federation

For more info, please check:
International Yoga Sports Federation webpage:
China Yoga Sports Federation webpage :
Teaser videos:
Facebook live stream:

Influential Spiritual Leaders: H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji


The life and time of on the most influential Spiritual Leader: H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji President of the International Yoga Festival Rishikesh  

H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji  invites you to join him at the IYF 1-7 March 2019. Register Now:


“Welcome Home!” – this greeting is offered to every guest and visitor to Parmarth Niketan Ashram, a true spiritual haven, lying on the holy banks of Mother Ganga in the lap of the lush Himalayas. “Parmarth Niketan” literally means “Dedicated to the Welfare of All.” A friendly welcome and this simple mission statement expand into a vast array of programs and services that are led by or inspired by or driven by, or a combination of the three, the ashram. The ashram runs schools, hospitals, ecological programs and disaster-relief projects with no discrimination on the basis of caste, color, creed, gender or nationality.

I first came to Parmarth Niketan in 2013 on a spiritual adventure, attending the International Yoga Festival. I was hooked – Home! One of the aspects of Parmarth most attractive to me is the charity work. Pujya Swamiji says, “it’s culture, nature, and future” – a culture of love and togetherness, focused on our common nature and this one planet we share, to create the future we desire. This vision is further unfolded in the programs and efforts of the ashram or that are associated with Parmarth. This year I made the personal decision to move to India, to live at the ashram as a sevak, in service to the vision and mission of Pujya Swamiji and the ashram’s various programs.

His Holiness, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji serves as President and Spiritual Head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram. Pujya Swamiji selflessly and tirelessly uses every moment as an opportunity to give and to teach others the gift and value of giving. Every day you will find him participating in a multi-variety of activities: Meeting with government officials, faith leaders, and devotees; leading spiritual ceremonies and community programs; offering darshan and inspiring words; and chanting at the inspiring Ganga Aarti celebration held each evening on the banks of the sacred Ganga River in Rishikesh. From His example, countless others are inspired to action in their own communities in the areas of healthcare, education, the environment, and social justice.

The purpose of this story is share with you some of the charitable work of the ashram, seeking to inspire you to make a difference, and perhaps sparking a fire in you to serve in some way or even to come visit us at Parmarth in Rishikesh, India. I have aligned the work with Swamiji’s theme of “culture, nature, and future”.

From a cultural perspective, Pujya Swamiji is part of a global effort to bring faith leaders together for a more peaceful, healthy and sustainable world – a cultural approach for change that is all about nature – the Interfaith Humanitarian Effort. In addition to faith leaders, the ashram brings together Entertainers for Peace, where the stars are inspired to shine for a more peaceful world.

Entertainers have a unique position and opportunity to influence peace and Swamiji challenges them to rise to the occasion. Efforts to bridge business leaders and political leaders are also a piece of the cultural change efforts – all in the name of peace. Lastly, Pujya Swamiji led a labour of love and intellect to create the Encylopedia of Hinduism, sharing one of the most beloved and lasting gifts of the Indian people to the world. The encyclopedia is 11 volumes of more than 7000 entries from over 1000 scholars, bringing together hindu history, scholarship, and contributions to the development of the world. We are One culture, One world – a world that is about Love and Togetherness – if we choose it to be.

Nature is fascinating, complex, ever-changing, and an endless opportunity to see ourselves in relationship to the world around us. Since coming to the ashram, I have learned of some drastic predictions coming from the United Nations around water, global warming, and the impact of food choices on the health of people and our earth. The ashram’s goal is to awaken us all to the difference we make and the changes required. The ashram’s efforts begin at home here in India, where Pujya Swamiji inspires India’s leaders for a clean and green India and a more peaceful world. The ashram’s specific programs include the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (, the world’s first initiative to engage the planet’s many faiths as allies in efforts to create a world where every human being has access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and proper hygiene.

