a well organized and fully developed essay of 500 words, summarize the main ideas in Richard Corliss’ TIME Magazine article, “The
Power of Yoga” (April 23, 2001) and the short reading by Jonathan
Klemens entitled “Integrating Oriental Medicine With Western Medicine” (Self
Improvement Online, Inc., 1999).
and contrast the main ideas of Corliss and Klemens. In what
ways do the authors agree with each other? In what ways are they different?
Explain the similarities/differences you choose to write about using
plenty of analytical and descriptive details, as well as direct
and/or indirect references to the texts of both readings.
Conclude your essay with a personal
commentary on the ideas expressed
by one or both authors. Do you prefer Corliss over Klemens or vice versa,
and why? Have you had personal experience with any of the ideas discussed
by Corliss and Klemens. If so, write about it in detail and explain how
your experience relates back to the ideas explored by one or both authors.
(Note: You do not have to discuss both writers in the personal commentary
segment of the Task 1 essay!)
you have completed your essay, spend at least 15 minutes checking
it for grammatical and content errors. Make sure that
all parts of the topic, and that the names of the authors and articles
are spelled correctly. Check that you refer directly (using quotations
and citations) or indirectly (by using paraphrasing) to both authors’ texts
in your response. Make sure there’s no repetition of ideas nor
any “filler”, or unnecessary material. The essay must be
written using college-level grammar.
POWER OF YOGA
It Bends. It Stretches. It
Turns you into a human pretzel. But can it really cure what ails
By RICHARD CORLISS
do it. Sports do it. Judges in the highest court do it. Let's do
it: that yoga thing. A path to enlightenment that winds
back 5,000 years in its native India, yoga has suddenly become so hot,
so cool, so very this minute. It's the exercise cum meditation for
the new millennium, one that doesn't so much pump you up as bliss you
out. Yoga now straddles the continent - from Hollywood, where $20 million-a-picture
actors queue for a session with their guru du jour, to Washington,
where, in the gym of the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
and 15 others faithfully take their class each Tuesday morning.
Everywhere else, American's rush from their high pressure
jobs and tune in to the authoritatively mellow voice of an instructor,
gently urging them to solder a union (the literal translation of the
Sanskrit word yoga) between mind and body. These Type A strivers want
to become Type B seekers, to lose their blues in an asana (pose), to
graduate from distress to de-stress. Fifteen million Americans include
some of yoga in their fitness regimen - twice as many as did five years
ago; 75% of all U.S. health clubs offer yoga classes. Many in those
classes are looking not inward but behind. As supermodel Christy Turlington,
a serious practitioner, says, "Some of my friends simply want to have
a yoga butt." But others come to the discipline in hopes of restoring
their troubled bodies. Yoga makes me feel better, they say. Maybe it
can cure what ails me.
Winfrey, arbiter of moral and literary betterment for millions of
American women, devoted a whole show to the benefits of yoga earlier
this month, with guest appearances by Turlington and studmuffin guru
Rodney Yee. Testimonials from everyday yogis and yoginis clogged the
hour: I lost weight; I quit smoking; I conquered my fear of flying;
I can sleep again; it saved my marriage; it improved my daughter's
grades and attitude. "We are more centered as a team," declared
the El Monte Firefighters of Los Altos Hills, Calif.
Sounds great. Namaste, as your instructor says at the end of a session:
the divine in me bows to the divine in you. But let's up the ante a
bit. Is yoga more than the power of positive breathing? Can it say,
cure cancer? Fend off heart attacks? Rejuvenate postmenopausal women?
just as important for yoga's application by mainstream doctors, can
its presumed benefits be measured by conventional medical standards?
Is yoga, in other words, a science?
even asking the question, we provoke a clash of two powerful cultures,
two very different ways of looking at the world. The Indian tradition
develops metaphors and ways of describing the body (life forces, energy
centers) as it is experienced, from the inside out. The Western tradition
looks at the body from the outside in, peeling it back one layer at
a time, believing only what it can see, measure and prove in randomized,
double blind tests. The East treats the person; the West treats the
disease. "Our system of medicine is very fragmented," says
Dr. Carrie Demers, who runs the Center for Health and Healing at the
Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of
the USA in Honesdale, Pa. "We send you to different specialists
to look at different parts of you. Yoga is more holistic; it's interested
in the integration of body, breath and mind."
