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Old 14-09-2011, 03:05 AM   #1
byronselorme
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Default Science Based Yoga II

Little help.

Not sure if this is where this thread should go.

Neil Pearson has asked me to take a look at some of this information.
Kelly McGonigal seems to be a pretty big name moving the Yoga Therapy world forward

Here was Neils first questions / thoughts on the video
Quote:
“I am particularly interested in digging deeper in relation to two things - that the natural state of the mind integrates evaluation and experience, and that without consistent practice the mind will revert to this default.
The former suggests that Yoga and meditation may not be all about finding our true nature, and the latter may not be consistent with the current beliefs/premises about neuroplasticity.
I may have misunderstood, or come away with the wrong impression.”
I wrote this back to Neil
Quote:
This does seem like a conflict.


Although the latter seems to speak exactly to the current beliefs in Neuroplasticity. Specifically at Lorimer Moseley wrote an article about Neuroelasticity last year.

http://bodyinmind.org/neuroplasticity-neuroelasticity/

Here is an excerpt

What I mean by neuroelasticity is that amazing ability of the brain to change in a non-permanent fashion – Sherrington showed a century ago that the S1 representation of our body changes moment to moment and day to day. Plastic changes are, by definition, irreversible – Young’s modulus says that there is a certain amount of reversible change that can occur in a system – this is called elastic change – before the change is irreversible – this is called plastic change. That the dorsal horn sensitises in minutes is an elastic change. That S1 representations can be shifted by visuotactile illusions, by taping two fingers together or by reading Braille (have a look here for an interesting paper on this and heaps of good leads) all provide examples of neuroelasticity.






I would love to hear anybody's input on this.

The relevant papers are below. Thanks to Neil for getting this out here.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Farb2007DefaultNetworkMeditation.pdf (625.6 KB, 0 views)
File Type: pdf Farb2010MindfulnessSadnessfMRI.pdf (894.9 KB, 0 views)
File Type: pdf Streeter2007GABAstudy.pdf (683.5 KB, 0 views)
File Type: pdf Streeter2010YogaIntervention.pdf (299.2 KB, 1 views)
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Old 14-09-2011, 03:16 AM   #2
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Byron, the first things that come to mind are:
What is the "natural state" of mind?
A statement like that implies there is an "unnatural state", and that seems illogical when we are discussing a natural being like a human.

"Finding our true nature".
This too requires further definition.
It implies that somewhere "inside ourselves" there is a snowed-under crystal-clear "being".

My take on "finding our true nature" is more along the lines of: finding a state of existence that is most congruent with our goals, talents, personality, desires, experiences, expectations and limitations. Usually with a BIG sense of peace connected to that
And it takes practice to even approach that.

I dismiss the idea that there is something immutable in ourselves that can be labelled "true nature" - our "nature" is in constant flux.

I know this is not specific to the articles and video you posted, but without addressing these fundamentals, it is impossible for me to discuss further.
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Old 14-09-2011, 03:21 AM   #3
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Hi Bas,

I had the same impression. When ever "natural" comes up I get a bit of a burr on.
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Old 14-09-2011, 11:34 AM   #4
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I'd love to help but i could only handle about a minute of that video. I skipped to some study comparing people doing yoga poses to those who read a book, two activities having nothing in common. It seems more using science to prove whatever you are trying to promote. I think the results would be the same if you replaced yoga in the study with any number of active activities that simultaneously require passive awareness, roller skating for instance.

I have no idea what 'natural state' in the quote is referring to, Ramana Maharishi often spoke of something he coined the natural state, which could be considered a state of simple awareness. (Maybe living ideomotion) This isn't really something that i'd want to explore further here though, and i don't think that's the meaning in the quote.

Last edited by CDano; 14-09-2011 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 14-09-2011, 06:12 PM   #5
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Here is Neil's reply

Quote:
Hey Byron
The whole neuroplasticity thing is definitely confusing – different opinions on what the term means, on how much change is possible, on what types of change are possible, and how permanent the changes are.
If neuroplasticity is by definition permanent, then is there even such a thing as neuroplasticity in the realm of learning, or chronic pain, or trauma? Probably not!

There may be neuroplasticity after brain injury or stroke, but then does the person with a stroke who regains function have neuroelastic change?

