One Yoga Pose to Feel Empowered, Uplifted, Improve Energy and Relationships

One Yoga Pose to Feel Empowered, Uplifted, Improve Energy and Relationships

“Since emotions run every system in the body, don’t underestimate their power to treat and heal.”

– Candace Pert. 

How powerful that feeling of total bliss or joy is when we’re elated, delighted and excited all rolled into one. It gives us energy and motivation to do incredible things with ease and confidence.  

Or equally devastating those depths of despair, where happiness seems unimaginable and each step a steep mountainside. Every little bump or challenge sucks our life energy right out of us.
Both these states are due to our emotions. The last months we’ve explored how emotions work and affect our mental states, and vice versa. This week it’s how do emotions affect our energy. And what we can do to reclaim that power and direct it with Yoga and mindfulness.

A Brief History of Energy in Motion

The E-word in the world of science and medicine, Candace Pert joked, for what can’t be measured, can’t be real. Remember our emotions are responses of our inner world meeting the outer world. Ultimately emotions are Love, Bliss and Clarity, according to Yoga and Ayurveda.  
Candace, a passionate neuroscientist, pharmacologist and biophysicist, innovatively sought biochemical links between consciousness and body.


Twenty years ago, in her deeply inspiring book The Molecules of Emotion, Candace revealed how emotions affect the entire biochemistry in of our bodies. Her extensive research led her to discover that emotions are the link between mind and body. More to the point, we are a bodymind.


Emotions change the electricity and chemistry of every single cell in our body, affecting how we feel, what we perceive through the five senses, how we react depending on what we perceive as most important.
This affects our tissues, organs and channels of mind. These filters, the cellular memory and innate intelligence of our body responds easily to the infinite changes.


These changes are recorded within the receptors of cells. When changes and experiences are not expressed or digested healthily, they become toxins, ama in Ayurveda. Toxic emotions build up in the unconscious, clogging mental channels of perception. Our ability to receive and accept the full power of Love behind every E-motion as an expression of free flow of Prana, depends on how conscious, embodied and alive we meet the outer world each time. 
Fortunately, science is slowly shifting. We now know that the body is the mind crystallized. The only sure thing in the material world is change. Science is catching up and affirms what Seers around the world have said for millennia. We have all we need within. 

How We Can Make the Shift

The innate intelligence of our body, what Yoga and Ayurveda call Prana, is a conscious force that moves through us knowing what it needs and how to heal. “We have a natural pharmacopeia already within us” Candace stated. We can inherently orchestrate our own healing process through knowledge and application of the practices.


Our body heals when our cells are healthy and clear. We can create the clarity and vibrancy on a cellular level, not just through healthy food and exercise. But by being conscious in relationships and connections with others. That outer relationship is a reflection of the inner relationship. How your cells communicate with each other. How they meet and greet, respond or react. 
That’s why yoga is so powerful. We learn to move our body, breath and mind with consciousness. We can connect to it, and to others. Yoga affects not just the connection with self, but with society and spirit. Connection, relations are our spiritual practice on this earth.
The connectedness we feel of bodymind profoundly changes our emotions into positive states. We’re literally removing old memories from cellular filters. 


These filters affect our thoughts, perceptions and experiences. And we in turn can create new filters any time we choose to make that effort. We can awaken our e-motional state, energy in motion. This energy movement within and through our cells and organs, directly affects our bodymind, and this impacts our energy levels.

A Two-Way Stream 

We can also use our body to change our biochemistry through posture, muscular engagement, to affect our emotional and mental state. We can reverse engineer, we can create the energy level we want. We can let ourselves feel down, relaxed or uplifted, anger, excitement or enthusiasm, contentment, detached or disappointment. 


Emotions are the key to uplifting ourselves and our energy levels. And the way we use our body language, the parts of our body we activate, or soften, will affect how we feel and change our energy levels directly and effectively. 
It does take practice. Like anything in life we need to attempt it many times to become good and feel and see its effects. But this simple technique can be used daily, until you start to integrate that mental awareness, emotional activation and bodily engagement in daily activities and life.

Try it

Sit down, let your body relax, even slump. Let your head sit unintentionally, slightly disinterested. Don’t try to be embodied, rather be disembodied, be in your head.
Now say to yourself, “I feel alive, vibrant, I do everything with joy today!”
And FEEL IT.
How do you feel?
Do you feel alive and vibrant? 
Did you feel you change in the physiological state a flow of energy?
Does this generate a good feeling or uplifted energy?


So a simple stance, or lack of it, let’s our energy run down and out, and it’s not going to give us that vibrancy or upliftment, we actually seek in our waking state.