The few controlled studies that have been done offer cause for hope.
A 1990 study of patients who had coronary heart disease indicated that
a regimen of aerobic exercise and stress reduction, including yoga,
combined with a low fat vegetarian diet, stabilized and in some cases
reversed arterial blockage. The author Dr. Dean Ornish is in the midst
of a study involving men with prostate cancer. Can diet, yoga and meditation
affect the progress of this disease? So far, Ornish will say only that
the data are encouraging.
the skeptic, all evidence is anecdotal. But some anecdotes are more
than encouraging; they are inspiring. Consider Sue Cohen, 54,
an accountant, breastcancer survivor and five year yoga student at
the Unity Woods studio in Bethesda, Md. "After my cancer surgery," Cohen says,
I thought I might never lift my arm again. Then here I am one day,
standing on my head, leaning most of my 125 lb.
body weight on
that arm I thought I'd never be able to use again. Chemotherapy, surgery
and some medications can rob you of mental acuity, but yoga helps compensate
for the loss. It impels you to do things you never thought you were capable
series of exercises as old as the Sphinx could prove to be the medical
miracle of tomorrow or just wishful thinking from the
millions who have
embraced yoga in a bit more than a generation.
was little known in the U.S. perhaps only as an enthusiasm of Allen
Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and other icons of the Beat
when the Beatles and Mia Farrow journeyed to India to sit at the feet
of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1968. Since then, yoga has endured
more evolutions of popular consciousness than a morphing movie monster.
First it signaled spiritual cleansing and rebirth, a nontoxic way to
high. Then it was seen as a kind of preventive medicine that helped
manage and reduce stress. "The third wave was the fitness wave," says
Richard Faulds, president of the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
in Lenox, Mass. "And that's about strength and flexibility and
At each stage, the most persuasive advocates were movie idols and
rock stars - salesmen, by example, of countless beguiling or
If they could make cocaine and tattoos fashionable, perhaps they
could goad the masses toward physical and spiritual enlightenment.
yoga is practiced by so many stars with whom audiences are on a first
name basis Madonna, Julia, Meg, Ricky, Michelle, Gwyneth, Sting that
it would be shorter work to list the actors who don't assume the
asana. (James Gandolfini? We're just guessing.)
David Duchovny practices Kundalini yoga; Julia Louis Dreyfuss:
prefers Ashtanga. Sabrina the Teenage Witch stars Melissa Joan
Hart and Soleil
Moon Frye throw yoga parties. Jane Fonda cut out aerobics for it;
Angelina Jolie buffed up for Tomb Raider with it. The newly clean
used yoga and dieting to shed 30 lbs. Add at least two Sex in the
City vamps, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis. All three Dixie
Sports stars from basketball legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar to Yankee
pitcher Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez are devotees. And speaking
who showed up the other day at Turlington's lower Manhattan haunt
the Jivamukti Yoga Center? Monica Lewinsky.
Where there's a yoga blitz, there must be yoga biz. To dress for
a class, you need only some old, loose fitting clothes and since
perform barefoot no fancy footwear. Yet Nike and J.Crew have
developed exercise apparel, as has Turlington. For those who
at home yoga, the videostore racks groan with hot, moving tapes.
Yoga series of instructional videos taught by Yee and Patricia
Walden occupies five of the top eight slots on Amazon's VHS best
and Self are putting out the message of yoginis as buff and perfect," says
Walden. "If you start doing yoga for those reasons, fine. Most
people get beyond that and see that it's much, much more." By embodying
the grace and strength of their system, Yee and Walden are its most
charismatic proselytizers new luminaries in the yoga firmament.
"Madonna found it first, and I'm following in the
footsteps of the stars," groans Minneapolis attorney Patricia
Bloodgood. "But I don't think you should reject something just
because it's trendy." Bloodgood had the bright idea to commandeer
part of the lobby in the office building where she works for a Monday
evening yoga class. Yoginis can spend a weekend at (or devote their
such retreats as Kripalu, where each year 20,000 visitors take part
in programs ranging from "The Science of Pranayama and Bandha" to
African drum workshops and singles weekends. In L.A. they can mingle
with the glamourati at Maha Yoga (where students bend to the strains
of the Beatles' Baby You're a Rich Man) or Golden Bridge (where celebrity
moms take prenatal yoga classes).
