If you want to go beyond yoga poses and understand the cornerstone and heart of the yoga practice, the book Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind is just perfect for you. Yoga is known to interconnect a person’s body, mind, and spirit. A.H.E.M. puts this balancing approach into life, with questions and writing practices relevant to your meditation and practice. Sprinkled with pranayama and asana practices, A.H.E.M. is a true epitome of the modern yoga philosophy, which is more than about yoga sutras.
Julian, the book’s author, has been teaching yoga since 1993. Trained by Ana Forrest, a pioneer in yoga and psychology, Julian also went to the Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing, a massage school where he was trained by other mentors. He also studied the history and theory behind body-based psychology and neuroscience.
One of the most interesting aspects of Julian’s book is his section on chakras. He refers to them as embodied psychological experiences based on neurobiology. When asked about it, he answers with passion and apparent vigor.
Meditation with an Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind
I think an elegant way to describe my theory here is that subjective experience – consciousness and our feeling of energy – are all expressions of our biology. For example, when we feel scared we know that there is adrenaline and cortisol coursing through our bodies, our heart rate is elevated and blood is rushing into our large fight-or-flight muscles.
Likewise, when in deep states of meditation there is a correlation between the quieting down of brain areas that track the boundaries of our bodies and location in time and space on the one hand, and a beautiful experiential sense of being at one with all things as we rest in the eternal void, on the other.
I became fascinated with how the chakras correlate with key nerve plexi (bundles of nerves that branch off the spinal cord to communicate with muscles, organs and glands) and with how we experience life through our bodies. For me, the chakras are a kind of map of how the mind lives in the body; and the nervous system (as well as the endocrine system, which secretes our powerful hormones and neurotransmitters) is a key component of this. (Read more here)
Julian also talks about the importance of embodiment, a sense of self-awareness that is connected with mindfulness. You have to be integrated with your body to have a fuller sense of who you are.
Yoga is the product of Julian’s 20 years of reflection of yoga, for all its scientific, experiential, spiritual, and psychological aspects. It’s about time you learn about yoga both in practice and theory—and A.H.E.M. will teach you how.