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Posts Tagged ‘diaphragm’

“If I had to limit my advice on healthier living to just one tip, it would be simply
to learn how to breathe correctly.”
–   Andrew Weil, M.D.,

 This simple exercise can transform your life.  You can always control your emotional situations by consciously controlling your breathing.  Get in touch with breathing into your abdomen with full conscious awareness…..belly rising and belly falling.  Of all the relaxation methods I know, this is one of the most practical and certainly one of the most powerful.  This simple exercise can put you in control of the emotions and stresses in your life.  This is an exercise you can do anywhere.  You can be standing in front of hundreds of people and no one will know what you’re doing.  It’s unobtrusive.  So just get in touch with breathing through the nostrils down through the belly.  You don’t want to be breathing into your chest, you want to be directing the air down into your abdomen.

If you’re having trouble breathing into your belly, just arch your back a little, or place a pillow under your lower back.  This may help you open the ribcage making it easier to breathe into the abdomen.

When you’ve practiced this exercise lying down, try deep breathing, standing and sitting.  When you begin to read or do psychic work, you won’t be able to lie down to get yourself prepared.  You will need to breathe deeply and be relaxed in a sitting or standing position.

The very act of attending to your breath as it goes in and out of your nostrils will bring changes.  Without any effort on your part, your breathing will slow down and become more rhythmical.  As you watch it, you will see your breathing become more abdominal breathing.  This is the breathing of relaxation.

Abdominal breathing helps to discharge toxins from the body.  One area that will reap the benefits is your skin.  The skin is the largest organ in the body and helps to eliminate toxins from the body.  It also contains the richest source of ‘all’ the hormones found in the body.  Your skin is the body of your soul and the seat of your emotions.  One of the benefits of conscious breathing is healthy changes in the skin and its color and this also contributes to healthy aging.

Many of us when stressed become chest breathers.  What happens when we do this, we tighten our abdominal muscles creating a mild form of hyperventilation (discharging too much carbon dioxide from the blood).  This causes the heart to work harder.

Many of the restrictions in your breath come from muscles tightened in a holding pattern.  Our old tensions and pains cause us to move our muscles less.  Since our breathing needs an open space and flexible muscles, we gradually breathe less deeply.

“A significant number of people who say they have serious heart disease are almost certainly actually suffering from breathing disorders”.  SHELDON S. HENDLER, M.D.

 Remember we talked of the medulla oblongata in the last article?  It was mentioned this area at the back of neck feeds nerve energy to our five senses.  This tiny structure in the brain is also responsible for the tone and diameter of our arteries and the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood.  If the carbon dioxide/oxygen is imbalanced, our blood pressure is affected, usually causing hypertension a.k.a high blood pressure.

 Conscious breathing helps to manage our pain or even eliminate it.  When we hurt, we usually hold our breath, a major problem in dealing with pain.  Why we even hold our breath in anticipation of pain!  “But stopping the breath does lessen the pain” you say!  Yes, there is some truth to that, but it’s a short term solution.  Eventually we know we will have to breathe and face the pain.

I n these simple breathing techiques, you will be breathing into your nose and consciously directing the air into your abdomen.

 NOTE: All these exercises need to be done slowly and gently when you first start.  If you have never practiced deep breathing before you may end up feeling dizzy….this is caused from a buildup of too much carbon dioxide in your body and your body is making you breathe faster to get rid of it.  If at anytime you feel lightheaded or dizzy, stop and immediately and revert back to your normal breathing.  This will help ground your energy.

 HOW DO YOU BREATHE

 Most of us don’t know how to breathe deeply with the diaphragm.  This is a very simple exercise to help you see how you breathe.

“Stand in front of a mirror that shows you the top half of your body, down to your waist.  Take a deep breath in and notice if your shoulders lift as you do so.  Can you see them rising?  If you can, then you are doing what is called shallow breathing.  You are filling in the top half of your lungs but not the remainder.  Don’t worry if this is the case for you.  Remember, most people do not use their full lung capacity”. TARA WARD

 For psychic work you need to learn to use the diaphragm….

 TESTING YOUR DIAPHRAGM

“Stand in front of your mirror.  Place your hands over the lower part of your ribcage so that your middle fingers are just touching.  Now take a good, deep breath in.  Let your ribcage slowly and comfortably expand.

