scienceandmagicofficial_83342431_472136890408416_8931037077481428268_n (1)

Brilliant Brain

Workshop
1 1

INTRO:

Hi everyone, my name is Amanda Leaveck and I’m the host and creator of this course! I wanted to take a few moments to introduce myself.

My love for the human body began during my college career where I graduated with a B.S. in neuroscience and a minor in dance. In addition to my college background in neuroscience, I graduated from the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration in 2017, where I focused on the integral relationship between connective tissue and the nervous system. 

Through formal education, independent studies, hands-on work with clients, and over a decade of teaching yoga and dance, I developed a deep understanding of the profound effects that our thoughts and emotions have on our chemistry and our lives.  I have experienced the detrimental effects of living in a state of chronic stress in my own life, and am passionate about guiding people towards discovering their own unique paths towards homeostasis, or balance. 

While it’s important to understand science, I believe it’s even more important to maintain a sense of reverence for what we don’t know. That’s where ‘magic’ comes in. Essentially, I’m a brain geek who deeply honors the inherent mystery, intelligence, and magic that lies within our brilliant human bodies.

I hope you enjoy this course, it is designed to take you through a tour of your nervous system so that you feel more ease in your body and your life.


PACE

This will look different for everyone. Feel free to move at your own pace through each module, as you will have access to the course for 8 months. I suggest spending at least a full month with each module, moving in the following weekly flow. Please keep in mind that this format is simply suggestion – if a different order/pace is working better for you, definitely do that instead!

Week 1: LEARN 

Week 2: REFLECT

Week 3: APPLY

Week 4: INTEGRATE


YOGA ORIENTATION

Please review the following information before taking your first class!  Remember, if you want some guidance in your yoga practice, feel free to schedule a private session (virtual or in person) with me here.


LET’S BEGIN!

MODULE 1: STRESS RESILIENCY

It is unrealistic to think that we can cut every single stressor out of our life. 

I mean, would we even want that? Healthy stress can actually help us grow! Our brilliant human bodies have evolved in extremely intelligent ways to be able to respond to life threatening stressors effectively and quickly! However, in our modern day society we are constantly faced with a constant influx of small stressors (ie. emails, negative thought patterns, deadlines, etc) with no time for recovery. Our bodies haven’t evolved yet to effectively respond to this type of stress in a healthy way. We can choose to fall victim to the hormones of stress, or we can take steps to understand their influence within us and find ways to consciously interact with them. We can learn to adapt in the face of adversity. We can build resilience.


SUGGESTED FLOW

Week 1: LEARN (Lesson + Review) – I suggest completing the review immediately after the lesson, as this will help seal the information into your neural pathways. Set aside a 1-2 hour chunk of time to focus on this content.

Week 2: REFLECT – set aside an hour of time to fill out the Stress Resiliency Reflection guide (except for questions #3 & 4) and the Stress Resiliency Activity. You could also split it into several days and complete one question every day. You’ll probably end up completing the Stress Resiliency Activity slowly throughout the week, writing down stressors as they present themselves to you.

Week 3: APPLY – Complete Stress Resiliency Meditation 1x a day, either upon waking or before bed, for a full week. Review the content from Week 1 by re-watching the Lesson and reading through your notes in the Review Guide.

Week 4: INTEGRATE – Set aside 3-5x to practice the Stress Resiliency yoga class. Schedule these classes into your routine and stay committed to your practice! At the end of the week, use the Stress Resiliency Toolkit to create a daily plan (questions #3 & 4 of the Stress Resiliency Reflection Guide) that will help you build stress resiliency into your daily schedule moving forward.


LEARN

This lesson offers a general overview of the nervous system, as well as talks about the biological cascade of hormones referred to as the stress response. The material is dense – there is a lot packed into 25 minutes!! Rather than listen as you are doing something (driving, cleaning, etc), I would sit down with this one and take notes. Pay attention to the diagrams. Pause, rewind, and rewatch as needed. When you are finished, you should have a solid general understanding of terms related to the nervous system: neural pathways, cortisol, adrenal glands, etc, as well as a whole new understanding of what stress actually looks like on a biological level.

Use the review guide and suggested reading to help support you in your learning process:

Suggested Reading: The Physiology of Chronic Stress


REFLECT

Now that you’ve learned about the stress response, it’s time to reflect on how the information applies to your every day life. Complete the following reflection guide, and know that your answers may change and grow throughout the next week or so as you reflect on your stressors throughout each day. Please wait to fill out #3 and #4 under ‘Taking Action’ until you move into the APPLY content for this course.

