Yoga in the service of a religious caste society
In some respects the theistic yoga of the Ysam – yoga as the principal activity of purification and differentiation – seems different from the many other styles of yoga we have encountered. It is still a yoga, in the meaning of harnessing and disciplining the body-mind system’ as we saw in the Mahabharata. But the Ysam yoga does not ascribe any supernatural powers to the yogi and it does not construct him as a person who in deep trance descends into inner ontological categories. This yoga does not signal semi-divinity to the world. This is not how this Vaishnavite monk gains social distinction and symbolic power.
His symbolic capital is purity. It is a highly guarded and monitored resource. It is easy to fall out of this identity of purity and it is hard to get inside it. This identity carries all the hallmarks of Weber’s sociological category of high social status. Such high status has to be meticulously guarded and zealously protected. And this is exactly what the Ysam and its rituals are about: yoga as a ritual of religious purification defending social distinction and hierarchy. It is claimed that this leads the decontaminated to see Vishnu.
This finding deserves study in humans considering the urgency of the Plank Yoga Pose epidemic of weight gain and increased risk of diabetes from atypical antipsychotics. Dehydroepiandrosterone DHEA Lower DHEA Plank Yoga Pose levels and DHEA/cortisol ratio correlated with higher psychopathology, worse memory, and worse EPS in 17 medicated schizophrenic inpatients Harris, Wolkowitz, & Reus, 2001. Several studies of schizophrenia found low DHEA levels, lower DHEA-Sulphate in women, and abnormal DHEA rhythms Strous, 2005; Strous, Maayan, Kotler, & Weizman, 2005. Whether DHEA supplementation could improve symptoms of schizophrenia is being studied. In a six-week DBRPC trial in 30 schizophrenic inpatients with SANS score _ 25, increasing DHEA doses to 100 mg/day for the last two weeks resulted in significant reductions in negative symptoms more so in women that correlated with increased levels of DHEA and DHEA-Sulphate Strous, Maayan, Lapidus, Stryjer, Lustig et al. A 12-week DBRPC study of 40 chronic schizophrenic patients found that DHEA up to 150 mg/day reduced negative symptoms, EPS, akathisia, and glucose levels better than placebo. There was no change in psychosis. A small subset showed a trend toward improved memory Strous, Stryjer, Maayan, Gal, Viglin et al.