Yoga is where you find it and how you want it, from Big Time to
small town. In the Texas town of Odessa, Therese Archer's Body & Soul
Center for Well Being has 15 dedicated students, including an 18 wheeler
diesel mechanic who drives 50 miles from Andrews, Texas, to attend
classes. "He is very West Texas," Archer says, "and
I thought he would flip when he saw what we did." Yet in eight
months the mechanic has sweated his way up from beginning to advanced
work. At the 8 Count exercise studio in Monticello, Ga., Suzanne McGinnis
runs a "yoga cardio class" that mixes postures with push
ups, all to the disco beat of tunes like Leo Sayer's You Make Me Feel
Like Dancin'. As yoga classes go, this is not an arduous one, but the
students don't know that. They grunt and groan exultantly with each
stretch, and are happy to relax when McGinnis stops to check her teaching
aids: torn out magazine pages and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Yoga.
So yoga can be fun or be made fun of; it can help you look marvelous
or feel marvelous. These aspects are not insignificant. They demonstrate
the roots yoga has dug into America's cultural soil deep enough for
open-minded researchers to consider how it might bloom into a therapy
to treat or
SENSIBLE PRACTICE OF YOGA DOES MORE than slap a Happy Face on your
cerebrum. It can also massage the lymph system,
says Dr. Mehmet
Oz, a cardiac surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
Lymph is the body's dirty dishwater; a network of lymphatic vessels
and storage sacs crisscross over the entire body, in parallel with
the blood supply, carrying a fluid composed of infection fighting white
blood cells and the waste products of cellular activity. Exercise in
general activates the flow of lymph through the body, speeding up the
filtering process; but yoga in particular promotes the draining of
the lymph. Certain yoga poses stretch muscles that from animal studies
are known to stimulate the lymph system. Researchers have documented
the increased lymph flow when dogs' paws are stretched in a position
similar to the yoga "downward-facing dog."
Yoga relaxes you and, by relaxing, heals. At least that's the theory. "The
autonomic nervous system," explains Kripalu's Faulds, "is divided
into the sympathetic system, which is often identified with the fight-or-flight
response, and the parasympathetic, which is identified with what's been
called the Relaxation Response. When you do yoga the deep
breathing, the stretching, the movements that release muscle tension, the
relaxed focus on being present in your body you initiate a process
that turns the fight-or-flight system off and the Relaxation Response
on. That has a dramatic effect on the body. The heartbeat slows, respiration
decreases, blood pressure decreases. The body seizes this chance to
turn on the healing mechanisms."
But the process isn't automatic. Especially in their first sessions,
yoga students may have trouble suppressing those competitive beta
waves. We want to better ourselves, but also to do better
than others; we force ourselves into the gym rat race. "Genuine
Hatha yoga is a balance of trying and relaxing," says Dr. Timothy
McCall, an internist and the author of Examb4ing Your Doctor. A Patient's
Guide to Avoiding Harmful Medical Care. "But a lot of gym yoga
is about who can do this really difficult contortion to display to
everyone else in the class." The workout warriors have to realize
that yoga is more an Athenian endeavor than a Spartan one. You don't
win by punishing your body. You convince it, seduce it, talk it down
from the ledge of ambition and anxiety. Yoga is not a struggle but
It may take a while for the enlightenment bulb to switch on for
you to get the truth of the yoga maxim that what you can do
is what you
should do. But when it happens, it's an epiphany, like suddenly knowing,
in your bones and your dreams, the foreign language
you've been studying for months. In yoga, this is your mind-body language.
In daily life, that gym rat pressure is even more intense: our
jobs, our marriages, our lives are at stake. Says McCall: We
a high percentage of the maladies that people suffer from have
some component of stress in them, if they're not overtly caused
by stress. Stress causes a rise of blood pressure, the release
[neurotransmitters and hormones that regulate many of the body's metabolic
processes]. We know that when catecholamine levels are high, there
tends to be more platelet aggregation, which makes a heart attack
more likely." So instead of a drug, say devotees, prescribe yoga. "All
the drugs we give people have side effects," McCall says.
