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Neurobiology of Yoga

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This course will provide you with the latest scientific understanding of the brain mechanisms by which self-transformation is possible through a yoga practice. Contributions from core components of yoga practice, including postures, breath regulation, ethics, and meditation, are all described in a comprehensive conceptual model supported by underlying neurobiological processes. Neuroplasticity, brain networks of self-processing, is described as a result of continued practice – contributing to adaptive mental habits and management of stress. The course concludes with summarizing four primary factors that contribute to self-transformation, including an emphasis on body awareness (interoception), perceptual inference, neurovisceral integration, and increased inhibitory control over cognitive, emotional, autonomic, and behavioral output.

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What Will I Learn?

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Required Tools

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Course Features

  • Course length: approximately 1 hour in duration
  • An online quiz with a downloadable certificate of completion
  • 1 hour of Teacher Training credit for those enrolled in the Yoga Medicine  500hr or 1000hr program
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Course Outcomes

About The Teacher

David Vago is research director of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine and director of the Contemplative Neuroscience and Integrative Medicine (CNIM) Laboratory at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He is an associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Department of Psychiatry. He is also a research associate in the Functional Neuroimaging Laboratory (FNL), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School. He has completed post-doctoral fellowships in neuroimaging and mind-body medicine, as well as the Stuart T. Hauser Research Training Program in Biological & Social Psychiatry. David has previously held the position of Senior Research Coordinator for the Mind & Life Institute and is currently a Mind and Life Fellow, supporting the Mind and Life mission by advising on strategy and programs. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences in 1997 from the University of Rochester. In 2005, David received his Ph.D. in Cognitive and Neural Sciences with a specialization in learning and memory from the Department of Psychology, University of Utah.


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