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In Conversation With H.R.Nagendra

Ranjani Saigal

Dr. H R Nagendra is a Mechanical Engineer who received his Ph. D is from the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.  He pursued a career in Mechanical Engineer including a stint at NASA for many years. The call to serve mother India made him relinquish his position and he moved to India. At the same time his sister, a medical doctor (MBBS, FRCS) also was beginning her quest for a deeper meaning for life. Brother and sister joined hands and revolutionized the world of Yoga.

Their quest began at the Vivekanda Kendra in Kanyakumari. “The education I received in the Indian educational system which is based on the Macaulay approach has bread winning as its focus. Removal of the spiritual basis for education leads to emptiness” says Nagendra. “My quest for reality and deeper meaning for life brought me to the Vivekanada Kendra where I learnt a lot about Indian scriptures and Yoga”.

Nagendra developed a fascination for Yoga.  As he started to go deep into the subject, he realized that despite the greatness of this body of knowledge there was a need to do a systematic study of the subject applying the latest scientific methodology. “People were making claims about Yoga as a Sarva-Roga-Nivarini. Yet I observed that not everyone practicing Yoga were getting cured and in fact in some cases it was having a reverse effect” says Nagendra.

Armed with his training in research methodology that he got during his career as a researcher along with his sister’s training in medicine, the duo set out to scientifically understand Yoga and educate people on Yoga and separateYoga from the myths that surround it.

This quest led to the establishment of the Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (Research Foundation) or VYASA in short, which was set up to examine the efficacy of yoga practices and to develop yoga courses to solve the basic problems of the high-tech era. 

Dr. Nagendra partnered with several leading universities and organizations in India and the west and has done research that has been published in leading refereed journals including the British Medical Journal, Indian Journal of Medical Research and others. The studies led to the development of specific Yoga treatments of different ailments.

“Our studies show that when it comes to Yoga , contrary to the common perception, one size does not fit all. We realized that developing a Yoga technique for a specific ailment was no different than developing a drug to treat an ailment. We used a methodology that is very similar to drug development. We used to develop techniques based on our knowledge of Yoga. We then tested it on patients. Since my sister has medical training, she was able to evaluate the medical impact of our technique. Based on the feedback we fine tuned our process and we now have tested techniques to cure a range of ailments. These are Yoga techniques that do not use any drugs” says Nagendra.

Vyasa has cures for Asthama, Anxiety Neurosis, Arthritis, Cancer, Depression, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Gastritis, Hypertension, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Migrane, Obesity, Peptic Ulcer and Tension Headache.  

The aim of Vyasa is also to train and educate others in Yoga and develop an entire educational curriculum around this topic. “ Vyasa now has been given the status of a Deemed University. We offer Masters and Ph D in Yoga Therapy” says Nagendra.

The university has several leading academicians as part of its core faculty team including Dr. Swamy , who was the former director of the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India arguably one of the finest research and educational institutions in the country.

“We have trained many people in our technique and our instructors are in demand all over the world including the middle east” says Nagendra. Are they planning to penetrate the mainstream educational institutions in India? “The way we plan to do this is to provide training and certification to the Physical Training instructors in schools. We have already provided training to a large number of instructors in different schools”

What is the ultimate goal for Nagendra? “It is simple. We would like to bring about social transformation. We think we can do it through the practice and dissemination of Yoga”

To learn more about Nagendra and Vyasa please check out their website at www.vyasa.org. Their  certified trainer in the New England area is Mr. Sudhir Parikh, who offers courses at the Satsang Center in Woburn, MA. He may be reached at satsangcenter1@yahoo.com

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