"Well, yoga has side effects too: better strength, better balance,
mind, stronger bones, cardiovascular conditioning, lots of stuff.
Here is a natural health system that, once you learn the basics,
do at home for free with very little equipment and that could help
you avoid expensive, invasive surgical and pharmacological interventions.
I think this is going to be a big thing."
McCall, it should be said, is a true believer
who teaches at the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Center in Boston. But
more mainstream physicians seem ready to agree. At New York Presbyterian,
all heart patients undergoing cardiac procedures are offered
massages and yoga during recovery. At Cedars Sinai Medical
Center in Los
cardiac doctors suggest that their patients enroll in the hospital's
Preventive and Rehabilitative Cardiac Center, which offers yoga,
among other therapies. 'While we haven't tested yoga as a stand
alone therapy," says
Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, the center's director, patients opting for yoga
do show "tremendous benefits." These include lower cholesterol
levels and blood pressure, increased cardiovascular circulation and,
as the Ornish study showed, reversal of artery blockage in some cases.
Yoga may help post menopausal women. Practitioners at Boston's
Mind-Body Institute have incorporated forward bending poses
that massage the
organs in the neuroendocrine axis (the line of glands that
include the pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid and adrenals)
to bring into
balance whatever hormones are askew, thus alleviating the insomnia
swings that often accompany menopause. The program is not recommended
as a substitute for hormone replacement therapy, only as an
Some physicians wonder why it would be tried at all. "Theoretically,
if you pressed hard enough on the thyroid, you possibly could affect
secretion," says Dr. Yank Coble, an endocrinologist at the University
of Florida. "But it's pretty rare. And the adrenal glands are
carefully protected above the kidneys deep inside the body. To my knowledge,
there is no evidence that you can manipulate the adrenals with body
positions. That'd be a new one."
In 1998 Dr. Ralph Schumacher, of the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine, and Marian Garfinkel, a yoga teacher,
published a brief
paper on carpal tunnel syndrome in the journal of the American
Medical Association. The eight week study determined that "a yoga based
regimen was more effective than wrist splinting or no treatment in
relieving some symptoms and signs of carpal tunnel syndrome." Letters
to]AMA challenged the study's methodology. The authors replied that
it was a preliminary investigation to determine if further research
was merited. They said it was.
The most cited study around Ornish's in 1990 tested 94
patients with angiographically documented coronary heart
of whom 53 were
prescribed yoga, group support
and a vegetarian diet extremely low in fat only 10% of total daily
calories (most Americans consume 35% in fat; the American
Cholesterol changes among the experimental
group were about the same as if they had taken cholesterol lowering
drugs. After a
year in the program, patients in this group
showed "significant overall regression of
coronary atherosclerosis as measured
by quantitative coronary arteriography." Those in the control group "showed
significant overall progression of coronary
atherosclerosis." The findings were well
received but open to a major challenge:
that the severe diet rather than yoga, may
have been the crucial factor.
In 1998 Ornish published a new study, in the American journal of
Cardiology, stating that 80% of the 194 patients in the experimental
able to avoid bypass or angioplasty by adhering to lifestyle
argued that lifestyle interventions would save money that the
average cost per patient in the experimental group was about
in the control group was more than $47,000. And this time, Ornish
says, he is convinced that "adherence to the yoga and meditation program was as strongly
correlated with the changes in the amount of blockage as was the adherence to
Ornish hoped for more than the respect of his peers: he wanted
used to think good science was enough to change medical practice," he says, "but
I was naive. Most doctors still aren't prescribing yoga and meditation. We've
shown that heart disease can be reversed. Yet doctors are still performing surgery;
insurance companies are paying for medication and they're not paying for diet
and lifestyle change education." (Medicare, however, recently agreed to
pay for 1,800 patients taking Ornish's program for reversing heart disease.)
have so few studies tested the efficacy of yoga? For lots of reasons.
