TOP-DOWN YOGA TRAINING
DESCRIPTION OF TRAININGS:
The weekend intensive will have four formal sessions, each lasting 31/2 hours. Afterwards, we will share an informal discussion of the day's work with our dinner.
Saturday morning, session #1, The training begins with the exploration of the processes for de-contracting and relaxing the deep muscles of the neck.
There are 8 sub-occipital muscles at the base of the skull. Four of them connect the base of the skill to the first vertabrae. Two of them connect the skull to the second cervical vertabrae. The other two connect the first cervical vertabrae to the second one.
The sub-occipital muscles may well be the infamous “Knot of Brahma”, because their optimal functioning are critical to natural resting in samadhi.
Stress may be derived from pressure on the cranial nerves when the connective tissue, associated with the sub-occipitals, wraps around some nerves as they exit the skull. This local pressure restricts blood flow to the nerve itself, causing dysfunction. It could also be the case that the
rotation of the first vertebra reduces blood flow to certain areas of the brain and brainstem. There are several structural methods of approach for returning the first vertebra to a better position and thereby relieving chronic stress.
1). One such method is working with special movements of the head. There are five head positions; each can be performed in six different body positions. Any one of the head and body positions can provide the desirable results.
The variey of options allows for varying situations, levels of fitness or (temporary or chronic) infirmity, and space or time constraints. These positions are easy to learn and perform, and can be practiced by everyone while sitting in a chair, standing, kneeling on all fours in three differnt positions or lying down.
Holding the positions of the head and body for short periods of time de-contracts the deep muscles of the neck thus repositioning the first vertebra in relation to the base of the skull. This can relieve pressure on the vagal nerve, which, in turn, can restore proper function of the autonomic nervous system.
2). A second method is working with MOVEMENTS OF THE EYES. There is a neuroanatomical link called the occipital-optical reflex, between the 8 sub-occipital muscles at the base of the skull and the 12 eye muscles.
3). With physiological and psychological trauma a fixation can occur in the occipital-optical reflex system locking the trauma into the mind/body complex. Simple ways of moving and holding the eyes and head in specific positions at the same time releases the fixation releases the fixation unlocking the holding patterns. This method can be performed with the method described above, in any yoga asana or assume the positon one was in when a traumatic experience occured.
PULSATIONS AND NEW CENTRAL ALGORHYTHM
REMEMBERING TO LOVE LOVE
SATURDAY AFTERNOON, SESSION #2, is dedicated to “re-learning” embryonic ocean breathing. Embryonic Ocean Breathing is another method for releasing the sub-occipital muscles functionally. It entails a subtle adaptation in spinal movement while breathing. It re-enacts the way we breathed in the essentially fluid environment of embryonic development.
Emily Conrad Daoud, founder of Continuum Movement views the body as a process rather than a bounded form. The breath is the source of all movement, creating wave motions in the body and indulatory movements in the spine.
“Polymerization” is a term which describes the process by which molecules combine to produce more complex products of higher molecular weight, by the elimination of water. Such is the case in the creation of organic matter. Thus, through “condensation” polymeriztion develops into macromolecular formations leading to the manifestation of the body-mind phenomena.
Dr. Jim Oschman, author of several books on Energy medicine, adamantly states that “we can create new molecular parts.” We are only as solid as we “think” we are!
The normal way that we breathe engages the limbs, orienting the body to mobilize. This brings the sympathetic system into play. This is not judged as good or bad. It simply the way we are, or become. The adaptive movement does not engage the limbs or the sympathetic system. It has a radical regenerative affect on the overall functioning of the organism.
Attending to the simple motor behaviors aligning spinal-field awareness and the head with the gravitational axis, and making space for the natural undulations, changes the form and function of the aligned molecular arrays making up the enhances the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid, thus awakening innate ancient ‘body’ wisdom inhering in the body.
Paying close attention to the subtle undulations and process of aligning with the gravitational axis, spinal-field awareness becomes an optical axis, which "sees", regulates, organismic intelligence. As conscious awareness circulates in fluid systems of the body the affect on the autonomic nervous system is immediately calming.
The 'body' abides as a felt sense, an oceanic presence resonating with noiseless intercommunication that governs the organism as-a-whole.
Don’t be discouraged by all of these big scientific words and complex ways of explaining what is actually a simple and natural process. As with the other methodology explained earlier on, Embryonic Ocean Breathing is adaptable to different individual’s capacity. As with all of these processes, a little goes a long way.
After a few simple moves to relieve pressure in the deep neck muscles, the very act of becoming aware of the subtle placement of the head in relation to the vertical or horizontal spinal axis, and the undulating movement that follows, a shift in the autonomic state will occur. By relaxing and repeating the process over and over again, a felt “oceanic’ sense of naturally arises.
The sense of inner timing draws one’s conscious awareness towards the presence of timeless unchanging essence. Breath, movement, stillness, retention, subtle placement of the head in relation to the spine, pressure, waves of expansion, undulation and then, the disappearing-point.
Suddenly, a radical shift has occurred and one is aware from a reference point that has no “inside” or “outside”! You know this state with certainty because it is tthe way it has always been. By simply enacting these simple motor behaviors over and over again, there is a natural process of trans-substantiation that occurs.
