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"In Ancient India Yogis used to float in the Air" I am not sure about this statement but I heard people who have more concentration (possibly through Yoga) floated wherever they wanted.

My question is, is it true that ancient Yogis floated If Yes, what is the method used to float in the air?

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    May be that was Astral Projection or Lucid dreaming. – Satish Kumar Jun 22 '17 at 8:32
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    I believe this is a factual, scientific question. Thus answers should use evidence to justify their claims. An ideal answer would present evidence that yogis did float and a discussion of the physical principles, or refute it due to a lack of evidence or evidence showing illusion techniques likely to have been used. – Samthere Jun 22 '17 at 10:01
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    No. No, they didn't -- not physically, at least. – Christian Conti-Vock Jun 22 '17 at 13:09
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    Among the 8 great powers (Ashta Maha Siddhi) - lahima, the power to become light (as a feather, say) can be gained. Ashtanga yoga is one way to attain these siddhis. – ram Jun 22 '17 at 20:45
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    @Octopus There is no evidence that this is physically possible. You are quoting from a book that is 100s of years old written by scribes that probably weren't actually there when it happened. If you are trying to be factual and scientific then this is nothing to do with Hinduism, it's it scientific. If you know anyone today, who can 'float' under controlled conditions (i.e. no trickery) there is at least $1M waiting for you here: web.randi.org – Neil Jun 23 '17 at 8:33
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First we should know our body is not just physical body, but has five sheaths (Pancha Kosha). What we see externally is Annamaya Kosha (food sheath). After death we shed Annamaya kosha and jiva with other four koshas (Sookshma Sareera or Subtle body) go to other realms, hell or heaven depending of Karma and Sukshma Sareera takes new physical body (rebirth) as mentioned in Chandogya Upanishad.

Yogis who know they are pure Consciousness (Atman) will never be subjected to laws of Space and Time and to laws of other four sheaths. They are no longer subjected to laws of physical body.

Yogananda explains the reason for all Siddhis or miracles in his book Autobiography of a Yogi (published in 1946).

Bhaduri Mahasaya was one such levitating sage described in chapter 7 of same book.

enter image description here

"Indeed it is true! He has lived indoors for the past twenty years. He slightly relaxes his self-imposed rule at the times of our holy festivals, when he goes as far as his front sidewalk! The beggars gather there, because Saint Bhaduri is known for his tender heart."

"How does he remain in the air, defying the law of gravitation?" (asks Upendra)

(Yagananda/Mukunda says) "A yogi's body loses its grossness after use of certain pranayamas. Then it will levitate or hop about like a leaping frog. Even saints who do not practice a formal yoga have been known to levitate during a state of intense devotion to God."

Yogananda further says their consciousness becomes mass free and they see whole cosmos as undifferentiated mass of light. Read Chapter 30 completely to get an overview of laws of miracles. I quote a few words of Yogananda to explain it in brief.

The consciousness of a perfected yogi is effortlessly identified, not with a narrow body, but with the universal structure. Gravitation, whether the "force" of Newton or the Einsteinian "manifestation of inertia," is powerless to compel a master to exhibit the property of "weight" which is the distinguishing gravitational condition of all material objects. He who knows himself as the omnipresent Spirit is subject no longer to the rigidities of a body in time and space. Their imprisoning "rings-pass-not" have yielded to the solvent: "I am He."

A yogi who through perfect meditation has merged his consciousness with the Creator perceives the cosmical essence as light; to him there is no difference between the light rays composing water and the light rays composing land. Free from matter-consciousness, free from the three dimensions of space and the fourth dimension of time, a master transfers his body of light with equal ease over the light rays of earth, water, fire, or air. Long concentration on the liberating spiritual eye has enabled the yogi to destroy all delusions concerning matter and its gravitational weight; thenceforth he sees the universe as an essentially undifferentiated mass of light.

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By practicing Yoga and pranayama (control of prana vayu) a Yogi can float in the air, walk in air. This is called Vayu-Siddhi or mastery over air. It can be achieved in the third stage of pranayama sadhana.

From Shiva Samhita:

In the first stage of pranayama the body of the Yogi begins to prespire. When it prespires, he should rub it well, otherwise the body of the Yogi loses its dhatu (humours).

enter image description here

.........

In the second stage, there takes place the trembling of the body. In the third, jumping about like a frog; and when the practice becomes greater, the adepts walk in the air.

enter image description here

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When the Yogi, though remaining in Padmasana, can rise in the air and leave the ground, then know he has gained Vayu-Siddhi (success over air), which destroys the darkness of the world.