Those sympathetic to yoga think the benefits are proved by millenniums
of empirical evidence in India; those who are suspicious think it can't
be proved. (Says Coble: "There seem to be no data to substantiate
the argument that yoga can heal.") Further, its effects on the
body and mind are so complex and pervasive that it would be nearly
impossible to certify any specific changes in the body to yoga. The
double blind test beloved of traditional researchers, is impossible
when one group in a study is practicing healthy yoga; what is the control
group to practice bad yoga? Finally, the traditional funders of studies,
the pharmaceutical giants, see no financial payoff in validating yoga:
no patentable therapies, no pills. (Ornish's prostate cancer study
was funded by private organizations, including the Michael Milken Foundation.)
THE HEART OF THE WESTERN medical establishment's skepticism of yoga
is a profound hubris: the belief that what we have been able to
prove so far is all that is true. At the beginning of the 20th century,
doctors and researchers surely looked back at the beginning of the
19th and smiled at how primitive "medical science" had been.
A century from now, we may look back at today's body of lore with the
modern medicine, we're actually doing a lot more guesswork than we
let on," says Demers. "We want to say we understand
everything. We don't understand half of it. It's scary how clueless
we are." Desperate patients consult half a dozen specialists and
get half a dozen conflicting opinions. "Well, of course," Dr.
Toby Brown, a Manassas, Va., radiologist says impatiently, "it's
not as if medicine is a science." Hence the appeal of alternative
medicine: aromatherapy, homeopathy,
ginkgo biloba. Proponents may be crusading scientists or snake oil
salesmen, but either way, their pitch falls on eager ears: each
year Americans spend some $27 billion on so called complementary medicine. "One
lesson of the alternative health care movement," McCall warns, "is
that the public is not going to wait for doctors to get it together."
last month the National Institutes of Health held the first major
conference on mind
body research. "There is a major reason', that many in biomedicine
reject mind body research: it is the pervasive sound of the popularizers," noted
Dr. Robert Rose, executive director at the MacArthur Foundation's Initiative
on mind, brain, body and health research. "The loudest voices,
the most passionate and articulate spokespersons for the power of the
mind to heal come not from the research community but from the growing
number of gurus ... the hawkers on TV for alternative treatments, herbs,
homeopathy, handbooks." Rose distinguished the nostrum pushers from those
seeking to bring yoga and science together. "Thousands of research
studies have shown that in the practice of yoga a person can learn
to control such physiologic parameters as blood pressure, heart. rate,
respiratory function, metabolic rate, skin resistance, brain waves
and body temperature, among other body functions." Critics are
quick to note that few of those studies were published in leading science
ODDITIES ATTEND YOGA'S vogue. One is that America has the fittest
people in the world, and the most obese. Yoga, typically, is practiced
by the fit. Exercise, the care and feeding of body and possibly mind,
is their second career. The folks in urgent need of yoga are the ones
who are at the fast food counter getting their fries supersize; who
would rather take a pill than devote a dozen hours a week to yoga;
for whom meditation is staring glassily at six hours of football each
Sunday; and who might go under the surgeon's knife more readily than
they would ingest anything more Indian than tandoori chicken.
Here's another peculiarity: this ritual of relaxation is cresting
at a cultural moment when noise and agitation are everywhere. We work
longer hours, with TVs and portable radios blaring, as the sound track
for frantic wage slaves. If a teen isn't trussed to his headphones
or plugged into a chat room, it's because his cell phone has just beeped.
America is running in place, in the spa or at work. And after Letterman
and Clinton, nobody takes, the world seriously, everything is up for
this modem maelstrom, yoga's tendency to stasis and silence seems
at first insane, then inspired. The notion of bodies at rest becoming
souls at peace is reactionary, radical and liberating. If it cures
nagging backache, swell. But isn't it bliss just to. sit this one out
to freeze frame the frenzy, to say no to all that and urn to what may
be beyond it, or within ourselves?
