"Your brain is like Velcro for negative, scary, fearful thoughts and Teflon for pleasant, supportive, calm thoughts."
The nervous system that developed in humans made very sure that we would survive by giving us instincts of hyper-awareness, reactive anxiety, and quick responses to danger.
Mother Nature's priority is in keeping us alive. She is not so concerned with how we feel.
"What flows through your brain sculpts your brain. Directing your attention may be the single most effective way to shape your brain, and thus your mind."
I'm a New Yorker and I used to be cynical about gratitude and loving kindness practices. But now that I understand a little bit about brain neurology, these practices make excellent sense. They are ways of directing attention.
Because yoga practice is highly intentional, it is a powerful opportunity to direct attention. Try calling up a particular atmosphere around you as you practice, such as calmness, compassion, sweetness or patience. Or perhaps hold in your awareness an image, such as water flowing, a kind person who loves you, or a living or archetypal being that inspires you.
If we can deliberately cultivate mind states of equanimity, kindness, gratitude, and receptivity, we can actually strengthen the synaptic connections in the brain that support these calming attributes.
May our practices of yoga support us in becoming just a little bit more sane in this world.
A bow of gratitude, Denise
Quotes from "Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom" by Rick Hanson, Ph.D.
We are thrilled with the way it turned out and believe it truly conveys what it's like to practice at SYA. A very special thank you to all those who appear in the video. They represent all of the beautiful students who share their practice with us day in and day out. You are the heart and soul of the studio and we are eternally grateful to you all!