Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sam Harris: Mindfulness is Powerful, But Keep Religion Out of It

"Meditation is interrupting the continuous conversation we are having with ourselves."

"In many cultures breath possesses a sacred significance. The Greeks called it psyche ‘pneuma’, meaning ‘breath’, ‘soul’, ‘air’ or ‘spirit’. In Latin ‘anima spiritus’ means ‘breath’ and ‘soul’, while in Japanese, ‘ki’ means air or spirit; and in the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, ‘prana’ is the life force coursing within us that ceases at the moment of death. In Chinese, the character for breath (hsi) contains three characters meaning ‘of the conscious self or heart’, suggesting the breath that enables you to be alive and conscious also brings mental and emotional vitality."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

IYM: How did you get interested in Yoga for the treatment of PTSD?

Bessel van der Kolk : I began my own practice six years ago.  I was looking for a way for people to regulate the core arousal system in the brain and feel safe inside their bodies. My interest came from doing research that discovered how trauma affects the brain. Yoga turned out to be a way to get people to safely feel their physical sensations and to develop a quiet place of stillness. 

Lots of yoga cites claimed that yoga could change basic brain functions, but that was based on intuition, not scientific investigation.  So I decided to see if Yoga can positively affect the core regulatory mechanism in the brain.  Some trauma-sensitive people can feel frightfully unsafe experiencing the sensations that are evoked by certain asanas.  What most people don't realize is that trauma is not the story of something that awful that happened in the past, but the residue of imprints left behind in people's sensory and hormonal systems. Traumatized people often are terrified of the sensations in their own bodies.  Most trauma-sensitive people need some form of body-oriented psychotherapy of bodywork to regain a sense of safety in their bodies.  More from the interview here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Our healthcare system is amazingly good at dealing with acute injuries.  It has a long way to go in treating the global, systemic and complex problems that are currently the biggest health problems we face -- obesity, diabetes, chronic pain, etc.

We can understand the essence of these problems betters with the systems perspective, and hopefully this will allow us to see that these problems will not be solved by highly specific interventions like pills, gogi berries, or foam rollers.  They will require blunt, nonspecific, but effective instruments for regulating systemic health -- diet, exercise, sleep, and stress regulation.  These are the fundamentals that get ignored in favor of magic bullets and quick fixes."

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Who Owns Yoga? w/ Bhanu Bhatnagar

Reporter Bhanu Bhatnagar  investigates Who Owns Yoga? through interviews in the west + east. Yoga Dork recaps it here.

Make Your Soul Grow - Kurt Vonnegut

"What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow."

(Kurt Vonnegut responds to high school children at Xavier High School in this letter. This is an excerpt from that letter.)

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"When Ann E. presses into fascia that has become gummed up like glue, holding parts of our insides where they don't rightly belong, her touch somehow "dissolves" the gooeyness and allows the fascia to revert to its original light, fluffy nature. With each of these releases, the "necklace tangle" loosens and our bodies can start to sort out the mess that has been accumulating for so many years.

As I discovered on the first day, she rarely works where the pain is. She says that the body provides here a map of where it's really hurting, pulling, stagnant, frozen, and she starts there, unfurling one little piece of the necklace ball, so that the body can begin its own organic process of unwinding itself back to health."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Photo Credit: Dr. Kenneth Hansraj/Surgical Technology International 

"The average adult head weighs 10 to 12 pounds when it's in the upright or neutral position. However, because of that pesky thing called physics -- gravitational pull -- the cranium becomes heavier the more you bend your neck. Several times heavier, according to research from Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, which will be published in Surgical Technology International."