The practice of yoga has long taken on metaphysical and wondrous implications. The many feats of the trained practitioner of yoga amaze those in the Western world but seem common place for the people that are familiar with the study and practice of the skill. Yoga is more than just skill it is an art form, that often requires years of dedicated study to accomplish the highest levels. This does mean that the beginner cannot use Yoga immediately. No, instead it is quite the opposite. The dedicated beginner can use the various forms of relaxation to perform miracles in his own life. Most of them come in the form of improved health and more clarity of the mind.
The Kundalini yoga awakens the Kundalini Shakti, which gives the wise practitioner the capabilities to do such amazing things as develop clairaudience, the use of the auditory sense to hear information in a paranormal fashion. They also may develop clairvoyance, clairsentience that is also known as psychometry or receiving messages from the energy around a person or object when touched or held. The psychic powers, or Siddhis, as they are known in Yoga tradition, also extend to telepathy, levitation, healing, and the ability to materialize objects. Some masters can bilocate. This is a form of astral projection where the body and spirit is in two places at once.
The secret to the mastery of the psychic realm by the yogis is the awakening and control of the kundalini or life force that is everyone's body. The force keeps people alive but they seldom tap into the full force of it. Yogis practice the gradual awakening of this force and learn to handle it with practice and a clearing of the energy channels. Some have opened the force before preparing the body adequately or through the use of drugs and found that the experience was less than desirable. Practice and clearing is necessary prior to the release of the energy.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi brought Transcendental Meditation to the Western world in the early 60's. Because of the popularity of the movement, many scientific communities chose to study the effects of the meditation practiced by the followers. All of the studies showed that there was a change in the endocrinological performance which have to do with the endocrine glands as in the production of insulin, a difference in reflex, brain waves, and through the use of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, measured greater creativity in the practitioners. Brain waves were slowed and increase in the alpha wave was also found.
As with all ancient forms of meditation, the goal of yoga is primarily spiritual. Today those in the US use the practice primarily as a method of exercise for flexibility. The deep meditation that brings the control of the paranormal is normally not the ultimate goal of the occasional user or the advanced yogi but often comes as a byproduct of the study.