Have your fingertips moved apart just a little?  If they have you are learning to breathe deeply.  If they haven’t, breath out and then take a breath in again, but this time watch your shoulders and upper chest.  Are you rising again?  If so, remember that you are breathing only into the top of your lungs and not further down.

Focus on your lower ribcage again.  Don’t force your breath but simply imagine all the air coming in and going down into the lower part of your lungs.  Let your ribcage expand outward.  Are you fingertips moving just a little bit apart now?” TARA WARD

Practice for a few minutes, but if you feel dizzy, stop.  If you aren’t use to breathing deeply, you may feel a little light-headed for a minute.  Also, the process of trying too hard can be a strain.

EMPOWERED BREATHING – some simple techniques

 Before we begin, find a place you will not be interrupted or disturbed, wear loose or comfortable clothing (no belts), dim the lights, turn on soothing music if you’d like and lie down on your back and just get comfortable.  It is more important to be comfortable than to be correct.

 Now begin to breathe in through your nose and consciously direct the air down into your abdomen, so that as you breathe in your belly rises and your belly falls as you breathe out.  Do this with full concentration.  Guiding the air into your nostrils and directing it down into the bottom part of your lungs the bottom part of your abdomen so that your abdomen rises and falls with each breath.

You don’t want to be breathing into your chest, you want to consciously direct the air down into your belly.  So that as you inhale your belly rises and as you exhale your belly falls.  Do this with full concentration.  This is the breathing of relaxation.  This is the way a child breathes.  This is the way you used to breathe, so just get in touch with your birthright to breathe in a healthy and relaxed way.  Breathing in through your nostrils, always breathing in through your nose (the nose cleans, warms, dehumidifies the air)….. you can breathe out through your nose or your mouth whatever your preferences but always in through the nose.  Direct the air in through your nostrils, down into the bottom part of your lungs so that as you inhale, your belly rises and belly falls.  You don’t want to be breathing into your chest, you don’t want your chest to be moving at all.  Do this with concentration.

When we are tense our breathing is short and shallow, we feel it in our chest…when we are relaxed, our breathing is deep and easy, located in our belly.  Most people aren’t aware there is a direct relationship between our emotions and our breathing.  When we are tense, frightened or angry, our breathing is short, shallow and in our chest.  When we are relaxed our breathing is easy, deep and down into our abdomen….this is the breathing of relaxation.

 Most people aren’t aware that breathing is a natural rhythm, it’s with us from the moment we are born until the moment we die.  And just by consciously controlling our breathing we can start to consciously gain control of our emotional states.  When you breathe as if relaxed, you start to become relaxed.  And that is truly precious information.  Get in touch with that breathing.

 Breathe into your nose…consciously direct the air down into your abdomen, into your belly….let your belly expand out into a bit of a potbelly and continue to inhale, pushing out your ribs and filling your chest…so you fill your lungs right from the bottom to the top…a long slow deep breath…..filling your lumgs from bottom to top and as you breathe out..…just allow the relaxation to deepen….. Do this at your own pace breathing in through your nostrils, directing the air down into the bottom part of your lungs, into your belly….. let your belly expand…pushing out your ribs and filling your chest…..it’s just like an ascending wave  that’s fills your lungs from the bottom to the top…..and each time that you exhale, each time that you breathe out…this permits the relaxation to deepen.  Each time that you exhale….let go of more tension.

 Technique 2

The word relax in latin means ‘let go’.  So each time you exhale….allow yourself to let go of a little more muscle tension.  Do this with full concentration….breathing in through your nose, taking the air down into your abdomen,…letting your abdomen expand and filling your lungs from the bottom to the top….filling your whole torso from your hips right to your neck….a long slow deep breath that fills your lungs from bottom to top….each time that you breathe out….just allow that relaxation to deepen.  Do this with full concentration….in through the nose….into your belly, letting your belly expand and filling your lungs from bottom to top,,,slowly…consciously…fill your whole torso from hips to neck…each time that you exhale just permit the relaxation to go deeper…each time that you exhale just allow yourself to relax a bit more and give yourself the permission to enjoy.  Do that with full conscious awareness.  If your mind wanders, say ‘isn’t that interesting’, then bring it back, bring it back to your breathing, consciously filling your lungs from the bottom to the top….just like an ascending wave and each time you exhale….just allow the relaxation to go deeper.  This is an exercise you can do sitting at a desk, especially if your find your mind starting to race or feeling tense or stressed….sometimes just 3 or 4 minutes of this slow, low, complete breathing will help you to get rid of the tension of the day.  This is an exercise you can do while lying in bed.  If your have difficulty sleeping…..just a few minutes of slow, low deep breathing can help you to let go and relax.