Nothing short of a behavior change revolution is require to insure health, sustainable WASH for nearly half of India’s population. One of my favorite signs here at the ashram is for the World Toilet College, providing classroom and outreach trainings that cover the entire range of sanitation projects. Plus, there’s WASH on Wheels which brings dedicated social workers, volunteers and performers to all areas of India; the WaterSchool used to train and motivate teachers and students to learn the principles of sustainable water, sanitation and hygiene in order to be agents of social change; and  Women for WASH which seeks to develop women entrepreneurs against pollution, hardship and disease right in their own neighborhoods and villages.

I am much more aware today of the significant role women can and do play in making change for the health of communities and our planet – and nature and culture balance and support one another. The Divine Shakti Foundation (DSF) is dedicated to the holistic well being of women, their children, and orphaned/abandoned children, and to all of Mother Nature and Mother Earth. Again, to make is personal, Menstrual Hygience Management was not on my radar screen before getting involved with Parmarth – it is now and the solutions are so simple – but they require me to think differently and to act differently. Creating a clean, green, and serene world means everyone is supported and barriers to health and wellness are removed. The Ashram’s efforts in these areas includes Gurukuls (schools) and Orphanages, education, and a Rural Development Program. There are programs such as Project Give-Back: The Heart of Healing, a health care program with annual free health care camps in Rishikesh.

Nature is a key element to understanding ourselves and I am convinced that any personal spiritual journey requires me to consider nature. What I understand today is that my relationships to people, to Mother Nature, to communities, is beyond borders and boundaries, and beliefs and ideals. It’s a matter of the heart – and about sameness and connection. Hope is our hands, and programs like Ganga Action Parivar (GAP) raise awareness about the need for collective and holistic, solution-based action to address the crucial issues facing the holy river Ganga. And Ganga broadens beyond this sacred river in India to encompass all rivers, all sources of water, all peoples. Briefly, Pujya Swamiji speaks of environmental preservation and 6 T’s: Toilets, Trash, Taps, Tigers, Trains, Trees – you can visit the ashram website to learn more how each of these has an impact on nature, and is influenced by culture and affects our future.

The final call in Pujya Swamiji’s vision is for the future. I think this is where the personal call most comes in – what future do I want? Knowing what I know now, how do my choices change? Choices around water, food, material possessions, care for my body, community, world – and those around me. It’s an interesting path – one that I find support along the way from the community here at Parmarth, through yoga and meditation, and through meeting amazing people from around the world who are involved in the change. So my last thought is – who do I surround myself with? How do I use my senses – what do I watch? what do I listen to? how do I touch? what do I allow my mind to gravitate towards? Ask yourself these questions – and perhaps our paths will cross as walk the path of “culture, nature, and future”.

I feel a sense of pride and I draw inspiration from these programs and initiatives, being called to make a difference in the world. Change really does depend upon each of us – it is a matter of the heart – the heart of me, the heart of you, the collective Heart of one earth! And for me, through the Heart of the One – the Divine – “any name, any form, no name, no form” – together we can. “Welcome Home!”

You can learn more about the ashram’s charitable mission and projects by visiting 

Article by Ed Fink a sevak at Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Rishikesh (Himalayas), India.

Yoga Alliance Australia and Italia Introduced New Standards


Yoga Alliance® – Australia and  Yoga Alliance® Italia Yoga Industry leaders Introduced New Standards for Yoga Training

As the popularity of yoga in the world grows each year, so does the need for more rigorous yoga teacher training programs. That is why Yoga Alliance® International/Australia and Yoga Alliance®-Italia/International (sister organisations) believe that yoga teachers and training providers deserve a better support system in comparison to what they have had in the past. Let’s see how…

In 1987 the International Yoga Federation (IYF), the largest yoga organisation in the world, under the honorary Presidency of Indra Devi (a.k.a.The First Lady of Yoga) created standards to celebrate yoga teachings of all traditions and the diversity, harmony and integrity of yoga practices all over the world

The IYF implemented three yoga teacher training systems:

1) The Indian Traditional Gurukula System.
2) The American System or Standards by hours.
3) The European System by Programme and years.