The very same energy that was being expended to generate our sensory and conceptual world becomes the in-form-ation of morphic resonance surfing the wave of continuous creation in the ocean of formative causation. What was already present in our “field” of memory before our birth becomes accessible once again to our here/now present felt sense of embodiment.
"There is a 'consciousness' residing in the cellular and extracellular matrixes found throughout the human body. This living matrix is a continuous, global or whole-person system that outdates the nervous on hormonal systems in terms of evolutionary history. It is composed of biopolymers with enormous capacity to store information.
The relationship of the matrix to the nervous system is that the nervous system is actually composed of this primordial system. The matrix actually reaches every portion of the organism that is reached by nerves, and the matrix also reaches places where nerves and capillaries do not reach."
Jim Oschman, Evolution of the Intelligent Body
SUNDAY MORNING SESSION #3 we begin with the process of synchronizing what was learned in the first and second sessions. All of the connective tissue systems throughout the body form a singular tensegrous network. To understand the dynamic meaning of tensegrity, imagine a geometric structure constructed using sticks and strings. If you pluck on any part of the structure, the whole form vibrates instantaneously. Combining the movements of the head, neck, and even the eye muscles, with Embryonic Ocean Breathing, awakens systemic awareness, the very nature of primordial ‘body’ consciousness.
Having come to appreciate the posititve results derived from paying careful attention to detail, subtle means for relaxing the chin, jaw, in and around the ears and eyes are employed as well as slight adjustments to the cranial bones and fascia, facial and trigeminal nerves. Layers of stress, that we have minimal or no awareness of, spontaneously liberate as we begin to re-inhabit these areas with our gentle attention. These deep, subtle releases precipitate waves of coherence throughout the entire body allowing it to relax more and more.
is a system of self-regulation originated by Julie Henderson. It is the perfect complement to TOP-DOWN YOGA. Together they create a meta-system of self-regulation. Introductory self-regulatory processes from Zapchen are utilized to explore the micro-world of pulsation and its macro-effects on the system's organization.
(Inner) “timing” is of the essence. As the participatory experiencer explores synchronizing differnt combinations of self-regulating modalities, one inhabits the deep interiortiy of one’s felt sense of embodiment with greater and greater comfort and ease. Becoming intimately familiar with the myriad combinations of crisscrossing and alternating various ways of self-regulation, and resting. Innate body wisdom gives rise to long-term memory.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON, SESSION #4, various ways to regulate cardaic output and activate the optimal flow of neuropeptide intercommunication will be introduced.
The Vagal Brake
“Embedded in the mammalian nervous system are neuroanatomical strctures related to the expression and experience of social and emotional behavior.
The mammalian nervous system is a product of evolution. Evolutionary forces have molded both contemporary physiology and behavior”. Mammals and reptiles both possess a sub -diaphramatic (dorsal) vagas nerve.
In the evolutionary leap, from reptillian to mammalian embryonic development, evolutionary forces come into play and the morphology of the vagus changes. “At the level of the heart, the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus ’migrtaes’ ventrally and laterally to the nucleus ambiguous in the brainstem. There they form the cells bodies for visceromotor myelinated axons that provide potent inhibition of the sinoatrial node, the pacemaker of the heart.” This, in turn, provides neural regulation of the heart without requiring sympathetic or adrenal activation.
This opens a wide range of social engagement repitoires unique to higher mammals including the capacity to rapidly decrease metabolic output to self-soothe and calm.
“The vagal brake provides a neural mechanism to rapidly change visceral state by slowing or speeding the heart rate. The vagal brake contributes to the modulation of cardiac output. Neurophysiologically, the vagal brake provides a mechanism to support the metabolic requirements for mobilization and communication behaviors.
Functionally, by modulating visceral state, the vagal brake enables the individual to rapidly engage and disengage objects, and to promote self-soothing and calm behavioral states.”
A variety of simple motor behaviors regulating movement, and holding of the neck, head, and particularly the eye muscles, in specific positions, brings the mind to a state of stillness, awakening powerful self-regulation of cardiac output. Drawing the eyes gently in and holding them in a state of imobilization with relaxation and awareness, the felt sense of the organism settles into a deep state of formless stillness.
Regulation of the heart is neuroanatomically and neurophysiologically related to voluntary regulation of the striated muscles of the face,
mouth, larynx and pharynx. Integration of these procedures with Embryonic Ocean Breathing generates a formless state of flowing wholeness that is too delicious to be believed!
Biophysicist and leading proponent of the theory of quantum coherence in living organization, Dr. Mae Wan Ho, postulates that, "a pure coherent state for the entire system would be a many-mode quantum electrodynamical field with a collective phase over all modes. It may be attainable only under very exceptional circumstances, as during an aesthetic or religious experience when the "pure duration" of the here and now becomes delocalized in the realm of no-time and no-space.
The vagal brake may be the "master switch" by which mammalian neuro-biological intelligence de-couples from its time and space binding modes of operation and enters into the quinessential resting phase of pure duration.