Heartfulness proposes meditation on the heart with an aim of attaining subtler levels of consciousness. The heart is not merely a pump for blood circulation – its role goes far beyond that. References in ancient Indian literature on Yoga, especially that from Sages like Patanjali,…
Anvesana Research Laboratories was established over 30 Years ago by Dr. Nagendra HR and Dr. Nagarathna R as the research facility of S-VYASA University, with an aim to conduct empirical research to understand efficacy and mechanism of action of Yoga. Back then, Anvesana was first and the only research facility in the world dedicated to Yoga research. Electro and psycho physiology was the first area of enquiry started at Anvesana, gradually, cognitive neuroscience, polysomnography, psychology, bioenergy and molecular biology domains were added giving the researchers an ability to decipher the effect of Yoga at both mind and body level. The immense interest in the present day world for using yoga as a therapy for common ailments was initiated through pioneering work at Anvesana. Equal furtherance has also been given here for interpreting the yoga’s affect at the spiritual and metaphysical level. This diverse platform has made Anvesana a sought after place for interdisciplinary researchers from all over the world.
Anvesana research building is a three storied with amenities like air-conditioned labs, sound attenuated specially designed rooms for meditation and sleep research, dedicated power generators, ultra-low temperature freezer for biological sample storage, dedicated effluent treatment plant, ultra-pure type I and type II water generation facility, BSL II cell culture facility, broadband internet, biomedical engineering department and dedicated LAN connected data repository to facilitate advanced research.
The cutting edge research conducted at Anvesana has earned it recognitions in the past as given below:
- Centre of Excellence for meditation research from DST,
- Center for Advance research in Yoga and neurophysiology from ICMR
- Center for Cognitive Science from DST
S-VYASA and Anvesana uses a multi-dimensional approach to understand Yoga by dividing the expertise into five divisions of Humanities, Physical science, Spirituality, Life Sciences and Management. In addition to classic psycho-neuro-physio-cognition understanding of Yoga, researchers here are also, in the true spirit of inter-disciplinary research, working in collaboration with biomedical engineers, programmers, theoretical physicists, data scientists to name a few. Designing and fabricating empirical tools for assessment of traditional concepts to be able to bring it within the scrutiny of science is one area rigorously being followed at Anvesana which showcases the true inter-disciplinary attitude.
HISTORY OF ANVESANA
The institution was formally registered as a charitable research organization called Vivekananda Kendra Cikitsa Tatha Anusandhana Samiti [YOCTAS] in the year 1981 with the objective of scientifically evaluating the therapeutic benefits of yoga and its’ applications. In the year 1986, the organization was renamed as Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (Research Foundation) [VKYOGAS] with a broader vision of scientifically evaluating the use of yoga in health and disease and the applications in psychology, education and management.
Following the path breaking work in evaluating the therapeutic use of yoga in the management of bronchial asthma, the institution was recognized as a Scientific & Industrial Research Organization [SIRO] from the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India in the year 1988.
Anvesana Research Laboratories was established to explore the science of Yoga. Basic neuropsychology assessment tools were included to begin with. Later on, Neurophysiology laboratory, including Polygraph, Evoked Potentials, EEG, and Polysomnography. The research block ‘Anvesana Research Laboratories’ was inaugurated by Shri Murli Manohar Joshi, former Minister of Human Resources, Govt. of India, on November 21, 2001.
Rigorous research studies were conducted by adopting strict scientific methodology to meet the international standards in basic, clinical and applied research. This lead to recognition by Department of Science & Technology under the FIST program [2000-2005].
It was also accorded with ‘Centre for Advanced Research in Yoga and Neurophysiology’ by ICMR, New Delhi [ 2007-2012].
The research facility was upgraded with the help of ‘Research Developmental Grant [5 Crore] by Govt. Of Karnataka. To take the research to the greater heights, state-of the-art facility was established including Molecular Biosciences lab, Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Psychophysiology Lab, Sleep Lab, Bioenergy Lab and Psychology Lab. The ANVESANA research laboratories is headed by Dr. Manjunath N K.
The upgraded Anvesana Research Laboratories was inaugurated by Dr. Harsh Vardhan ji Honorable Minister of Science & Technology and Earth Sciences on August 17, 2014.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND FACILITIES FOR RESEARCH
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Laboratories
AYUSH system of medicine gives us immense possibilities in judicious handling of multitude disease conditions with virtually no side effects as compared to the allopathic system of medicine. One of the reasons for AYUSH system to be still considered as complementary for allopathy is due to lacking mechanistic details of its functioning. Molecular biology lab established under this grant will help in filling the lacunae. The newly established molecular biology lab has instruments to interrogate physiological changes from the level of genes to cellular level and all the way up to organismal level. For gene expression studies we have procured the state-of-the-art Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) machine Ion Torrent™, along with a high throughput system of Microarrays for cost effective exploration of functionalities like gene expression, methylation patterns, miRNA and epigenetic features.
