Philosophy/Neuroscience/Yoga Lecture Offerings
BIOLOGY AND BLISS: ANCIENT PRACTICES AND SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES
Yogis throughout the ages have understood that the bliss we seek is not outside ourselves, but rather it is ourselves. Yoga helps us come back to our true nature: the dynamic, pulsing terrain of poets, mystics, lovers, seekers and saints, the divine playground.
Modern science has caught up with the ancient understanding that we are hardwired for bliss; neuroscience, cognitive psychology and psychoneuroimmunology all address the physiological underpinnings of our emotional lives. Science is increasingly tracking the benefits of meditation and other yoga practices.
We will devote some time to basic neuroscience and biochemistry in order to understand how yoga practices can alter our neurophysiology and hence our emotions. Thereafter we will apply insights from neuroscience and yoga to our understanding of how we can live healthy, joy-filled lives and inhabit our true nature as Satcitananada – being, consciousness, bliss.
KARMA IS CHEMISTRY
One of the most profound benefits of sustained yoga practice over an extended period of time is the ability to RESPOND instead of REACT. Reaction is something that we don’t have control over, it follows immediately from a stimulus. Response is how we choose to behave after a stimulus. The space between reaction and response is FREEDOM.
We will begin with some pranayama followed by a short meditation. From here we’ll look at some basic neuroscience, focusing on the role of neurochemicals in our emotional states and our behavior. Discussion will include how yoga practice can help reduce the body’s production of chemicals that increase anxiety and feelings of dis-ease, and increase production of chemicals that make us feel good and decrease stress. We’ll end with some more Pranayama.
Advaita Vedanta (non-dualism) says that to know the divine, we must taste the divine, concepts and names are not enough. So it is with our own nature; who we are is unbounded, beyond form.
We will explore the non-dual philosophy at the heart of the yoga tradition, while simultaneously inquiring into our own essence, using meditation, guided visualizations, pranayama, mantra and yoga nidra.
YAMAS AND NIYAMAS
An indepth discussion of the yamas and niyamas, the ethical guidelines for the yoga aspirant.
We will relate the yamas and niyamas to our everyday lives, and explore how they relate to asana practice, aswell as how to weave discussion of them into an asana class. We will also discuss the role of empathy in the yamas and niyamas and look at how some of the latest discoveries in neuroscience illuminate our understanding of empathy and the yamas and niyamas.