Monday, September 5, 2016
HOW YOGA AND PHYSIOLOGY OF THE BODY’S COGNITIVE PROCESSES CAN AID GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING
(Abstract of my paper for the National Conference on ‘Guidance and Counselling in India: Status, Trends, Practices and Innovations’ organized by Regional Institute of Education (National Council of Educational Research & Training), Mysuru, 16 - 18 November, 2016)
Knowledge is power; information is power. The hereditary knowledge/information stored in our DNA genes empowers the body’s cells to carry out all bodily activities that ensure our life, health and wellbeing. But as the food and nourishment that the cells need for maintaining their life and integrity has to be sourced from the environment, the body also requires information of the external world to enable it to get the nourishment. The body acquires this information from the experiences of its external sense organs and its tactile sensory receptors, or the sense of touch – “Learning is the acquisition and storage of information as a consequence of experience”. The information about the external world that we learn over a period of time influences the body’s motivation for behavior, and emotions. But, our behavior can become dysfunctional when this learned information has been inappropriate, and also because the mind – consciousness-faculty – is unable to take into account the body’s tactile learning while making decisions, because it is unaware of the tactile learning, which generally occurs implicitly – without our conscious awareness.
Ancient Indian sages had developed Bhagavad Gita’s Sankhya Yoga technique for consciously observing and learning from our own tactile sense experiences. The technique is called Vipassana by the Buddhists and “Mindfulness” in clinical psychology. Many PubMed Library articles have reported the efficacy of Mindfulness in alleviating not only stress but also the suffering associated with physical, psychosomatic and psychiatric disorders. A simple Sankhya Yoga technique has also been found to be highly effective in helping children with special needs and those diagnosed with learning disorders.
This paper details the physiology of the body’s cognitive processes – the body’s learning mechanism –and also explains the simple Sankhya Yoga technique, so that teachers and extension education workers can use it in the guidance and counselling of students.