Tag Archives: body centered therapy

What are you interested in learning about?

Hi readers,

I hope you all have been enjoying your summer (or winter if you’re in the southern hemisphere!)  I have been busy, busy this summer.  While it’s fun to have a flurry of activity and time outdoors, I am really looking forward to the fall.  Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love the crunch of the leaves and the the cool temperatures. I love the smell of pumpkin, spiced apple cider, and fire pits and I especially enjoy walking my dog this time of year.  My dog, Bucko is a Texan but upon moving to Chicago, he discovered the magic that is Fall.  His favorite thing to do (other than eat, pee and cuddle) is to kick up leaves– the larger the pile, the better.

As we move into fall, I anticipate having more down time to write and am very much looking forward to exploring new topics. I have several ideas brewing for upcoming posts, but am interested in hearing what you all are interested in learning about.  More specifically, I would like to explore the application of yoga to various physical, emotional and behavioral processes.  

What would you like to see covered in upcoming posts?

One of my favorite things about blogging is sharing information and learning together.  I truly appreciate your ideas and feedback.

-acorn

P.S.  Today Bucko is having a dental cleaning which requires anesthesia.  It is an extremely routine procedure but I am an anxious doggy mom today, particularly because he is 11 and has had some health issues recently.  I know he will be fine, but to get me through the day, I am posting an obsessive “Bucko montage” for your enjoyment.  Okay, let’s be real… I am posting it for my sanity!  A little pug love and pranayama to move through the day.

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LOVE

Elllll. Ohhhhh. Veeeee. Eeeeee. Love.  Why is it that four letter words are impossibly weighty?  Love.  It sounds so simple. To pick apart the layers of love would take more than a lifetime and the definition of the word would differ from lover to lover and from loved to loved.

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The simplicity of the sound and vibration of the word love is misleading.  The frequency with which we use the word love in our everyday (myself included) doesn’t do justice for just how complicated the concept is.

I am still trying to figure out how to best love and be loved– how I want to give and receive love. Love is visceral, electric, soft, nurturing and sweet.  Love starts with the self and once we love ourselves, we are then ready to fully love another. It’s a foundation for which growth can occur; not just for the individual, but for the whole.

When I love fully and when that love is reciprocated fully, love permeates my entire physical body and stirs my insides like a ladle in a vat of soup: warm, spicy, satisfying.

Love is wonderful, even when it hurts. Love is wonderful, even when it’s muddled.  In my body, love feels expansive, tingly, cleansing and electric.  I LOVE that feeling.  I LOVE love.  When things get messy in love, whether with family, friends or with a significant other, two things are vital for me– I need to open my heart and I need clarity.

I have put together a yoga sequence to address both clarity and heart opening.  I threw in some of my favorite postures (postures that I feel a sense of ease in) to create balance given the intensity of a heart opening series.  This series focuses on back bends.  Back bends should be practiced with caution and only when your spine is warm and ready to move.  Backbending is contraindicated for high and low blood pressure, migraine and serious low back and neck injury.  As always, please practice with caution.

LOVE.

What does love feel like in your body?  

-acorn.

“When love exists, nothing else matters, not life’s predicaments, not the fury of the years, not a physical winding down or scarcity of opportunity.”  -Isabel Allende

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”  -Elie Wiesel

Do acorns bend?

A friend once sent me a birthday card that reads:

 

“Every oak tree started out as a nut that stood it’s ground.”  


We all have the capacity to create, to grow, to bend a little.  Meaningful and lasting change is typically initiated by a movement of sorts: a person or a group of people coming together for a cause– strongly convicted, deeply rooted and ready to organize, to move, to connect, to create and to bend.  We have seen this time and time again in social movement, political uprisings and in community organizing.

The same concept can be applied to one’s physical body.  Our bodies become vehicles for our narratives. We embody the stories we tell ourselves about who we are what our journey has been like.  Our bodies are containers for perception, emotions, our learned sense of safety and place in the world.  When we think of our bodies as vessels for these essential elements of meaning and identity, it makes sense that we should be able to use our bodies to access and re conceptualize these resources/elements of “self.”


Let’s use public speaking to illustrate the above…


Every time I am asked to speak publicly my stomach “drops” and my hearts begins to race.  These visceral responses happen at the mere suggestion that I enter into a public speaking role.  Because I believe in the power of sharing information and facing my fears head-on, I accept.  Let’s fast forward to the day of the presentation.  I am nervous as all get out!  My hands are fidgety and my heart is racing.  As the time to approach the podium nears, my mind begins to go blank!  Imagine!



If we are operating under the construct that our body is a vessel for these reactions, it would make sense that our body could serve as an entry way into mitigating these reactions and ultimately retrain the way that our body copes with emotionally charged situations.  In the above situation, my sympathetic nervous system is operating on overdrive.  I become so anxious that I begin to move from feeling grounded in my body, in my “self” to a mode of “flight, fight or freeze” (the 3Fs.)  None of  the 3Fs are especially effective when it comes to public speaking. Do I have any control here?  Not especially.  Control is an illusion.  Are there things that I can do to move out of the sympatheic response and into a parasympatheic state?  YES!


When I’m feeling anxious, fidgety and light headed, I take a moment to breathe.  I take deep, slow, diaphragmatic breaths, extending the length of both my inhale and my exhale. I might also practice alternate nostril breathing. As a result, my respiration feels less shallow and my heart rate slows.   If after the breath-work, I’m still feeling “blank” or distracted, I will often go into a gentle inversion in order to improve blood flow and circulation.  Slowing down and reconnecting with my physical body through subtle movement and vibration profoundly impacts my state of mind and ability to approach the podium and to speak in front of a group.

Physics tells us that all matter has movement and I believe that all movement matters.  There has been a decent amount of research looking into yoga’s impact on physical and emotional wellness and centuries of anecdotal evidence speaking to the impact that movement (dance, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, etc.) has on identity, emotional state and narrative.  Is it a panacea?  Heck no!  But I truly believe that each time we interrupt disruptive patterns, we are training our bodies to respond rather than react, and are shifting our narrative about what we are capable of accomplishing.


So do acorns bend? Of course!


-acorn.


“The body says what words cannot.” -Martha Graham