Yoga, in its original form, was created as a science for liberation. In modern times, it is used by many for improving physical and mental health, helping us become more productive at work, more caring in relationships, and more responsible contributors to society and inhabitants of this planet. If yoga does accomplish all that—and many practitioners have experienced this to be true in their own lives—how exactly does yoga do it? How does yoga work?
On today’s Broken Brain Podcast, our host, Dhru, talks to Eddie Stern, a yoga teacher, author, and lecturer based in Brooklyn, New York. He is known for his multidisciplinary approach to furthering education and access to yoga, as well as his teaching expertise in Ashtanga Yoga. He most recently created The Breathing App, which guides the user in a paced breathing exercise that balances the nervous system, improves sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. His book, One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How It Can Transform Your Life was just released.
In this episode, Dhru and Eddie talk about what makes yoga such an effective practice from a neurophysiological perspective, and how transcendence is wired into our biology. They talk about the mechanics beneath the surface of our bodies and how we can consciously use yogic practices to direct and change our lives in positive ways. They also discuss how what we do—from postures to meditation, from breathing techniques to chanting and to ethical practices—affects who we become, and how a steady routine of activities and attitudes can transform our bodies, our brain functions, our emotions, and our experience of life.
In this episode, we dive into:
- Why Eddie left his job and went to India to study yoga (3:31)
- How Eddie met his yoga teacher and the lessons he learned (11:23)
- Scientific studies to support the benefits of yoga (17:17)
- What yoga is doing on a neurophysiological level (22:35
- The Polyvagal Theory and how the vagus nerve affects our brain chemistry (23:28)
- Neural exercises and how they promote self-regulation, resilience, and social connectedness (29:54)
- The purpose of yoga (44:56)
- The connection between consciousness and our biology (62:51)
- The Yoga and Science Conference (79:28)
- The Breathing App and resonance breathing (86:34)
- Learn more about Eddie and his work (96:12)
I know you’ll love this episode of The Broken Brain Podcast as much as I did.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
PS – For more on Eddie Stern, be sure to follow him on Instagram @eddiestern. Check out his website https://eddiestern.com, and learn about The Breathing App, here. You can find his new book, One Simple Thing: A New Look at the Science of Yoga and How It Can Transform Your Life, right here. Lastly, learn more about the Yoga and Science Conference http://yogaandscience.org, and the Urban Yogis Program he co-created with Deepak Chopra and Erica Ford http://www.urbanyogis.org.