Monday, November 21, 2005

Bridging the Gap

This weekend we had the honor of giving a one hour presentation at Yokohama International School's yearly education conference, Bridging the Gap. The idea of this program is to bring fresh ideas and creative thinking into the school environment. 30 teachers, parents, and community members attended our event, which was held in the school's spacious dance studio.

Our discussion was based around the idea that as humans we have a tendency (especially in the modern world) to separate our minds from our bodies, and in that duality, something important is lost. The brain is just another component of the total system, it is effected by the body just as the body is controlled by the brain. So, for example, studies have shown that if you smile (even without any real emotion behind it, a fake smile) the smiling muscles send messages to the brain that trigger a happiness response, and you cheer up a bit. There is a constant flow of communication between the brain and the body, which, if managed correctly, can lead to a better standard of life.

After a short discussion we moved to the experiential part of the session. We took the 5 main parts of the Sun Salutation and broke them down, explaining scientifically what is happening to the brain and body during each segment. Then we brought them all together for two complete Salutations. As usual, people were surprised by the amount of sweat and energy it takes to do yoga. Following that, we did a standing pose (triangle) a balance pose (tree) and a "power" pose (chair). Everyone really seemed to enjoy this small sample of yoga!

The final portion of our event dealt with meditation. Exercise and yoga are great a reducing stress levels, but meditation has the quality of eliminating the causes of stress before they enter the mind-body system. The idea is that yoga (or your favorite form of exercise) coupled with meditation can really increase your standard of contentment.

We were having so much fun during this event, no one thought to take a picture! If anyone has a photo of this, please forward it to me and I'll post it here!

Thanks to everyone who attended, and to YIS for inviting us to speak. We really enjoyed it.

Yoga Garden

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