Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TLS, ITP, and the Yogas

Written after attending a class whose purpose is to impart the skills of mindfulness (as a proven method of stress management) to youth in schools.


In a Church in downtown Oakland, a group of
40 educators and students stand 
together,
and begin an

(A)
action: swinging arms and hips in the simplest twist from side to side.


Following directions from our class leader, BK Bidyut Bose, 
we make a "puff" to each side, 

(B)
breathing consciously as we move.

After ten rotations, we "relax and release" looking down at the floor or closing our eyes.

Then we check our 

(C) 
centering, rocking forward and back.

The effect is measurable and immediate, with a large majority of the class moving to a calmer, less anxious, more focused state of body and mind.


In those moments, we learned a skill -- a set of behaviors, often using tools, 
that delivers an outcome. Like cooking or shooting hoops, this series of 
action-breathing-centering (ABCs) has results. 

Of all the skills we can learn, some are life skills -- those that support and advance our growth, like healthy eating. Transformative life skills are those that, when practiced consistently over the long term, can change our lives for the better. BK Bose teaches only Transformative Life Skills, TLS for short.


TLS is a curriculum.

In 48 lessons, the exercises of moving meditation, rhythmic breathing, and silent centering convey the basics of the skill of mindfulness, also known as concentration. And when a student gains skill in concentration, it has been shown to have an immense positive effect on learning ability.

When transformative life skills, the ABC's of moving, breath, and stillness, are
incorporated into everyday life along with practices designed to improve health
and connectedness (vigorous exercise, conscious eating, compassionate action),
the transformative skills can become integrated into a daily practice. Such an
integrated daily practice, especially when it supports a code of ethics designed
to refrain from harming others, shapes the body and mind, strengthening the
heart and releasing the sacred imagination.

This lifestyle has been called integral transformative practice, and the term, when capitalized (ITP for short), is an object of study and mastery for people who want to lead a fuller life.

TLS and ITP fall into a class of practice, in the broadest sense, that might be
called called "the Yogas"-- not just the repetition of poses and striving for
physical mastery in the flow, but a complete folding of mindfulness into life.

To be a Yoga, a set of practices would need to meet certain criteria: 
  • incorporate a flow of movement, practiced regularly with benefit to physical well-being
  • attend to breath and notice the relationship between breathing patterns and emotional state or mood
  • bring mental focus to bear upon consciously experiencing each and every moment
  • completely, dwelling less in thoughts of past or plans for future than in the here and now connect to self and then to others in a dynamic process of deepening life
  • skills and wisdom



1 comment:

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