Welcome to the Accessible Yoga Podcast where we explore how to make space for everyone in the yoga community.
Amber Karnes 11:54:36
This podcast is brought to you by the accessible yoga Association, a nonprofit organization focused on accessibility and equity in yoga.
Hi, I'm your host, Jivana Heyman, my pronouns are here on him, and I serve as the director of accessible yoga.
Amber Karnes 11:54:51
And I'm your co host, Amber Karnes, my pronouns are she and her, and I serve as president of the accessible yoga board of directors.
Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the accessible yoga Podcast. I'm very excited today to have Bill Brown here, the executive director of prison yoga project. Hi, Bill.
Bill Brown 11:55:09
How are you?
Bill Brown 11:55:12
Very good. Very good.
Good. I wanted to introduce you before we get started, and I have a bio for you. So let's see Bill Brown. You all I said you're the director, Executive Director of prison yoga project, which is a nonprofit organization that supports incarcerated people worldwide, with trauma informed yoga and mindfulness programs. And through his work with PYP helps to promote social change, transforming our systems and culture to create more inclusive, equitable and just world. That's nice. Though, began working with pmip in 2013, and had served in federal, state and county facilities in 2016, he began offering training with VoIP and trauma informed yoga for incarcerated people. And assume the executive director's role in 2018 is a contributing editor to the Yoga Service Council, book yoga practice it best practices for yoga in the criminal justice system. And in his downtime Bill enjoys the creative outlets of photography and cooking and is an avid reader of science fiction. That's exciting.
Bill Brown 11:56:12
I like to watch science fiction, to be honest with you. I've been reading Octavia Butler recently. I don't know if you like her.
Bill Brown 11:56:20
Yes, absolutely. I do. And I'm really excited for the new season in the expanse to come out because the books tastic and series has been fantastic as well.
And foundation. Have you seen that new show? I
Bill Brown 11:56:34
Haven't seen any of that yet. But the reviews look good, right.
It's amazing. Yeah, I haven't read those books, actually. Isaac Asimov. But I think it's like one of his kids that produced this.
Bill Brown 11:56:44
Work. Yeah. Oh, anyway, let's talk about you. Bill. So tell me I just want to know, like, how you got involved in this work? So yeah. Is there a story there? Like something to share with it?
Bill Brown 11:56:56
Yeah, absolutely. Um, so I, I have always had an interest in Buddhism and meditation, but I was never really settled enough to be able to cultivate sitting practice. So this is something that's always been interesting to me, you know, most of my life, but it wasn't until I was 40. That I actually found my way into my first yoga class. And in the class, it was a heated power, vinyasa yoga practice. We got into pigeon pose. And when we got to pigeon pose, I immediately started crying. And it's very confusing for me. Then again, in savasana, for a different reason, I felt at home in my body. For the first time I felt a peace and a centeredness that I'd never experienced before. And once again, started crying. Was it your first class, your very first class? Yeah. And I had been my my friends had been begging me to go to yoga, they live to half a block away from the studio, and they were going on a regular basis, and I was resistant. For all the usual reasons. You know, I'm too old. I'm not flexible. I've got extraordinarily tight hamstrings. And, you know, it's just not for me, I don't don't look like the typical yoga practitioner that goes to a heated of vinyasa studio, but I relented, and I went and so very first practice, have this significant emotional release. So I'm hooked. I'm fascinated. And I walked out of the room, and I had the means, at the time to sign up for unlimited, you know, yoga, and started going three times a week, four times a week, and ultimately up to eight times a week. I was getting something out of it that I didn't really understand, but I knew that I needed it. In order to understand I answered the call when the teacher asked Are you you know, whether you want to teach yoga or just even your practice, we're having a yoga teacher training. And once again, I was working at the time as a software developer, and and there's a good income that comes along with that kind of work. So I had the means to say yes to Doing this yoga teacher training. In the yoga teacher training, James Fox showed up as to do an afternoon session with us. And he was about three quarters of the way through the training, we were all really well bonded. At that point, there were about 25 of us and