Now to be empowered means we have power to affect and claim our part in the play of life. And for Yoga to be empowering we need to first know where we are, where we want to arrive at through our practice and what practice will get us there.
So an easy and effective way is to tune into what you’re feeling at this moment. 


Stand up in Mountain pose, plant your feet firmly on the floor, connect to the Earth’s abundant energy supply. Feel the front of your body awake, alive and open, ready to receive that flow of energy. Let the back body soften but with an intent to receive energy.
Now be embodied, feel the sensations in your body, the amazing flow of life moving through you to your head. 
Let the mind be reflective like a lake, awake and clear with intent. Now say to yourself, “I feel alive, vibrant, I do everything with joy today!”
And FEEL IT. 
How do you feel?
Do you feel alive and vibrant?
Do you feel you changed the physiological state?
Does this generate a good feeling or uplifted energetic state?

It’s really simple.
Now if the difference wasn’t so big, that’s ok, you just need a little practice. 
If we have a habit of letting or energy run down and out, we just need to swim upstream a few times and turn the current around.
With practice anything is possible.


Joy doesn’t come to a lucky few, it comes through practice and preparation, understanding and opportunity coming together like old friends.


Now its your turn to take this into the world.
Leave a comment below and tell us how it will change your current situation.

Much Love,

Shira.

EMOTIONALLY EMPOWERED BY SEEING YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS

EMOTIONALLY EMPOWERED BY SEEING YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS

We can empower ourselves emotionally and live fuller lives. These two simple steps will help you overcome fears and understand your limiting beliefs. Giving you more control, calm and resilience. 

Last weeks blog about was about how feelings and thoughts can’t be divorced. And how our vagal nerve allows us to enhance our relaxation response with a smooth, slow and rhythmic practice, of breath and movement. Helping us switch from active to responsive. Using the body to calm the nervous system and mind.
Yet sometimes, even though we do relaxing activities, our body is still tense and our mind restless. “Where on earth has peace and calm wandered this time?” I find myself wondering.


We all know we have the power in our hands to create health in body and mind. Especially when we educate ourselves and apply that knowledge. But even then, sometimes it’s really hard to switch from active to calm, and somehow, we jump to reactive.Trivial events trigger us. And it feels violent when we have a ‘Creating world harmony’ ideal.
Even after practicing mindfulness and yoga for over 29 years, it’s still a work in progress.
Why?  

Obviously, emotions.

Emotions, those wonderful messengers between body and mind. Energy in motion. They’re transient. They have no substance, but they’re very powerful forces!
There is an inherent intelligence behind each emotion. A message between our inner experience and the outer stimulus. Underneath each emotion lies our body-mind intelligence communicating with us in waves of change. And the way we experience and express that e-motion, depends on many things.
Often our inner experience is strongly influenced by past memories, thoughts and perceptions associated with the outer event.

The crashing of fear

And the strongest wave is that of fear. Because our brain was intensely wired to fear for more than 2 million years, ensuring our survival, we have a fear bias. Fear triggers us to react and fast.
Using the vagal nerve is called a bottom up approach.
This week it’s a top down approach. Using the mind to understand our fear and calm the mind, nerves and soma. Both bottom up and top down complement and enhance each other. To move us away from fear we need to use all tools in our toolbox.

Somatic practice and psychology is a beautiful marriage  

1. Create Mental Space to See Triggers
Using the body, breath and mind to create mental space we can start to see triggers earlier.
The reflective moments we create through yoga and meditative practice, especially breath centred, calms the nerves and creates more mental space. Chittakasha is expanded.
Because there’s more space in our minds, we take distance from our fears. Emotions are like waves, the come crashing on the shore of our consciousness from the unconscious. Spacious mind sees the waves of fear coming from afar.
This spaciousness let’s us see what undercurrent thoughts triggered the emotion. Emotions don’t happen to us, but move through us to change. A better change, a positive change. Opportunities to improve next time round. And there’s always a next time. (Remember nothing is perfect, especially the first time, we have many opportunities to try again.)

2. Find the underlying thought 
As we see the wave of emotion coming earlier the underlying thought also becomes clear. Underneath any reaction surges a fear. And behind every fear lies a good intention. Every negative habit has a positive intent. To protect us. Find that positive intent. Hear the fear behind it. Most reactions stem from one of 5 fears.
Martina Sheehan and Susan Pearse in Wired for Lifespeak of 5 fundamental fears:
1 Fear of rejection or standing out
2 Fear of losing out or scarcity mentality
3 Fear of losing control
4 Fear of failure or not good enough
5 Fear of facing the truth or being responsible
Socially, we need acceptance of our ‘tribe’, to survive. This desire to fit in is deeply ingrained and stems from our brain, the limbic system, the oldest part of our brain. All emotional triggers, especially fear, ensure we please our tribe. That may be our society, family, peers, colleagues or friends.
So find the fear. Hear the story you keep telling yourself subconsciously.

And then take action, move with emotion

Let that energy move through you not to you. 

1 Fear of standing out – Find our voice. Diversity is beauty. Only you define yourself, not the opinion of others.  
2 Fear of losing out – See the abundance. Know whatever you have to offer, there are people out their who need your gift. Think win/win, not win/lose. When others succeed see it as prove that you can too.
3 Fear of losing control – Let go. Accept things as they are. Uncertainty holds opportunity. 
4 Fear of failure – Take the chance, the challenge and grow. Progress not perfection is key to moving forward.
5 Fear of facing the truth – Take responsibility. Own your life, thoughts, feelings, actions and situation. Then take the steps to create the life You want to live.

So, hear the story you keep telling yourself, and find the underlying push your subconscious is trying to give you to move you toward a greater self. A less limited self. And if you dare to be really brave, a limitless self in a world with certain limits.
Namaste dear friend, so much love to You, Be that brave One,

Shira.

 Next time reaction happens ask which of the fears is asking You to change and move forward.

 What limiting belief or fear holds You back?

ONE NERVE TO EASE OR DIS-EASE

ONE NERVE TO EASE OR DIS-EASE

The Vagus Nerve

A hype in Yoga therapy circles, adamant I wasn’t joining in, for years, it sat on the shelf. Then Ganesh Mohan mentioned Stephen Porges’ Polyvagal Theory at the Yoga therapy training, thrice. Finally, I dove in… 

Why hadn’t I done so earlier?!

Mindset, fear, limiting beliefs, lack of self confidence, resistance, procrastination, lethargy. Take your pick. If you ask me, a little of each. 

The vagus nerve affects all of these, and so much more, for better or for worse, depending on which pathway our vagus activates easier.

Two paths, two very different outcomes

The Vagus nerve has two pathways one to excite, sympathetic, and the other to relax and rebalance, parasympathetic. Yoga-based practices intrinsically promote vagal tone and decrease the wear and tear of the body. Yoga practiced intentionally, with slow rhythmic breathing during the physical, emotional and mental challenges of practice, allows us to exercise non-reactiveness in stressful situations. It increases parasympathetic vagal tone.

So you might ask, “What does that mean for me?”

Well, the tone of our vagus nerve directly impacts our wellbeing and physiology. If we work more in the activated and excited state,that most of us are in daily, we strengthen the tone and circuitry of sympathetic- fight or flight response. and if we are great at relaxing, allow our bodies to rest and restore when it asks for it, we increase parasympathetic- rest and digest response circuitry.  

This impacts everything from our weight, sleep, immunity, inflammation of organs and tissues, stress response, general wellbeing, to our ability to relax, the shine of our hair, the health of our skin, our energy levels, which affect depression and anxiety are affected by vagal tone!

How it Works its Wonders through Wandering 

Its name comes from the Latin vagus,means wandering. And like a vagabond it’s dedicated to travelling from all the organs to communicate our organic state. Our perception of it’s value is vague because it moves so subtly. 

If we wander with the longest cranial nerve in the body on a journey from brainstem, striated muscles in the face, head, neck, back of the tongue, ears, down the throat to the lungs, heart, and deep down into the gut, we touch all feeling tissues. The vagus nerve connects skin, muscles and our entire visceral body. Viscera means deeply feeling. Its our innate organ sensing and communicates with our brain how we feel. Basically, its our emotional pathway.

Most nerves are either able to sense or enable us to move, the vagal does both. It controls sense and motor communication between feeling and acting. It’s importance as pathway of bodily intelligence, is finally beginning to surface in modern medicine. Physiologically interwoven throughout our entire system, Yoga benefits the vagal nerve. Vagal tone is strongly impacted by slow rhythmic breathing of Yoga, and movement enhances our sensitivity to our inner states.[i]

Pretty influential, when you feel it.

Visceral messages like gut feelings, butterflies, instinct, intuition, are all initiated by this amazingly wondrous nerve. Called Neuroception, this perception of the body’s neurons without awareness of the mind instinctively sense our environment and another’s neural signals. These feelings draw our awareness and attention within the body. These sensations tell us we need to make some changes. Either in the lifestyle or dietary habits, or our environment, the people we hang out with or the work we do. 

When we ignore the body’s intelligence that something’s wrong, again and again, we’ll develop dis-ease. This is just the body’s way to say, “Hello, you’re not listening! Hey, you up there, you need to make some changes!”. Continue to ignore the cues, due to insensitivity, lack of will, or ignorance, and it builds up into deep seated dis-ease. Ayurveda calls this process Samprapti. It becomes chronic. 

What You can do to Tone that Wandering Nerve  

1. Feel Safe and Welcome

One of the most important things for our vagus nerve is feel safe. Feeling safe is the precursor of healing and thriving. That bodily sensation of safety, when we relax, rest and digest. When the nervous system rests, the vagal nerve switches from sympathetic mode, meaning active, ready to run, escape or fight, to parasympathetic, meaning passive, ready to restore, absorb and enjoy. 


Our organs of digestion, reparation and growth, are only nourished when we’re relaxed. Feeling safe is basis for a healthy relationships, social engagement and play. Safety is the foundation for higher brain function and higher states of awareness, which gives way to our creative, intuitive and joyous nature.  

2. Slow Rhythmic Breathing

The wandering nerve will wander less aimlessly if we breathe slowly and with the intention to breathe rhythmically. Especially the out breath will enhance the parasympathetic nervous system. If you find it hard to relax, then breathing out slower then in will bring the ralation mode into play. Breathe out for 8 seconds and in for 4-6, as you feel comfortable. Do this for at least 10 rounds. But the more the merrier 🙂

3. Practice Yoga with Slow Rhythmic Movement

Yoga movement practiced slow and with rhythmic intention deepens the breath, strengthening core muscles and enhances our baroreceptor sensitivity. [i]  It also makes sure our awareness is switched on. This in and of itself assures calming the nervous system, stilling the mind and regulates emotions and energy levels because we’re more attuned. 


We can use the body to engage the relaxation part of the Vagus by doing simple movements such as cat cow, or gentle or modified sun salutations.

4. Use a Positive Affirmation that Creates a Sense of Welcome

Whatever fear comes up, ask what the thought is behind that fear, hear the words and then find the exact opposite words to strengthen your positive intention to feel safe, welcome and accepted. The Vagus works both top down and bottoms up. Meaning we can override it from our bodily sensations, or with thoughts.

So we want to create a smooth slow and rhythmic practice, both of the breath, the movement and mental patterns.

The intention and the intensity will also benefit your Wandering nerve, the wandering mind and our sometimes wandering health, while we wonder where in heavens it went this time…. 

Know you have the power in your hands, body and mind, when You educate yourself and apply that knowledge!! Begin to move with your Wandering Nerve. Start that journey of wondering with life, it’s complexity, it’s completeness and your capabilities.


Namaste, much love, safety and nourishment to Your Soul,

Shira.

 
 
[i]Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Lorenzo Cohen, Timothy McCall, Shirley Telles- The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care

TRANSFORM EMOTIONS INTO POSITIVE ACTIONS

TRANSFORM EMOTIONS INTO POSITIVE ACTIONS

From waves of emotion to the sea of self confidence.

The waves of emotions 

Emotions are powerful. They lead to self-confidence when we know how to ride them. They strongly influence our body and mind. They create imbalance or vibrancy. Havoc or harmony, and manifest as confusion or creativity.
They affect our hormones, our mental state, our physiology and energy levels. 


The waves of emotions are created when the inner world meets the outer. The tides of energy exchange. The ebb and flow of the movement of life within us. Every sensation within your body is just an expression of these two ‘strangers’ meeting in myriad forms. 
Off course our fullest expression of any emotion is ultimately Love. But how often do we really feel this love with a capital L daily? A few seconds, maybe minutes at most. And wouldn’t it be great if we could feel a fuller version of that emotion or live, breathe, eat and sleep with more passion, contentment, satisfaction and surrender?  


Well we can. But first we need to understand emotions purpose.

The power and purpose of emotions 

Every emotion has a story to tell. Emotion is energy in motion. Emotions exist to propel us into action. Emotions are the connection between body and mind. The bridge, if you will. Whenever we interact with the world, the exchange creates energetic movement within the body.


We act in response to that energetic movement, E-motion.  


When emotions are positive, we feel harmony and enjoy and absorb that joyousness. But when negative, we usually react instead of respond. Emotions push us to honour our inherent intelligence. Our soul’s purpose wants to be honoured, heard, felt, valued, seen, and can be ignored, negated, supressed, surplanted, uprooted, or neglected, resulting in emotion. An unmet need.

