Dear yoginis and yogis,
I recently read about a fascinating scientific study conducted by Harvard psychologists in 1979. It demonstrates the power of mind over matter, a question dear to yogis.
For this study, two groups of octogenarians were taken on a five day “reminiscence retreat”. They were not told they were taking part in a study into ageing, an experiment that would transport them 20 years back in time. Before leaving, they underwent a series of physical tests.
During the retreat, the two groups were separated. The “control group” was asked to spend their time simply exchanging memories of the 1950s. The other group was also discussing past events from the same era, but in addition, they were immersed in a time-warp. Surrounded by props from the 50s, they were asked to act as if it was actually 1959. They watched films, listened to music from the time and had discussions about major 50s political and sports events – all in the present tense.
Over the days, the scientists began to notice that the octogenarians were walking faster and their confidence had risen. By the final morning, one man had even decided he could do without his walking stick. Measurements proved that their gait, dexterity, arthritis, speed of movement, cognitive abilities and their memory had all measurably improved. Their blood pressure dropped and, even more surprisingly, their eyesight and hearing got better. Both groups showed improvements, but the time-warp group had improved the most.
When the study was published in 1981, the authors concluded that “by encouraging the men’s minds to think younger, their bodies followed and actually became ‘younger’”. (More info on the study here)
I find this quite amazing… it’s one of the most scientific proofs of the power of the mind to heal the body that I have come across, and one of the most original, too!