Since 2000, the most significant independent world’s renowned Yoga Alliance organisations (Australia/Italy/International/Canada/UK-Professionals/USA) the yoga community’s primary advocacy organisations and Register of certified yoga schools and teachers, have adopted standards for teacher training by hours. The most commonly used and widely accepted 200-hour YTT international standard was created in 2001 to set forth the minimum hours required to become a yoga teacher anywhere in the world.

In January 2017, the Yoga Alliance® International/Australia and its sister organisation Yoga Alliance® International/Italia’s Educational Standards Committee (ESC) assembled a diverse range of experts within the yoga industry for a comprehensive review of the existing yoga teaching standards (most standards are voluntary in the sense that they are offered for adoption by people or industry without being mandated in law) supported by both organisations. The decision was based on the proliferation of low quality yoga teacher training, inadequately trained yoga teachers and unscrupulous providers who deliver substandard training,

The two organisations felt that their existing standards were out of date and restrictive in their breakdown of course content and hours. Rather than requiring a specified narrow curriculum, the ESC decided that keeping the bar high for training programs content, structure, the number of contact hours a program should incorporate, the experience of the teaching faculty, the course entry prerequisites and online learning, within a reasonable period of time would increase acceptance and integration of yoga teachers within the industry.

After exploring a variety of existing credentialing models, the ESC proposed to improve the foundation of the existing credentialing system by raising the Standards of Practice and level of professionalism of credentialed yoga teachers and yoga schools and thus provide consumers with independent assurance that yoga professionals who hold Yoga Alliance Credential possess the knowledge, skill, or ability to practice their occupation competently.

Meaningful Standards for Yoga Teaching from Australia to Europe to China

In April 2017, after receiving input from member schools, world renowned yoga experts and experienced yoga teachers, Yoga Alliance® International/Australia added to its existing credentialing system the 250-PLUS and 500-PLUS hours standards both designed to elevate the profession of yoga teachers a title that has no legal force as there are no legal requirements for yoga teachers and there is no statutory legislation specifically governing the teaching of yoga anywhere in the world.

While the 200-hour widely adhered-to standard is a relatively new concept,Yoga Alliance®-International/Australia and Yoga Alliance®-Italia/International believes that 200 hours is just not enough to teach yoga. Besides, it has become a point of contention within and outside the yoga community.

Although some experts may agree that the 200-hour model is more accessible for aspiring yogis, more studios and experienced teachers welcome the 250 PLUS and the advanced 500 PLUS hour standards instead. The “PLUS” standard enables training providers to incorporate more hours of study, practice and teaching methodologies into their programs so aspiring teachers can go more in depth into the study and teaching of yoga to prepare themselves to teach beginning and intermediate yoga classes.

On September 1st 2017, Yoga Alliance® ItaIia/International signed a “Partnership Agreement” with the C.S.E.N (Italy’s largest National Educational Sport Organisation) and its sister organisation Benessere C.S.E.N to implement the “PLUS” standards in Italy. The C.S.E.N is recognised by the Italian National Olympic Committee C.O.N.I and by the Italian Paralympic Committee C.I.P.

The C.SE.N aims to promote and disseminate sporting activities with high social value, to establish favourable conditions for a wider development of physical education, sports and health as well as cooperating with autonomous organisations from other countries.

In 2015 as part of the organisation restructure, the C.S.E.N established the National Holistic Sector Benessere C.S.E.N a body engaged in the drafting of national guidelines and reference standards for the training of holistic operators and yoga teachers, defining training courses curriculum and minimum hours. With yoga  been practised by more than two million people in Italy, the Benessere C.S.E.N has become Italy’s largest Register of Yoga Teacher and schools.

The agreement between the C.S.E.N and Yoga Alliance® ItaIia/International has given rise to a series of initiatives aimed at improving many aspects in the international and national Yoga industry. Among the first actions taken was the need of the C.S.E.N to equalise the training standards of the Yoga sector in Italy to the international ones.

Following the important decision by both organisations to raise the minimum training standards from the basic 200 to 250 and 500 PLUS hours,as of September 1st 2017, Italy is the first European country and the second in the world after Australia to have implemented new standards for yoga training courses. Upcoming projects and ongoing initiatives see the two organisations acting in constant and harmonious symbiosis.

