The article about ‘Cardiac coherence breathing exercises’ was published in Scientific American magazine in January 2019.
An article published in Scientific American magazine in January 2019 has gone viral in India lately for all the wrong reasons.
The article delves deeper how Yoga and Pranayama are useful to live a normal healthy life. But, the article, by Christophe André, calls it ‘Cardiac coherence breathing exercises’.
Principal Economic Advisor to the Government of India Dr. Sanjeev Sanyal called it a case of intellectual property theft. Quoting the Scientific American tweet, he wrote “Ah yes…… if ever there was a case of stealing intellectual property.”
The Garuda Prakashan founder Shri Sankrant Sanu called it a typical case of appropriation of Indian knowledge system. In a Twitter post, he wrote:
“1. Steal knowledge from ancient cultures and native traditions
2. Rename it and erase origins
3. Claim it as your invention, attack native traditions as “superstition.”
History of the West. These techniques come from yoga, developed over millennia of research in India.”
When a netizen by the name of David Floren said how does it even matter where the origin of the technique was as long as people benefit out of it, Shri Sanu reminded him “It matters a lot. Because the living tradition of yoga comes with an entire knowledge base. introducing people to go deeper into the knowledge base rather than extracting, repackaging and selling bits of it will help humanity much more.”
Criticising the hypocrisy of the West, Shri Sanu said, “Isn't it interesting the West created an entire patent system to protect its current knowledge, but wants to neither acknowledge nor pay when it steals knowledge from ancient cultures (while attacking and destroying them as it did in South America)?”
Without mentioning India or ancient Indian knowledge system, the magazine writes “Pranayama (“breath retention”) yoga was the first doctrine to build a theory around respiratory control, holding that controlled breathing was a way to increase longevity.”
In one of the photo captions, the magazine writes “Yoga and meditation have inspired many of the breathing exercises used today. The benefits of controlled respiration were first theoretically posited centuries ago by the practitioners of pranayama yoga.”
In one more oblique reference, the article in the very beginning writes “As early as the first millennium B.C., both the Tao religion of China and Hinduism placed importance on a “vital principle” that flows through the body, a kind of energy or internal breath, and viewed respiration as one of its manifestations. The Chinese call this energy qi, and Hindus call it prana (one of the key concepts of yoga).”
The article nowhere mentions that Yoga and Pranayama has been one of the greatest gifts of Ancient India to the world. In December 2014, barely three months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal, the United Nations mandated June 21 as ‘International Yoga Day’. The proposal was backed by 177 nations, highest ever for any General Assembly resolution.