At the cellular level, protein localization, surface marker distribution, cell morphology & anatomy can be studied using BD FACSVerse™ flow cytometer. Complementing the flow cytometer in cell biology studies is the Fluorescent Microscope, EVOS®FL. Cell biology and molecular biology research frequently will have to go through the steps of cloning, being taken care of by instruments like VERITI® thermal cycler, Neon® transfection system along with accessory instruments like CO2 incubator, Bio-safety cabinet, inverted microscope to name a few. For biochemical studies the assembled instruments include a HPLC for protein purification, 2-D electrophoresis for evaluating protein expression, chemiluminescent documentation system for imaging, fully automatic Biochemistry Analyzer for metabolite analysis in addition to the PAGE and Western Blotting systems. Also worth mentioning are instruments like NanoDrop®, a spectrophotometer for measuring concentration of DNA/RNA/protein/labeled dyes and 2100 Bio analyzer for checking quality of DNA/RNA/protein. Full range of smaller indispensable instruments for molecular biology lab have been put together, to name some incubators, heating blocks, microscopes, all kinds of pipettes, vortex mixers, pH meter, fume hood, water bath, sonicator, rotary shakers etc. With the established facility, our aim will be to understand the changes in physiology under all different alternative systems. The contrived plan is to start with explorative studies using high through put techniques like microarray and NGS, and on finding relevant targets, to study those in more detail at different levels from gene to organism. This laboratory is headed by Dr. Ramesh M N, who completed his post doc from Max Plank University, UK.
Psychophysiology is the branch of psychology that is concerned with the physiological basis of psychological processes. While psychophysiology was a general broad field of research in the 1960s and 1970s, it has now become quite specialized, and has branched into sub specializations. The psychophysiological changes during yoga practices are very much evident and well-known. However, changes during specific yoga practices, the mechanisms involved, and the changes at the sub branches of the nervous system needs to be understood clearly. Metabolic changes and changes in the sleep architecture following yoga needs further exploration.
The psychophysiology laboratory includes (i) Autonomic functions testing lab (ii)Exercise physiology lab and (iii) Sleep lab. We have procured the 16 channel human physiology system (AD Instruments, Australia) which has got facility of performing autonomic and metabolic functions testing, breath by breath gas analysis, and pulmonary function testing. Finometer MIDI (Finapres Medical Systems, Netherlands) is another equipment which uses latest technology for continuous non-invasive blood pressure monitoring. Tilt table, ergometer bicycle, and treadmill have been procured for conventional autonomic functions and exercise physiology testing. Sleep lab has been upgraded with Philips Respironics Alice 5, a 55 channel polysomnography system. This allows us to study sleep architecture in normal subjects as well as in patients. With this research facility, we are planning to work on meditation and sleep architecture, effect of yoga on sleep apnea and other sleep disorders. This laboratory is headed by Dr. Raghvendra Bhat, who had completed PhD in the field of Psychophysiological changes in meditation, from S-VYASA University.
The newly established psychology lab has instruments to measure higher level of cognitive, functions, psychophysical functioning and behavioral profile. The Delis- Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS) is the first nationally standardized set of tests to evaluate higher level cognitive functions in both children and adults. Wechsler Memory Scale is the most widely used scale of adult memory has been revised and enhanced to provide you with the most advanced measure and results you can trust. The Wechsler Adult Intelligence and children Scale is adapted and standardized for India, to give you the most comprehensive and advanced measure of cognitive ability in adolescents and adults, in response to the shifting demographic and clinical landscape in India. Lafayette Manual Muscle Testing (MMT) System is an ergonomic hand-held device for objectively quantifying muscle strength. Lafayette Hand Evaluation Kit includes all the basics for hand and finger evaluation in one convenient package such as Lafayette Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer, Lafayette Hydraulic Pinch Gauge, and Finger Goniometer. Professional Vision Tester precision-built stereoscopic instrument is designed for rapid and concise measurement of visual performance. VisonLab is a set of user-modifiable vision demonstrations and experiments, many of which are presented in Stereoscopic. It is a teaching tool designed for Introductory and Experimental Psychology; Sensation and Perception. It is flexible and easy to use with a menu-driven program that permits you to set up a teaching laboratory in as little as half an hour. Tapping Board apparatus helps evaluate an elementary psychomotor skill. Occupational Skills test is a battery of tests used to measure the progress in rehabilitation and return to work capability of individuals performing jobs / tasks that require manual dexterity, hand-eye coordination, steadiness, and perceptual motor skills. The Stability Platform measures balancing ability, which is essential to successfully performing many activities. Lafayette Instrument’s PsymSoft, is a psychomotor experiment software for Microsoft Windows, allows researchers to design experiments for several of our motor behavior products. The software is used to program the various parameters associated with each motor behavior device and to guide the experimental procedure. Experimental data is automatically recorded and stored in a database where it can be recalled for built-in reporting or queried for in-depth analysis.
