Carolynne, you asked How does yoga increases cognitive/intellectual health?
I was hunting for a scholarly paper that addresses your question but I haven’t located something specific enough. However I’ll give you an answer I believe to be true. When people practice yoga, and the paced deep breathing that goes with it, they are giving their nervous system a break from the usual wound up tension that is held in the body. They are teaching themselves to self sooth, to understand how to do it and learning what it feels like. They are also learning where they hold their tension: in the neck or stomach.. whatever. Ideas, worry, stress trigger the bodies response to “tense” up ready for fight or flight. The problem is that the reaction is “automatic” and unreasoned. When people understand the connection between their mind and body that awareness helps them choose how to respond. They can stay open, curious and aware instead of defensive. It is a much healthier place to be when real free will is in place.
While attempting to clean off a layer of gravel on a flower plot in between two parking lots, I was dealing with more than dirt. Every year the snow plow pushes salt, sand and gravel onto this mound of earth and the flowers complain. The tulips had migrated from the center to the edges and the soil was full of grass, and pebbles. The plan was to put in new taller plants, rocket salvia and some deep purple lilies. Scratching around it became clear that that space wasn’t working. Heck. I resented the dawning painful realization that change was required, a do over. Wanting to go back to the known path, the comfort zone was strong. As much as I claim to like change, the effort to bushwhack through the possibilities, dig into different turf and rearrange my expectation was daunting. I could feel that sense of I’m old, I don’t want to change but reality required an adjustment. That’s the point though, isn’t it? Ignorance is willfully resenting what reality requires. All the plants aren’t in yet, but we are heading in the right direction.
When you acknowledge a child by your present awareness of her or her particular bundle of energy, you are stepping out of the role of teacher to be human beings together.
“See me, recognize me as a special individual”, the child seems to say.
It is then that you can, if you are not standing in ego, see the power of their chakti (energetic center) and the bhavana ( The heart’s intention, what is manifesting) in the consciousness of that being which is an expression of the universal. Authentic means real and real means transcendent of the current role of teacher or student. That moment is the most precious and powerful acknowledgement, a bow to the light within them. It is more potent than any lesson you may teach.
Emotional Intelligence is the art of communicating your truth in a effective and tactful way. It is also receiving another’s truth without becoming resentful of their awkwardness or style. In a way it listening for the meaning and intention of others not just the words.
I have a neighbor who’s certifiable. When a tree limb fell half way into our yard after a snow storm and I pushed it back- he yelled over the fence that he was going to get a lawyer and sue us. “It’s an act of God !,” he declared , “And since it’s on your land you have to deal with it.”
There was another run in yesterday. My JRT who was on a leash ran into his yard and got tangled on a solar light stuck in the ground. Just after I detangled the dog, the neighbor popped out (Does he have surveillance cameras?) and nastlily said, “ Would you mind keeping your dog off my property .”
“I’m sorry, he got tangled.” I said” It was an accident”
“Well, he shouldn’t be on my lawn,” the neighbor haughtily added
Something clicked just then. This guy is miserable and he’s pushing his weight around, I thought. He can’t hear me in his need for control and power so I choose to stand up to him, right now.
“I have had just about enough of you. You are the most miserable, awful neighbor I have ever met. “
“I’ll call the cops on you for trespassing,” he snarled
Go right ahead! I yelled back, followed by some choice name calling.
He called me a name from behind a closed door.
I saw him smoking a cigarette today – as I was on a ladder cutting branch and could see over fence. I wondered if he is an Iraqi veteran or was traumatized some other way. I almost asked but he disappears off the porch before I could. So what is the emotionally intelligent thing to do?
I like to be admired. Sometimes I’ll find a person who thinks well of me and says things like “Oh that must have been awful for you. How could you stand it?”
My ego gobbles up the compliment and feels very smug. “Ah”, she says, “I am hard done by but courageous.” How sweet the satisfaction of triumph over those evil doers.
While meditating, it was seen how the ego just loves complaining to gain recognition. There was a vision of a group of people marching up a dusty country road. At the crest of the hill, we’d say to each other “How are you?
“Not too good, my wife dinged the car and I had it towed, I just don’t know how I can afford this.” Or “My boss just trashed six months of work. He is such a jerk.”
It was a Parade of Miseries, each ego trying to more miserable than the other, greeting each other with colorful tales of woe. The human condition of suffering which is natural and only avoidable with wisdom is food for the ego’s claim to fame and recognition. We’re all heroes in our own little dream.
Joy and Grief Inspiration and Dormancy Places and the Spaces in between Empty and Abundant Effort and Ease Will and Surrender Manifest and the Absolute It is Only the appearance of the Opposite that makes the lifetime Whole
Your authentic self needs a challenge to grow. That’s why service is so important. When we make a little sacrifice by contributing work for the group as we ask the mind to focus on the job, resistance appears.
This resistance is composed of a collection of negative comments that often sound like:’ I’m no good at this, I hate this job, When will this end… I shouldn’t have to do this.’
This is actually identification as the “Doer” of the task who feels exploited . When resistance arises and you tell your authentic self to quietly attend, this set of obstructing ideas dissolves with your coming into the present moment. Generally the present is a simple awareness of the body, hand and mind intelligently guided by the needs of the task itself. The obstructing ideas cover up the sweet contentment that endures just beneath the cloud of resistance. We often think that we bring energy to the job and it drains us. In truth- the body mind responds to the needs in creation inviting us to join the dance and we are energized by our participation. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mindfull activities are challenging to teach. It requires deep self examination, the ability to be ready for anything that arises in the classroom, and demeanor that’s calm right down to your toenails. I can offer coaching in mindfulness to teachers who are introducing these practices into their own classroom. This kind of collaboration will provide you with empathetic support to sustain and encourage you. Write to Lee@cognitiveyoga.com or call 603-888-2355