 Technique 3

With this technique, breathe in through your nose and direct the air down into your abdomen, down into your belly to a slow count of 4….like one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four thousand….inhaling into abdomen with a slow count of 4 and holding your breath for the same count of 4…..and then breathe out in the same count of 4.  So you’re breathing into your nostrils…..directing the air down into your belly to the count of 4….holding your breath for the same count of 4 and then exhale for the same count of 4. And each time you breathe out, each time that you exhale, just allow the relaxation to grow deeper, as if you’re breathing out all the stored tension in your body, your mind and your emotions….so just let go with each exhalation…..do this with full concentration, in through the nose, directing the air into your belly at the count of 4,…..holding it for a count of 4…..and then breathing out with a count of 4.  Each time that you breathe out, just allow the relaxation to grow deeper…….if your mind wanders, say ‘isn’t that interesting….and return to your breathing…..when you feel comfortable doing it to a count of 4, increase it to a count of 5, or  7, or higher.  You just want to inhale to a count, hold it for roughly the same count and then breathing out with the same count.  And each time that you breathe out, just allow the relaxation to grow deeper.

This is an exercise you can do as you walk, you can inhale for let’s say for 8 steps, whatever’s comfortable… hold your breath for 8 steps and then exhale for 8 steps.  This is an exercise you can do as you drive, you will find if you do it as you drive, it will sharpen your concentration on your driving and you will arrive at your destination relaxed.

 Technique 4

 In this exercise you’re going to need enough room to stretch out your arms from your body.…you’re body will be in a  “T” formation.

Bring up your legs, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.  Place your arms straight out to the sides in a T-formation.  Rest your hands on their palms.  Practice your belly breathing….breathing deeply and fully into the abdomen and gently, slowly, breathing it out……now breathe in and arch the small of your back…at the same time roll your arms up until your hands rest on their backs….breathe out and slowly, gently roll your arms back down to the floor….until the palms are back where they started…..Feel the sensation of your chest opening and expanding, gently stretching and relaxing the muscles at the edge of your chest up near your shoulders.  Feel the muscles from your shoulders opening and stretching with each breath you take.  Practice for 10 or 15 minutes or until you feel a sense of ease in your body.

If you can do 15 minutes of conscious breathing each day, in just a few weeks your breathing will shift permanently into your lower abdomen.  The deeper you breathe into the center of your body, the more you’re whole body will participate in the process, restoring balance to your whole system.   You’ll feel calm and energized as this new energy breaks up old habits and patterns and flows freely, blissfuly through your body.

“And now I see with eye serene,
The very pulse of the machine.
A being breathing thoughtful breaths,
A traveler between life and death.”
–   William Wordsworth

Conscious breathing Links

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1608/is_10_19/ai_108838855/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDR9bdpZvJw

http://www.deeptrancenow.com/breathing.htm

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Breathing_to_reduce_stress

http://www.breathing.com/articles/diaphragmatic-breathing.htm

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“Your breathing is your greatest friend.  Return to it in all your troubles and you will find comfort and guidance.” Bernard Gunther

 “Every day, we breathe in and out about twenty-one thousand times, and approximately twenty-four hundred gallons of air go in and out of our lungs daily….more than enough to fill a water tank!  *The Medulla Oblongata,, located just above the spinal cord, orchestrates the respiratory cycle by activating the diaphragm.  This muscle contracts, allowing the thorax to modify its volume during inspiration and expiration.  The movement of breathing is automatic, but our brain can impose its will.  While we have no power to control our heart directly, we can learn to control our breathing perfectly well.  The most exceptional examples of this are yogis and deep-sea divers, who can hold their breath for more than five minutes, which is absolutely unthinkable for the average individual.  However, anyone can practice breathing, relaxation and yoga techniques that help us let go of tensions in the body and the mind.” Jean-Pierre Barral D.O.

