Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thoppukaranam (alias) Super Brain Yoga

Hi there,

Recently, my friend sent me a video link on Youtube about a special kind of exercise called "Super Brain Yoga":

Almost immediately, I read an article about the same in one of our National Dailies:

As you can understand, this exercise, called "Super Brain Yoga" by the Americans, is nothing but the simple "Thoppukaranam", the reverential practice done by Hindus in front of Lord Ganesha's temple.

As per the medical research and subsequent report, doing these special kind of situps while holding the opposite earlobes help stimulate brain power and remember things better.

Hindus have been doing "Super Brain Yoga" for ages in front of temples devoted to Lord Ganesha. In fact, I have observed that while crossing a Ganesha temple on road, most people stop, take off their footwear, perform "Thoppukaranam", and then resume their journey. Lord Ganesha is associated with Knowledge/Memory, a point which is now proved by this research. 

But what is saddening is that many of our traditions are being copyrighted by the western world, and the latest point in this case is "Thoppukaranam" being copyrighted as "Super Brain Yoga"...

- Nikhil Mundra
10th March 2009



Abhinav Kadambi said...

i just love your blog man.you rock.thanks for all your effort.do continue.i would like to meet you if possible and also discuss much.but i think you are held up in college and so busy.i just finished high school and mostly will pursue my higher studies in chennai or trichy.please do let me know how i can meet you.

i am your topmost fan.you rock man!!!

my blog(amateur)


Rinzai said...

Nice write up. I agree it is a little ridiculous that a traditional practice has been copyrighted. Just as the Maharishi tried to brand ancient meditation practices, apparently so has Choa Kok Sui with Thoppukaranam. Both are Asians who seek to repackage, monopolize and market ancient Asian practices to the West.

Whether this is good or ethical is long discussion.

Nikhil Mundra said...

Hi Abhinav,

Thanks a lot for your encouraging comment.

Yes, college life is definitely busy and fast-paced. You will agree once you get into in yourself !

Do give me a tinkle once you get to Chennai, and we'll meet up for sure.

Nikhil Mundra

Nikhil Mundra said...

Hello Rinzai,

Thanks for your comment.

Indians have always been selfless people, and that is what makes us unique. As you will agree, there is such a large range of things that we already know from ancient times, but for which we don't get the credit. Thoppukaranam is another addition to the list.

I believe the publicity is definitely good, because if our ancient knowledge spreads, irrespective of the method, it will do the world a lot of good. But its high time that we raise up and try to get credit for it, so that the world knows that India is more than a land of beggars, elephants and snake-charmers.

Nikhil Mundra

future mantra said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rinzai said...

Hi Nikhil,

I would say that India is known for being much more than land of beggars, elephants and snake-charmers. You really shouldn't feel that way. That image doesn't even come to mind for me.

Statues of an Indian, Siddhartha Gautama, can be found all over Asia and the world from Sapporo to Singapore. His teachings, rooted in Hinduism, have affected billions. Yoga in various forms is available to practice in every major city in the world. Indian scientists and technical people are an integral part of modern technology and development. Indian entertainment, films, etc. despite many of them not being in English, are finding non-Indian following worldwide. Indian culture is massive and valuable.

If there is one single image of India outside of India, I would say that it is of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, a courageous man who fearlessly stared down imperialism. He served and still serves as the model for non-violent civil disobediance. He was an inspiration to Mandela, Martin Luther King jr and many others.

I'm just striking the surface.

The sutras of India are vast. But in them there is great understanding and insight. Things are exactly as they are. "Pride" is an interesting concept. Most of the most terrible crimes of the world have been committed under the auspices of pride. "Pride" can be divisive. India itself is multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious. When you go deep into the teachings of the greats of India I think you find that we are all one. We can construct a multitude of divisions but that won't our change our essential nature. These are all just thoughts.

One of my very good friends is Indian. He is certainly selfless as you say. I do agree that many Indians are selfless but you must admit that you know some Indians that are at times less than selfless. You can also find a very selfless culture in Tibet for example.