The New Standards can be used freely by other Yoga Organisations
Although Yoga Alliance®-International/Australia and Yoga Alliance® ItaIia/International Standards might be a great reference point for other organisations, they are not legally binding. In fact, both organisations permits its standards to be used freely by other organisations if they see fit.
Following the review of the standards scheme from Yoga Alliance®-International/Australia and Yoga Alliance® ItaIia/International, miles away from Italy and Australia, a U.S-based organisation by the name of Yoga Alliance on September 1st 2017 (the same exact date Yoga Alliance® ItaIia/International implemented the new standards scheme) announced on their website: “The New Standards Review Project”.

Yoga Industry Innovators

Yoga Alliance®-International/Australia and Yoga Alliance®-Italia/International were the first Alliance organisations to understand the importance and need for innovation. Bringing innovation meant being open to new ideas and being able to adapt to change.

Offering new credentials such as: RYS 250 PLUS/350 and 500 PLUS hours and new meaningful standards to those who meet the requirements of the standards means that a registered yoga teacher has met certain criteria and has made a commitment to becoming a safe and qualified teacher.


  Yoga Alliance e CONI Italia

The Light of Chakras

The Light of Chakras by Paolo Proietti Yoga Alliance Italia/International Master Yoga Teacher   

Paolo Proietti Master Yoga Teacher For the ancient Indians the celestial sphere was divided into 27 sectors or ‘Houses of the Moon’, called naksatra, literally stars or pearls.  Thirteen rays2 originate from each ‘House of the Moon’ and reach the earth. Four of these, perceivable as ‘light-sound’ are distinguished by the syllables A, I, U, E, O, BA, BI,  BU, BE, BO etc.

In total  there are 27×4=108 light-sounds corresponding to 108 building blocks of Matter. 108, like the grains of Mala, or like the elements indicated by the chemist Dmitrij Ivanovic Mendeleev in the Periodic Table of the Elements3, or by rsi Kasyapa4 at least 3,000 years before (or so they say).

  • See ‘Hatha Yoga, la lingua perduta dei Veggenti-simbologia e pratica della Serie Rishikesh’Aldenia Edizioni, Firenze 201
  • Precisely 13,3333… for a total of 27×13(3)=360 a ray for each degree of


  • Dmitrij Ivanovic Mendeleev (Tobol’sk, 8 February 1834-San Petersberg, 2 February 1907). A Russian chemist, was the inventor of the Periodic Table of the Element Unlike previous contributors to the Table, Mendeleev furnished a system of classification that provided for the characteristics of elements yet to be discovered.
  • Kasyapa, author of Kashyapa Samhita, one of the most important books on traditional Indian medicine. He was an astronomer, doctor and Yogin. He is considered one of the seven rsi, literally prophets, the patriarchs of the Veda religion. Atharvaveda ‘Shaunakiya recension’ Hymn 19.7

To these 108 perceivable rays another 252 must be added, for a total of 360 rays, one for each degree of the celestial sphere. The theory of the Indian poets5 is fascinating: the radiance of the stars, in Sanskrit, marici, not only brings life to earth and to all the undefined parallel worlds that form the Universe of Veda, but has the power in certain, specific conditions to increase the frequency of the vibrations in our cells favoring those levels of consciousness which are defined as Realization, Illumination, Liberation…

In human beings all these 360 rays are present: those which illuminate the cosmos, those which give life to matter and those from which thoughts, desires and emotions arise.

These rays are to be found ready to respond to the ‘Song of the Stars’, in the six fundamental Cakra of Yoga (perineum, genitalia, navel, heart, throat, the center of the eyebrows):

56 resonate to Muladhara Cakra, the perineum plexus;

62 to the Svadhisthana Cakra, navel plexus;

54 to the Anahata Cakra, heart plexus;

72 to the Visuddha Cakra, throat plexus; 64 to the ajna Cakra, forehead plexus.

At the moment of creation, the ‘Goddess of Dawn,, called ‘Marici’ by the Buddists, or The One Who Radiates’, lets fall the ‘Seeds of Light’ (or of sound or light-sound) into the depth of our soul. After having practiced Yoga, through a particularly emotional state or by fluke, we become sensitive to the ‘Song of the Stars’. The ‘Seeds of Light’ germinate and ‘the Cosmos alights inside us’.