Our breath is also the means through which we can access higher awareness…..the deeper and slower our breathing the better we can work at our intuitive and mental levels.    Your breath also serves as an instant hot line to God (Spirit, Divine, All That Is, Universal Life Force) when you feel depressed, frustrated, ill or have a moment to tune in.  There’s no need to put your problem/feelings into words, or formal requests.  All you have to do is lower your eyes, take a deep breath and immerse yourself in the air surrounding you….air charged with Divine Spiritual Energy.

 Breathing develops a direct link between mind and body, between spirit and psyche.  It helps us to focus by keeping our attention on the relationship between breath (outside) and body (inside).  It helps us to clear ourselves of earthly thoughts and problems….we vibrate with pure energy, connecting with cosmic and earth energies.

Breath, Spiritus, is a primal name of God (in Christian belief the third person of the Trinity).  The attention paid to physical breath or spiritus touches your spirit at the deepest part of your being.  Awareness of breathing takes you into a nameless place where Spirit touches spirit.  This is the power in every mystical tradition of breathing meditation.

  THE DIAPHRAGM

(part of this topic was adopted from a previous article on my blog called Techniques In Breaking Through Mental and Emotional Barriers)

 We all know that our bodies breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2).  Air passes through our nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, right and left bronchi and finally the aveoli (air sacs) of our lungs. It is the red blood cells flowing through our lungs that takes the oxygen breathed in and let’s go of CO2, which in turn we breathe out.

“The reason we don’t tend to breathe properly is the result of an under-used muscle called the diaphragm…..it lies just at the bottom of the ribcage and just below the lungs and resembles the shape of a piece of pitta bread or an oblong pancake. 

Every time we breathe in, the diaphragm flattens out, to allow the lungs to fill up with air.  When we breathe out again, the diaphragm assumes the shape of an inverted ‘U’, helping to squeeze the last of the air out of our lungs.  This process is then repeated every time we breathe in and out.

 Most of us don’t use the diapraghm properly.  We tend to go around doing what is called shallow breathing.  This means we fill the top part of o ur lungs with air, but not the bottom two thirds and thus, as the diaphragm is resting on the bottom of the lungs, it is never used fully.  Certain professions are exceptions to this.  Opera singers and athletes are people who have to learn to breathe deeply.  Musicians who play wind instruments also come into this categroy, as do stage actors.  Anyone can learn how to breathe deeply’ it simply takes a little practice.”  Tara Ward, Meditation and Dreamwork

 So the diaphragm is also very important in the role of speaking. It allows us to express our deepest feelings inside.  It helps us to connect to our power, our sexuality, our passion, our creativity and higher spiritual values. It begins at our 2nd chakra, the seat of our emotions.  This area records all our repressed as well as passionate feelings.

When we have been disempowered or held back by a dominating figure, we usually hold in our feelings of pain and humiliation.  Holding in negative emotions short circuits our nervous system, depleting our energy, circulation and digestive system.

Breath awareness is simply about paying attention to the air going in and the air going out of your body.  This ‘breathing communication’ with God, though wordless, can be very real.

*At the base of the brain stem is the Medulla Oblongata.  This area at the back of the neck feeds nerve energy to our five senses.  When our nerve energy becomes depleted, it’s unable to reach our ears, eyes, throat or mouth.  Our five senses are literally starved and react by creating sensory complications (coughing, difficulty swallowing, post nasal drip, acid reflux, eye problems, etc.).  Also, when our body system is drained of energy and power, to compensate the loss, it will steal it from our eyes, ear, nose, throat and mouth.

Breath Awareness Meditation, next…..

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Tension, pain, illness, anger and even goosebumps are bodily words. The body is our voicebox of the unconscious. Bodily sensations are also the language of the unconscious.

Discussing the thyroid’s function needs more than looking at a chakra, particularly the 5th. Everything in our bodies is in constant perpetual movement. Everyday we unconsciouly breathe in and out thousands of times….it’s automatic. The medulla oblongata, located above the spinal cord in the neck region aids in our respiration by activating the diaphragm.

The diaphragm moves downward as we breathe in, creating a motion, a wave from the lower thoracic (spine) region into the abdominal and pelvic cavities. If we feel happy, excited, or angry, these emotions create an expansion of energy! Our lungs then come into play expanding outward and then contracting. As they contract our feelings pass through our communication center giving expression to our emotions and thoughts. The whole chakra system lights up and dances to the hum of pulsing, whirling, interconnecting lights. We express ourselves freely and openly…..if angered, we release built up tension.