I am in awe of Indian spiritualism. I am in awe of Japanese artisanship, cleanliness and organisation. I am in awe American innovation. I am in awe of Chinese diligence. I am in awe of French cheeses and their connection to the land. I am in awe of the kindness and innate understand of karma exhibited by the Thai people. These are the wonders of our existence.

namaste _/\_

Nikhil Mundra said...

Nameste _/\_ Rinzai,

Thanks a lot for your informative comment.

I think you have misunderstood my views. My entire blog is an effort to prove the brighter and intelligent side of India.

I do not subscribe to the view that India is a poor country of elephants and snake-charmers. What I was referring to was that this was the viewpoint of people in the west, and this is what we have to eradicate from their minds.

Nikhil Mundra

Anrosh said...

this should not be how westerners patented information.
this should be about indians who degrades and does not accept the intelligence that they have ! they crave for validation elsewhere so let's now cry ' foul '.

westerners are known for their management and organization. that's what they did to yoga.

have you wondered why we studied about western scientists more and not about indian scientists.

british in purpose put 'rote learning' as the crux of the current education because they did not want us to analyse information and become problem solvers, the skill sets required for 'power building.

telling slokas everyday is nothing but the 'visaulisation' of the words but few understand the sanskrit snippets and attached to religion, which young people think as ' old world and frumpy' if teh same info was presented in a package amiable to the young generation - related to how useful it is through proof and evidence , it would be more easily acceptable.

india needs more policy makers and supply chain distributors, leaders and managers. there is too much scientific information roaming around, that it wouldn't be useful until it is presented well

Nikhil Mundra said...

Hello Anrosh,

Thanks for stopping by to let me have your incisive thoughts.

You are absolutely right. Indians, over the years, have forgotten their rich heritage and always look up to the Western World for what and what not to do. That is why the younger generation emulates and imitates the West, and takes pride in doing so.

Your point about rote-learning is also very important. Indian students are considered excellent at theoritical concepts, but fail to apply the same in the field of research. If only we had more practical sessions and lesser theory workload...

My aim through this blog is to let every Indian know how he/she should take pride in our ancient civilization. The blog also serves as an inspiration to every Indian that we are inherently brilliant, and thus it is only a matter of time when we awaken that spirit of research hidden in each one of us.

Nikhil Mundra

shashi said...

if someone wants to make money by patenting super brain yoga, let them.

without any hurt to those who do thoppukaranaM, the real benefit if any from this exercise is the faith.

so those who come to super brain yoga class after paying fees, will only benefit if they have strong faith in the deity, lord gaNesha in this case.

if the exercise itself had the real benefit, you need not stand in front of gaNesha, or his temple, you could do it in front of saraswatI as well, with better results!

it is the submission of ego to the lord, that has the benefit.

and teachers have made students do this in class not as a reward but as a punishment :)

thank you,


Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said...

Famous historian Romila Thapar has described in her book A History of India about the status of Yoga in 300-700 A.D. She writes: “Yoga (Application) which was based on the control of the body physically and implied that a perfect control over the body and the senses led to knowledge of the ultimate reality. A detailed anatomical knowledge of the human body was necessary to the advancement of yoga and therefore those practising yoga had to keep in touch with medical knowledge.”
As far as anatomical knowledge of human body is concerned it is very much required for the optimum result during practice of Yoga. Yoga system has very close connection with the human anatomy i.e. chakra or nerve centres distributed along the spinal column and in brain region.
Besides, connection chakras with the practice of Yoga, chakra has also great role in the development of personality. People do not realise that personalities can grow to include a balance of all the six chakras. Jung referred to this growth process as "individuation", and associated it with life's spiritual dimension. Danah Zohar evolves a model of spiritual quotient (sq) based on the six petals of a lotus and its centre, corresponding to the seven chakras described by the Hinduism's Kundalini Yoga, as an aid to the process of individuation in the mid-1990s. Contribution of Danah Zohar for coining the term spiritual quotient for the first time is immense. But she did not establish any mathematical relationship, which is very much required, for this quotient.