we're in the studio and just chatting away. And James walks in comes to the front, and he just sits down and he starts meditating. And within a few minutes, the room falls silent. And he started guiding a centering practice and embodied centering practice. And this was new to me. But it felt like, oh, that's something I could do. I that's what I want to do. I want to be able to, you know, hold space like that. He came back a few months after our ytt concluded and did a weekend workshop. This was at the beginning of 2013. And really introduced this idea of yoga as therapy, which was, you know, I think on periphery, but really moved that concept to center for me after that training. And six months later, I found myself going inside, to teach alongside Buddhists group that was going in and having Buddhist services. So I'd go in with the Buddhists, and they'd open up some space for us to do a little bit of mindful movement. And that was in a in a prison. Yeah, that was at RJ Donovan State Prison in Santee, California. So, along with that, knowing well, boy, I don't have any experience teaching at this point. I don't have any experience going into prisons. And so I wanted to get a little bit better prepared. And there was a woman who was going in with the Buddhists and she was a yogi as well. And she was doing yoga in the present. So I reached out I wanted to, to meet Susan Marcus. She happened to be doing a workshop with Silvia Heppner from Phoenix Rising yoga therapy. So that's how I wound up in my first Phoenix Rising yoga therapy half day workshop,
Unknown Speaker 12:01:44
Immediately, again, blew my mind, this idea of using your yoga practice as a way of reflecting on how you show up in life. You know, am I able to allow myself to be supported? How much do I push myself? Do I go easy on myself? Or am I really hard on myself? How is that showing up in my day to day life? So signed up again, I had the means to do it. I signed up for yoga therapy training, I would never have the money to be able to afford stepping into a yoga therapy training at this point in my life.
What kind of work were you doing?
Unknown Speaker 12:02:25
I was a corporate IT web developer. For for Illumina, who is the company that does 90% for the equipment and chemistry that they develop 95% of the world's genetic sequencing is done with aluminous technology. So and they were - 2012 they were on the rise, we were doubling in size every year. And yeah, it ultimately got to be the corporate environment became pretty traumatizing. So yeah. So I had to, I had to make a choice after my yoga therapy training. One more piece of this, that that kind of came together and ties back to that emotional release. As part of my yoga therapy training we do we were doing an exercise called legs decides where you finish with the practitioner pulling traction on the client's legs. I was the client and Anjali was the practitioner and she's giving traction to my leg and I noticed that I'm lifting my right hip up. I'm helping her and I thought well what happens if I just settle my hip back down to the mat and I do that and I let my muscles relax and I let my hips settle back down to the to the mat and immediately I'm back in the hospital bed at age four. What had happened at age four I had broken my right femur compound fracture pretty serious and they placed me in a cast that went from my ankle up to my chest and been back down past the other knee in an L shape. And then in order to keep my legs lifted, they wrapped bandages around my feet and caused pressure points cut off the blood circulation and ultimately I began To develop gangrene. And so in this moment, when I am releasing my hip back down, suddenly I am remembering being in the bed and lifting to try and take the pressure off my heels and lifting up that heavy cast. And this had gone on for about four days while the doctors ignored my complaints that something was wrong. And in hindsight, you know, this is pretty classic trauma. I'm experiencing a situation that's life threatening, it's overwhelming, and I can't help myself to get out of it. And there's a social disconnection there in the sense that I'm asking for help. And those pleas are being ignored. And ultimately, this led to this mantra that I had, that God doesn't love me. And so, for my age for, okay, I'm operating under this, you know, low level, you know, phrase that passes through my mind that God doesn't love me. And I've been in therapy prior to going into this stuff.
So, you're saying that the thought came to you because you were suffering so much as a child that you felt that God didn't love you? So that's that you just started to feel abandoned?
Bill Brown 12:05:48
Yeah, yeah. Yep.
That reminds me, I don't know if you know, Matthew Sanford's work, you know, in his book Waking?