But if we’re in pain, ill, lethargic or sad, our emotions become suppressed, our bodies contract creating restricted and rigid movements.. Breathing becomes difficult and shallow, our blood suffers from the loss of its normal circulation of oxygen. Our bodies become stressed and toxic. We hold back or conceal our thoughts and feelings. Our attention drifts in and out, stimulated only by sudden sounds which draw us back for a brief moment.

I wrote this on another site….

Our 1st, 2nd and 3rd chakras are located below the diaphragm describing our our physical and basic needs. As we move higher among the chakras above the body’s midline, we enter the thoracic cavity. It is here we begin reaching out and taking in an awareness of our imagination and spiritual nature.

SABIAN SYMBOL

Sun Sign: CANCER Degree: 6 Number: 96 Symbol: IN SPRING GAME BIRDS ARE FEATHERING THEIR NESTS.

On Aeclectic Tarot, for this symbol, I wrote……

The Diaphragm (the most important muscle in breathing)We all have a knowing that our bodies breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. We called this in another thread inspiration (air in) and expiration (carbone dioxide CO2 out) The inspired air passes through our nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, right and left bronchi and finally the aveoli (air sacs) of our lungs. We’ve been looking at these throughout the symbols.It is our red blood cells that, when flowing through our lungs, takes the oxygen breathed in and let’s go of CO2, which in turn we breathe out. All these pathways are interconnected.
***
But air is not taken in by inspiration alone, the diaphragm (a great dome-shaped muscle that separates the chest from the abdominal cavity) and the chest muscles contract, increasing the size of the chest cavity (thorax) which helps to “reduce the air pressure” in our lungs…which raises the sternum, then the ribs, enlarging our chest cavity. (Still with me?) All these actions help to allow air into our lungs! Phew! A lot of work that takes place in a matter of a few seconds!
***
When we breathe out, the diaphragm and muscles relax, allowing our chest wall to return to its original position, “pressure increases” and the lungs expel (breathe out). For those who are inspirational speakers, singers, poets’, teachers, the air that passes over the vocal cords causes them to vibrate and produce sounds…..so the diaphragm is very important in the function of speaking. It allows us to express the deepest part of ourselves, (our feelings, our deepest desires, our emotions)

In reflexology, the diaphragm and solar plexus are located in the same area of the foot which is at the top of arch and near the base of the ball of both feet (it separates the ball of the foot from the arch). If we press our thumb in this area (both feet) it helps us to let go of stress, relax, breathe deeply let and maintain a strong connection with the world outside ourselves. www.ofesite.com/health/reflex/chart/
***
The diaphragm helps us to connect to our power, our sexuality, our passion, our creativity and higher spiritual values. It begins at our 2nd chakra, the seat of our emotions. The symbols we’ve been working on here have been focused on our emotions and feelings. This area has recorded all our repressed as well as passionate feelings. When we have been disempowered or controlled through society’s expectations or through a more dominating authority, we hold back feelings of pain, humiliation, as well as resentment and rage. When something outside of us triggers these emotions, we can and have unexpectedly blown up and sometimes in the most inappropriate situations. I know this has happened to me, and I suddenly wonder, where the h**l did that come from? But if we don’t find a way to let go of these repressed feelings, we could experience health issues in these areas.
***
The game birds are telling us of the limits we have imposed in our own lives. They tell us not to be possessive or hold on to people and things in our life….when we do, it interrupts the flow of natural energy from where the diaphragm sits…..our sacral area.When we are in balance with ourselves, with others and the universe, our heads naturally tilt up and our pelvis tilts down. This can only happen when our lower joints have the freedom of movement to carry not only the weight of our bodies but also our pelvis and the inside edges of our spine. Tension contracts the muscles in our body, affecting not only our movement but our diaphragm as well.
***
This also feeds quite well into the next body part, the thoracic cavity.

One of the simplest healing techniques that anyone can use is conscious breathing. Breathing is the source of life; without it, we could not survive. When we breath consciously, we take control of this source of our own lives to calm the emotions and strengthen our will. To breath consciously, it is important to learn to breath properly.

Gay Hendricks, wrote a wonderful book called “Conscious Breathing” , here’s what she says in the chapter, The Breath of Life……..

