James Sanders Yoga

Anatomy Geek Safe Space: You, Your Neurons & Neuroplasticity

Images of neuron cells connecting

Just in case you are not one the fortunate ones who receive my monthly newsletter (you can sign up for it back only homepage), I present to you this Anatomy Geek Safe Space article from my December newsletter. In each monthly newsletter I write about one aspect of anatomy and how yoga impacts, improves, or supports it.

By growing new neurons and by forging new pathways between existing ones, our brain has a marvelous capacity for regeneration and rewiring. This is known as Neuroplasticity. Similar to the muscles of our body which grow stronger through repeated use and weaker through disuse, our neural pathways go strong through habit and disappear through inaction. As we age, our dominant pathways become powerful and very efficient, so much so, that we feel like we lose the ability to learn new ways of doing things. Not true! Our nervous system is 100% built to handle growth, learning, and change.

How can we use this knowledge to improve our life?

If our pathways grow stronger through use, then we can intentionally strengthen ones of our choosing. If you want to develop your balance skills, do balance poses! Start simple and with support but be diligent and challenge your abilities by getting more complicated with the poses and don’t use support. If you want to experience better mental focus in daily life, then focus in your practice. Feel your breath, when your mind wanders, return to your breath. When it wanders again, return again. Small steps lead to big gains! If we practice a skill during our yoga class one hour a week, that would mean we would have accumulated 52 hours of skill development over the past year alone.

Almost all of my classes open with a series of movements done on the floor to develop and support neural pathways while stimulating our parasympathetic nervous system. Join in sometime to feel the feelings!

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