Bill Brown 12:05:55
Oh, wow. Well, so he describes being you know, he was in a car accident when he was 13 parts of his, I think his father and his sister died. And then he was paralyzed himself. And basically in kind of like a support cast situation for months on end, which he describes in detail in the book and describes how yoga then helped him from that. It's an amazing, it's an amazing book. I mean, I love Matt. Matthew Sanford is incredible teacher, so you might enjoy that. So sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you. I was trying to clarify. So that led to this idea that your God had abandoned you or something and didn't love you.
Bill Brown 12:06:34
Yeah, God forsaken. Yeah, yeah. And this was the you know, and so and, and then also, so I would go into therapy, and I would tell that story. And this, I had been in therapy for years. And I would tell that story, like every third session, and the whole thing was just me bawling the whole time. And in that moment, when I was able to relax those muscles in my hip, I have this recovered memory, it's as though I was experiencing what it had actually been like, for the first time. And then I wept like, I have never wept before for about 20 minutes solid, unable to catch my breath and unable to stop. But more or less, from that moment forward, I'm able to tell that story without feeling the emotional impact of it. And so this really informs my understanding of what we're doing with trauma informed yoga. Now, for me, my trauma was held in a very specific and localized place. When I was able to release that from the body, it deep potentiality it's the emotion I'm able to move that that memory is no longer living in the present in my body. I think for people who have more generalized trauma, like say, you know, systemic trauma, from poverty, there's a tension that goes along with that. But it influences the balance between the you know, autonomic nervous system, fight flight, and rest restore. So you're in this, you know, mode of always being in fight flight, because there's this feeling of a present moment threat that's always there. And in my case, it was connected with this sort of spiritual disconnection as well, which, of course, I get into yoga. And then I realized, well, you know, I'm not God forsaken. I'm a part of a universe that is divine.
Yeah. Wow. That's amazing story. And so then what? How was teaching in prisons to just start in? Maybe you could describe that a little bit.
Bill Brown 12:08:52
Yeah, yeah. It's nothing what I expected honestly. So you know, the first time you go down there, and you've got all the ways that culture has taught us to think about prisons and prisoners that there's this, you know, violence and you know, you got to constantly be watching your back and to a certain extent, that's true, but the thing that really, you know, remember the very first time I went in, and, again, it was with a Buddhist group, we do get done with the services and then at the end of the day, or at the end of the session, There's two guys, one guy is in a wheelchair. And the other guy is a young guy. And a young guy has this stack of folders and books, which is his DNB. gaming stuff. So this is one of the ways to pass time you, you get into your RPGs, right? So the younger guy says to the older guy in a wheelchair, he says, Hey, you want to live back to your place. And the older guy says, Yeah, and so he takes his stack of books, and he sets it in the older guy's lap, and then wheels him out. And as I'm walking out towards the gate, I'm looking back over my shoulder at these two men, and this younger guy, and this older guy, you know, he's pushing in the wheelchair, and they're chatting. And so this is my the impression that I get up just this incredible kindness and caring and compassion. And the yard was clear. And so there was it's like out in the middle of nature, in a way, there's walls and concrete all around it. But there's also a big mountain over here, and the sun was setting. And so yeah, it completely changed my perspective on that. That's a beautiful story. Yeah. Now at first, first visit.
Bill Brown 12:10:47
And it's changed again, and again, and again, since then, the the more experience I have in different facilities and the more people that I meet, the more I become aware of how prison really shows us the ways in which society fails to care. And in particular, fails to care for those people who are further away from that dominant center of white, male, heterosexual. educated. I don't think, well, they don't make up the vast majority but wealthy? Yeah. Yeah, the further away from the ER you are, the more likely you are to become incarcerated. And generally, it's because you've developed a behavior pattern that's helping you cope with an addiction. You're being there's no support for your, for your mental health. And so you wind up homeless and then becoming, you know, in and out of jail because of that. Yeah.
And can you describe maybe a little bit about the work that Prison Yoga Project is doing?