There are many siddhis (perfections) that are obtained by the adept Yogi and among which floating (or walking ) in the air is one.

The Yogi acquires the following powers:- Vakya siddhi (prophecy), transporting himself everywhere at will (Kamachari), clairvoyance (duradrishti), clairaudience (durasruti), subtle-sight (sukshma drishti) and the power of entering another's body (parakayapravesha), turning base metals into gold them with his excrements and urine and the power of becoming invisible and lastly, moving in the air.

Also, among the six chakras, the Anahata Chakra is ruled by the Vayu Tattva . An adept Yogi, by contemplating on this chakra & by mastering it, can achieve mastery over vayu or air. Then he can walk in air successfully.

In the heart, is the 4th chakra, the Anahata. It has twelve petals....He who always contemplates on this lotus of the heart is eagerly desired by celestial maidens.....

He gets immeasuarable knowledge, knows the past, present and future time ; has clairaudience, clairvoyance and can walk in air whenever he likes.

enter image description here

.....

He sees the adepts and the Goddesses known as Yoginis; obtains the power known as Khechari, and conquers all who move in the air.

..............

enter image description here

.......

He contemplates daily on the Banalinga [which is situated in the Anahata Chakra] undoubtedly obtains the perfections called Khechari (moving in air) and Bhuchari (going at will all over the world).

So, a highly adept Yogi can float or walk on air.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – The Destroyer Jun 23 '17 at 4:16
  • @sv. "is mixing physical phenomenon with pseudoscience? " What?? The sankrit used is "samsara dwandha vinasini*.. – Rickross Jun 23 '17 at 4:16
  • Yes, how is 'floating in air' related to 'removing darkness from the world'? What does 'removing darkness' mean? – sv. Jun 23 '17 at 12:23
  • @sv. Mastering vayu or mastering the heart chakra results in more than one siddhis. What it says is that darkness of the world (IMO ignorance) is also removed once the anahata chakra is mastered. Floating in air is yet another accomplishment that is obtained upon activating the same chakra. – Rickross Jun 23 '17 at 16:46
  • "darkness of the world (IMO ignorance) is also removed" - I still don't get it. Darkness or ignorance of the yogi or the world around him? E.g., if there are people sitting around the yogi, would it remove the ignorance of those people? – sv. Jun 23 '17 at 20:05
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Yes, a Yogi can float in the air by using yogic power. Their are eight type of siddhis also known as ashta aishwarya can be attained by yoga as described in Shrimada Bhagavatam, Chapter 11.15. Yogi can float in water or hang in air by Laghima.

aṇimā mahimā mūrter

laghimā prāptir indriyaiḥ

prākāmyaṁ śruta-dṛṣṭeṣu

śakti-preraṇam īśitā (11.15.4)

guṇeṣv asaṅgo vaśitā

yat-kāmas tad avasyati

etā me siddhayaḥ saumya

aṣṭāv autpattikā matāḥ (11.15.5)

Among the eight primary mystic perfections, the three by which one transforms one’s own body are aṇimā, becoming smaller than the smallest; mahimā, becoming greater than the greatest; and laghimā, becoming lighter than the lightest. Through the perfection of prāpti one acquires whatever one desires, and through prākāmya-siddhi one experiences any enjoyable object, either in this world or the next. Through īśitā-siddhi one can manipulate the subpotencies of māyā, and through the controlling potency called vaśitā-siddhi one is unimpeded by the three modes of nature. One who has acquired kāmāvasāyitā-siddhi can obtain anything from anywhere, to the highest possible limit. My dear gentle Uddhava, these eight mystic perfections are considered to be naturally existing and unexcelled within this world.

In purport it is given that:

through laghimā one becomes so light that one can ride on the sun’s rays into the sun planet

Vayu Purana, Chapter 13 also mention that hanging and floating is possible through Laghima.

अणिमा लघिमा चैव महिमा प्रातिरेव च। प्राकाम्यं चैव सर्वत्र ईशित्वं चैव सर्वतः॥३॥

वशित्वमथ सर्वत्र यत्र कामावसायिता। तच्चापि विविधं ज्ञेयमैश्वर्यं सार्वकामिकम्।।४।।

Anima (the superhuman power) of becoming as small as an atom, one of the eight powers or Siddhis, atomic nature Laghima (the Supernatural power of assuming excessive lightness at will), Mahima (power of increasing size at will), Prapti (power of obtaining everything), Prakamya (irresistible will) and Isitva (superiority) everywhere and all over, Vasitva (the supernatural power of subduing to one's own will) everywhere, wherein (abides) Kamavasdyita (suppression of passions) that even should be considered as varied one, the supremacy of all cherished ends (fulfilment).

