The Yoga Place Blog

Raising Global Consciousness

What are you taking for granted today that you would only realise that you really value if you lost it?

What are you taking for granted today that you would only realise that you really value if you lost it?

Anyone who has lost an important relationship, or part of their lives that gives them meaning. knows the effect can be devastating.

Why is it that we often don’t appreciate how important something is to us until we loose it?

Are we condemned to have to loose things in order to value them or are there things we can do prevent it?

I will explain how this phenomenon of “taking for granted of what is important to us in the long term” is a natural consequence of the way we and our brains evolved.

This raises the question - if this is true then how was it that our long term relationships survived this “taking for granted condition” in the past? What has changed to increase the rate of relationship breakdown?

One answer is that the social structure and our day to day behaviours in these social structures generated the reminders and the behaviours required to nourish our long term sources of meaning and important relationships. Social cohesion was built into the fabric of society by the way we lived and related on a day to day basis. However, the pressures of modernity, globalisation and rapid change are rapidly breaking down the “institutionalised” ways of living that provided this structure and support. This is leading to an unprecedented rate of relationship breakdowns, a sense of loss of meaning in life and depression.

All is not lost. If we understand the underlying processes we can build in practices and rituals to our lives that allow us to refocus and reconnect to the value and gratitude we have for what gives us meaning, connection and support in our lives. One way to do this is to integrate rituals and practices into your daily yoga practice that do this.

I will address the issue of practice and rituals later. Let us first understand why we have this evolutionary tendency to take what we value for granted - to do this we need to understand the underlying neuroscience and neurobiology of our bodies and how this has been structured by our evolutionary past. Read More...

Improve your brain function and risk of mental disease with exercise ... and preferably with yoga that is structured a specific way

I realised that in my last blog I had made the statement that exercise was one of the best known ways of reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease without giving any evidence. ( I correct this with charts below)

Yet exercise provides more than just a reduction is aged related mental diseases - it produces a whole host of improvements in brain function .... as long as it is creating increased blood flow that contains growth hormones to your brain. So not all exercise is equal for all functional outcomes.

If you have limited time to exercise, in my opinion, you would be hard pressed to find something that delivers more than a "breath" and "mindfulness" centric yoga practice that combines dynamic strengthening physical work that specifically generates growth hormones in a class where a large proportion of the class is "inverted" so that the increased blood flow and hormones are driven to your brain.

These two criteria eliminate a lot of what has now been come to be called yoga. I will deal with the "inversion logic" in this post and the "breathing" and "mindfulness" in a following post.

To give you an example, I have calculated that on average students spend 47% of the first 300 breaths of the asana part of the class in an inverted position. In the equivalent part of of an Iyengar or Bikram class this would be zero.