Yogic and Modern Physiology of Chakras and Plexuses

Swami Vivekananda was probably the first person to attempt to find parallels between the yogic physiology and the modern physiology. He inferred that the spinal cord is composed in such a manner that its horizontal cross sections would like a figure of 8, placed horizontally, with two parts connected in the middle. Swamiji said that the left is Ida and the right is Pingala and the hollow canal which runs through the centre is the Sushumna. According to Swamiji, the Ida and Pingala are the main channels through which the afferent and efferent currents travel. This is slightly different from modern physiology, according to which afferent and efferent nerves travel on both the sides of the spinal cord. The different plexuses on the spinal cord stand for the different lotuses of chakras.

According to modern physiology there are two nervous systems; the voluntary and the involuntary or autonomic. The autonomic nervous system consists of para-sympathetic and sympathetic nerves. Functions of lungs, heart, stomach, kidneys etc., are governed by these sets of nerves. The function of the lungs i.e. respiration is the only visceral function which can be partially controlled by voluntary action. Swamiji says, “ By systematic practice of Pranayama under a skilled teacher, through the control of the function of lungs, the centre of the autonomic nervous system in the brain may be brought under control, and, through this, all other functions like that of heart and stomach can be brought under control. This, in terms of modern physiology, is the meaning of awakening of Kundalini.

Of course, Swami Vivekananda goes much ahead and states that the purpose of awakening of Kundalini is not merely the control of physical body but, finally, the control of mind. The nerve plexuses on the spinal cord which are equated with the lotuses of the chakras are actually plexuses of both nerves of the autonomic nervous system as well as voluntary nervous system and as one gains control over the autonomic nervous system, he is able to control the whole of his body through these plexuses.

Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S., M.D.
Yoga Practitioner


About drmcpanda

Dr. Mahesh Chandra Panda, M.B.B.S.,M.D. Date of Birth:29.02.1948 Retd. (29.02.2008) Chief District Medical Officer Bargarh Orissa India
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9 Responses to Yogic and Modern Physiology of Chakras and Plexuses

  1. I have referred the article ‘Swami Vivekananda`s Raja Yoga-A Contemporary Perspective’ authored by Swami Brahmeshananda published in ‘The Vedanta Kesari’ in its Vol.100, No.6 in drafting my article ‘Yogic and Modern Physiology of Chakras and Plexuses’.

  2. Madan Goyal says:

    Swami Vivekananda is a great name of his times. He has said many things which are relevant even today also. But medico-scientific talk by a layman should not be taken seriously. Thought processing, spirituality and healthy thinking are some of the ways, he is currently also an authority.

  3. Vinod Varma says:

    Thanks for this quite informative post bridging traditional yoga knowledge with modern science.

  4. bhaktisaburi says:

    It’s sad yogic tradition has been mystified in modern times.The underlying scientific knowledge is completely obscured.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Dr.Binod Bihari Naik says:

    Respected Sir,

    Yogic and Modern Physiology of Chakras and Plexuses are similar in function up-to certain extent in individual soul encircled by its attributes such as body, mind and intellect. At subtlest plane both are inter-woven and work co-jointly to awaken materialistic & spiritualistic strength usually dormant in human being as the former deals with whole body, mind & intellect and transcends the individual soul to cosmic soul and the end result of practices is to bathe in bliss whereas the later one deals up-to body, mind and certain level of intellect; so by proper maintenance of it body becomes healthy, mind becomes peace and intellect becomes enriched with ever happiness. As a result later one is additive to former physiological function to accelerate soul movement to cosmic one. Hence in modern age a Yogi must be essentially a Scientist to spend his present birth circle happily with all surrounding and make happy to all on his way of emancipation.

    Thanks for your elaborate posting of yogic and modern physiology of chakras and plexuses in the blog of Yoga and Spirituality for benefit of common people.

    With Regards
    Your Divine Brother
    Dr.Binod Bihari Naik
    Sr.Surgery Specialist
    Jt.DHS Level-II(Retd.)
    Bargarh Odisha

  6. Prakash Padhan says:

    Link of Yoga and medical science is evident. All chakras may be the different glands of body which are located from brain to anus through spinal cord. I have personal experience of getting spiritual pleasure by activating chakras during pranayama and meditation.

  7. V Nageswara Rao says:

    Dear Sir,

    This time Your Article “Yogic and Modern Physiology of Chakras and Plexuses” as per Swami Vivekananda is really useful and learningful if one can be able to make it practice in his /her daily life.

    Thank You Very Much for a Nice article with lots of learning.
    With Regards,
    Bhubaneswar Odisha

  8. Sir,

    It is really a nice article in which time we celebrate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. He experimented the Yoga science in his life and the success made him the noble personality of the world. A nice article regarding the inter-relationship among science and yoga with spirituality.

    Kedarnath Sahu
    Science Teacher

  9. Purnima Panda says:

    Pranam kaka,
    I have no idea about this. Thank u for giving information of Yogic and Modern Physiology by posting your article.

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