लम्बनं प्लवनं योगे रूपमस्य सदा भवेत्। शीघ्रगं सर्वभूतेषु द्वितीयं तत्पदं स्मृतम्।।१२।।

Hanging and floating in Yoga may be its perennial form. The Swift movement normed may be its second pre-requisite among all the beings.

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Yes, In Ancient India Yogis Floated in the Air, here is the explanation what I got:

In Hindu mythologies some Yogis possess the power of floating in the air while meditating. This can be explained with the phenomenon of superconductivity. This is a possible scientific explanation.

Superconductivity is a phenomenon in which the electrical resistance of certain materials becomes exactly zero, below a characteristic temperature, usually well below 0 degrees Celcius. For example, some cuprate-perovskite ceramic materials become superconductors at -183 degrees Celcius. When the material becomes superconductor, magnetic lines do not pass through them and they float in the air. This can be easily demonstrated in the lab using liquid nitrogen and the superconductor material. The same principle applies to the body of the Yogi.

Saint Dnyaneshwar experience:

In Dnyaneshwari, written by Saint Dnyaneshwar, he has described his experience of what happens when Kundalini Shakti arises in the body. He has mentioned that it feels like Kundalini power drinks all the blood and eats up all the flesh in your body and your body becomes very, very cold. After some time, it again regenerates everything and your body becomes as fresh as a newborn. It is quite possible that when the temperature of Yogi's body decreases, it reaches to a point where Yogi's body becomes a superconductor and hence, the gravitational lines do not pass through his body and he floats in the air. Though, there is no proof for this but it is quite possible. Hence, it is not a superstition that Yogis float in the air. So Yogis who floating in the air was based on some science knowledge and it moves from generations to generations as a practice/tradition.

Note: If someone got any other Principles or Scientific explanation please don't hesitate to share your answers.

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    Please avoid preformatted text in your answers. Use italics or bold instead.It doesn't look nice. – Sarvabhouma Jun 22 '17 at 6:17
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    Avoid Scientic speculation in your answers. first paragraph was purely scientific explanation. – Sarvabhouma Jun 22 '17 at 7:57
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    So, you are suggesting that Yogi somehow managed to make their bodies -183 degrees Celsius and survived? About 100 degrees colder than ever occurs anywhere on the earth, in India, which is not known for its cold climate? – Neil Jun 22 '17 at 8:50
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    Helicopters are a phenomenon in which spinning rotors provide lift and enable the vehicle to fly and hover. The same principle applies to the body of the Yogi. Oh look, I can arbitrarily relate something completely distinct to the subject matter too, to make it sound scientific! – Samthere Jun 22 '17 at 9:59
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    "material becomes superconductor, magnetic lines do not pass through them and they float in the air." No... Superconductors are typically metals, and they don't float. some materials are Bose-Einstein Condensates (liquids) and they don't float either, though they are able to climb up the sides of containing vessels. So, No proof, not possible. – Baldrickk Jun 22 '17 at 15:38
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By the rise of Kundalini a Yogi with attainment of a disease-free spiritual state.. either as a Siddhi or by any means arriving at a Turiya Avastha feels subjectively that he is weightless. He is not at all lying about his feeling of his own weightless state.

But a physical spring balance measuring weights would not objectively record any weight change on the Earth. All physical bodies lose part of force of attraction /weight in Space ... far away from influence of heavy planets ...anyone floats in a spaceship.

Adi Shankara notes ( that might sound ego-central to many,) that Avidya is subjective but not objective.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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Just to add more - A perfect self realized being who has achieved Jagadānanda, after knowing he is none other than God & uniting individual consciousness with universal consciousness, not only he can float in air rather he can do anything what he wants. He becomes Omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotence etc, by recognizing his true nature.

Just as all knowability, etc., in respect of the body occurs when it is pervaded by that spanda principle, even so when the yogi is established in his essential Self, he will have omniscience, omnipotence etc. everywhere. Spanda Karika 3.7.

