Inspired by Pink Shirt Day on Wed Feb 22nd, 2017, I taught a week of classes that celebrated inclusivity. Just as Pink Shirt Day is designed to increase awareness, compassion, and friendliness towards those who may otherwise be discriminated against or marginalized, yoga is also designed to be a practice of inclusivity as the root definition of yoga means to yoke, to unite!
I began each class with a mini-talk about the left and right hemispheres of the brain, the left and right sides of the body, and associated opportunities for health, happiness, and healing from injury and pain by increasing our awareness & inclusivity of both sides!
To strengthen these learnings, I recommended to my students to watch the following 18 minute Ted Talk by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D (a brain scientists' personal journey with having a massive stroke in the left hemisphere of the brain)
Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight | TED Talk | TED.com
Dr. Taylor's experience is detailed fully in her book “My Stroke of Insight”.
Left Hemisphere of the Brain Right Hemisphere of the Brain
* Motto: Just Do It * Motto: Just Be
* Past and future orientation * Present moment orientation
* Learns and processes info linearly, * Learns and processes info kinaesthetically
methodically, and categorically * Intuitive & sensual (5 senses)
* Communicates through language * Communicates non-verbally (visual)
* Me, myself, and I (the ego) * We are all one
Right Side of the Body Left Side of the Body
* Represents solar energy, masculine energy, * Represents lunar energy, feminine energy,
man, the father, giving out, letting go. woman, the mother, taking in, receptivity.
INCLUSIVE YOGA BREATHING PRACTICES
To balance both sides of the brain and body energy, practice alternate nostril breathing (using your thumb to block off the right nostril), inhale up the left nostril (then release thumb from the right nostril and block off the left nostril) exhale down the right, inhale up the right (then release thumb from left nostril and block off the right nostril), exhale down the left nostril. Repeat several rounds and then pause to notice the effects.
To engage the left hemisphere of the brain (and subsequently stimulate one's energy), try breathing in through the right nostril (using thumb to block off left nostril) and out the opened left. Repeat several rounds and then pause to notice the effects.
To engage the right hemisphere of the brain (and subsequently feel more bliss with the moment; flow state), try breathing in through the left nostril (using thumb to block off right nostril) and out the opened right. Repeat several rounds and then pause to notice the effects.