Complete the activity slowly throughout the next week, adding to it little by little. A lot of building stress resiliency is simply becoming aware of what stresses us out, whether it’s certain relationships, thought patterns, environmental pollution, etc. When we create more awareness around our internal and external stressors, we can take appropriate action to either make changes or build resiliency.

This may include:

1) Take action so that a stressor is no longer in your life

2) Minimize the amount of exposure you have to a stressor

3) If neither option above is possible, you can build awareness so that when you are exposed to a stressor, you don’t become absorbed in the stress response. You can rise above your triggers. I call this courageous consciousness, which actually does wonders for our health!

Step one is knowing what we stressors we are working with, and understanding what it feels like in our body when we experience them.


APPLY

2 -MEDITATE

For the next week, incorporate this meditation into your daily routine. It’s only 8 minutes! Meditating is a great way to start your day, so morning is ideal. However, this would also be the perfect midday break – whether in your break room with your ear buds, in your car (parked, of course) before you go into an important meeting, or outside in your backyard after a long work day before you spend quality time with your family.

MEDITATION

2- BREATH EXERCISE

Dirga Pranayama is a three part breath that does wonders for activating the parasympathetic nervous system and evoking presence. I suggest doing this breathing exercise before or after your daily meditation!

Notice how you feel before the exercise, and after. Feel your heart beat, experience the movement of your breath, and notice areas of tension in your body, etc. Note how these sensations change.


INTEGRATE

1 – YOGA CLASS

I would suggest working this yoga class into your schedule at least 3 times a week for the next 2 weeks. I’ve found that set sequences can do wonders for the nervous system – they help ground us in many ways. As a society, we are always looking for the most new and flashy class, product, information, etc. The beauty of dedicating yourself to a set sequence is that you can grow with the postures. Not only will you deepen your physical practice over time, but you’ll find that you don’t have to think as hard to move through the sequence. As your body becomes more and more familiar with the movements and the postures, you will be able to enter more deeply into a flow state, a way of being that is intuitive and deeply present.

So, set a schedule for yourself right now. Establish 3 pockets of time throughout the next week that you’ll be able to dedicate to an at home yoga practice. Make sure you actually write them the into your schedule, rather than just let it be an idea in your head. Are you super busy? Make it work. Wake up an hour earlier. Reschedule a meeting. Move your schedule around so that you prioritize your own wellbeing before anything else.

Lastly, determine a practice space. Where will you practice? If it’s in your home, make sure it’s quiet and without interruption. Maybe you need to take the computer outside and practice under the sun! If there are too many distractions in your home, maybe you need to find some other place to practice – book your favorite studio at your gym. Ask your friend to lend you her spare bedroom. Plan ahead so that when the time comes, you can slide right into your practice without the roadblocks.

Please note, actually applying the information we’ve learned is incredibly important – change and growth won’t happen without doing so. If you want, feel free to rewatch the presentation before you take class! I find that learning something intellectually, then physically experiencing it a very effective way to absorb new concepts.

If you would like music with this yoga class, start the following playlist at the same time the class starts in the video. Adjust volume as needed!

2 – CREATE A CUSTOMIZED PLAN

Now that you’ve experienced the benefits of yoga, meditation, and breath work, it’s time to create a customized plan for yourself moving forward. Take the next week or two and implement your plan.

The following toolkit lists a variety of yoga postures and breathing exercises for you to choose from as you build your plans. If you don’t know what the yoga postures look like, feel free to look them up on online or book a private session with me! Please note, your plan might contain activities that are not listed in the toolkit – there are trillions of different ways that our neurons link up, hence, countless ways to soothe our system.

Other activities could include (but not limited to): epsom salt bath, hike, journaling, evening tea, running, sun gazing, etc, etc, etc. The list goes on and on and on!!!

Lastly, be specific. Just like scheduling in your weekly yoga classes and breathing exercises, make a tangible plan for yourself that is realistic. Write it down in your schedule. Most importantly – actually do it. Commit to it. If you need an accountability partner, find one. The change lies in actually DOING THE WORK. Carving out time for recovery and rest. Letting their be space in your schedule for your parasympathetic nervous system to express itself.


Congratulations on completing the Stress Resiliency Module!

What did you think?

Feel free to share your #brilliantbrainstory on the Science & Magic facebook page. We would love to hear how this work has helped you find more ease in your body, work, and life.

MODULE 2: HEART COHERENCE

Our heart is more than just an organ, it’s an expansive energy center.

