Yoga Meets Psychology
“The main resemblance between the Eastern ways of liberation and Western psychotherapy is in the concern of both with bringing about changes of consciousness, changes in our ways of feeling our own existence and our relation to human society and the natural world.” Alan Watts
Many of you have heard me tell the story in class of when the tailor went to see the Pope. After a full day at the Vatican of taking various measurements for the new papal garments, the tailor returned home to his wife for dinner. He was a quiet man, and despite the tremendous honor of being able to work for the Pope, the tailor didn’t have much to say about the novelty of his day. Exasperated, his wife blurted out, “Well! What about the Pope?!” The tailor responded very matter-of-factly, “Oh, he’s a 16 1/2, 42 long.”
We interpret the world through the filters of our past experiences, and we typically describe phenomena in the way we’ve been conditioned to see. So it’s no surprise, really, that I understood my psychiatrist father perfectly well when he responded to my sister’s account of her recent introduction to meditation by saying, “It sounds like you’ve been experiencing some cortical easement and limbic emergence.” I probably used more flowery language, but we both were attempting to mirror back and acknowledge the peaceful phenomenon of less thinking and more being. Whenever we enlist multiple perspectives in any conversation, all participants are enriched by the fact that their consciousness is drawn to things that were previously ignored.
Why do I bring any of this up? Well, we have an exciting collaboration taking place this weekend at the studio between yours truly and Dr. Jose Calderon-Abbo of the Mindful Living Program. While our backgrounds differ, our basic philosophy and approach are perfectly aligned. This workshop will introduce students to the mindful movement practices of Yoga and Qi Gong and will culminate in the more contemplative practices of conscious breathing and seated meditation. The intention is to de-mystify these ancient technologies so that all of us modern folks can embrace them as powerful tools for calming the body/mind and cultivating compassion. We’re calling this collaborative workshop Embodied Mindfulness: An Exploration of Wholeness through Movement and Stillness.
This is usually the point in the newsletter when I invite you to sign up by clicking the big button below; however, the workshop filled up only a couple of days after it was posted to the website. Don’t despair! Due to the high interest, we have vowed to re-run this same class in September. In the meantime, remember that we still have plenty of regular public classes happening this weekend, and since it’s supposed to rain all the way through Sunday, yoga might be your best bet for a wholesome physical activity. Hope to see you on the mat soon!
P.S. We only have 6 spots available for the 2014 Advanced Studies/Teacher Training Program. If this transformational, life-enriching course has been on your radar screen, now is the time to submit your application!