Reported by Deborah Fowler/Odessa,
Use Funderburg/Philadelphia, Marc Hequet/Minneapolis, Alice Park/New
York, Anne Moffett/Washington, and Jeffrey Ressner end Stacie Stukin/Los
INTEGRATING ORIENTAL MEDICINE
WITH WESTERN MEDICINE
By Jonathan Klemens
Integrating Oriental Medicine and Western Medicine by Jonathan Klemens,
BS Biol, BS Pharm
I've always had a penchant for the
Orient ever since my days of adolescence when my beloved grandmother,
an antique collector, presented to me
a unique glass paperweight containing the image of a mandarin official.
I was captivated by this noble, but cryptic figure, in full robes from
half way around the globe! From then on, I was hooked on the mysterious
Far East. My interest grew over the years as I studied various oriental
cultures, including their philosophies, martial arts and healing arts.
oriental medicine is rooted in the ancient concept of Yin and Yang,
most often represented by two rain drop, or fish, shapes that form
a circle. These two opposing and cyclic forces are regulated by the
flow of "Chi" (Ki, Qi, Prana) or vital energy though the
body along specific meridians. The body is healthy when Yin and Yang
are in balance. The goal of oriental medicine is to ensure good health
and promote longevity by affecting the flow of Chi energy to harmonize
Yin and Yang.
are several choices of oriental alternative medicine to seriously
consider: Acupuncture/Acupressure, Chinese herbal therapy,
Japanese massage (Shiatsu, Kiatsu), Ayurveda, Yoga, Reiki and Qi
Gong (Chi Kung). All of these can be beneficial to help prevent and
injuries and as an aid in maintaining good health. Acupuncture
and acupressure are well proven methods to relieve pain and promote
Specific points along meridians are stimulated with very thin needles
(with or without heat), or applied pressure, resulting in a regulation
of the Chi energy flow through the body.
herbal therapy is one of the most refined and complex herbal system
in the world.
includes plants, minerals and animal sources. Medicinal substances
are classified by their activity or energetics in conjunction
with Yin and Yang, the eight principles, the five phases and the
you've ever experienced the trained hands of a masseuse or athletic
trainer, you are somewhat familiar with the basics of Shiatsu
and Kiatsu, two of the prominent therapeutic Japanese massage schools.
massage uses finger, hand, arm and knee pressure for its therapeutic
effect. Kiatsu, developed by Master Koichi Tohei, uses Ki (Chi)
energy as a healing power in conjunction with therapeutic massage.
only the fingertips and hands are used to extend Ki into the
(recently becoming popular in West) is a 5,000 year old healing and
rejuvenating art of India. According to Dr. Vasant
of The Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ayurveda
is based on Hindu texts which prescribe proper breathing, nutrition,
and aromatherapy in a manner that involving the interrelationship
of the mind, body and spirit. Disease occurs from uncorrected
caused by stress, poor lifestyle choices and poor diet.
is a sister
science to Ayurveda and includes natural preventive measures
to help ensure good health, happiness and longevity. The eight
limbs of yogic
practice include: regulation of the nervous system, discipline,
cleansing, postures, concentration, contemplation, the awakening
and the state of perfect equilibrium. Yogic practice allows
optimum energy flow that preventive and curative value.
is a ancient
Tibetan Buddhist healing art using the "laying on of the hands" that
claims incomparable simplicity and powerful results. Reiki (Japanese
for "Universal Life Force Energy") was "re discovered" and
proselytized by Buddhist Mikao Usui in the 1800's. Reiki practitioners
receive the "attunements" directly from a teacher who has
received the "attunements" and training. A Reiki healer uses
touch to convey warmth, serenity and healing through the flow of Chi
(Prana) energy. According to Diane Stein, Reiki Master and Teacher,
Reiki energy is holistic claiming to heal the body physically, emotionally,
mentally and spiritually.
Gong (Chi Kung) is a general term for a system of Qi cultivation
that has been used for thousands of years
by the Chinese people to improve and maintain health.
Methods include proper breathing, stretching and bending, special
movements and concentration.
Tai Chi Chuan (when properly practiced) and is a form
of Qi Gong.
you are contemplating alternative choices to integrate with your
sports medicine, consider the oriental healing arts.
Consult with your physician, do your homework and select a trained,
to treat, train and assist. You are in great company;
these preventive and healing methods have been used successfully
for thousands of years!
©1999 J Klemens
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