“When the body is under stress it responds with restricted breathing. The breath becomes shorter, shallower and more in the chest than in the belly. When the body is relaxed, breathing slows down and drops farther into the belly, becoming deeper and more nurturing. When I explain this to clients, I contrast relaxed breathing with fight or flight breathing……..When we perceive a threat, several things happen to our breathing all at once. Our belly muscles tighten, or breath shifts up to the chest, and our breathing speeds up. We are poised to run or fight back. The sympathetic branch of our autonomic nervous system is fired up, dripping adrenaline into our bloodstreams and slowing digestion so that the energy can be diverted to our muscles. When we are no longer perceiving a threat, our breathing shifts from the fight or flight pattern to the relaxed pattern. Belly muscles relax, digestion strats again and the breath drops down into the abdomen………All of this can happen in a split second, regardless of whether the threat is a charging rhino or the unexpected midnight creak of a floorboard.”

Anodea Judith, wrote the wonderful book, Eastern Body, Western Mind. In the Fifth Chakra section, she writes….

“As an event impacts us, it impacts us with a vibration. Like (a) guitar string, it is our nature to express what impacts us. When that expression is restricted (by whatever inhibitions we have been forced to accept) we lose our resonance and no longer vibrate the chorus of creation. We become less fully alive, out of step and dissonant………it is easier to block expression than it is reception, easlier to block what comes out of us than what comes in. Therefore a block in the throat chakra is most likely a block in the discharge of energy, creating a situation in which the input exceeds the output. This difference is experienced as stress………

So what blocks us from expressing our truth, our outrage, our creativity or our needs?……..Shame at the core, fear for one’s safety, or simply being out of touch with the core self make us unable to bring the inside of ourselves out to meet the world…….We protect the vulnerable interior self from exposure and possible harm or ridicule……….We do this by tightening the neck and shoulders, by throwing our heads out of alignment with our body, by talking incessantly about anything except what is really bothering us. Some do it by stuffing food down their throats, as if filling the mouth will block the passage and prevent the feelings from pouring out………

Underneath each of these methods is a need to hide. In hiding we keep ourselves in isolation, keep ourselves from intimacy and keep ourselves from evolving. “

What Anodea Judith wrote spoke to Megan (August 9th issue). “When I’m off balance, I can swing from either being excessively shy or too outgoing. When shy, I lack confidence, my willpower weak, which in turn alienates me from my intellect my emotions, body feelings and my creativity. I can’t think straight, words come out wrong or not at all. I’m really concerned with how others see me.”

When the pendulum swings the other way, Alexis (August 9th issue) admits “I can be too outgoing, I don’t think before I speak. I have trouble listening, empathizing or supporting others because I’m too much into me. I either bulldoze my way through life or find myself going around in circles never getting anywhere fast.”

So how can we find the balance between the two?

CONSCIOUS BREATHING

Conscious breathing helps us to develop a link between conscious and the unconsious, between mind and body, between spirit and soul. It is here we find the deeper part of Self with it owns rhythms and perspectives. Paying attention to our breathing helps us to become aware of the tension points in the body and where there is disharmony. Conscious breathing takes us to a place within our being that touches the Divine Spirit. The medieval mystic Tauler calls this place “the ground of the soul”; Meister Eckhart, “the little castle”; Teresa of Avila “the inner castle”; John of the Cross, “the house at rest in darkness and concealment”; Catherine of Siena, “the interior home of the heart” .

BREATH AND MOVEMENT

When I am very stressed, I find it helpful to combine conscious breathing with simple movement. One of my favorite techniques is to stand up and place my hands side by side at arm length toward the ground, parallel to the ground, palms down. When I inhale, I turn my palms up, and slowly raise my hands, keeping them parallel to the ground. While still inhaling, I bring my hands upwards to the place in my body where I am holding stress and anger. (Usually up to my navel, solar plexus, or heart, though I don’t generally think about from where I need to release, I just do what feels right.) When I stop inhaling, I turn my palms down again, then exhale while slowly moving my hands back down toward the ground. (This is much more simple to do than to explain!) The above exercise serves to ground stress and bring balance and the courage I need. It also strengthens my connection with the earth. Because it can be done so quickly, I often use it when I need to take immediate action yet lack the focus or mind-set. It’s amazing how much this quick, simple technique clears one’s mind! Of course, the more you use it, the more your body will respond to it.

BREATH AND SOUND

Identifying with something outside of us is different than identifying with something inside of us. When we are in touch with our own internal thoughts and feelings, we are much closer to ourselves. Singing, chanting, toning, etc., helps us to identify and become aware of our feelings.

