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Neuroplasticity & Yoga & Positive Psychology

Neuroplasticity & Yoga

Yoga & Neuroplasticity

I came out of my meditation smiling with an extra big smile this morning.

The word “neuroplasticity” popped into my mind, and I was smiling, because I was impressed with myself. I never took Latin, I usually “zone out” when medical terms are used in the doctor’s offers, I never enjoyed the natural sciences and their terminologies, but yet, I remember the word “neuroplasticity” and, even better, I actually, somewhat, know what it means. So, I was pretty impressed with myself this morning.

Why do I know the word “neuroplasticity”, and why do I know what it means? It turns out, it actually has been part of my Yoga journey for two decades. During the teacher training at Kripalu “neuroplasticity” was described a bit more in detail (or maybe I just paid more attention). The way “neuroplasticity” makes sense to me, is that it acknowledges the adaptability of our brain. Our brain can change and adapt. Thus, how we think and feel can change. It has been discovered, that yoga asanas, meditation, pranayama (breath practice) and mindfulness can help us change, how we feel, how we think and how we adapt to various life situations.

In Positive Psychology “neuroplasticity” is also at its center of exploration. By focusing on positive emotions, strengths, gratitude and mindfulness, we can train our brain to change our perspective towards a more positive view on life. Yoga and positive psychology practices can lead to well-being on various levels, physical, mental and emotional; a higher sense of Life satisfaction and an increase in resilience and optimism.

I am not surprised therefore, that, after Yoga has been part of more than half of my life, I found my way to Positive Psychology. Both awarenesses and practices help us to be more self-aware and learn to trust our intuition and find ways to live our life in a way that benefits us and serves us well. For, it is only ourselves who know what is good for us.

For me, that is a life of lightness and ease. Both practices, Yoga and positive psychology, help me to weed through every day’s events and use my brain's amazing capability of neuroplasticity to learn and pick what allows me to feel at ease and gives me a sense of lightness.

Thus, While the term “neuroplasticity”, stems from the natural sciences, neuroscience and psychology , the concept has also been an integral part of Yoga for over 5000 years. Hence, “neuroplasticity” and yoga are a perfect match!

It’s gonna be a good day. ;-)

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