Hardest Lessons Are the Simplest in "心理学 and Soul of Breathing" Class

图片由布拉德·利希滕斯坦提供.
雾中的西雅图天际线.

The professor questions his students from the floor, sitting cross-legged in the lotus position: "How are you holding your jaw? 你的嘴唇? 你的牙齿?

"What's happening in the space between your eyebrows?"

They are unusual questions, but then this is an unusual class. "心理学 and Soul of Breathing" is the newest offering from 布拉德年代. 利希滕斯坦, ND,巴斯提尔学院的核心教员 咨询和健康心理学系. 这门课程是个人旅程的一部分, part study in spiritual traditions and part physiological exploration of the most elemental of body functions, 呼吸.

It's meant to help students grow in their own self-awareness. It also trains them to be health professionals who can guide patients in 呼吸 practices. 类 illustrates the unique approach of Bastyr's 健康心理学课程它不仅利用了科学,也利用了灵性.

"We're not just interested in learning about the pathology and disease-based model of psychology,博士说. 利希滕斯坦, who has a private practice as a therapist, wellness coach and yoga trainer. "We're interested in how mind, body and spirit all lead to health. I think we round it out even more by giving room for experiential work here at Bastyr, 明白个人成长是很重要的."

The focus on experiential learning is clear right away. 在最近一节课的开始, 学生们在地板上展开毯子和垫子, 分享零食,轻声谈论他们的周数. iPod底座可以播放轻柔的西塔琴音乐. Dr. 利希滕斯坦 rings a bell to begin and invites everyone to notice their 的姿势.

"We're not trying to adjust your 的姿势 right now," he says. “注意你的姿势."

他认为,UC8体育首页太急于控制自己的身体了. 他对生物反馈有浓厚的兴趣, the process of becoming aware of physiological functions with the goal of manipulating them. The first step is simply to pay attention to things like breath, 的姿势, 心率, 出汗和肌肉紧张. From there, it becomes possible to make changes — Dr. 利希滕斯坦 prefers the term "regulate" to "control."

"I'm interested in what we can do to help our health without anything else," he says. “呼吸是免费的. 姿势是免费的. 冥想是免费的. You're not using anything else, not even a supplement or a plant."

布拉德·利希滕斯坦三年了, he conducted research on the impact of meditation in end-of-life care, 指导临终关怀病人的呼吸课程. Patients taking morphine for pain felt their discomfort disappear as meditation changed their 呼吸. Other patients learned to lower their blood pressure through 呼吸 practices.

但要让这些改变永久化需要练习. 很多. 这就是博士. 列支敦士登试图给他的学生留下深刻印象.

“幸福, 和平, 平静, tranquility — these things are like riding a unicycle or becoming a concert pianist,他告诉他们.

换句话说,它们需要训练. 类, 对所有巴斯蒂尔学生开放, gives students a sense of what it requires to develop those qualities. 学生 keep a 呼吸 journal and are expected to practice exercises every day. They receive lessons in physiology and in religious traditions that have developed breath practices. Many of them are Hindu and Buddhist practices — like pranayama and vipassana meditation — but the class also covers lessons from Taoism and Jewish and Christian mysticism.

Dr. 利希滕斯坦 notes that nearly all religions have developed contemplative practices. (Studies have measured how praying the Catholic rosary slows 呼吸 and 心率s.) Religions teach that we are embodied creatures who learn by practice — by doing. That's a lesson that applies to anyone, regardless of religion, Dr. 利希滕斯坦说.

"With any breath work, we're trying to neurologically rewire you," he says. "No matter what it is — if you breathe in the chest, if you take too long of an inhale or exhale — our nervous system gets conditioned to breathe a certain way."

He wants students to practice breath work daily so they can appreciate what they'll be asking patients to do some day. If they decide they're too busy with studies for meditation, what will they tell patients who are single working mothers?

希瑟洪水, 自然疗法医学的三年级学生 in the class, says the daily practices are helpful in learning how much discipline meditation requires.

"It's easy to tell a patient 'go do this,'" she says. "It's completely another thing go actually do it yourself."

She took the class to learn new methods she can offer to future patients. 莎拉·苏Burich, 自然疗法医学的三年级学生, says she hopes to use these techniques in her practice as well. 目前,博士. 利希滕斯坦’s class is a way for her to slow down during the demands of the school year, she says.

"In every class of his that I've been in, there's been a sense of community," Burich says. “这让我想,‘这是一件特别的事情.'"

Burich still finds it difficult to sit still for 30 minutes, so she uses her bicycle rides home to practice intentional 呼吸.

The single most valuable 呼吸 skill is to learn to breathe from the diaphragm instead of the chest, 博士说. 利希滕斯坦.

"It's so easy to learn and so incredibly difficult to practice," he says. "The exciting thing about breath is that it's under both voluntary and involuntary control. 感谢上帝,这一切无需UC8体育首页思考. 但UC8体育首页也可以修改它. When we turn our attention to it, most of the time we change it. So how do we learn to observe it without trying to control it?

"One of the messages of this class is that we always try to control everything. That's not doing such a great service for ourselves."

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