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    This doesn't answer the question: "what is the method used to float in the air?" You could move it under the question as a comment...btw, if a yogi is omniscient & omnipotent what is the need for him to float in the air? Why not just sit on the ground? Or why not float all the time? – sv. Jun 22 '17 at 16:42
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    @sv. Omnipotence includes ability of floating inherently. Yes, a true Yogi rarely display their Siddhis. – The Destroyer Jun 22 '17 at 16:43
  • @sv This answer first part - Yes they could float. Regarding your other questions, Do you think if Someone can play cricket, he should play all the times or not play at all? – Mr. Sigma. Jun 22 '17 at 16:46
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    @sv. Yes, nothing wrong to answer with such blanket statement with proper citation. – Mr. Sigma. Jun 22 '17 at 17:17
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    @sv. I think this answer is absolutely fine. The question is basically asking "How can one obtain Laghima Siddhi" and the answer given is "Here is how to obtain all Siddhis, Laghima or otherwise." – Keshav Srinivasan Jun 22 '17 at 22:39
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what is the method used to float in the air?

As per Patañjala Yogasutras, III.40 is by samyam on udana vayu until mastery

udana jayat jala panka kantaka adisu asangah utkrantih cha

By the mastery over udana, the upward flowing prana vayu, there is a cessation of contact with mud, water, thorns, and other such objects, and there ensues the rising or levitation of the body.

and here you have multiple translation (some number this sutra as III.39)

http://yogasutrastudy.info/2017/02/10/sutra-3-39/

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Is it true that ancient Yogis floated?

No, there is no empirical evidence to prove it. Floating mid-air (without external physical assistance of some sort) requires bending the laws of nature as we know it. Many people attempt to do this (without any assistance) but in vain and this is what Vivekananda said when questioned on the truthfulness of these levitation claims:

Swami Vivekananda was questioned concerning the truthfulness of the marvelous stories of the performance of wonderful feats of conjuring, levitation, suspended animation, and the like in India.

Vivekananda said:

We do not believe in miracles at all but that apparently strange things may be accomplished under the operation of natural laws. There is a vast amount of literature in India on these subjects, and the people there have made a study of these things.

Thought-reading and the foretelling of events are successfully practiced by the Hathayogis.

As to levitation, I have never seen anyone overcome gravitation and rise by will into the air, but I have seen many who were trying to do so. They read books published on the subject and spend years trying to accomplish the feat. Some of them in their efforts nearly starve themselves and become so thin that if one presses his finger upon their stomachs he can actually feel the spine.

Some of these Hathayogis live to a great age.

EDIT:

What is the method used to "float" in the air?

Here's an example of how some so-called yogis accomplish this "feat." You can read the full article (PDF) published in the Illustrated London News (Saturday, 6 June 1936), here. (Courtesy: The British Newspaper Archive)

enter image description here

enter image description here

No explanation is provided as to why the yogi (Subbayah Pullavar) sets up a tent before and after the act. Why does the yogi use a stick if not for support? Why is his stick covered in cloth? Why is the yogi himself covered in excessive clothing?

Despite the author's and photographer's assurances of "total absence of any tricking", the whole act has trickery written all over it.

  • " there is no empirical evidence to prove it. Floating mid-air (without external physical assistance of some sort) requires bending the laws of nature as we know it. " There no source provided for this statement. Swami Vivekanda is saying his experiences and what he said won't substantiate your above claim. – The Destroyer Oct 23 '17 at 15:59
  • @TheDestroyer 'what he said won't substantiate your above claim' - it does. He said 'We do not believe in miracles at all' - so levitation without any assistance is a miracle and not possible according to current laws of physics which is exactly why someone asked him that question in the interview. If Vivekananda wanted the interviewer to really believe in this 'levitating miracle' maybe he should have demonstrated it in the interview. But he didn't which means he had his doubts on its authenticity. – sv. Oct 23 '17 at 19:42
  • @TheDestroyer At least he should have quoted his own translation of Raja-yoga and Pranayama stuff, from here: "In the lowest kind of Pranayama there is perspiration, in the medium kind, quivering of the body, and in the highest Pranayama levitation of the body and influx of great bliss." – sv. Oct 23 '17 at 19:45
  • No explanation is provided as to why the yogi (Subbayah Pullavar) sets up a tent before and after the act. link . But I'm only pointin to some posible answer. I'm not saying that was what happen, and definitivly I'm not saying is not posible. – Indra Feb 8 '18 at 17:14
  • @Indra Yes, I already know how it's done. There are plenty of YouTube videos that explain the trick. But we are not allowed to use scientific explanation in answers on this site. 'I'm not saying it's not possible' - without empirical evidence, we can claim whatever we want. – sv. Feb 8 '18 at 18:13

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