Yoga: The Science and Mindfulness of Practice


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A synthesis of neuroscience and mindfulness relevant to the practice of yoga.

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  • "Low Tech" is the best way to describe a basic television antenna. Television antennas feature a series of elements cut to exact lengths which are designed to receive a compatible frequency from a transmitted television signal. Each element has a pair of metal rods (primarily aluminum based) extending from a boom. The key difference between various brands of television antenna is based on the quality of construction and how well anodized the metal is. As the metal oxidizes and the rivets rust, the active elements tend to lose contact. When metal oxidizes you will almost always experience inadequate reception. Outdoor television antennas are more prone to wear than their indoor counterparts. However, outdoor television antennas also provide additional clarity and reliability. Additionally, the picture and sound will be clearer the higher the antenna is placed. Most television antennas are directional and need to be pointed toward the transmitter location for the television signal you are trying to receive. (i.e., the brain – creatures without brains have no spinal cord) Ghosting occurs when the signal is received multiple times by the antenna. In most cases this is caused because of signal reflection from neighboring buildings causing additional faded images to be visible.
  • In Sanskrit: Level 1 – Yama and Niyama: Do’s and Don’ts (within and without the Yoke-System – connect/disconnect) Level 2 - Sadhana – practice Level 3 - Sananda Samadhi – state of bliss
  • Five Ethics of Yoga 1. Ahimsa (non-violence) 2. Satya (truthfulness) 3. Asteya (non-avarice; non-addiction, non-greed) 4. Brahmacharya (sensuality retained for the highest fulfillments) 5. Aparigraha (non-possessiveness; limiting belongings to what is needed) Five Virtues of Yoga 1. Saucha (cleanliness) 2. Santosa (contentment) 3. Tapas (ardour; intensity and warmth) 4. Svadhyaya (self-study; i.e. the self under the skin!) 5. Isvara-pranidhana (selflessness; surrender of Ego)
  • Sadhana – practice Asana – pose Pranayama – discipline of the breath; of the science preceding the inhale Pratyahara – quiet senses; to prevent intake of sensory ‘food’
  • The Deficits of Character Intellectual: Avidya (ignorance) Asmita (pride) Emotional: Raga (desire) Dvesa (avoidance) Instinctual: Abhinivesa (death-fear)
  • Sananda Samadhi – state of bliss Dharana – concentration; complete attention Dhyana – meditation Samadhi – bliss
  • Sananda Samadhi – state of bliss Dharana – concentration; complete attention Dhyana – meditation Samadhi – bliss
  • The Bow Analogy To practice yoga is like using a bow and arrow. The bow is the body, the intelligence is the arrow and the target is the soul, union with the universal spirit. We stretch and stretch and stretch the bow, until we shoot the arrow, and our awareness, intention and quality of our bow will determine if the arrow hits its target.
  • Yoga: The Science and Mindfulness of Practice

    1. 1. The Neuroscience of Yoga “ For a finite-size system to persist in time (to live), it must evolve in such a way that it provides easier access to the imposed currents that flow through it.” – Adrian Bejan
    2. 2. Yoga means Union <ul><li>Yoga in Sanskrit means, “yoke” </li></ul><ul><li>Of what to what? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Body to Soul </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mind’s eye to physical body </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rich and Full Attention to the Internal Body </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Your brain tunes your body to give and receive information. <ul><li>Yoga is the art of attuning attention into the body – effecting healing (blood circulation) and alarms (pain). </li></ul><ul><li>The union of yoga is to unite the vibrancy of that which keeps you alive with the totality of your attention. </li></ul>
    4. 4. Your nervous system is an antenna for conscious experience. <ul><li>On the left is a spinal cord. In the middle is a television antenna. Do you see any similarities? </li></ul><ul><li>On the right is how your brain cells perceive your body. How you feel inside to yourself is not how you look on the outside. </li></ul><ul><li>The larger areas of this body represent where we can direct and receive stronger signals. Note how large are the hands, tongue and lips. </li></ul>
    5. 5. So if this is my body experience, then what is a Willful experience? <ul><li>The brain holds tiny maps of both itself and the entire body – attention is when pointers make patterns between these maps in the body and brain. </li></ul><ul><li>Attention is mostly not in your control – movement, a loud noise, or a strong emotion, all attract the network to point to possible causes of why, and if it is important to respond. </li></ul><ul><li>Conscious coordination of these points, through attention, produces willful movement, thoughts and behaviors. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Yoga means Willpower <ul><li>Yoga increases the Will on three levels: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Beginner: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do’s and Don’ts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intermediate: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A Good Practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advanced: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Concentration, Meditation and Peace </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. For the Beginner – Do’s and Don’ts Selflessness Non-possessiveness Self-Study Sexuality is Sacred Warmth Non-addiction Contentment Truthfulness Cleanliness Non-violence What shall I remember? What shall I keep?
    8. 8. For the Intermediate – A Good Practice Pose Meditation Breath
    9. 9. For the Intermediate – Must-Do’s for A Good Practice don’t fear pain in a pose don’t desire and don’t avoid a pose don’t ignore your pose
    10. 10. For the Advanced – Follow Your Bliss Concentration And Meditation Will Guide You to Your Bliss
    11. 11. Coming Down to Earth: Universal Yoga Manners <ul><li>Be mindful not to: </li></ul><ul><li>Invade space by walking on someone’s mat. </li></ul><ul><li>Leave your mat unless it’s in between poses. </li></ul><ul><li>Allow your phone to disturb the space. </li></ul><ul><li>Leave your belongings inside the practice space. </li></ul><ul><li>Take actions that can be mindfully put to rest – such as loud walking, noise and talking. </li></ul><ul><li>Block another’s line of sight. </li></ul><ul><li>Place your mat too spaced out and thus pressure space of others who will arrive after you. </li></ul><ul><li>Place your mat too close and thus remove space from others who have arrived before you. </li></ul><ul><li>Leave the practice space without carefully cleaning your space and all your props exactly as you found them or better. </li></ul>
    12. 12. Practicing yoga is like using a bow and arrow. The Bow Analogy