Bill Brown 12:12:12
Yeah. So there is, you know, in everything was disrupted by COVID. And so, we're, you know, the programs are rebooting all around the world, we have programs all around the world, we are currently have programs in 11 different states. We have programs in the UK, in Sweden, in the Netherlands, in Israel, in India, in Australia, in New Zealand. It's really a global enterprise. And what we do is offer training to help people understand what it's like to go into the system. And then also understand, you know, issues of, you know, how we approach teaching in that environment is, is quite different than the studio. In the studio, you know, you have an instructor who's often giving commands, essentially, to students, do this with your body do that with your body. These folks are told what to do with their bodies all day long, they don't have a choice and they don't have the option to say no. to that. And so we really want to create a space where there is a an absolute agency. It's a little bit impossible to achieve, because you're I'm also a free man coming into an environment and there's certain you know, I have been asked like, what level yoga master I am, and I can't control their projection. I mean, the answer is I'm a level zero yoga master. Yeah, yeah. And so we offer training and then we're also offer sort of like the business back end for people who want to offer programs inside so we help people get programs funded. And we help them administer those programs. So that we can be operating in as professional away because this is what gave us more access, the more we can be offering something that provides an evidence based benefit that aligns with some of the rehabilitative goals of the system, then the more access we're going to be able to get. That's part of it. Another part of it is really making sure that there's a criticism that's arisen lately that, you know, well, we're just helping people who are incarcerated to accommodate to a condition that's unjust. And to a certain extent, from the way the system sees it, they would like to have less conflict, for instance. But so would the people who were incarcerated there?
Yeah. That's interesting. That's such an interesting problem to be faced. I mean, I just want to say I think it's just like the way that that's happening in mindfulness and self care practices. In general, there's a little pushback, which I think is important to acknowledge that sometimes mindfulness and self care is being sold to us as a replacement for actual community care from like, in the US, for example, from the government, like, you know, like, if you can't have paid time off when you're sick or whatever, like, oh, go meditate and take care of yourself that way, in a way it's not. But but the fact is that you you, it's not like those things aren't beneficial, they're still useful. It's just that we also need the structures in place to support us as community as you know, as humans.
Garrett Jurss 12:16:11
Hi, everyone, it's Garrett from the Accessible Yoga Association, and we're taking a quick break from the podcast to say thank you to one of our supporting organizations, yoga moves MS. Yoga moves MS is a nonprofit 501 C 3, organization and community. Their mission is to increase the quality of life and wellness for individuals impacted by multiple sclerosis, and neuromuscular conditions by providing daily virtual and in person adaptive yoga for any body in a supportive and empowering environment. Holistic Health and mindfulness principles are weaved into their educational offerings. For over 15 years, Mindy Eisenberg, director and founder of Yoga Moves MS, together with her team of instructors, students and care partners have created a vibrant mighty community. The Yoga Moves MS annual event virtual Holistic Health and Wellness Forum for MS receives international participation. Mindy offers highly experiential Adaptive Yoga Moves Any Body teacher trainings attended by clinicians and yoga instructors. She is the author of Adaptive Yoga Moves Any Body an Adaptive Yoga cards and videos. Find out more about Yoga Moves MS by visiting yogamovesms.org.
And I'm sure that's the same inside inside prisons and jails like people. Yeah, sure, there needs to be radical change. But like you said, people also don't want conflict, they need access to these practices too.
Bill Brown 12:17:46
Yeah, well, and then to, you know, when we get down to the to, you know, the deeper level of what we're really doing and yoga, you know, which is, I think, to us like shamanistic terms soul retrieval, you know, we have been, and, you know, I love the Four Agreements in that first chapter on domestication and how we have been influenced by our family relationships in our community relationships in the society that we live in, to behave in a particular way, or to believe in a particular way. And a lot of the experience that people who are incarcerated have had has been meeting an environment that is hostile and having to develop a way of navigating that environment that is based on a need for survival and a based on a need for social belonging. But the fulfillment of those needs has been harmful, either to themselves or to others. And so there is a and oftentimes the one of the things that I like to say is that you know, when you're in a hostile environment, and you don't feel supported, you're community can diminish to yourself to be a single person and you see a lot of times tattoos that say trust nobody and to regain that trust and and to be able to have a trusting relationship where you know that the other person is there for you that to me is what we're really there for. And that is as much a yoga practice is alternate nostril breathing, for your one, to be, you know, to be able to have a loving and trusting relationship with others.