Interestingly I have used the term neuroelasticity to describe the changes that require no effort to change back. They would be likely short-lived changes, but the key for me is, let an elastic go, and It snaps back. Before this I wouldn’t have called the phenomenon of phantom pain neuroelastic, because it takes some sort of effort to change back – just like it takes force and time to change plastic.

So getting beyond the terms, do we consider that the nervous system has an inherent default programming? That would make some sense in that the systems should be able to function at some sort of level without our conscious input.
And if this default exists, is the programming all about nature, or is nurture involved in the default too? Probably! And thus the default would be by definition changeable.

Does that all make some sense?

Interestingly, Kelly responded to my email with this…
Neuroplasticity is a little oversold, I think (everything changes the brain, so if you stop practicing, your brain will be changing based on whatever you're doing while not practicing!), though the default network info doesn't change the basic premise. For example, practice creates structural and functional brain changes that support the experiential system. But the default is damn powerful, and I don't know anyone I consider really grounded/awake who gave up practice or argues you can stop practicing once you wake up.
…seems I may have been told that I am not awake…
neil
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Old 14-09-2011, 06:12 PM   #6
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Here is my reply to him

Quote:
Hi Neil,


I would say that Neuroplasticity is not oversold. But I am enamoured with it currently so perhaps I am in too deep. I think it is awfully arrogant to dismiss it so quickly. It was dismissed for so many decades as not important while people like Paul Bach-yrita laboured on.



If neuroplasticity is by definition permanent, then is there even such a thing as neuroplasticity in the realm of learning, or chronic pain, or trauma? Probably not!

I would say an example of this would be learning to ride a bike. Once learned it is almost impossible to "unlearn" even given a long period of time.
I think the point of defining Neuroelastic and Neuroplastic is that some things that you learn require a considerable effort to get to a point of plastic change. There are some skills, say learning a new language for instance, where learning and repetition are required and an environment where it is used for a period of time (perhaps years) before the language has achieved a plastic change. If you do not consistently work through that period the language will slowly evapourate without any effort on our part.

As I understand it. Phantom Limb pain is the brain running a program that is not taking into account the new information (missing limb). Mirror box therapy can help but initially but the brain goes back to default after a short time (elastic). With considerable time and effort, as with stroke rehabilitation (Like Dr. Edward Taub's program), the new information can become a plastic change. We are not changing the brain back in Phantom Limb, we are changing the brain forward with new information that violates what it expects genetically, like the default program you mention.

I think we have some input into the changes that are possible. There are some probabilities surrounding which genes get expressed and which do not. I think Robert Sapolsky has an excellent Youtube video somewhere on this. He is great if you haven't heard of him.



On another point. Bas Asselberg from Somasimple had this to say about the natural state.


"What is the "natural state" of mind?
A statement like that implies there is an "unnatural state", and that seems illogical when we are discussing a natural being like a human.

"Finding our true nature".
This too requires further definition.
It implies that somewhere "inside ourselves" there is a snowed-under crystal-clear "being".

My take on "finding our true nature" is more along the lines of: finding a state of existence that is most congruent with our goals, talents, personality, desires, experiences, expectations and limitations. Usually with a BIG sense of peace connected to that
And it takes practice to even approach that.

I dismiss the idea that there is something immutable in ourselves that can be labelled "true nature" - our "nature" is in constant flux.
I know this is not specific to the articles and video you posted, but without addressing these fundamentals, it is impossible for me to discuss further."



UG Krishnamurti has a book called "The myth of enlightenment". That pokes fun at the whole idea of it. It was worth a read.



This is fun. I hope to have the papers reviewed by the end of the week.


I hope you wake up soon . Us enlightened ones are all waiting. lol
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Old 16-09-2011, 04:40 PM   #7
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"Nature" itself constantly changes. If we are nature (and we are, as biological beings) then we are constantly changing too.

So, I'm still not real clear on what the video is even about or what she's arguing. I think yoga can give us a better grip on how and on what we place our attention. The positions etc. can become easier over time through practicing (i.e., at age 60 I'm pretty glad I practiced regularly in my 20's - I'm still bendier now than I was when I was a teenager). I learned good deep breathing in yoga, so that's nice..

