A research spanning 18 long years by ITBP’s veterinary wing on the impact of yoga and meditation by “handlers” in body contact with various animals, including ponies, mules, and dogs, has revealed a positive effect on the animals’ behaviour.
The research proves that 30 minutes body contact with ponies and dogs during meditative yoga sessions and “Om” recitation by “handlers” improve the man-animal bond, reduce stress in the animals, make them calmer, and improve training standards.
The study has shown a positive impact on the animals’ behaviour, including enhanced noise sensitivity. The study has taken into account the impact of handlers practicing yoga in body contact with ponies in Ladakh, with dogs at Bhanu in Madhya Pradesh, with mules at the high altitude Kumaon followed by sessions with dogs deployed in Chhattisgarh.
The research was launched by DIG Sudhakar Natarajan of the Veterinary Wing of ITBP in 1994 to observe how horses and dogs respond to various meditative states of the handler and the behavioural changes during body contact with man when there is calmer brain wave activity during varying meditative states, including effect of exhalation of ‘Om’ by the handler.
In varying topography, behavioural observations were recorded on three groups of four animals each. In Ladakh, 12 ponies were studied for 12 months; in Bhanu, 12 dogs were studied for 3 months; in Merthi, 12 ponies were part of this assessment. The fourth and final study was conducted on 12 dogs in Chhattisgarh.
The animals in each location were divided into three groups of four animals each. The first group (A) was the control group that received no human contact during yoga. The second group (B) of four animals maintained close body contact with man during yogic meditation and “Om” chanting, and the third group (C) remained in contact with non- yoga performing handlers.
The findings of this mega study spanning across time zones and terrains showed positive impact on the behavioural conduct of the animals.
Ponies that were skittish with stable vices, showed a significant improvement in group B. The animals in Group A and C exhibited no perceptible change in behaviour.
Likewise, noise sensitivity of all ponies and dogs showed improvement during battle inoculation in firing range exercises of Group B. Groups A and C, showed no changes from the base line.
It was also observed that deep chanting of Rs Om’ by Group B reduced the heart rate of dogs and horses in the group. The reduction in heart rate was 10-20 per cent from the base line. On the other hand human contact with animals of Group A and C showed an increase in heart rate by 10-15 per cent. This was indicative of heightened excitement or stress when dogs and ponies were in company of men not performing meditative yoga or chanting of Om.
There was a significant improvement in the operant conditioning of Explosive Detection dogs. The scent conditioning was faster by average 7 days in those handlers who were in close body contact with their dogs during yogic meditation and chanting. The dogs of Group A and C showed standard response to operant conditioning and scent conditioning, without the advantage of 7 days shorter period to Group B.
Horses that were aggressive and frequent kickers became calmer in Group B. However, no significant change was seen in animals of Group A and C.
Dogs that were prolific kennel barkers reduced their barking episodes in kennels significantly and had a sounder restful sleep in Group B. There was no change in Group A and C.
The marrying up period between pups and handlers was reduced by average of 5 days in Group B. In Group A and C it was the stipulated 15 to 20 days.
The off leash recall of dogs was quicker in Group B. More training effort was required to achieve off leash recall in dogs of Group A and C.
This clearly proves that 30-minutes body contact with ponies and dogs during meditative yoga and Om recitation improves the man-animal bond, reduces stress in animals, makes them calmer and improves training standards.
This pioneering study led by Natarajan was released on the International Yoga Day on Friday, to buttress the point that not only humans benefit from yogic meditation but those ponies and dogs in close body contact with practitioners are able to pick up the subtle changes in human physiology and mimic this response accordingly.
DIG of Animal Transport School at Lohitpur in Arunachal Pradesh Sudhakar Natarajan said, “This study clearly proves passive yogic participation of dogs and horses leads to positive physiological and psychological effects due to the Allelomimetic Effects on dogs/horses through man. In the past only Allelomimetic Effect was recognised within species but this study proved existence of inter-species synergy of yogic manoeuvres, especially meditation and chanting”.
Monday, 24 June 2019 | Rakesh K Singh | New Delhi