There are more nerve connections between the heart and the brain than any other system in the body – in fact, 90% of these connecting fibers ascend from the heart up to the brain. These neural pathways are constantly sending signals that interact with the brains higher cognitive and emotional centers, and it has been scientifically proven that practicing positive emotions increases intuition and promotes creativity.

Did you know that your heart rate changes on a beat-to-beat basis, even when you are sleeping? Referred to as Heart Rate Variability (HRV), these beat-to-beat changes in heart rate have proven to be an effective indicator of physiological resilience and behavioral flexibility in humans. HRV is influenced by several things – breathing patterns, exercise, even our thoughts.

Fun fact: research shows that the most powerful factor that influences our heat’s changing rhythms are our emotions – how we are feeling. Furthermore, by intentionally generating positive emotions (aka, gratitude), we can positively influence the HRV of other people in the same room as us! Yes, this can actually be measured. Sounds like what people refer to as ‘energy’ or ‘vibes,’ huh?


SUGGESTED FLOW

Week 1: LEARN (Lesson + Review) – I suggest completing the review immediately after the lesson, as this will help seal the information into your neural pathways. Set aside a 1-2 hour chunk of time to focus on this content.

Week 2: REFLECT – set aside an hour of time to fill out the Heart Coherence Reflection guide. You could also split it into several days and complete one question every day.

Week 3: APPLY – Complete one of the Heart Coherence Meditations 1x a day, either upon waking or before bed, for a full week. Review the content from Week 1 by re-watching the Lesson and reading through your notes in the Review Guide.

Week 4: INTEGRATE – Set aside 3-5x to practice the Heart Coherence yoga class. Schedule these classes into your routine and do what you need to do to show up to your mat! Have a journal next to you to record anything that pops into your mind throughout your flow. Print out several copies of the Love Letter from Your Heart, and use them as guides for journaling and reflection for 5-10 min after each class. At the end of the week, use the Heart Coherence Toolkit to create a daily plan (on page 2 of the Heart Coherence Reflection Guide) that will help you build heart coherence on a regular basis.


LEARN


REFLECT

Take your time with this reflection. Spend a few moments breathing into your heart before answering each question. This is not about what your brain has to say, it’s about learning to listen to the natural intelligence of your heart. This is a skill that takes practice. As you write, imagine an energy flowing from your heart through your fingertips that is guiding your words. Keep your focus on your heart as your write. Save the second page for Week 4.


APPLY

1 – MEDITATE

I suggest doing either meditation once a day, whenever you need to build some coherence. This could be first thing in the morning, before bed, or even in the middle of your day!

Flowering Heart Meditation


INTEGRATE

1 – YOGA

Continue to build the skillset of listening to your heart by using this exercise. Make sure to set aside 5-10min of time after each yoga class to fill out the Love Letter from Your Heart. Your heart center will be activated after this class, so it’s a beautiful time time to let it talk to you.

This yoga sequence will soften the tissue around your chest, as well as build awareness around your heart area. Please note, a lot of emotions can arise from the heart, and not all of them are positive. You may feel things like grief, anger, sadness, etc during your flow. You may feel tears arise and not know why! In contrast, the class may be a blissful experience for you. Your emotions could also vary from class to class, changing each time you practice. Whatever arises, practice listening to it. Being with it. After class, use the Love Letter from Your Heart reflection to listen to the wisdom of your heart – the 40,000 neurons that process emotions independently of the brain. Most importantly, practice cultivating gratitude for everything that arises, not just the blissful emotions. Practice appreciating the challenges, too. Notice how they’ve strengthened you and helped you evolve into the person you are today.

If you would like music with this yoga class, start the following playlist at the same time the class starts in the video. Adjust volume as needed!

2 – CREATE A CUSTOMIZED PLAN

Now that you’ve experienced the benefits of connecting to your heart on a regular basis, it’s time to create a customized plan for yourself moving forward. Take the next week or two and implement your plan, using the yoga class and meditations as resources.

The following toolkit lists a variety of yoga postures and breathing exercises for you to choose from to build your plan. If you don’t know what the yoga postures look like, feel free to look them up on online or book a private session with me!

Lastly, be specific. Just like scheduling your weekly yoga classes and meditations, make a tangible plan for yourself that is realistic. Set a specific a period of time as a goal for you to implement this new schedule (I suggest a full month!). Write it down in your schedule. Most importantly – actually do it. Commit to it. If you need an accountability partner, find one. Neurological changes occur when we actually DO THE WORK.