I love that I just, I mean, that's so much of the work of accessible yoga and what I've been trying to do, you know, just in general, like, I feel, I felt like as a yoga teacher, I didn't have that myself, you know, I mean, honestly, I felt that the way that the yoga, you know, almost industry or the business side of yoga had been built up over the last, you know, 20 years was at odds with what yoga was about, you know, and I come from, I come from more like an ashram yoga culture. And then to see the way yoga studios were functioning, I just felt totally separate from other teachers, and there was no community, there's no focus on, on connection, and really accessible yoga grew out of that, I mean, the conference started because of that need, that we need to be there for each other.
Unknown Speaker 12:20:41
I can't really feel that I can really feel that in the training. And, and, and I was, so I was feeling like, oh, man, we are so well aligned in in that kind of perspective. And so I really appreciate what you're doing. I am,
Bill Brown 12:20:59
Thank you, just took me just took the Accessible Yoga Training, which was so nice of you to be there, I appreciate that.
Unknown Speaker 12:21:06
I learned a lot too. And I got to practice teaching that mixed level class because I go into yoga, I'm sorry, I go into prison. And I've got guys that can handstand in the middle of the room. And I've got guys that come in walk in walkers and wheelchairs, and I want to be able to serve them equally. And make sure that I'm able to do a practice and this so this is was you know, like this, you know, again, I want to know, I want to have that skill. But then of course, it's so much bigger than that, and the way issues of you know, agency consent, Power Privilege are addressed. And, and, and then also just seeing the way you know, yoga is like a or I'm sorry, saying yoga prison is like a distillation of the ways in which those marginalized people like it's the worst of the worst. And so it really helps you to see clearly but then you start to see the way say, autistic people or people who are, you know, missing a limb are disinfo disenfranchised. I don't know if that's the right word for it. The same, you know, but then you go all the way fast forward to a typical yoga studio. And it's like young, able bodied, moneyed folks that are able to access it. And yet, there's so much that every human being has to gain from it. And often those people who are furthest from the center might have the most to gain because it's such an effective tool for working with trauma and working with personal empowerment. Yeah, it is, it absolutely is. And this is yeah, this is a real, you know, so I trained as a phoenix rising yoga therapist. And I've done one on one yoga therapy work. And I have seen cases where in group practice people have to dissociate. Because what they experienced when they start to turn their attention towards their body instantly becomes overwhelming. And so being able to opt out and really setting an establishing that when I say you don't have to practice if you're required to be here, and usually, we, you know, try to have our practices voluntary. If they're not voluntary, always set it up and say, however, you need to show up today if you would like to just lie on your mat. You're welcome to do that. You don't have to practice along of course, I'd love you to give it a try. But don't Don't. Don't feel like you have to do this. Because recognizing that even bringing awareness into the body if you're holding significant trauma can be overwhelming and eating to have a really careful container so that you can titrate that if that's the type of so it's like, maybe I want to dip a toe in. And then it's like, let's, let's pull back and let's process that. Let's talk about that. And so...
Can I ask you, yeah, how does that show up as a teacher? Like, what does that look like in our Yeah, in the way we teach and share?