Ever hum a catchy tune then find yourself actually singing the song? Did the words that you sang bring tears to your eyes? Was it because they represented something you’re going through or feeling challenged to come to terms with at the moment? Did they represent a judgement or confrontation? And, did more tears fall and then gradually fewer tears and a feeling of strength and conviction come through. Was it a realization that you had to at some point come to terms with a part of yourself that criticizes, judges and condemns? Or the fear of being critictised or judged? What is important here is the experience itself not the words. The world, and most of our experience, is drowning in words. Get in touch with your own experiencing.

HUMMING

Sit alone quietly and take a little time to get in touch with your body right now. When ready, begin to hum very softly and without intending to do anything but follow your humming, identiy with it, and let it lead you somewhere. Focus your awareness on your humming and let it begin to change by itself…………Just be aware of what it is like and what it does as it changes in tone and volume. Don’t try to change it, just be aware of the qualities and feelings in your humming and see where it leads you. Your humming may drift into a tune that you recognize, and perhaps some words will come to you. Identify with whatever comes to you and become the feelings in the tune and the meanings of the words, to see what you can discover…..

You can also do this with your imagination by visualizing a particular imagined thing or situation…..you create it and its characteristics out of yourself. Let this creation be like a dream…..spontaneous and free of your intention. Let it originate completely from within yourself……don’t try to manipulate or control it…..let it develop spontaneously and you will learn a great deal about yourself. This can also be done with a group who can share their experiences with others and learn from their experiences as well.

The imaginal realm can be a meeting ground between the physiological and the spiritual. It is a powerful connection between body and spirit. Humming and singing can create and produce strong physical sensations that can linger for days later, helping us to understand and learn more about ourselves and others. In some cases it can help us to become aware of something we are resisting. When we resist, we close ourselves off. Humming and singing a particular tune helps us to explore and release what is hidden and bring it out into the light.

TONING

Belleruth Naparstek http://www.healthjourneys.com/ wrote the book “STAYING WELL WITH GUIDED IMAGERY” as well guided imagery CD’s, and other books.

On page 86 of the book mentioned above, she does an energy moving imagery where you start by shaking out your body and position yourself by sitting or standing.
She writes…..

“You may want to gently sway back and forth a little with your eyes closed to try to get a sense of where your gravity is.”

Then she asks you relax your eyes and take a few deep breaths, and after each one, breathing out as completely as you can.

“And still again…..this time imagining that you are inhaling a magical supply of healing energy on the in-breath….perhaps seeing it in sparkling microdots of color……or colors……or maybe hearing a sublte hum as it dances into your body…..or perhaps just feeling on the inside the subtle energy moving into you…..”

You continue breathing in and exhaling, feeling this energy dancing into every corner of your being…….

“And again….breathing it in…..and as you exhale, feeling it as it moves toward anyplace that might be a little denser or darker or heavier….drawn toward anyplace that might feel blocked or uncomfortable…..or tight….and sensing it gently around these places…..softening them…..loosening them….massaging and opening them…..

And feeling the heavier places beginning to shift and move….like a logjam beginning to break free…..slowly at first….but then faster and easier….as each new breath helps to move it along….gently and easily…….neither pushing or pulling….just a gentle invitation to float along free.”

Belleruth Naparstek then asks you to open your throat and make a sound with the out breath. It doesn’t matter whether it is loud or soft, high or low, just whatever feels right to you. She says to let the vibration and humming to move through you, releasing painful feelings that are stored in the body and feeling any achy or sore places begin to shift and move….

“And opening your throat and toning again…..maybe this time a little louder or softer….or maybe higher or lower…….feeling the vibration all through your body…..and feeling the sound releasing energy….

And dropping your jaw…..opening your throat….and letting whatever tone that wants to, come out with the exale…..rich and deep and strong…..or soft and subtle and high……..feeling the vibration move through your body…..healing, soothing, and energizing you….from head to toe…..so simple but so powerful….like recharging a battery…..”

Naparstek then asks you to continue to feel the sensation of energies moving through you and how good it feels to connect with yourself. The many exercises in her book(s) are simple and powerful, reconnecting us to the vital force and helping us to know ourselves better. Without judging or criticizing, our hearts open and our human spirit awakens.

