Social
“It's taking the West a few millennia to learn what our ancients taught us millennia ago,” Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said.
Image Courtesy: Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia Commons

Yoga is an integral part of what many call “Indian culture”, and the breathing technique pranayama has been practiced in the subcontinent for a long, really long time. Close your left nostril with your thumb, inhale for five seconds from the right one and hold your breath. Now close your right nostril and slowly exhale from the left. It’s a long-standing breathing technique that’s been advocated for generations.

This well-known breathing technique has never been a point of contention to rally Indians on Twitter – at least until now. American magazine Scientific American, in its article titled ‘Proper Breathing Brings Better Health’ termed pranayama as ‘cardiac coherence breathing’. “Cardiac coherence’s stabilization of the heartbeat can dampen anxiety powerfully. Conversely, patients with overactive heartbeats are sometimes misdiagnosed as victims of panic attacks because their racing heartbeat affects their mind,” the article states.

Scientific American put out a tweet on Jan 27, uniting Indians everywhere.

The Scientific American does mention pranayama as “the first doctrine to build theory around respiratory control”, and that these recommendations appeared centuries ago. It then goes on to detail how cardiac coherence is a more popular technique that is around today.

This did not go down well with many Indians, including Congress Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor, who said, “Detailed description of the benefits of the 2500-year-old Indian technique of pranayama, dressed up in 21st c. scientific language as "cardiac coherence breathing"! It's taking the West a few millennia to learn what our ancients taught us millennia ago, but hey, you're welcome...”.

Twitter then took it upon itself to school the magazine.