Like harp strings, caressed by the wind, they create unexpected melodies so that our internal organs, bones and our cells harmonize with the voice of the Cosmos, sharing the Harmony of the Spheres. It is from the Seeds of Light that the Interior Universe blossoms.

For the ancient Vedas, inside each human being there sleeps an entire Universe with planets, stars and galaxies. See, eg, “Uttara Gita – or The Initiation of Arjuna by Sri Krishna into Yoga and Jnana” English Translation and Notes by B.K. Laheri, F.T.S. –

T.P.H. Oriental Series No. 9 – Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar,

Madras, India 1933 – Cap. II,15-16:  “15. Susumnã is a fine nerve that passes between the Idã and Pingalã. From this Susumnã all the JnãnaNãdis (sensory nerves) take their birth: hence it is called the Jnãna- Nãdi. 16. The Sun, the Moon, and the other Devatas, the fourteen Lokas of Bhur, Bhuvar, etc., the ten directions, East, West, etc., the sacred places, the seven oceans, the Himãlaya and other mountains, the seven Islands of Jambu, etc., the seven sacred rivers, Gangã, etc., the four Vedas, all the sacred philosophies, the sixteen vowels and twenty-four consonants, the Gãyatri and other sacred Mantras, the eighteen Purãnas and all the Upa- Purãnas included, the three Gunas, Mahat itself, the root of the Jîvas, the Jîvas and their Atman, the ten breaths, the whole world, in fact, consisting of all these, exists in the Susumnã.”

The Song of the Stars awakes this universe, changing each gesture into a cosmic dance and each thought into an astral voyage.

A poetic metaphor? Maybe not. Recently it has been discovered that astrocytes’, star shaped cells (hence their name) that form from 20-50% of the cerebral mass, and the microtubules, the supporting structure of the cells, communicate between each other, and create specific processes.

The neuronal microtubules, when stimulated by certain vibrational frequencies (sounds), produce energy in the form of light and heat. Energy that would be able to modify DNA.

In their turn, the astrocytes, which don’t communicate by electric impulses but through light, activated by the energy of the microtubules, start to regenerate nerve tissue by creating new neurons and therefore new synapses.

With this in mind, Yoga is the ‘Art of Vibration’. The aim of Asana, Mudra and Mantra is to make the energy of the stars vibrate in the body.

If this vibration stimulates the production of light energy in the microtubules, and energy that enables the astrocytes to generate new neurons, then the so-called illumination  would be none other than the contemporary activation of all the neuronal microtubules and consequently the stimulation of all the astrocytes that Yoga leads to cell regeneration and to the modification of DNA as suggested by some, is a fascinating hypothesis, but like all hypotheses it must be verified.

If you think of the disproportion between the number of people who practice Yoga (30 million in the USA alone) and the number of known cases of physical transformation or unexplained healing linked to the practice of Yoga, it leads us to think that it is just a hypothesis, fascinating but farfetched.

Moreover, the stars light everyone in the same way: in which way or for what reason are some people able to use this light whilst the majority of human beings cannot?


In forty-five years of practice and research I am convinced that in Yoga one has to go beyond the metaphor.

One must in many cases, if not in all, take the ancient teachings literally.

Speaking of illumination for example, many of us automatically think of the poetic description of a particular condition of the mind or a particular state of consciousness. But what if it is really a phenomenal explosion of light? If in fact it is the perception of stars that dwell in us? I have discovered that the asana are constellations, asterisms that are purely casual.

A few years ago whilst making a teaching video I was consulting Google to find images for Yoga positions that are named after birds.

I typed in ‘Peacock, Crow, Swan, Crane, Dove…’ and images of the Milky Way came up. This intrigued me and I looked for the names of the basic positions in the Indian texts on astronomy. And indeed, all the asana that I know, from Trikonasana (the triangle position), to Mandukasana (the frog position), from Garudasana (the eagle position) to the position of Natarajasana, all correspond to stars, constellations or asterisms.