Congratulations on completing the Heart Coherence Module!

What did you think?

Communal sharing is powerful. Feel free to share your #brilliantbrainstory on the Science & Magic facebook page. We would love to hear how this work has helped you find more ease in your body, work, and life.

MODULE 3: SUBCONSCIOUS PATTERNING

Scientific studies indicate that 95 percent of who we are by the time we are in our mid 30s is a series of subconscious patterns that have become automatic (aka, habits).

Habits are a redundant set of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that you acquire through frequent repetition.  This course will explore the biology behind how we develop our belief patterns, as well as present the different brain waves that are associated with our waking, subconscious, and sleeping states.


SUGGESTED FLOW

Week 1: LEARN (Lesson + Review) – I suggest completing the review immediately after the lesson, as this will help seal the information into your neural pathways. Set aside a 1-2 hour chunk of time to focus on the content.

Week 2: REFLECT – Spend time filling out the Subconscious Patterning Reflection Guide, either sitting down for a chunk of time or breaking it up into several bite sized pieces through the week.

Week 3: APPLY – Set aside 3-5x to practice the Subconscious Patterning yoga class. Each class is designed to explore a Schedule these classes into your routine and do what you need to do to show up to your mat! Work through the prompts to explore patterning. Have a journal next to you to record anything that pops into your mind throughout your flow.

Week 4: INTEGRATE


LEARN

Use the review guide and suggested reading to help support you in your learning process.

Supporting Article: Reimagining Vision Boards

Supporting Article: Brain Waves & Meditation


REFLECT

Take your time with this reflection. You can fill out some of the questions from It is suggested to fill it out immediately after yoga practice or meditation, when your brain wave frequency has slowed down enough to access memories stored in your subconscious.


APPLY & INTEGRATE

YOGA CLASS #1:

This class is designed to calm the system from overactive beta brain waves to slower frequency alpha brain waves through breath, yoga, and meditation and evoke awareness during the experience of survival emotions in order to consciously shift thoughts, behaviors, and perspective.

MODULE 4: CONSCIOUS CREATION

As human beings, we are all creators. It’s in our nature. It feels both good and natural to be creative. We are constantly contributing to our moment-to-moment experience through the power of our thoughts.

It’s not a matter of if we are creating, it’s a matter of what we are creating. Utilizing research from neuroplasticity, epigenetics, and quantum mechanics, this course will provide an opportunity to set intentions, reflect on those intentions, and work them into your subconscious programming.

When we think of creativity, we often imagine an exclusive group, a select few people who were born with natural talent.  We often think about images like a painter in front of an easel, a dancer eloquently moving their body on a stage, or even a poet at a typewriter, comprising new pieces of work for their upcoming book.  Artists are human beings who have tapped into a creative energy flow.  This creative energy is available to all of us and it expresses itself in different ways – not always just art.  It’s how entrepreneurs form businesses from nothing and how inventors ideate new ways of interacting with the world.  Creative energy is what urges to evolve within our career path and it’s what shifts our perspective so that we can approach and resolve obstacle and conflict within our lives.  Innovation, new ways of thinking, is in our blood as human beings. Life itself is constantly evolving.  Nature is creative, always growing, shifting, changing.  We are a part of nature so we, too, hold that momentum, that creative life energy within us. 

Creativity isn’t a skill set to be attained, it is a state of being that can be practiced. When we learn techniques to calm our bodies down, we can move out of a physiological state of survival and step into the energy of creativity.  We can foster our own inner genius.  Access our individual unique creator. 


SUGGESTED FLOW

Week 1: LEARN (Lesson + Review) – I suggest completing the review immediately after the lesson, as this will help seal the information into your neural pathways. Set aside a 1-2 hour chunk of time to focus on this content.

Week 2: REFLECT – take it one section at a time in the Conscious Creation Reflection Guide, maybe splitting it into 4 different days. I like to do my reflections in the mornings, so you could take a question or two each morning. Bite sized consistency is key!

Week 3: APPLY & REVIEW – Start your week by completing the Conscious Creation Activity. If you don’t yet know what you are trying to create, wait to fill it out. Information will come to you throughout your yoga practice. Set aside 3-5x you can practice the yoga class. Write these chunks of time into your schedule and make sure that you show up to your mat! Have a journal next to you to record anything that pops into your mind. This is your sacred time with your body. Complete the Conscious Creation Activity by the end of the week. It would also be a good time to review content from Week 1 by re-watching the Lesson and reading through your notes in the Review Guide. Remember, we learn through repetition!

