This week has been a confluence of events, in terms of yoga and the mind. One of the books I have to read this month for my teacher training is on yoga for emotional balance. It's the first book written by an actual doctor about brain patterns and yoga/meditation's influences on them. On top of that, I'm about neck deep in my Buddhism & Evolutionary Psychology class through Princeton, which discusses how the human mind works (through the angle of evolutionary psychology) and how "secular Buddhism" (aka the philosophy but not the mysticism) fits in.
Just on those two alone, I've been finding so many overlaps and parallels that my mind is in full geek-out mode. From the Discourse on the Not-Self (and oddly corresponding yoga sutras) to operant conditioning and rewiring. For the first time since I enrolled in the course, I finished all of the week's lectures on time and even contributed a bit to the discussion forums. As for the book, I haven't been able to put it down and will most likely finish it by the end of this week.
Last Saturday, I took part in a workshop called "Your Brain on Yoga", which was essentially the icing on this nerdtastic cake. Rather than delving into the more mystical parts of yoga (which, even as a teacher-in-training, I don't exactly adhere to), the presenter talked about the specific parts of the brain that get activated during breathing and mindful yoga.
I'm just in love, with all of this. The scientific approach to yoga. As much as I love the concept of what is essentially the collective unconscious, I appreciate those pragmatic, empirical roots. It's something to turn to if a student starts rolling their eyes about meditation.
This isn't the prettiest entry, but I just got back from hanging out at my sister's. So sue me.