Portable Audiometer is an electrical instrument for measuring the threshold of hearing for pure tones of normally audible frequencies generally varying from 200 to 8000 hertz and recorded in decibels. Bender Visual motor Gestalt provides interpretive information about an individual’s development and neuropsychological functioning. Reveals the maturation level of visuomotor perceptions, which is associated with language ability and various functions of intelligence. The Halstead-Reitan psychological Test Battery is the most commonly used fixed battery approach to clinical neuropsychological assessment. The battery consists of the core tests (Category test, Trail making etc). The Halstead-Reitan psychological Test Battery was developed to predict the presence of brain damage while offering a comprehensive view of a patient’s individual neuropsychological functions. The purpose of this battery is to provide the clinician with a database for inferring the nature, location, and extent of the structural changes in the brain that may underlie and explain the pattern of intact and impaired functions derived from the measures and qualitative information yielded by the battery. The psychology lab is headed by Dr. Rajesh S K, completed his PhD work on Yoga and Psychology from S-VYASA University.
Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
Cognitive neuroscience is a branch of both psychology and neuroscience, overlapping with disciplines such as physiological psychology, cognitive psychology and neuropsychology. This multidisciplinary research laboratory studies the neural underpinnings of human behavior primarily using 128 channel High Dense EEG (Hd EEG), Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), Transcranial Doppler Sonography (TCD) and Evoked Potentials (EP). Further, each equipment is integrated with event presenting software such as SuperLab and Eprime for testing cognition. CNL is concerned with how yoga-based mind body interventions influences the neuronal activities underlying cognition. This lab explored the peripheral to central neural sensory processing in four mental states using auditory evoked potentials. Currently, this lab focuses on yoga breathing and meditation related changes in hemodynamic responses at prefrontal cortex and global neural activity on healthy and clinical population. These changes further correlating with different neurocognitive functions of the brain such as attention, task switching, working memory, executive functions etc.
The cognitive neuroscience laboratory is headed by Dr. Deepeshwar Singh, completed his PhD in electrophysiological and neurophysiological changes in meditators and cognitive activities from S-VYASA University.
Bioenergy Laboratory is dedicated to explore subtle phenomenon of human body. Conceptually guided by theories of ancient Indian scriptures, the lab attempts to scientifically explore and add evidences for those mentioned subtle phenomenon in the scriptures. Assessment of human bioenergy is an important step towards holistic understanding of human system. Hence various equipments utilized in this laboratory attempts to meet this objective. Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV) is a kirlian principle-based equipment, which can be used to identify potential weak parts of the body where problems could emerge in future, however at present there would be no manifested symptoms in the body. Similarly, Acugraph 4 is an electrodermal measurement system which gives overall energy status based on Chinese acupuncture-based system. Such instruments help us to assess human subtle energy, based on their empirically matched actual physiological correlations. Hence bioenergy lab attempts to further strengthen both infrastructure and research facility to support such exploration. This laboratory is headed by Dr. Judu Illavarsu, who had completed PhD in developing Implicit association test for defense from S-VYASA University and currently working in the field of subtle energy.
RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS OF S-VYASA
With vast research experience and facilities, S-VYASA has published more than 600 publications in national and international journals. S-VYASA contributed approx. 12% scientific publications worldwide in the field of yoga research.
S-VYASA JOURNALS: IJOY AND IJOY-PPP
A. International Journal of Yoga (ISSN # 0973-6131), is a multidisciplinary tri-annual scientific Yoga journal, dedicated to Yoga research and applications. The journal is an official publication of the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (a Deemed University) recognized by the Ministry of Human Resource Development through UGC, Government of India, New Delhi, India. This journal is published by Medknow Publications, Mumbai, India and it is a first yoga journal indexed in Pubmed.
B. International Journal of Yoga – Philosophy, Psychology and Parapsychology (print ISSN # 2347-5633; online ISSN # 2348-5108), a publication of S-VYASA, is a peer reviewed online journal with Semiannual print on demand compilation of issues published. Journal allows free access (Open Access) to its contents and permits authors to self-archive final accepted version of the articles on any OAI-compliant institutional / subject-based repository. The journal does not charge for submission, processing or publication of manuscripts and even for color reproduction of photographs.