Week 4: APPLY – Using the symbol you created from the Conscious Creation Activity, do the Conscious Creation meditation 1x a day for an entire week, either before bed or upon waking. If you really want to see change, commit to the meditation for a full month. It takes time to change our neural pathways!


LEARN

Use the review guide and suggested reading to help support you in your learning process.

Suggested Reading: Conscious Creation Through Neuroplasticity.


REFLECT

THOUGHTS: Sometimes, we know exactly what we want. Other times, our desires can feel distant and foggy. It can be easier to identify what we don’t want than it is to discover what we do want. That’s okay! Knowing what we don’t want can actually help clarify and guide us more effectively to the things that we want in our lives. If you are having a hard time discerning what you want, skip ahead to the yoga class. When we are able to slow down and get out of our ‘thinking’ mind, action steps that will lead us to our true heart’s desires want will pop into our minds without us having to search for them. I call these ‘downloads.’ While you are flowing through class, feel free to have a pen and paper out to capture these ‘downloads.’ It may take doing the class several times, but I promise you’ll feel them eventually. As you start to get into the energetic flow of creativity, you can come back to the Conscious Creation Activity.

EMOTIONS: Often times, we want to change our external conditions because we think we’ll feel better in doing so. For example, we may want more money because, on a subconscious level, money means more freedom. Or we may be seeking a relationship because when we are in one, we’ll feel loved and worthy. Creativity works best when we can step into the energetic resonance of the emotion we are seeking first, then let our desires flow to us.

Use the following activity to create clarity around what you want and why.

It’s important to know that our creations start in our thoughts. This is one of the reasons that mindfulness is such an important practice – when we learn to witness the thoughts we are thinking, we can start to build consciousness around the very start of our creations. Our creations come from a combination of thinking and feeling. Emotions are literally chemical reactions and energy frequencies with around our bodies. Cultivating awareness around how we are feeling can inform us about about what energetic frequency we are creating from.

Lastly, on a bigger picture level – we often think we want something based off desires that are ego-centered. Part of conscious creation is paying attention to the big picture. We do this through surrender. If we trust that our body contains that same intelligence that exists within nature and throughout the whole universe, we can let creation flow through us, to us. This is the sort of creation that is connected to a higher power, one that brings life not just to us, but to all living beings.


APPLY

1 – MEDITATE

Use the imagery from the symbol you created in the Conscious Creation activity in this meditation. I suggest doing this meditation once a day, either before bed or first thing in the morning for a month.

Conscious Creation Meditation by Amanda Leaveck

2 – YOGA CLASS

Creativity isn’t something that we strive for, it’s something that flows through us. To us. From within us. To feel creative, we have to be in a certain state of being. Think about it. When do you feel the most creative? Is it when you are stressed out? Rushed? Trying really hard? No. Most of us feel the most creative when we aren’t trying at all. Often, the best ideas come to us while we are a taking a shower, driving on the open road listening to our favorite music, lost in a daydream, exercising, having fun, hanging out with friends. The most genius ideas are often birthed when we aren’t searching for them.

Use this yoga sequence to help you get into a creative flow. Again, more you practice it, the more familiar you’ll become with it. The more you’ll be able to lose yourself in the flow. While moving through the sequence, practice expanding into the quantum field around you. Notice the space within and around your body. Practice feeling the emotions that you desire from your creations. Let this class raise your energy vibrations so that you can attract the experiences you desire.

If you would like music with this yoga class, start the following playlist at the same time the class starts in the video. Adjust volume as needed!


Congratulations on completing the Science & Magic Conscious Creation course! Feel free to share your #brilliantbrainstory on the Science & Magic facebook page. We would love to hear how this work has helped you find more ease in your body, work, and life.


COURSE REFLECTION

Congratulations, you are finished with the course!  Take some time to review and reflect on all that you have learned.


BECOME A MEMBER:

Want to continue your learning with this content?  Become a Science & Magic Member for only $11/month and enjoy thought-provoking wisdom, intentional yoga classes, and embodied learning experiences designed to sync your nervous system with the cycles of the earth, moon, and stars!


SHARE YOUR #BRILLIANTBRAINSTORY:

Communal sharing is powerful! If you feel inspired to share a testimonial with the broader community, please submit below. Please note that your submissions may be shared publicly on the website and/or Science & Magic social media. In addition to your submission, feel free to share your #brilliantbrainstory on the Science & Magic facebook page. We would love to hear how this work has helped you find more ease in your body, work, and life.

+ +