A little about the nervous system

WITH YOU, I BREATHE: A forty day yoga column

#15: A little about the nervous system

For my yoga teacher training, I’m supposed to write about difference between the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system. I started doing research and realized I was looking at the details, without understanding the broader picture, really.

What I want to write about today is the nervous system, in an attempt to understand it. The nervous system is divided into two parts: The central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS). The brain and the spine make up the central nervous system, and ganglia and nerves outside the brain and spine make up the peripheral nervous system. The peripheral system is then divided into two parts: the somatic system and the autonomic system, and the the autonomic system is divided into two more parts: the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system.

That is the broad picture of the nervous system and, in the details, I found the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system. Tomorrow I will write about how the parasympathetic nervous system and sympathetic nervous system and how they relate to yoga, but now I’m going to call my brother who is a genius when it comes to science. I’m going to ask him to explain the nervous system in a way I can really understand.

I used to do this in high school. I would call him up, because I was failing chemistry and he was majoring in Chemistry at NYU. They offered him a full scholarship at NYU to do so. I’d call him up and tell him, I don’t understand how to breakdown any of these equations or what is going on. He’d patiently guide me through the process.

The other day my brother told me he saw hawks, and they flew so low, he felt amazed.  I believe in signs and meanings, I believe in spirit animals and power animals.  My brother believes in facts. He started to explain that the reason hawks were flying so close had to do with air channels. I listened and vaguely understood. Of course he was right, of course I was right, too. Of course, right had nothing to do with the story.

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