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Germany: University students learn about 'brain, research, and yoga'
by Global Good News staff writer
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22 November 2011
Dr Fred Travis, leading scientist and Director of the Center for Brain, Consciousness, and Cognition at Maharishi University of Management, recently returned from a lecture tour in Germany. While there, he spoke at universities in nine cities around the country.
In Tübingen, Dr Travis spoke to the Sports Science department at Tübingen University. His speech was entitled 'Brain, Research, and Yoga' and focused on contrasting yoga asanas and exercise.
Together, Dr Travis and the audience looked at the research on what exercise provides and what yoga provides.
He then asked, 'What is yoga?' and explained about the three categories of meditation: focused attention, automatic self-transcending, and open monitoring. The automatic self-transcending category includes the Transcendental Meditation Technique.
The audience asked why Dr Travis was just focusing on one type of yoga when there are so many.
'I mentioned that we're focusing on the state as described by Patanjali (in the Yoga Sutras), the state of ''complete settling of the activity of the mind'',' Dr Travis said. The students began to understand 'that we're trying to cut across individual systems to get at more fundamental values of life and of experience, and that is the experience of the least excited state of awareness, the experience which dawns when the mind transcends'.
The next morning Dr Travis discussed potential areas of collaborative research with faculty. One topic was the verse in chapter two of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras which states, 'With the cessation of effort, unboundedness dawns.'
An idea of mutual interest was to look at brain activity in the silent state in the midst of performing yoga asanas, while holding a pose without effort; and compare that state to transcendence, Dr Travis said.
There was also appreciation for 'the sociological aspects of meditation', Dr Travis said—that practising in a group with other people who are transcending can create a much more powerful effect, both for the individual and for the society.
∙ Universities across Germany welcome brain research expert Dr Fred Travis
∙ Germany: Dr Fred Travis speaks at Munster University about creativity and the brain
Global Good News will continue to report on Dr Travis's tour.
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