A well-known proverb says, “He who conquers others is strong, but he who conquers himself is mighty.” And, it is only when one embarks on this greatest adventure, of looking within and conquering oneself, that an amazing fact comes forth: that the technologically superior 21st century human being can far easily communicate from Japan to Canada rather than from the head to the toes. Man realises that he is yet, unknown. Today, the average person knows more about computer software than that of his or her inner body, mind and spirit.In order to bridge this lacunae in our knowledge and wonder, I have compiled some amazing facts on what makes us tick. In this process of introspection, you will discover some mind-boggling facts that will make you wonder once again at the depth and precision of the inner self. And at the same time, thank god for giving us the gift of yoga.When the world is busy bringing technology to 21st century standards, yoga endeavours to bring the human being into the 21st century, not with expensive instruments but simply with what one was born.
# The average brain contains about 10,000 million neurons – microscopic nerve cells. Each neuron is also linked to neighbouring neurons by up to 50,000 connections known as dendrites.
# The thumb is so important to human dexterity that a larger proportion of the brain is devoted to controlling it than to controlling the whole of the chest and abdomen.
# Electrical activity in the brain is great enough to power a 10-watt lightbulb.
# The body of the average adult contains 45 litres of water - about 65 percent of the total body weight.
# Besides water, the body contains an assortment of other substances. On average, it has enough lime to whitewash a small shed, the equivalent in carbon of a 12.7 kg bag of coke, enough phosphorus to make 2,200 match heads, about a spoonful of sulphur, enough iron to make a 25mm (one inch) nail – and about 30 gms of other metals.
# 300 million cells die in the body every minute, but the number of cells remains fairly constant throughout our life. Dead cells are replaced immediately.
# Bone is six times stronger than a steel bar of the same weight.
# The stomach’s digestive acids are strong enough to dissolve zinc. But the cells in the stomach lining are renewed so quickly – 500,000 cells are replaced every minute and the entire lining every three days – that the acids do not have time to dissolve the lining.
# Although the kidneys are quite small – about four inches long and two and a half inches wide – the compressed tubes inside them would stretch for 50 miles if extended.
# The intestines, when opened out, would occupy an area the size of a football field.
# The capillaries in the lungs would extend 1,600 kms when placed end to end.
# The air sacs in our lungs, when opened out, would cover an area the size of a tennis court.
# Human beings die more quickly from lack of sleep than lack of food.
# As you read this, you are making two million billion haemoglobin molecules.
# The weight of gold in the average person is 7 mg., and the weight of uranium is only 0.07 mg., although turned into pure energy, this could drive your car for five kilometres.
# The total weight of the bacteria living in the human body is two kgs.
# The ear has two basic functions: to help maintain balance and to react to sound. The organs in the inner ear help maintain equilibrium by sending the brain information about the motion and position of the head. Astronauts experience space sickness at first, but gradually the brain begins to adapt to signals from the inner ear.
# One square inch of skin may hold 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels and more than a thousand nerve endings.
# So many red cells crowd the blood stream of a single human that stacked, these cells would reach 31,000 miles into the sky.
# It takes about 200 muscles to achieve one walking step. Forty or so lift and move your leg forward, muscles of the back quickly compensate by pulling on your shoulders and chest muscles to keep from losing balance; the abdominal muscles then contract to prevent you from falling backward.
# Modern science recognises that sleep is by no means a passive process. A sleeper’s brain often is as electrically active as that of someone awake and alert.
# Half of a bird’s brain sleeps while the other half remains alert. Possibly the reason why some birds sleep with one eye open.
# An electrical impulse (signal) moves along the axon (nerve fibre) at a rate of 100 metres a second (over 200 miles an hour, faster than Formula One cars). This means an impulse from brain to toe can arrive in less than a tenth of a second.
# Man is the only animal that sleeps on his back.
# The sound heard by a listener when holding a seashell to the ear does NOT come from the shell itself. It is the echo of the blood pulsating in the listener’s own ear.
# According to a medical writer, there are approximately 21,000 drugs and drug combinations produced by the world’s drug firms, yet the World Health Organisation (WHO) claims that only 150 to 200 drugs are needed to take care of almost all ordinary illnesses around the world. Many experienced clinicians believe the same needs can be met with only 25 drugs.
# The average housewife walks 10 miles a day around the house doing chores. In addition, she walks nearly four miles and spends 25 hours a year making beds.
# Every person alive today carries within his/her body approximately 300 chemicals, which did not exist prior to 1945.
# Women have the ability to produce around three hundred eggs in a lifetime, and men to manufacture three hundred million sperm in a week.
# Turtles and whales can stay underwater for several hours while birds such as ducks and penguins can stay submerged for up to 15 minutes. We, humans, cannot hold our breath underwater for more than about two to three minutes.