One of the most valuable skills l feel l’ve learn’t from being back at Uni and studying psychological science. Is the ability to cultivate awareness to certain biases and become unstuck from one way particular of thinking. In science the ability to see both sides of a theory is must and helpful to consider independent ways of knowing a term referred to as ‘Consilience’. So infused by that concept and inspired by the Jivamukti Focus this month this blog discusses the internal and external journey of the nature of self-inquiry. Exploring the benefits + pitfalls of repetitive practices which yoga and meditation can become on the brain, mind, body and behaviour.
I was in recently in an Psychosis training Day talking about using noticing models in third wave CBT ACT interventions. When this slide appeared in the presentation. This image represents (me/you) the misconception of what most people envision when you talk about yoga and what we now appear to strive to achieve. But the practicalities have to be viewed with caution.
First of all one can not cease thoughts to stop completely our brains are simply not wired that way. More importantly our thoughts are energy which drives our every movement that includes breathing. It’s more that the eastern practices can help dampen down the activity of them. This in turn may give us more clarity and acceptance in what we are dealing with in life. This clarity can often provide an internal shift of perception which in turn effects our perception of the outer world.
Any serious student or practitioner of any discipline whether it’s art or science knows that to become accomplished and to feel at ease with your art, practice, commitment and humility are necessary components. This is where the work of Self-study of the Niyamas (observances) of Patanjali’s 8 limbed path to illumination.
Self-study + Self-realization can often be a challenging and solitary journey inward but in the process can help develop a state of independence. The dependence inward something that most of the eastern philosophies reminds us of consistently in order to help us navigate the challenges of life.
‘Science helps us acknowledge the outer world to be able to focus on the inner world’.
Repetition of certain beneficial habits can be important for brain health for many reasons but probably the most important one is that it can help build plasticity as well as creating connectivity and foundation to build new experiences upon.
However, we must be watchful for if and when the repetitive habits start to turn into addiction in order to maintain and derive the most benefits. However for our learning of anything to be effective and long lasting there has to be an initial reason or intention for the doing regardless of the outcome. Yoga teaches us to let go of the outcome but use the intention as an inner compass.
The core message is simple: education and learning has a role in emotional and behavioural change. More positive emotions and behaviour lead in turn to enhanced self-efficacy and wellbeing.