Bill Brown 12:24:53
So. So I was teaching at a Recovery Center, I was, you know, and so we I was facilitating a group practice at a recovery center. And I had a guy who would come into the room, and I would give that option to opt out, and he would, you know, check his watch during practice, and he just didn't really practice along. And one day, I came in early, and I, you know, and I just asked him, I said, Hey, what do you guys do before this? And he's telling me, he goes, this group, that group, individual therapy, etc, etc. And, and he said, so by the time I get here, I'm just, you know, I'm done. I'm like, that's, that's cool, no sweat. And of course, as a teacher, I'm thinking, Well, I'm terrible. And he's bored, and it's my fault. And so then we get we, this is the way I had been thinking and managing that and recognizing that's probably my own insecurities, as a facilitator. And then after we chatted for a little bit more, he says, You know, I gave it a try the first time and he said, You know, it's like, when he said, you know, notice what's happening in your body, I started to feel sick, started to feel ill nauseous. So I had to stop. And then another bit of conversation, and he says, You know, I know that this is what's keeping me stuck in my recovery and want to add, like, whatever it is that's going on in my body that I can't address is what's blocking me? And I said, Well, why don't we come in for one on one session? And in that one on one session, we were able to just simply experiment with, I asked him, I said, you know, it might be triggering just to be sitting here with me. And he says, yeah, it is. And I said, Well, what do you notice about this that's different than other situations? And he says, Well, I have my shoes off, never have my shoes off. And I'm like, tell me more about having your shoes off. And he says, Well, I can feel the carpet underneath my feet. Okay, I've got something to work with. I'm like, Well, what, how about stepping on this blanket. And then, you know, notice the sensation of you're standing on the blanket, and then notice standing on this cushion. And then I had thrown down a fuzzy blanket. And he steps on the blanket, and he says, feminine. Tell me more about feminine. And immediately he goes in on his relationship with his mother and the sensation of where the anger was held in his body that he experienced as a, like a white hot searing rock lodged underneath his abdomen. But then, immediately, it's like, then this is too much. Okay, we'll come back to the room. And we'll process that. So what did you notice about that? What was it and then we can talk about that. So it was in that space, just exploring little different emotions or sensations that he's experiencing that ultimately leads him into, like, where this block is being held? And then from there, it's like, okay, well, there's this white hot coal underneath your abdomen here. Where is it? Cool. What's the part? What's a part of your body? That's cool. And so we start to find, oh, well, then over here on this shoulder, I feel coolness. And so we can work between those two parts. And rather than it becoming an all encompassing experience, it becomes something that is located and you can just I mean, and it's a really client directed process.
Well, that sounds like Phoenix Rising yoga therapy, but I'm just realizing yoga therapy. What about for group yoga teachers? Like if you have some tips?
Unknown Speaker 12:28:39
Yep, yep, exactly. So then. So then making that, you know, taking that into generalized space, like recognizing that if somebody is opting out, let them opt out, make give them permission to opt out and say, you know, if any, if, if you're, if you start to feel overwhelmed during this practice, you can take a pause, come into a neutral position, and maybe even you want to find something in the room that you can focus on, that's not your body. So like there's this plant over here and that kind of catches my eye and makes me feel calm and relaxed. So...
I just want to stop it's amazing that important that is just like right there because I do think that we we tend to like, feel like going in and going and going in is always good, you know and like more and more I think more is better. You know, like, that's, that's kind of the maybe Western approach. And I just feel like that's maybe the biggest mistake we make as yoga teachers is thinking more is better. Yeah, so often in yoga, the subtle is powerful to ability to stop, like you said, to find our boundaries, to know ourselves enough to say, I don't like that, or I don't want to do that. That's so powerful. I love that I love when students stop. You know, I love when I'm teaching something in a group, and then someone does something different. Like, that's exciting to me.
Bill Brown 12:29:59
It's, yeah, I love that. Oh, yeah. And so and, and there, it is, like, how do you start to give, how do you start to give that permission to explore around what I'm feeling in my body. Now, if somebody has heavy dissociation, and they're not used to moving their body and everything, it's often good to give some structures like, you might try extending your arms straight out in front of you, or alongside your ears. And in fact, if you don't know which way you want your arms to be, give it a try both ways. And maybe you experiment between these two variations. And then eventually, as you're working with a group, you know, they start to, to, like, you'll see people sticking their arms out of their sight, or maybe even reaching their arms behind them, because they're curious about it now, and and that now, they're, they're in to their, their own teacher, because it's our own awareness and our own and curiosity and our own exploration that is ultimately going to be, you know, our highest authority, and we're going to know ourselves through that process, not through me saying, you know, do this, extend your arms straight up in the air alongside your ears? Because that's the way it is our said to do it.
Or not, no, I know, but it's just, it's just such a there's like a top down understanding of teaching that I think it's true that we need to get people skills, but in the end, those skills are actually being used to become sensitive to what they want, what they need to become their own teacher, is what you said, I think that's so powerful. Yeah. Yeah. That, to me, that's really advanced yoga is that ability to be able to decide what you need in that moment.