Shiva, King of the Dance, (this means Nataraja) is none other than Orion the Hunter. To understand this one must just compare the images of the King of the Dance with those of the Hunter in love with the Pleiadi.

The asana are celestial bodies and phenomena and the traditional pathways are maps of the sky, maybe routes of ancient mariners. Apart from the eventual practical aspects it is however beautiful! Each time we assume a series of positions we are recounting the story of a voyage.

With its astral links Yoga reveals itself as a sacred dance that lets us live physically, that link between person (Microcosm) and Universe (Macrocosm). We often use this as a metaphor, this state of consciousness or poetic attempts to overcome our anxiety of incompleteness. Marvelous!

The identicalness between asana and the stars is the key to understanding the real sense of Yoga: the discovery of our celestial origin and the transformation of body and mind together. I said cellular regeneration, and DNA modification. Science fiction?

The Tamil’s Nath and Siddha, the creators of Hathayoga, have always spoken of this. Tirumular (known as Cuntaranatar) in the Tirumantiram7  (a book of 3,000 verses which narrates the deeds of the first siddha, Nandi, Patanjali, Vyaghrapada etc.) affirms to be at least 3,000 years old and Babaji di Hairakhan, who died in 1984, was Babaji Nagaraji, recorded in the annals of thousands of years ago.

Legends? Based on my experience with the Rishikesh series, on my research and on the documents furnished by Rupchand, one of Babaji Hairakhan’s well-known pupils, I am of the opinion that Hatha Yoga is something different from what is generally believed. Behind the accounts of paranormal phenomena there is more than just the desire to astound which animates many of its devoted disciples. ‘Tirumantiram’ – ITES Publications, Madras 1979.


Let’s imagine that there are really stars inside us and that millions of years ago our forefathers discovered a way to make them play by the ‘Music of the Celestial Spheres’.

Let’s also imagine that these stars inside us are those astrocytes that are currently being studied by Prof. Fred H. Gage’s team in California. (Salk Institute for Biological Studies). Astrocytes are sensitive to light and today we know that stimulating the neuronal microtubules with  sound vibrations the brain illuminates with its own light. (see: Stuart Hameroff, Roger Penrose. Consciousness in the Universe, Physics of Life Reviews, 2013).

Is it so absurd to think that it is possible to stimulate the neuronal microtubules and therefore the astrocytes, with sounds and vibrations produced by the Yogin? Not according to me, and I believe that there is a way of proving it.

First of all with the asana and the sequence of movements one must soften and in a sense expand the body.The voice must travel, between muscles, skin and bone, without obstacles, like the breeze on the ocean, slipping through the dozens of fissures, cavities and channels that are found in our cranium, to make the bones vibrate and to finally arrive at the cerebral mass.

With practice, every single part of the head can vibrate producing high frequency sounds called Overtones based on the theory of Overtone Singing.

In the production of the harmonics the role of the soft palate is fundamental (called in tantra ‘the dwelling of Rudra, the Roaring God’). One can say that the soft palate is the entrance to the superior levels of consciousness. The production of overtones is accompanied by a tactile sensation, a sort of caress or massage in diverse areas of the cranium.

Paying attention to this sensation, after a short time, an interior sound begins, a sort of pleasant insect’s chirrup that is neither linked to the heartbeat nor to the flow of breathing.

It is as if the brain starts to sing by itself. Often, light phenomena are linked to this chirruping, with flowers of light that form and disappear, following this rhythm.  Once one has become confident with this internal sound, the quality of work on the asana changes radically. The movement is softer, lighter and beneath the skin one is aware of a sort of effervescence (perhaps the divine caress that the tantric refer to, see the ‘Paratrisikavivarana’ by

Abhinavagupta). This condition, finding the alignment with the constellations and thinking that each articulation corresponds to a celestial body, is an experience that is well worth trying. The song of the stars sounds in each single cell, and the body cannot do anything other than dance. This is Yoga: a dance, ‘the Dance of the Gods’.(translated by Christine Elizabeth Hogan)

Paolo Proietti Master Yoga Teacher