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...”.
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... https://t.co/LLltRZ3pP5— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) January 29, 2019
Twitter then took it upon itself to school the magazine.
A corrective tweet is in order I guess. I am sure you have read the comments below your tweet and the comments on retweets @sciam Time to give its due to where it actually belongs, rather than just repackaging our age old practices and calling them your observations. https://t.co/Zn5RMRm03n— Arfi Lamba (@arfilamba) January 30, 2019
Another case of Turmeric Latte. Pranayama of Yoga called as "Cardiac Coherence Breathing". Next thing we know, it will be patented and sold back to us terming it as superior way of living. Just saying it existed in ancient cultures is not enough. https://t.co/d7K2DKj6kK— Renuka Govind (@Renzz2010) January 29, 2019
I’ve been doing pranayama for my health since I was 12. I really need the West to stop pretending it invented these things and packaging & selling it back to us in patronizing & racist ways that strip it of cultural identifiers. It’s imperialism under a different name. https://t.co/Mtwq45d2oa— Aparna Ramen (@aparna_ramen) January 30, 2019