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  • Amber

January theme - Somatic Science

These images were posted with much longer explanations on Instagram so by themselves they may not serve you well. I'll try to copy and paste those explanations as best as possible.

faces facing each other
Mirror Neurons

Have you wondered why your #empathy seems in overdrive sometimes while others don't seem to have any at all? The secret to the mystery lies in special brain cells called mirror neurons.

Mirror #neurons explain aspects of the mind such as empathy, imitation, synchrony, and even the development of language; people will stand/sit in similar ways; their voices take on similar rhythms; BUT also make us vulnerable to others’ negativity to that we respond to their anger with fury or are dragged down by depression. (Bessel van der Kolk's The Body Keeps Score)

I've been utilizing this #mantra frequently since December: Om Namah Shivaya Translation: “I honor the God within."

I've already been spiraling (or I guess roller coasting is a better way to describe it) through all 3 #gunas this morning. I was afraid of being late today, so I started waking up at 5am and then every 15 minutes until 6-something. I could have set an alarm but I'm usually awake with enough time. It seemed unnecessary. Somehow, being early backfired. I don't know what has happened that in last 3 weeks, but I've been getting to the Museum in the nick of time and then to be appallingly late today -- my #anxiety is 😰🤢😱🤬🤯😭🤪😡🥵🤢🤕😰 .. ya know. Doing its thing. . This is how I related to the #gunas#gunas during teacher training and wrote a paper on it. The tapas is Depression when it's too much; when just enough it's restorative, stillness, and rest. The rajas is Anxiety when it's in control; when it's the right amount, it's happiness, productivity, and ease. The harmony between them is sattva. Shifting in and out, up and down.

There are times when words escape me (during classes and conversations). Then I wonder, Geez, do I even know what I'm talking about? And the answer is yes, I do. Words are hard. Writing is hard enough but at least no one is watching you do it and there's always the miraculous backspace button (hey, I remember the days when that wasn't there). This awkward moment happened again in my attempt to explain why we do a grounding at the beginning of yoga to neuroatypical adults.

This is considered one of the most important passages of the #BhagavadGita: "Yoga is evenness of mind": detachment from the dualities of pain and pleasure, success and failure. Therefore, "yoga is skill in action," because this kind of detachment is required if one is to act in freedom, rather than merely react to events comed by conditioning.

There should be a lot more awareness about oppression and cultural #appropriation in the world of yoga, especially the capitalist side of it where mostly white people reap the benefits of mass marketed clothing lines and brands and the yoga media that so rarely features PoC no less diversity in body types or gender. “Dominant culture prefers that we focus on our sameness so that it doesn’t have to account for the ways that it others people based on difference. It is important to focus on differences, be able to fully see and experience someone.” -- Michelle Cassandra Johnson, Skill in Action

Of all institutions like museums, libraries, and schools, yoga studios should be a place of #socialjustice and education -- creating environments for learning how to take care of each other, ourselves, and the planet. "• What conditions need to be present for you to feel like you are being treated fairly and in a just way? • What does it mean to be in full alignment with your values and how do you live out that alignment in the world?" Skill in Action: Radicalizing Your Yoga Practice to Create a Just World by Michelle Cassanda Johnson

#Mindfulness #meditation is not always about sitting still. You can mindfully walk, run, eat, play, pet your cat, smell flowers... basically anything where can take your mind and find #awareness. Thoughts will come. We're humans. We think. The prefrontal cortex is going to create thoughts. That's why meditation is a conscious experience to shift awareness to something else: the breath, the following of your foot planting down, the texture of a piece of bread... whatever it is, don't think of occasional thoughts as failing. "From the point of view of mindfulness practice, pain or anguish, or for that matter boredom or impatience or frustration or anxiety or tension in the body are all equally valid objects of our attention if we find them arising in the present moment, each a rich opportunity for insight and learning, and potentially, for liberation, rather than signs that our meditation practice is not ‘succeeding’ because we are not feeling relaxed or experiencing bliss in some moment.” (Jon Kabat-Zinn, Coming to Our Senses)

In the acting world, #improvisation practice includes the prompt, "yes, and..." which gives someone the leap to add onto the scene. Can you do this with your depression, but add the rule that your "yes, and..." be something neutral or pleasant? Example: #Depression tells you to say/feel, "I am a total failure at my job." THEN add the improv prompt. "My mind is saying I am a total failure at my job; yes, and -- I have days where I feel strong and capable proving my Depression wrong." Sometimes exercises like naming 5 things you love about yourself leave us stumped; but maybe counterbalancing a big depression thought with a big truthful thought can level you out.

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