Get Still. Do Nothing.

Lauren Burkart Yoga

“Get action. Do things; be sane, don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

When I first heard that Teddy Roosevelt quote, I responded with a hearty, “Hell Yeah!”  After all, the “Get action.  Be sane.” philosophy has largely guided my decision making skills my whole life.  I’ve always been ambitious, a perfectionist, a striving overachiever.  If I was in a place that could not affirm my ambitions, my need for success, I left.  I’ve always been an enthusiastic learner.  I’ve changed careers multiple times, with gusto.  I have lived to get action, to be sane.

Meditation practice is almost completely opposed to Teddy’s philosophy.  Yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness practices might even say: “Get still.  Do nothing.”  Through my yoga practice, I have discovered that I’ve spent a lot of time fluttering about from one achievement to the next, getting action, and hoping for sanity.

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OCD and Optogenetics

ocdtalk

by  renjith krishnan freedigitalphotos.net by renjith krishnan freedigitalphotos.net

University of Pittsburgh researcher, Dr. Susanne Ahmari, is using optogenetics to study obsessive-compulsive disorder. In optogenetics, scientists insert genes for light-sensitive proteins into the brains of animals. They can then control and study neurons which have been genetically sensitized to light.

Dr. Ahmari’s lab is filled with mice as described in the article:

“They have an optical fiber painlessly inserted into their brains, and it can be hooked up to a cable that transmits pulses of laser light. The light goes to specific parts of the brain, stimulating or inhibiting certain neurons, and scientists like Dr. Ahmari can then see how that changes the animals’ behavior.”

These types of studies amaze me, and give me hope that someday down the road, we will know more about what causes OCD, and more importantly, what can cure it.

The article goes on to say:

“Brain imaging studies in…

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Neuroplasticity and depression.

This is a very interesting take on depression. I agree and support the finding presented in the article just simply based on my personal experience with depression and anxiety.

Vajra Blue

image

Among other things, neuroplasticity means that emotions such as happiness and compassion can be cultivated in much the same way that a person can learn through repetition to play golf and basketball or master a musical instrument, and that such practice changes the activity and physical aspects of specific brain areas.” 
― Andrew Weil

Over the last twenty years it has become clear that the condition we call depression does not have one single cause or presentation. The accumulation of evidence shows that some types of depression are either brought about, or sustained by the way we think and interact with our world. Recent research suggests that an inflammatory response, brought about by our modern lifestyle, may also contribute to the development and persistence of such states.

The evidence also shows that our genetic makeup contributes to our risk of developing a depressive disorder. However, the presence of this genetic influence…

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Let It Rain

Lauren Burkart Yoga

“For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain.”  
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In my meditation workshop, I break down mindfulness into three components:

Awareness + of the present moment + acceptance = mindfulness

Each week we have exercises, homework, and guided meditations centered on one of these components.  Today is the last class, and we are focusing on acceptance.  To me, it’s one of the hardest parts about mindfulness meditation.  The word “acceptance” used to bring up a lot of emotion, mainly anger, for me.  There’s plenty of awful things in this world that we don’t want to even think about accepting:  murder, rape, child abuse, genocide, war, the list could go on.  Regardless of whether we accept the existence of these things, they exist.

For a long time, acceptance to me felt like giving up or resigning myself to a…

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