Deepak Chopra has given a formula of spiritual quotient in terms of Deed (D) and Ego (E). According to Deepak Chopra S.Q. =D/E. He (2006) writes: If Vedanta is right and there is only one reality, then all desires must follow the same mechanics, desires arise and are fulfilled in consciousness. Making yourself happy involves ..... I have a " Spiritual Quotient" where SQ = D/E. Where D = Deeds and E = Ego. Now you can ONLY have an SQ = infinity when E = 0. If E is little even then SQ is approaching infinity (or one is close to be a "Great Master") but not actually "Pure .This appears to be very fascinating but it is highly abstract which cannot be measured experimentally, accurately and precisely. However, this formula has immense value to understand S.Q.

I too have discovered a mathematical relationship for S.Q about eight years back in 2001. I have used physiological parameters which can be measured accurately and precisely and can be tested and verified experimentally. According to this formula S.Q. can be expressed as the ratio of parasympathetic dominance (P.D.) to sympathetic dominance (S.D.). Parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) are the two parts of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which is largely under hypothalamic control. Hypothalamus is situated very close to the Sixth Chakra. During practice of meditation at Sixth Chakra these centres are galvanized which has very positive effect on practitioners spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical well being.

According to this relationship spiritual quotient can be written as:
S.Q. = P.D./S.D.
If the value of S.Q. comes >1 (greater than one), it can be assumed that the person is moving towards self-realisation and if the value of S.Q. comes <1 (smaller than one) it can be predicted that the person is living under stress. This formula has remarkable analogy with the formula of Intelligent Quotient discovered by Wilhem Stern which states as I.Q.=Mental Age/Chronological Age x100.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said...

I have also attempted to establish mathematical relationship for emotional quotient (E.Q.). This is now a recognized fact that for a successful career not only higher I.Q. is necessary but level of E.Q. also plays a greater role. Higher is the level of E.Q. greater is the achievement in life. I have defined emotional quotient as the product of wisdom (w) and I.Q. This relationship can be expressed mathematically as:
E.Q. = w X I.Q.
In this relationship ‘w’ indicates a person’s insight, power of judgment and ability to understand others. This can be assigned mathematical value in binary digits i.e. 0,1. Zero represent absence of these qualities and, ‘one’ represent presence of these qualities in fullness. If a person is devoid of these qualities, the E.Q. can be labeled as ‘zero’ OR ‘near about zero’. In such persons if the level of I.Q. is high, the person may become an autocrat. If a person possesses all the above qualities then E.Q. may be equal to I.Q. and such persons are truly democrat. Spiritually enlightened persons are also democrat. Evidently there is a greater correlation amongst I.Q., E.Q. and S.Q.. In fact S.Q. leverages both E.Q. and I.Q.
There are various types of meditation available, which are being practiced by sages, saints, seers and others. The difference in various versions lies in the fact that these practices involve concentration to meditate at different centres known as Chakra in Yoga System. These chakras are, in fact, energy centres which correspond to nerve centres distributed along the spinal column and in brain region.
Some practitioners start to meditate at Basic/Root Chakra (Muladhara) – situated at the base of spine, some at Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra), some at Ajna Chakra – Optic Chiasma – Master Chakra and some from even higher centres situated in the brain region. Among all these types of meditation, practice at sixth chakra is considered to be the most ideal which brings about optimum results.