Bill Brown 12:31:45
Yeah, because ultimately, I'm not going to be there, we're not going to be in the whatever the yoga room is not going to have a man we're not going to have like, it's like it is our own internal resources that when we get the news that our mother's passed, or when we find out that we're losing our job, or when somebody bumps into us in the chow line, you know, that's when our own ability to recognize what's happening in our body, say, oh, here it is, and I need to breathe, or I need to bring my awareness down to my feet. Maybe I need to walk away and go push on a wall. Because I wanted to punch that guy, but I'm not going to. But I'm going to get that energy out of my body by pushing on this wall and using my arms in that way.
Yeah, that's great. I love that. I mean, you know, like, there are so many useful tools in the practice that can make our lives more. I don't know, like what we want, you know, rather than becoming victims of external situations, victims of our own reaction, you know, it's almost like we, the body has learned to survive in a certain way, and then we end up becoming a victim of that, because it may not be working.
Unknown Speaker 12:33:00
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And that to me, you know, like, you know, just getting into the yoga Sutras, you know, you know, yoga 's, like hot yoga, Citta Vritti Nirodha I feel like I got one of those. Yeah, that that variety that patterning, you know, that like, when we have an external experience, then all of a sudden, whoosh, you know, we're carried away with it, if we can find the wash and figure out what's going on with the wash experience at first, and then say, Oh, I don't have to be swept along with this, you know, like, maybe, maybe I was bullied, and maybe my way of handling that was to punch back. And that's what ultimately led me to this place. But I can start to see, you know, maybe there's a different way, freeing ourselves up that
Right, and that quote, I mean, yoga citta vritti nirodha from the sutras is actually so powerful, because what yoga, what yoga is about is yes, it's about quieting the mind, which is what that sutra says. But then the next day to actually says, Then you abide in your true nature. And I think that's what's so amazing about yoga is like, it's not that you have to consciously do something else to be happy, but literally just being able to be with yourself to be a little more peaceful. will bring about, you know, a deeper connection with yourself like we have that within us. We all have that, that joy, and that peace, that spirit inside. And so yoga is about uncovering what's in the way.
Bill Brown 12:34:43
Yeah, the way I like to think of it from like a neuroscience perspective, you know, we have experience, we've got this sensory apparatus that then the information from our senses gets passed over to the hypothalamus. And all of that gets passed to the amygdala. And the amygdala is that survival process that that evolved so long before our conscious minds did. And it is going to be, the body is going to start moving before the image of whatever is happening forms in our mind, right? So there's that fear based survival based, immediate habituation that has kept us around for the aeons that it took for us to evolve to be in this place. But then there's this other part, right? The higher neocortex part of our minds that are more about rational decision making, and connection, and love, and feelings of compassion and caring for one another. So if we can manage what's happening in that fear based part of our brain through applying these yoga practices, and not get caught up in the habituation, what remains is love and connection, and you don't have to get it don't have to cultivate that. It's there. That's what emerges when when we can manage the fear.
That's awesome. Well, thank you. I don't know if you have more you want to share? Up there, that was very, yeah, people can find out more about prison yoga project. On your website, I'll put we'll have the notes, while links in the notes to that, and to the work that you're doing. Thank you so much. And I don't know if you had anything else you want to share about it. Before we go.
Bill Brown 12:36:41
There is more to say than there is I think minutes in a day. And I think that feels good enough for ending on letting go of fear and moving into love and connection. I think that's a good place to
Yeah, that's a good place. Thanks for joining us for the accessible yoga podcast. We're so grateful to be in community with you.
Amber Karnes 12:37:05
Please check out our website accessible yoga.org To find out more about our upcoming programs, including our annual accessible yoga conference. At our website. You can also learn more about how to become an accessible yoga ambassador and support the work that we're doing in the world.
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Amber Karnes 12:37:24
You can also submit a question or suggest a topic or potential guests you'd like a CIT interview at accessible yoga.org See you next time.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai