Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

“The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-92) would repeat his own name to himself again and again like a mantra, and by doing this would access a different state of consciousness in which whole poems came to him that he could then transcribe.”  Paul McKenna

 The gentle repetition of a mantra is a technique used for concentrating and focusing your energy.  It points you to pure awareness, allowing you to let go of any attachment that would draw you away from the present moment.  Paying attention to a mantra, either spoken aloud, whispered or thought upon, anchors you to your center, silences the mind, allowing spirit to hear the inner voice and make contact with the Divine.

Words have a tremendous effect on the body and mind. Silently reciting or chanting a mantra activates a large group of nerves in the throat area, and the creative power of the thyroid gland.  The current of sound (thought by the heart and spoken by the tongue) then flows to the thymus gland, stimulating the body’s nervous system.   This vibrational awakening stirs old brain cells and triggers layers and layers of knowledge stored in the DNA and deep inside the cells of the physical body.

 “I begin my daily yoga practice with this mantra:  “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo”.   It’s meaning, in essence, is “I call upon the divine teacher within”.  This mantra may be chanted out loud three times in this way: 

 Take a deep breath and exhale “ong namo”, on the same tone; take another short or half breath and exhale the last three words of the mantra.  Dev is chanted one half tone higher than ong namo guru and the name is the same tone as ong.  I like this mantra because it centers me and affirms my inner wisdom.  I sometimes repeat it before doing readings or other psychic work.  DIANE MARIECHILD

 A mantra should not be confused with an affirmation.  Affirmations are used to let go of unwanted and unneeded ‘stuff’.  Repeating a positive phrase stimulates the release of toxins, negative thoughts, old memories and suppressed emotions…..we observe and ‘feel’ the emotional distress in our body, heal it and release it.  Eventually there is an enery change and we discover the thought(s) that are/were controlling us.

If you’ve read other articles in this blog, you’ve probably noticed the mention of the medulla oblongata more than once.  This tiny structure at the base of the brain stem is truly the seat of life in the body.  Respiration and circulation are controlled by this center and it is the place where cosmic energy enters and feeds the entire body with prana/chi.

“It’s like having a door open in the back of my head.  The door is tiny but what’s in back of the door is huge.”  Cythnia Gale

 When we invoke a mantra, the medulla oblongata acts like a tuning fork, vibrating in sympathy with our own ‘sound’.  This creates a physical sensation that vibrates in the body and mind, immediately normalizing the heartbeat in which the entire body automatically adjusts and responds.  In a spiritual sense, Jim Kepner (psychologist and author) spoke of  “a feeling of something opening up behind me, or sort of like falling back into another space behind me…almost as if something were shifting in the bones at the back of my neck.” 

*****

“…Take a comfortable, deep breath and then hum a low note quietly to yourself.  Pitch the note near the bottom of your register so that it resonates inside you.  How does that feel in your body?  Can you feel a sort of tingle or vibration deep inside.  Take another deep breath and quietly hum a high note near the top of your register.  How different is that as a sensation within your body?  Did you notice different parts of your body react to each note?  Did you find the high note or the low note more comfortable?  

For meditative purposes, it is accepted that a lower note is more in harmony with your body and that it is easier to relax with a lower note than a high piercing one.” TARA WARD, Meditation and Dreamwork

A SIMPLE EXERCISE – INTO THE WORLD OF SOUND

“How often have I sat down at out-of-tune pianos….winced at the first notes as I pressed the keys’ nevertheless….I have found that from that moment I started to enjoy the music my ear started to correct the inaccuracies.  My listeners, too, as they adjusted themselves inwardly to these out-of-tune sounds, experienced the odd phenomenon, with all the intervals suddenly seeming to be in tune.”  Peter Michael Hamel 

Cover your eyes and plug your ears with your hands.  Listen to the sounds of your breathing for ten full breaths.  Then gently put your hand on your lap, palms open, and keep your eyes closed.

 Now pay attention to the sounds around you.  Listen closely to every single sound, you may be surprised at all the sounds you’ve never paid attention to before.

At first you may tend to identify and label where the sounds are coming from, what they are.  That’s okay.  Just identify as many sounds as you possibly can.

 Now begin to listen without identifying them.  Observe the sounds rather than labeling them ‘annoying’ or ‘beautiful’ or ‘harsh’ or ‘soothing’  Listen as you would to an orchestra or rock group.  You hear the total effect without indentifying the individual instruments and voices.  You are in the midst of an orchestra of sound.

Without identifying the origin of the sounds, notice the subtle textures.  One sound is often made up of many other sounds.  Pay attention to the variations in pitch and intensity.  How many different ones do you notice.

Floating as you are in an ocean of sound, your body becomes very still and your spirit opens up.  Notice your connectedness to this vast ocean of sound.  Notice what you feel.  Then return to the world of sound.

You are a listening post to this universe of sound.  Again note your feelings as you listen.  Do you feel stillness, love, a sense of being part of a harmony?  Then return to the world of sound.

Alternate between the sounds themselves and the sense of harmony you feel with them.  Back and forth.  Two sides to a single harmony.

Know that God’s power underlies and sustains each sound.  It is the divine harmony sounding around you.  Listen to the divine symphony.

Rest in this world of sound

Rest in God/All is One.

CHOOSING A MANTRA 

http://www.sanskritmantra.com/simple.htm

“First  of all it’s better not to use a real word.  A mantra should not hook you into any train of thought or emotional pattern.  “Although some words such as “peace” or “calm” might sound very comforting, the problem is that you may be tempted to think about their meaning and what the words mean to you.  The purpose and power of a mantra lies in your ability to lose yourself in its rich, sonorous sound and the way it vibrates around and through your body.  If you are thinking consciously or unconsciously about the word, it stops the mantra from doing its job.”  TARA WARD

Counting your breaths from one to ten and then starting over again will work and long as you don’t make it into a competitive game or criticize yourself when you lost count and congratulate yourself when you don’t.

It is best to choose a mantra that you don’t recognize or is in a language that is foreign to you.  Beginners are usually shown a mantra with no more than one or two syllables.  The first reason for this is to keep it simple and secondly it keeps us focused.

Here are some examples of one or two syllable mantras……

MAH – NUM

VO – HUM

SAT NAM

RAHM

LAH – NEE

SOHM

WONE

VEE – NONG

PRAH

DA – YAM

RAH – MAH

SHAH – LOON

OM

And these too…..

AUM MANE PADME HUM (Sanskrit)

KYRIE ELEISON (Greek)

NAMU AMIDA BUTSU (Pali)

DOMINE MECUM (Latin)

All these expressions qualify as ‘sacred’ and, their unfamiliar language removes any emotional patterns.

When you’ve chosen your mantra see it in your mind’s eye.  How does it look to you?  How does it make you feel?  Take a deep cleansing breath and say it out loud or speak it softly.  Let the mantra continue until you have finished your breath.  Then take a deep breath and repeat it again until your breath runs out.  Do this at least 3 times or more.  Notice what feelings and sensations your mantra creates and where you feel its vibration in your body.

Start again and really feel the word vibrate through and around you.  Lose yourself in the sound and feel it spread outwards from you body in a beautiful gow of energy.  Merge with the sound and become one with the sound itself.  When you do this you’ll find yourself unware of when you’re breathing in….this is because the sound seems continuous as its vibration spreads wider and wider.  Stay with this as long as you can.  It creates a magnetic flow through the body.  Once you feel/sense your conscious mind is totally engaged in the chant “bring it down into the subconscious by whispering.  While chanting in the subconscious offer it, too, up to superconsciousness [with eyes closed gaze upward] at the point between the eyebrows, until you feel your entire being vibrating with the words, the melody and the rhythm.

…..to spiritualize a chant, keep it rotating in the mind—for days at a time.  If necessary: not only in meditation but as you go about your daily activities.  This practice is also called Japa.  Christian mystics, too, speak of the continuous “prayer of the heart,” and of “practicing the presence of God.”  All this is japa. ” J DONALD WALTERS, Superconsciousness, A Guide to Meditation

 The following Sound meditations are from Kripalu’s Self Health Guide, an great book based on Kripalu’s Eight-Step Approach..  These are very simple and great for those just starting.

MEDITATION ON THE SOUND OF OM

 Choose a quiet place where you won’be be interrupted or disturbed.  If you’d like, dim the lights, light candles and/or incense to create a space of calmness.

If you need a chair use one, if not sit comfortably on the floor, spine erect and chin parallel to the floor, tucked in slightly.  Sitting cross-legged is best or if you have one, a meditation bench.  It is more important to be comfortable than correct.

Take a couple of breaths and let your shoulders and neck relax.  Close your eyes abd begin breathing calmly and slowly, taking about 10 deep breaths slowly in and out.

Let all your concerns go….if a thought comes up, visualize it on a blackboard and erase it away.  Another idea is to imagine putting each thought into a bubble and let it float away.

Drop all expression from you face and consciously relax various parts of your body, especially the face, shoulders abdomen, and hands.

Continue taking slow, deep breaths for two to five minutes, practicing the focusing of your total concentration on your breathing.  Then gradually allow your breath to return to normal and feel yourself becoming very still within.  Remain with the sensations in your body rather than with any thoughts that may flow through your mind.

Mentally repeat Om very slowly.  Feel the vibrations of the thought/sound.  Listen with your whole being.  After several silent, mental repetitions of the sound, very softly begin to chant the sound aloud by taking a full deep breath in and sounding Om on the exhalation, making each repetition as long as is comfortably possible.

As you continue to chant, experience the effects.  Feel the peace that is created by the vibration.  Imagine that the sound is flowing from deep within your abdomen that you are opening up to let it flow out.  Feel all worry, fear, and tension dissolve.

Remain still for a period of time, enjoying the feeling of quiet and peace within and around you.  When you are ready, gradually open your eyes.

Practice this technique until you begin to feel that you are gaining some control and concentration.  Then move, if you wish to a more complex technique.

MEDITATION ON THE INTERNAL SOUND of So’ham

So’ham (pronounced “so-hahm”) is an easy but powerful meditation technique that is also based on awareness of breath.  It is one of the most scientific approaches for learning the deep concentration and inner stillness necessary to experience meditation.

Take time to prepare yourself as you did in the previous meditation and consciously relax the various parts of your body.  Allow your consciousness of external surroundings to fade as much as possible.  Then practice a few minutes of Yogic Deep Breathing, focusing your attention on the breath.

After approximately two to 5 minutes, allow the breath gradually to return to normal, keeping your concentration on it.  Watch your normal flow of breath with unattached objective awareness.  Remain releaxed, not trying to control your breathing in any way.  Without expectations, just watch the breath flow in and out.  You will notice that the breath automatically begins to become slower and more shallow.

After a slow, gentle breathing rhythm is established, begin to hear within, the sound of so’ham (“I am That”).  Do not actually make the sound, but imagine that it is the sound of the breath, “soooo” on the inhalation, and “haammmm” on the exhalation.  Let the brething and the sound absorb your mind as completely as possible.

After a few weeks, add concentration on the point between the eyebrows (known as the ‘third eye”).  Begin by practicing so’ham for about ten minutes and greadually make your sessions longer.  Each time the mind wanders away from the technique, gently lead it back until the periods of mental stillness increase.

Links

Lots of Mantras to choose from on youtubehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UCzhN2clis&feature=related

Excellent! There is a wealth of information in this fantastic and excellent pdf article (108 pages) on Mantras. http://www.wahmusic.com/images/book/chant_sample.pdf

This is a fabulous Mantra Meditation site http://www.mantrameditation.net/

 Simple Mantras http://www.sanskritmantra.com/simple.htm

 Beautiful youtube mantra on So’ham http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKNzaWGm0o8

 What is a mantra http://ezinearticles.com/?What-Is-a-Mantra,-How-Does-It-Work,-and-Why-Would-I-Want-to-Use-One?&id=5315769

 The Practice of Tantric Mantras http://satyamyoga.com/mantengl.htm

Read Full Post »

YOGA BENEFITS THE HEART

The above picture is a slow gentle exercise….a great ‘Wake-up’ stretch to start your day. It helps the body to move from sleeping, to a more alert, active state, especially after the muscles and joints have stiffened over the night. This stretch can be done in bed and helps the lungs to open after a night of shallow breathing. A great way to start the day!

Usually, we express our feelings and experiences through our body’s posture and movements. In some strongly emotional experiences, our whole body becomes involved….if we’re happy our whole body moves into activity…smiling, dancing, singing. In fear our body becomes immobile it tenses up or hurriedly runs away. But most of us avoid certain feelings especially when they feel uncomfortable or painful or may bring cause others to respond in an uncaring or angry manner. But when we avoid awareness we avoid what we’re feeling…….and doing this also stops the movement that usually expressing the emotion…….ie., when angry you may make a fist or tense our arms and shoulders……and stopping the movement also directs our attention elsewhere, losing awareness of this area of our body. In regard to the heart, it literally tightens, feels heavy, tense and constricted…..vital energy becomes blocked causing harm to our body, mind and spirit. To begin the uphill climb to health, the first and most important asset is our self worth. Any kind of exercise can helps us to feel good, look good, be confident and self assured. The pride of looking at ourselves in the mirror gives us a surge of energy and pride.

WHERE TO START

Before beginning any exercise we should limber up, which helps to warm the body and loosen the muscles. Yoga is no exception….sudden or jerky movements can cause stiffness in the body. Not only that, warming up allows the blood vessels to expand, the blood to circulate more freely which allows more oxygen into our system and the muscles…..especially before aerobic exercises. Starting too fast causes anaerobic combustion (not enough oxygen) which can also build up toxic waste in our muscles (lactic acid) which in turn causes pain, strain and tension.

With any exercise we need to slowly, gently and continually practice so our bodies Will begin to experience its greater benefits. And when we feel encouraged by the results, we want to start doing more slightly difficult movements and positions.

WHAT IS YOGA?

A friend of mine teaches Yoga for Golf. “Yoga and Golf” I exclaimed?? At the time I knew little of Yoga and not much about golf either. She then taught me that Yoga not only helps to slim the body and make it more flexible and youthful, it also helps to calm the mind and free it of tension and worry.

This is her website http://www.yogaforgolf.ca/YOGA_STRETCHING.htm with great exercises, stretches and loads of information! All you golfers and non-golfers alike would truly benefit from Peggy’s wonderful website and articles.

Yoga is a gentle exercise for all ages, shapes and sizes. It is not so much for muscle development as it is about bringing the glands and nervous system into balance, giving the physical body more strength, resilience and harmony. The glandular and nervous systems of the body are mainly responsible for controlling our thought patterns, emotional reactions, and degree of happiness or unhappiness. Our physical and mental processes are all regulated by these nerve and glands…..if they aren’t functioning properly, we also aren’t functioning at our optimum potential. Yoga is safe, simple, and easy to grasp and master.

Yoga (which means union, wholeness) is not only a precise science but also a great art. It is scientific because it consists of specific, time-tested techniques with precise and excellent results….it is an art because it is a highly personaly experience and form of self-expression. The different movements/postures help to calm the mind and release tension in the body.

I’m not a yoga teacher but in my quest for wholeness have found certain movements/positions that have helped me with my certain health problem, Fibromyalgia. I’d like to share what I’ve found and learnt to help you find relief too.

THE SUN SALUTATION

I found some great sites with the Sun Salutation exercise..

This one shows you the poses, step by step and goes through all the different postures…..great site!

http://www.santosha.com/asanas/suryanamaskar.html

Here’s one on youtube http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=yuvfHTaftLQ

This one’s great too http://www.yogasite.com/sunsalute.htm

The twelve postures are demonstrated well at http://www.healthandyoga.com/HTML/news/suryaprint.html

let’s go through the steps and steps for each one to help you see how it works to limber your body up before starting the day.
Almost every morning, I do this exercise which if done slowly to get reap the benefits, takes about 15 minutes. Believe me you will feel better for it. There’s a couple of other ones as well which I’ll share too.
The benefits to The Sun Salutation are many. It helps to tone the digestive system as well as stretch and tighten the abdominal area. It also massages the liver, stomach, spleen, intestines, and kidneys….and helps the digestion process, relieves constipation and loose bowels.

This exercise also brings oxygen to the lungs and blood and removes carbon dioxide and other toxic gases from the respiratory tract. It increases circulation to our whole body which brings warmth, vigor and vitality to all our limbs. It helps the heart!

The sun salutation also stretches and massages the spinal column, toning and regulating the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. It helps with insominia, hypertension, work and anxiety……also improves the memory!
It also helps to balance the endocrine glands by relieving emotional stress and tension. The thyroid gland gets alot of help from this too.

This exercise helps to tone the skin and even helps in removing premature wrinkles and prevents sagging. Better than any anti-aging cream could offer. It firms the upper arms, bust and shoulders….and helps our posture. Better than any cream could offer! It also strengthens and tones the muscles, especially the ones in the back…prevents backache, especially if you stand or sit for long hours.

In other words it affects every cell of the body, giving one a feeling of well-being, vitality and peace. Also, the mind is able to function with greater clarity in a world that sometimes seems to be filled with chaos.
One of the important notes to follow is the breathing which cretes a mediative flow with the body movements. This exercise is a wonderful way to warm-up before a rigorous exercise as it limbers all the muscles and the entire body.
1. Stand erect with your feet and legs together. Join your hands as if in prayer at the chest with elbows pointed downward.

2. Without releasing your hands, slowly raise your arms over your head as you inhale. Keeping your head between your arms, bend slightly backward (that’s comfortable to you) ‘holding the breath’…..keep feet locked and firm on the floor.

3. Exhaling bend forward from the hips til your hands, palms down, touch the floor. Bend your knees at first if you have too, as you get better you’ll notice the knees strengthening on their own.
4. Inhale and stretch your right leg behind you as far as possible with hands on the ground. Your chest should touch your left thigh and knee. Look up and arch your back, stretch your head, neck and chest.
5. Hold the breath and put your body in the position of doing (men) pushups.
6. Exhale and gradually lower your body, touching chest, knees and forward to the floor. If this is a problem, touch your chin to the floor instead.
7. Inhale and lower your hips and legs to the floor, uncurl your toes and arch your back as in a cobra position. Try to keep the hips and thighs on the floor.

8. Exhale and stand on your hands and feet…..your body should form a triangle….keep your head between your arms. Try to keep your feet flat…if you have trouble walk towards the hands until the feet are flat. Press your torso toward your legs, so that your spine curves inward.
9. Inhale and take take a long and quick step forard placing your right foot between your hands. Keep the left leg stretched behind you and lower the left knee to the floor….raise your head and arch your back…this is the reverse of number 4.
10 Exhale, bring your your left leg forward, placing it next to your right leg. Straighten your knees as best you can….place your palms flat on the floor, bring your head between your knees.
11. Inhale and slowly straighten up, stretching your arms and arching back as in number 2.
12. Exhale and gradually lower your arms back to the prayer position….stand still with your eyes closed, centering your attention inward, notice the changing sensations in your body. Now you’re ready to start a new day!
THE PLOUGH

This is an excellent site that demonstrates The Plough step by step http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/yogapractice/theplough.asp
The plough is done by lying on the ground (or bed) and lifting your feet and legs over your head. Then slowly lower the legs to touch the ground behind your head. Yes this can be hard to do at first but as you practice it becomes easier. What happens is your back gradually lifts off the floor, bending with the stretch. If you could see this energetically, energy shoots along the spinal column, bathing the nervous system with an increase of blood flow. It too benefits the whole system and especially the heart and the thyroid gland which helps the thyroid to increase its hormonal output.
When I started this exercise, I lay flat on the bed, arms by my side, palms down. Inhaling, I pressed my palms against the bed and slowly raised my legs until they were pointing at the ceiling….
Exhaling lower the legs over your head until the feet touch the floor behind your head. Do this as comfortable as you are able. The more flexible you become, the easier it will be to do. Some support their hips with their hands to maintain a balance. Breathe deeply and slowly.
Inhaling, slowly lower your back, vertebrae by vertebrae, until your hips have reached the floor and your legs are pointing to the ceiling. Exhale and slower lower your legs to the floor.
Relax and breathe normally. Sense how your body feels.
THE SHOULDERSTAND

Here is a step by step guide to this exercise http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/yogapractice/shoulderstand.asp

This exercise isn’t as easy as it seems, at least not for me. I haven’t been able to fully stretch this one out yet but I’m getting there. The benefits of this pose is great for the thryoid and parathyroid glands through the pressure of the chin. These glands regulate our metabolic processes, heartbeat and blood pressure!

It also helps the organs in the upper part of our body by bathing them in a generous supply of blood, helping to prevent colds, sore throats, bronchitis, asthma and headaches. The heart is relieved for a time of the strain of pumping blood against gravity to the demanding organs of the head and neck.

The shoulderstand also improves circulation, helps prevent and relieve varicose veins, helps all the organs, combats insomnia and nervous disorders, nourishes the skin, scalp and hair roots…..by golly the list goes on and on!

For those suffering from high or low blood pressure, eye disorders such as glaucoma or a detached retina, please consult your doctor first before attempting the Shoulderstand.

This is the beginners posture, as you get better you can follow the step by step guide from the site above.

Lie on your back with your hands at your side, palms down with your feet and legs together. Exhale deeply.

Inhaling, slowly raise your straightened legs toward the ceiling.

Exhaling, life your hips and lower your legs toward the floor over your head. Inhaling life your legs in a sixty-degree angle with the floor supporting your hips and hands. Hold and breathe deeply.

Exhaling, lower your legs toward the floor over your head. Then, inhaling slowly lower your back to the floor. Exhale and return your legs to the floor.

SUMMARY

I’ve only given a few yoga samples to play with. My recommendation is you look at the different postures and pick the ones right for you! There’s so many different sites and videos on Yoga movements, the importance is to do them gently and slowly without strain. Each time you practice try to stretch your body a little more, but never to the point of discomfort or pain. You aren’t competing with anyone so you don’t need to do the stretches perfectly. The purpose is to ‘feel’ your body in new ways or with a new awareness and learn what it is telling you.

This is a wonderful site to get you started http://www.santosha.com/asanas/suryanamaskar.html it not only describes the steps, it explains the movments in great detail and the advantages of continual practice.

 

 

Next, Meditation and the Heart

Read Full Post »

“Both CFS and FM make you stop, whether with exhaustion or pain or both.  If you have either of these illnesses, there is little doubt you will spend some time resting.  This is an important factor in your bodymind understanding.  A large number of people affected by these types of illnesses—and there are many variations—are high-flyers already climbing their career ladders.  If so, you may well be stressed, and this will certainly strain the immune system.  But it may also be that you are going in a direction that is not true to your inner nature—as if you are going against the grain or against your spirit.  And then you get stopped.” Deb Shapiro YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND

Do you think you have chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia? The only reason I ask is because hypothyroidism can be missed with these illnesses. In Fibromyalgia for Dummies, Dr. Staub mentions that a low thyroid function leads to fatigue and also causes painful and aching muscles. I experienced this a few years back when I became premenopausal. I also had trouble maintaining my body temperature, my skin became dry and I suffered from heart palpitations. Also high estrogen levels can affect the thyroid. To get a proper diagnosis, I highly recommend taking a thyroid blood test. By the way, some auto immune disorders can be yeast related too.

Maybe, like me, you have both! But if it is just your thyroid, taking a synthyroid drug will diminish a lot of the above symptoms. When I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, within a week of taking the medication I felt a lot better. Hypothyroidism has also been known to mimic menopause. With fibromyalgia, there is unfortunately no quick cure. Not yet, anyways.

I consider myself a very spiritual person. As I look at all the different patterns of my life emerging, I’m starting to see that spirituality was initially a form of escape. It was a form of disassociation and a defense from avoiding some of the more painful experiences in my life. Having a spiritual consciousness does not make you immune to dis-ease. This was a huge lesson for me to understand. What spirituality does do however is provide you with certain tools to understand and work with an illness. I’ve also learned that spiritual development is about learning to treat the whole self with love, respect and attention. It means giving the body the things it needs to be healthy.

One of the greatest tools that continually helps me on my journey is astrology. It has taught me to dive into my emotions and feelings. It has shown me emotions are an essential source of personal power. On a physical level it says ‘there’s a real world out there, and you’re in it’. Astrology helps us to find our own individuality and compass in life. North, East, West and South = NEWS! It’s definable and measurable and it never lies. It helps us to nurture and understand ourselves and evolve to higher levels of understanding. When this happens the healing process begins.

Accepting an illness means we have to do something about it. It makes us stop and take notice of something gone wrong that needs our attention. If we don’t we tend to feel powerless to face the challenges ahead. Instead we face whatever happens, happens….we become a ‘victim’ instead of empowering and healing ourselves. We cannot run away or try to suppress it….pain is real and there are times we have to learn to live with it. The pain itself will teach us what to do, that’s if we ‘listen’ and stay mindful of it. Accepting what is, takes time and patience to initiate.

Our body and spirit goes through many cycles of cooperating and compromising. When this happens, there is less tension. Our bodies and our health is in a constant flux of change. It’s up to us to continually work at keeping it balanced. To heal, we must turn back the tide and use our own initiative, will and spirit to get well. Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue and Hypothyroidism are all auto immune diseases. This literally means your body is under attack from itself!! It’s as if our body and soul are at war with each other. So how do we find peace within ourselves?

When I learnt Reiki, I discovered there were three levels to each initiation. Reiki I, represents the body, Reiki II, the mind/emotions, Reiki III the Spirit. Learning and understanding what FM was, took me through three different `stages.

From my Reiki I Manual…

The Reiki attunement awakens our abilities to feel, hear, touch, smell and live again. It takes us back into our bodies and jolts us back to life. A body that reawakens and allows the spirit to feel grounded and connected within a solid structure. Our body is our best friend and lifetime companion. Yet it really is an automated machine that willingly obeys and acts out our every thought, feeling, word and desire. Reiki rebuilds the energetic system of the body. It reconnects our emotions to our spirit and our spirit to our body, helping us to rebuild a stronger foundation and a healthier body.

Anatomically, the 1st Chakra relates to physical body support. The 2nd Chakra represents our emotions. We’ll be covering the chakras and their meanings shortly.

The First Initiation – The Body

This was when I started looking seriously at my diet and my intake of processed foods, alcohol, caffeine and sugar. Sugar, I discovered really aggravated my FM. I try to avoid sugar, especially at night and carbonated beverages as well as juices.

In the morning, I haven’t been able to give up my first cup of coffee. Ohh, that’s a must! If I need more of the ‘taste’ of coffee, a decaffeinated works just as well. And besides, too much caffeine definitely stimulates our nervous system and exhausts our adrenal glands. These are the glands of emotion and help us to survive through sudden emergencies, releasing energy and vitality into our body. Without them we’d surely die.

Also, I mentioned about salts in the previous post and I have found myself craving for chips, salted nuts, pretzels, etc. So it does seem, my blood pressure must dip at certain times when FM strikes and knocks me down. I’ve also craved dark chocolate and have discovered dark chocolate is actually good for CFS and FM, as it work as an antioxidant as well as an anti inflammatory. The darker the chocolate the better! Oh and not the whole bar (aw sucks)…..a piece a day is sufficient.

Three meals a day is good practice and also increasing your fiber intake. Fiber can actually cleanse the body by absorbing toxins and moving them out of our system…re the bowels.

Foods and cleansers that contain preservatives and chemicals are also known to magnify FM symptoms. Even wheat, corn, soya, dairy products and citrus fruits can aggravate FM. Also, be aware of artificial sweeteners, sulfites, MSG and food coloring. These are toxic!!

Magnesium is essential for muscle and tissue and requires calcium for proper assimilation. Magnesium cannot be stored in the body for long periods and therefore we need to supplement our diet regularly with it. Magnesium is an alkaline mineral.

Special note: Drinking too much milk can lead to a magnesium deficiency! Milk contains high amounts of Calciferol (synthetic Vit D) which actually withdraws magnesium out of our bloodstream. Also, if you’re taking a Vitamin D supplement, make sure its coming from a natural source.

“Theories suggest that the root cause of fibromyalgia is an imbalance somewhere in the body. For example, people with fibromyalgia generally have low levels of serotonin the hormone known as the pain messenger. A deficiency of magnesium, which can cause achy joints, has also linked to the condition. There is also belief that people with fibromyalgia have high levels of toxins in the blood.” Debora Yost



Read the labels of everything you buy and notice how you feel when you eat certain foods. I learned that a high intake of protein lowers our calcium and magnesium in the body. I also discovered carbohydrates enhance them. By observing what we eat, brings our body into balance. Once the needs of our body are met, then its ‘whole’ can be addressed.

CFS and FM symptoms can also be minimized by mild exercise. Even when you just want to curl up in a ball, find a way to get up and keep moving. Don’t fall into self pity, believe me, it only makes it worse. Also, muscles that aren’t used, tend to lose their stretch and eventually shorten. Stretching exercises are great in putting elasticity back into our muscles.

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t do an exercise all the way. You will. Don’t strain or rush. I had to train myself to work slowly and smoothly without jerking or bouncing. Slowly you can build from a 10 or 15 minute workout to a half an hour. Take your time. Most of us with FM and CFS have a tendency to ‘over extend’ ourselves, I know I do. Now we’re learning to nurture ourselves and pace our movements.

Have you looked into practices such as tai chi, Qi chong, water aerobics, walking or yoga. Natural endorphins are released during exercise and help with pain relief. It also keeps our joints limber. Physical exercise also pushes fluid through our lymph system which helps to move waste through our bodies.

Posture is very important. I’ve become aware of slumping as well as jutting my head forward, especially at my desk at work. Being a dispatcher for a busy courier company, I don’t always have time to do a regular ‘body check’. The problem is, when the phone calls quieten down, this is when I really start to notice how I’m sitting and of course feeling my pain.

My greatest tension is in the neck area. This is where I’m learning to to be aware of and break old physical habits, like jamming the phone between my neck and shoulders and trying to do several tasks at once. I’ve also noticed when putting my mascara on in the morning, I have a tendency to tilt my neck back, which overstretches the muscles in the front and compresses the vertebrae in my neck.

The most vulnerable neck muscle is the trapezius http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trapezius_muscle it runs from the base of the skull down the back of the where where it fans out to the shoulders blades and spine. This is a nasty one for me!

Also look at the sternomastoid. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sternocleidomastoid_muscle ohh when tense, this is the muscle that can also affect the face, ears and jaw. It supports the neck to the side and front where the trapezius controls the front and back. Schrunching our heads and neck to the telephone strains and tenses both these muscles. Also mental stress, depression and anger can tense these muscles up without us even noticing.

Another major symptom these muscles can create when stiff/tense is the feeling of being off balance and feeling dizzy…..they have also been the cause of unexplained fainting.  The sternomastoid when affected can send pain deep into the ear and to the eye and the sinuses.  This muscle can make your teeth hurt and the root of your tongue hurt.  Sometimes it can cause a chronic cough or sore throat, I’ve met many people with FM who have had these symptoms and yet their doctor flatly refused to believe muscle tension was the cause.

The inner ear acts as a guidance system for focussing and tracking of the eyes.  The sternomastoid when extremely taut or overstretched can affect the inner ear as well as the eyes, causing blurred or double vision.

Where do you hold tension in the body? What muscles feel tense and taut? Make a note of the areas and then search wikipedia or other informative sites. Learn how the muscles in your body work.

“The muscles enable all the bodily systems to function, such as circulation, digestion, breathing and nerve impulses.  Their freedom of movment is essential for optimum health.  When the muscles are restricted, whether through tension, tightness, or lack of tone, your energy will be unable to flow smoothly, and you may suffer from related problems.  Stress release and emotional expression are therefore essential for muscle ease.  Exercise is also vital–it not only releases muscular tension but psycho/emotional tension as well.” Deb Shaprio YOUR BODY SPEAKS YOUR MIND

Vitamin A and E as well as essential fatty acids and a good calcium/magnesium supplement could help your CFS and FM. Your body will guide you to what works and what doesn’t. What works for someone else, might not work for you. As mentioned earlier, CFS and FM is a multi symptom disorder; to treat it we need a multi faceted approach.

Barley greens are ten times richer in calcium than milk. I was astonished to learn that. To absorb magnesium in our bodies we need calcium, phosphorus, vitamins B6, C and D as well as a normal intake of protein. For my body size I require about 50 grams of protein a day.

I found this really great site http://www.immunesupport.com/understanding_cfids/ It also has chat rooms and newsletters on FM and CFS.

Reiki, acupuncture, ‘light’ massage, therapeutic touch, homeopathic medicines as well as reflexology all help to minimize the pain of CFS and FM. Shiatsu (pressure points) is also good in helping to move blocked and toxic energy.

I’ve found aromatherapy oils, chamomile, lavender and sage help to soothe the muscles. They’re great in the bath or add a drop to your favorite body lotion. Epson salt baths help to draw out pain from our aching muscles.

There are a lot of great sites on natural herbs and vitamins to use to relieve the symptoms or pain of CFS and FM. Part 3 of Chronic Fatique and Fibromyalgia addresses how healing is related to the mind. It explores our emotions as well as the body/mind connection. Exploring the complexities of the Self, starts setting us apart from everyone else.

CFS and FM seem to be an internal battle; to heal we need to STOP and listen to our internal struggles, our judgements and how our belief system thinks our life should be. We need to look at our habits and routines; as well as put aside what we think other people expect of us and tap into and identify with our true nature.

Do you think FM and CFS could also be related to our high-tech world? Is this a form of disconnection from the rhythms of Nature. Have we allowed our bodies to become immobilized, tense and frozen.?

Technology has allowed us to expand our minds, our self expression and group awareness. Its invisible webbing urging us towards greater connectedness. But…..

“We tend to think of the rational as a higher order,
but it is the emotional that marks our lives”
Merle Shane

Scientists link processed foods to autoimmune disorder http://www.trueactivist.com/scientists-officially-link-processed-foods-to-autoimmune-disease/

Read Full Post »