The 5 difficult emotions and our respond-ability

Fear – or anxiety asks us to discern and then act upon the intentions and actions of others. When we align with that we create feelings of safety and trust.  
Guilt – asks us to look at our own intentions and actions. When we honour this, we create feelings of satisfaction and pleasure. 
Anger – or shame is our values, needs and desires being refuted, ignored or trodden on. It asks us to move forward, create change and transform that situation. When we see to this emotion, we create feelings of success, self confidence and autonomy. 
Sadness – asks us to stop, look, and listen to the grief, and feel what it is we are letting go of. When we feel this emotion, we create feelings of peace, contentment and Love. And a little wisdom, as we grow by letting go.
Suppression – asks us to speak our truth, to own our voice and express our values, ideas and opinions, even if thats not in accordance with public opinion. When we own our stance, needs and goals, this feeling makes way for creativity, openness and freedom, and self worth and acceptence become solid ground.  

Knowing the emotion allows us to create positive change

But often we don’t know what we’re feeling. Often we’ve been taught to supress, reject or ignore our emotions. Remember emotions are energy in motion, if they get stuck, energy becomes condensced and becomes a matter.  
Do this too often, too long, and they become toxic. They build up and get stuck in our tissues, organs and systems of the body and mind. Clogging our physical and mental perception and sensitivity. Clouded or insensitive to our feelings, when our emotional needs aren’t being met or expressed, we internalise those dynamics of relationship, relating and living.
Our emotional fire and desire dims, and we lose the ability to connect and relate. Emotions become toxic, often lifelong patterns. 
So what can we do?

4 Key steps to riding the emotional waves

1. Burning up the Build Up

We can burn emotional toxicity by building a healthy energetic fire.
As emotions are divine life energy expressed through us, we don’t need to suppress or reject these feelings. When we surrender, we release them. Just witnessing our emotions, their rise, fall and dissolution, and our reactions and thoughts toward them, will dissolve them.


Now, even though we just have to sit with them, this is hard work. We need to be brave enough to feel and hold them, in all their velocity, intensity and uncertainty. And being with our feelings, and the burning sensation of it inside us, creates the fire that releases toxic emotions.
Doing just 5 minutes each day will build up our courage and self-confidence. 

2. Recognising Emotions

Once we’ve created the fire we want to begin to name the different emotions. This allows us to know what our inner world feels in response to the outer situation and act accordingly. We begin the process of transformation through discrimination. Then we don’t cheat ourselves or the other.


Feel what happens to your energy in relation to the external world. Does the person, situation or activity lift you up or pull you down? Does it move you forward or hold you back?
Take a few moments of time in your day to ask these questions when with others.

3. Hear Their Story

Emotions are always in the present, so what is THIS emotion telling you? Can you allow it to speak the whole story? Allow it to rise, swell, peak and fall away. Find out where it came from. Realise which past experience makes you feel compelled to suppress this emotion.


Then once you get past your own story in relation to it, feel its strength. What power does this feeling convey? How can you ride this wave? Feel it’s intensity, the direction it wants to take and the expression you can channel this into. Maybe in the form of movement in your body, maybe in creating a project or connecting with like minded people to create some change you feel compelled to awaken.

Honour the emotion. The stronger the charge, the bigger you can create, the further this energy can move through you and the world.
When you start to feel, recognise and express this energy, its like riding a wave that’s moving through your core. When I realised this, it was a BIG DEAL! It means we can transform to create through feeling. This blew me away.


Next time a strong emotion arises, feel where you can take that surge of energy. Channel it into something creative.

4. Honour your needs

We need to feel, see and recognise our emotions to meet our needs. We need our needs met to feel ALIVE. And we need our emotions to meet our needs. So vital and key, they complement each other. It’s like a cycle, upstream or down.


Movement is a great physical need we have. We’ve evolved over 2 million years to walk, climb, run, dig, swim, dance and jump. And off course yoga! Taking all these different forms and expressing their energy! Doing this daily to feel fully alive. To let that divine life energy flow through us just as the spring breathes life into the woods and world!


Let Your aliveness guide you not your imbalances.


Needs are different for each person, but most of us need love, safety, nourishment, connection and purpose. When these are met, we can meet powerful emotions with calm, collected clarity and curiousity.


Self knowledge gives birth to self Love. When we know what we need, want, what we are great at and what we are crap at, we know what actions we need to take to move out of an emotion that limits us. Step Into Your Power & Beauty is a in-depth training to learn how to work with your emotions and turn them into positive actions.


So let’s ride the waves of emotion. Let’s ride the wave to self-confidence, vibrancy and manifestation of a world we want to live in. One where we’re emotionally intelligent, literate and empowered.


Let’s open ourselves up to a vaster range of emotions by first diving into the not so delicate and delicious ones 😉

Tell me, what do you do to ride the waves of your emotions?

Much Love,

Shira.