Dana Slamp on the Nervous System, our Cartesian Worldview, and Yoga Therapy (#21)

About the Guest:

Dana Slamp is the Founder of Prema Yoga Therapeutics, an IAYT member school and the leading training facility for yoga therapists in NYC. She leads advanced teacher trainings at Pure Yoga in uptown New York, Yoga Vida in downtown New York, and Three Sisters Yoga in Portland, OR. Dana’s presented at Columbia Medical University, the Telluride Yoga Festival, and several times at the Yoga Journal Conference.

Dana’s unique upbringing in a family of ministers and teachers led to a lifelong pursuit of spiritual truth, first in the arts through classical acting and writing, through her legal writing as paralegal, and through the teachings of yoga over the past two decades. Prema Yoga Therapeutics’ training for yoga teachers and medical health care professionals can be found at prema-yoga.org. For a list of local classes as well as national courses and international retreats, please check our her personal teaching site at danaslamp.com.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Dana’s origin story begins in a conservative Christian church. Her father was a minister, and so her family was deeply engaged with spiritual pursuits and the arts.
  • Dana developed a tumor in her pituitary gland, which is a gland often associated with experiences of awakening and enlightenment.
  • How the means and paths to Truth are mistaken for the Truth. We bring this up in the context of a discussion about being raised in religion.
  • A return to mysticism in Christianity.
  • Integrating Eastern philosophy with Western medical developments.
  • Why an integrated approach to medicine is aided by a “new” philosophy around healing.
  • How the Cartesian view of the self has shaped our medical and physiological worldview.
  • You are not your pain.” The need for something like yoga to augment talk therapy as a way to liberate someone from their over-identification with the story they’re telling.
  • Down-regulating practices: In our nervous system, we have two sides –sympathetic nervous system (SNS) response (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which “downregulates” and “rests, digests, and heals” the body.
  • The Vagus nerve.
  • Krishnamacharya (the father of modern yoga) and the one-on-one, therapeutic approach to yoga.
  • Three types of yoga practiced in the West: exercise(vyayam), spiritual(upasana), and yoga medicine(chikitsa).
  • Healing is being whole (the word Healing comes from the old English hal).
  • Modern Western medical practitioners as generally being technically proficient but not proficient in preventative measures and embodied practices.
  • 75% of the prescription opiates on Earth are consumed by Americans.
  • Yoga Alliance’s decision to take away “yoga therapy” from its designations.
  • The Myth of Vishvamitra– Vishvamitra discovered the Gayatri mantra
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