Fitness Magazine

Mind-Body Paradigm Shift

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Nina

Mind-Body Paradigm Shift

Upside-Down Boy by Nina Zolotow

I don’t know about you, but when I first read Ram’s post The Bone-Brain Connection, my mind was quietly blown. I mean, who would have ever thought that our bones contributed to our cognitive health, both in terms of memory and moods! "Working with mice that had been engineered to lack osteocalcin, Karsenty noticed that while their skeletons appeared essentially normal, the mice appeared too docile, less rebellious, anxious, depressed, and displayed memory issues, suggesting that the bone via its hormone osteocalcin plays a direct role in memory and moods."It really struck me because I’ve gradually come to realize that we in the west are undergoing a major paradigm shift in our understanding of the body-mind. For so long, we always conceived that the “mind” (meaning that thing in your skull) controlled everything, sending messages out to the “body” via nerves and receiving response back the same way (with some hormonal communication thrown for fun). But now all kinds of surprising things are being discovered that basically destroys that conceptual model. Like this new discovery about our bones and how they affect our brains. And all that stuff about how our gut microbiome (the friendly bacteria that lives in our gut and isn’t really even part of our bodies as such) communicates with our brain (see Why You Should Care About Your Digestive System). Who knows what they’re going to discover next or what I just haven’t heard about yet, but I can tell you, I’m expecting there will be a ton of surprises soon to come!In the past I’ve talked about attachment (raga) in terms of clinging to ideas of who you are (see Attachment (Raga) to Our Ideas About Ourselves). Now I considering that certain ideas we’ve been brought up about our body-mind with are equally hard to let go of. Here are some examples of hard-to-let-go-of ideas that I’ve been challenged with recently:
  1. That “brain games” and other forms of mental exercise are not as important for brain health as just plain physical exercise (see Leg Power Equals Brain Power). I get the logic behind it and have even written about it, but I still keep thinking that brain aerobics (see How Yoga Sequences Are Brain Aerobics) must at least be equally important, right?
  2. That cholesterol is not the culprit in causing clogged arteries and heart disease. Instead, it’s chronic inflammation (see Chronic Inflammation and Yoga). (I’ve noticed in particular that Baxter, as a long-time MD, has had a hard time letting go of his habit of mentioning cholesterol in the context of heart disease.)
  3. That flossing is totally useless. (Frankly, I’m having a super hard time wrapping my head around that one, and I’m still flossing every night just in case.)
Fortunately we have a neuroscientist on our staff (bless you, Ram) who can help us stay on top of some of these fascinating but challenging new discoveries about the body-mind. And I also keep learning new and interesting things from Brad, even though he no longer writes for us. So I will try to keep you all informed about breaking news.But for now I’d just like to say that I think it’s really fascinating to be challenged this way to let go of very strongly entrenched beliefs that at one time we “knew” to be “true facts,” as they say. And that means being able to understand that our attachments to certain ideas can be as strong as many other types of attachments. As for me, even though I’ve been studying yoga for decades, I can now see how I’ve continued to be very attached to the old western medical mindset when in comes to understanding the body-mind. But it’s sounding more and more like BKS Iyengar had it right when he said: "Where does the body end and the mind begin? Where does the mind end and the spirit begin? They cannot be divided as they are inter-related and but different aspects of the same all-pervading divine consciousness."On the plus side, some things like coffee and chocolate and avocado that used to be considered bad for us, are now highly recommended. I have so much fun telling people that for older women three cups of coffee are recommended to help stave off depression. They always look at me with such a weird mixture of delight and skepticism.Subscribe to Yoga for Healthy Aging by Email ° Follow Yoga for Healthy Aging on Facebook ° Join this site with Google Friend Connect

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