It has been said the heart chakra is a meeting place for energies which flow down from our crown or 7th chakra and up from the ground or 1st chakra…..it is the gateway where these energies merge and blend together. The 5th chakra helps us to listen to our bodies and become more attuned to it. It is up to each individual to learn how the body communicates and act on the interpretation. The throat chakra is also about being responsible for your life. This takes us to the next imagery which helps to magnify symptoms of pain and discomfort and truly hear what your body is trying to tell you. This imagery is adapted from a book called “Spiritual Technologies” which unfortunately I couldn’t find on the internet. I had photocopied this from the library (for a group study) and don’t even know who the author is. This was over 10 year ago! If you recognize it, please let me know so I can credit the author.

To get your body into a relaxed and aware mode, stand or sit, feeling the floor beneath you. Focus on the feeling of the solid floor……see it with your feet and feel the solidness beneath you……it goes for miles and miles. (this grounds you)

Sense with your head the space between you and the ceiling then to inifiniteness of the universe.

“Coming back to the room notice the forms, colors and people around you. Pay attention to the sounds inside you…..feel your heart beating….sound the heart sound “HA,” now “HA–HEE,” now “OOO…..” (do this at least three times) if you are standing sit down, close your eyes remaining relaxed and alert.

Take a deep breath and relax. Now turn your attention to your dominant hand, to your right hand if you are right-handed and to your left hand if you are left-handed. Allow a feeling of energy to build in your dominant hand. Continue to focus on your dominant hand. Imagine a dial controlling the intensity of your concentration. The highest reading is ten and you are now at four. As you turn the dial up your attention becomes greater, more intense, more concentrated on your dominant hand. Your concentration is now on 5, and 6 and 7 and 8 and 9 and now 10, the highest intensity of your concentration. Allow the energy to build from your conscious attention.

Now move your attention throughout your body, checking your sensations through your body beginning with the top of your head. Notice first your scalp, the feeling of your hair on your head. Now pay attention to your forehead, experience any tension there. Focus now on your eyelids against your eyes, your nose, your tongue, your lips, your neck, the back of your neck, right shoulder, left shoulder, your back against the chair. Note the sensation in your chest, your breast, your stomach, your lower back, your hips, your genitals, your thighs, your knees your calves, the feel of your feet in your shoes, your right arm, your left arm, your hands in your lap, and back to your dominant hand.

Now move your attention through your body at your own pace. Stop and pay attention to any place where there is special tension or discomfort or lack of ease. Focus on the sensation in this special place or places in your body. Hold your attention there. Hold.

Now become the sensation in that part of your body. Identify yourself with it. Amplify it. If it is tense, allow it to feel even more tense. If there is an ache, let the ache increase. You want to hear the body’s message loud and clear. Amplify it; experience it clearly and unmistakably.

The sensation is your friend and it’s telling you something. Now put some questions to it. It won’t answer verbally. Perhaps when you question a sensation, some images will come to mind, and you’ll have a feeling related to the sensation, or it will connect with something in your life, or you’ll have an intuition.

Now get into the sensation and ask: Why are you feeling like this? What’s your concern? What’s on your mind? If I changed something in my life, would you change your tune?

Amplify the sensation again. And be aware of images that come to mind or connections and feelings related to your life and experience. Amplify and have your radar out for the overtones and what your body is telling you.

Again direct your attention methodically to the sensations throughout your body from head to toe, until again your attention is stopped by a special sensation that summons your detailed attention to the message your body is sending you.

When you are finished, take a deep breath, relax your focus and come back to ordinary consciousness and open your eyes.”

Many people who did this exercise had a visual of different animals answering their questions. Wolves, crabs, elephants, fox, ants, frogs and buffalo are some of the animals people mentioned seeing. It has been said, meeting an animal in this way is a way of encountering our own soul. They call us back to earth, back to our bodies, bringing the parts of ourselves that have felt ignored or forsaken. Animals teach us how to survive in the world.

The mind and body communicate constantly with each other, but most of this communication is on an unconscious level. We need to get beyond the conscious level and examine the images coming from our unconscious mind. The purpose is not to judge them but bring them out into the open.

“I believe we develop our diseases for honorable reasons. It’s our body’s way of telling us that our needs—not just our body’s needs but our emotional needs, too—are not being met and the needs that are fulfilled through our illnesses are important ones.”
Carl Simonton

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
William James

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Stay tuned to a new topic……

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