I doubt yoga can change much of anything in there re: personality or character or temperament or intelligence or interpersonal capacities, which I think are likely determined by genetics and time-related unfoldment.
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Old 17-09-2011, 07:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDano View Post
I skipped to some study comparing people doing yoga poses to those who read a book, two activities having nothing in common. It seems more using science to prove whatever you are trying to promote. I think the results would be the same if you replaced yoga in the study with any number of active activities that simultaneously require passive awareness, roller skating for instance.
I would agree with you on that. I do give them credit for running a second study in which they attempt to define what the activity is (they address the fact you mention). They use a physical exertion scale of 3.0 MET's in the second Streeter study, and so try to match it with walking on a level plane at 2.5mph. I think a more complicated physical activity needs to be compared however.

I found the studies interesting. There is a quality that is not defined in either Streeter study though. I think that would potentially be the "Mindfulness" idea. The paying attention instead of checking out. The other 2 studies start to address this, I am still reading through them however.
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Old 17-09-2011, 07:29 PM   #9
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Mindfulness yes that is a very key ingredient.

Sorry if i'm a bit jaded, i'm deeply in the midst of a breakup with yoga in the form(s) it mutated to in the late 20th century.

I do think there is something special to activities like yoga, not so fond of the word or the mystique around it. Better to find first principles. What is it that works in yoga, that's universal, and not tied to what kind of clothes one likes to wear.
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Old 17-09-2011, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDano View Post
I do think there is something special to activities like yoga, not so fond of the word or the mystique around it. Better to find first principles. What is it that works in yoga, that's universal, and not tied to what kind of clothes one likes to wear.

I heard on the news last night that Vancouver is considered a fashion disaster for all the yoga pants everyone wears all the time, dressing for comfort instead of for style.
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Old 18-09-2011, 02:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Sorry if i'm a bit jaded, i'm deeply in the midst of a breakup with yoga in the form(s) it mutated to in the late 20th century.
I am right with you on that point.
It is so tricky to throw out the bathwater and not the baby.

No idea if my title of Science Based Yoga Educator will mean anything ever. My wife and I came so close to leaving Yoga. Some reason, not sure why, we are still working with it. Trying to mold it into something we can feel good standing behind.

Something not like this.

I thought Recovering Yogi might be an interesting place, but most articles aren't.

It will be interesting what you and I do with our Soma experience in Yoga.
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Old 18-09-2011, 10:46 AM   #12
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I don't know your history Byron, i've been doing yoga for 30 years. It started for all the right reasons, but at some point i decided to get serious, and it was downhill from there. I did go pretty far, finishing the fourth series of Ashtanga yoga, which is not too common. I also started developing a series of issues, hips, shoulders etc. Mostly it was issues with how yoga is being marketed and forced down people's throats.

SomaSimple completely changed my thoughts on alignment, and the idea i could fix people. Yet suddenly i also found simple movement and this is the big change in what i'm delivering to people. Just getting moving, breathing and aware, with out any extra connotations.

In the process, already being an outcast, i've lost most of my students, but being dead, i just don't care. The new ones, seem to like what we are doing, and i sleep a little better at night.

I know i have a lot to do to educate myself though, some of the things Diane has put up lately reinforce that.

Oddly enough back in the day when yoga was simple it was also thought to be about the mind. Then suddenly it became bones and muscles. Nerves are never really brought into the picture, well maybe the sciatic nerve.

I'm glad you are around though. I understand why these guys call it dying. Hope i make it to the other side in one piece.
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Old 18-09-2011, 03:18 PM   #13
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Hi CDano,

I have 10 years under my belt. Practice into 2nd series. During my daily practice about 4 years ago I started to hit what I would now call a Non-Conscious wall. It would stop me sooner and sooner in the practice until I would start only on the floor and not get much further.

It seems as though we have both followed a somewhat similar path. While on the floor I started using Feldenkrais and other such techniques. Unfortunately I couldn't get much traction with my pain.

Mark Whitwell and others like him have a great message of Simple Yoga. If you haven't checked him out you might like him. It seems that you are on the track though.

It does not pay very well. We lost tons of people when we stopped teaching Ashtanga. It has been really tough, especially when 6 or 7 studios have opened in the last 3 - 4 years offering that and Hot Yoga. But we are sticking to our guns. Hoping to make it to the other side as well.

As I read here on SS I am consistently stunned and humbled. I plan to continue reading
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