Sixth Chakra is situated very close to hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a portion of brain that contains a number of small nuclei with a variety of functions. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary glands.
Autonomic nervous system (ANS) is largely under hypothalamic control. ANS consists of parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS). PSNS is activated during meditative calm and during stress SNS is activated. When PSNS is activated, heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure decreased. Supply of blood in the digestive tract increased. When SNS is activated heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure increased. Supply of blood to the muscles and exterior organs increased and to the digestive tract decreased. In addition to these, there are many other parameters which can be compared. Parasympathetic Dominance (P.D.) is the state of PSNS activation and Sympathetic Dominance (S.D.) is the state of SNS activation. Instruments are available in medical science to measure these parameters.
Now we can assign numerical value to each parameter. Then put the value in the formula for S.Q. and see the result. We can show the calculation as mentioned below:
S.Q.= P.D./S.D. = Σ X / Σ Y
Where X=x1+x2+x3+ …….
And Y=y1+y2+y3+…….
During PSNS activation (P.D.), we assign ‘1’ to each parameter (x1+x2+x3+…..) and ‘0’ to each parameter (y1+y2+y3+…..). During SNS activation (S.D.), we assign ‘1’ to each parameter (y1+y2+y3+…) and ‘0’ to each parameter (x1+x2+x3+….).
By putting the numerical value, thus achieved, in the above formula for S.Q. we can calculate the Spiritual Quotient of an individual.
Higher is the S.Q. lower is the autonomic mobilization to encounter day-to-day stress.
This mathematical relationship of spiritual quotient will certainly facilitate further research in the area of spiritual science.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said...

An article of Shri Nand Kishore Kapoor, Punarjanm Shodh Sansthan, Faridabad, India was published in a Sunday Supplement of ‘Aj’ (Hindi News Paper) sometimes during the year 2000. In this article the author writes the past life description by a girl during hypnosis. She told that in her previous life a dinosaur is running after her and she was running away to hide herself in a cave. Based on this I wrote my comments in Blogs on Biological Evolution that humans and dinosaurs had coexisted. Now a large number of Texans are also believing this as is evident from the following Blog. It will not be out of the context to mention that as per Hindu Mythology Lord Rama was born about 10 million years ago or more.

Texans Weigh God and Biological History

Yadunath S Iyengar said...

Yes, it's true that 'Thoppukaranam' goes around the world as Superbrain Yoga.

There is a bit more to it than we notice at first pass. It is most effective only when breathing is aligned. The thumb must press (or hold) the ear lobes for full benefit.

Of course, we do it even today in India, but nobody knows the benefits of doing it apart fom knowing it as a sign of devotion to God.

In our country, everything is ritualistic, over time the form continues but the purpose is not known. It is like what Ramakrshna Paramahamsa said, we mistake the signboard for destination.

The take-away is that we need to understand what we are doing and be able to explain why we do it that way. That's a missing link.

For example, if we clearly the benfits of doing Superbtain Yoga, we could advise people who need such benefits most to try doing it.

Anonymous said...

One day they are going to find a scientific reason for walking bare foot and copyright it.

We walk in the temple bare foot.


Anonymous said...

It is not a shame. Imitation is sincerity. Hindus imitate Lord Ganesha. Now, westerners imitate Hindus. Thank you for the knowledge. May we all evolve.

Ananth Reddy said...

There is nothing wrong in imitating our traditional devotion to Lord Ganesh. If people are trying to pull you down, you should be happy, because it proves that you are above them. Okay my dear friends!

Janamejayan said...

Thoppukaranam will not yield any result if one does not worship Lord Ganapathy. You can test it out!

Sanjay said...

Thanks for everyone to giving a good insight into this topic.
My understanding about the Indian society today is that about 90% of people are religious and not spiritual that's like building castles in the air. People should realise that the whole concept of religion was established to let people know about the true essence that is spirituality.
Lord Ganesha is a Symbol for knowledge and prosperity and worshipping the symbol will do no good but researching and practicing what the symbol actually stands for will bear fruits.

Anonymous said...

Yes of course this is typical white people / european behaviour to steal something, strip it of all spiritual and cultural significance, and then attempt to sell it as a commodity.


Hi friends!!

I heard that girls should not perform super brain yoga. Is it true or just a rumor or myth..


Hi friends,

I heard that girls should not perform super brain yoga.. I want to know it s just a rumor or myth..