Swami Kuvalayananda (1883-1966), a famous Indian pioneer of the scientific study of hatha yoga, a swami scientist born as Jagannath Ganesh Gune.
After receiving all the lessons of yoga from his guru, swami asked a question to himself, what is the use of practicing yoga for oneself? This question led him to popularize yoga with the help of science, so that people understand and follow them.
Hence he started experimenting with yoga in 1900’s, when yoga wasn’t even a well known practice in India at the time. In order to provide a laboratory for his scientific study, he founded the Kaivalyadhama Health and Yoga Research Center in Lonavla, where he connects ancient yogic arts and tradition with modern science. At the same time, he also started the first scientific journal devoted to scientific investigation into yoga named as Yoga Mimamsa.
Swamiji also had prominent personalities who learned yoga under him like Pandit Mothilal Nehru, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the First Prime Minister of India, Pandit Madanmohan Malviya and many others. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru once said, Kuvalayananda is a man who is “capable and attractive and earnest” and all his work should be done in India and not in any other countries.
He was also Mahatma Gandhi’s health advisor and guided Gandhiji regarding exercise and diet for his certain ailments. Swami’s work had also influenced the modern yoga in the west, as he had simplified the practice of yoga.
As a strict rationalist, he sought scientific explanations for the various psychophysical effects of Yoga he experienced, and discovering those scientific basis behind the yogic processes became his life’s work.