Posts in Emotions/Resilience
Resistance & The Salvation of Softness

Have you ever had a moment of subtle resistance? Well of course, we all have. Here is a little trick I learned while exploring Awareness Through Movement and again while sitting on my cushion. To be frank, it has helped me in just about everything I do.

Recently I noticed I was reluctant to start dinner. Strange. I love to cook. I love to eat. I have a big beautiful box of fresh veggies from my local CSA. So, why on earth was I resisting this?

I paused.

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Mood, Food, Inflammation & Mental Health

Mental health issues have a huge impact on society. Some suggest that their impact is larger than any other chronic disease, including heart disease or diabetes. And if you suffer from persistent pain, then you're four times as likely to have depression or anxiety than those who are pain-free. 

There are so many factors involved in complex conditions like mental health issues and persistent pain. But today, we're going to look at just one of these factors — inflammation.

First, we’ll go over a few of the links between inflammation and mental health. Then, we’ll talk about some exciting research into natural approaches - things like foods, nutrients, and lifestyle upgrades - and how these are related to better mental health.

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Movements Of The Jaw

Ahhhhh….the jaw! This lesson is one of the lessons from a series of Jaw Lessons that I share in the BODY+BRAIN Membership.  The title of this MP3 nugget of jaw moving goodness is “The Connections & Movements of The Jaw.” You see, I am almost positive that you know in your mind and mouth that the jaw has an impact on your teeth and other mouthy parts. But did you also know that the jaw and its movements play a pivotal role in balance — physically and emotionally?

The upper jaw, part of the cranium, connects most intimately with the spine and back of the body. Every movement the upper jaw makes reverberates through the spine. But we will explore that a bit more in another lesson.

The lower jaw (a.k.a. the mandible) connects most intimately with your body-core, rib basket, and sternum. See if you can imagine this glorious network of soft tissue that connects the jaw to the clavicle (a.k.a. collar bones), sternum (a.k.a. breastbone), hyoid bone, the upper two ribs, and so much more.

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Progressive Muscle Relaxation To Relieve Stress + Reduce Stress

If you suffer from complex pain, then you know what it's like to feel tense. Even tending to your home can feel like it takes excessive physical effort. And, the quality of your efforts is impacted by your ability to relax.

There are a variety of relaxation techniques and activities to choose from. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is one that is easy to learn and yields a variety of benefits — developing a sense of well-being, lowered blood pressure, decreased muscle tension, less anxiety and fatigue.

The general intention of Progressive Muscle Relaxation is to hone in on your ability to relax by intentionally comparing relaxed and tense states. In turn, this can help to reduce anxiety and stress by bringing awareness to and then releasing the physical aspects (i.e. muscle tension).

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How Your Beliefs Impact Your Health

I was so flipping happy to find see this video about the stress response on T.E.D.! As a Kinesiology Major in college, I spent quite of bit of time looking at the stress response and recovery as a sign of health! So for me, hearing blanket statements of stress being harmful to your health has been a bit like fingernails scraping slowly along a chalkboard. If you follow my work, then you know that I have a lot of respect for the positive and negative aspects of the stress response.

In this video, Kelly McGonigal does a wonderful job of covering some of the research looking at how our beliefs about stress change our physiological reactions to stress and how the stress response has a built-in social aspect. She discusses three studies that shed new light on the stress response, and how our beliefs and relationships to stress may actually improve our health.

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Meditation & Gut Health. How Are They Related?

When you think of meditation you probably don’t associate it with better digestion and gut health. I know I didn’t until I learned just how much chronic stress influences our gut health and just how powerful meditation is for decreasing stress.

What Does Evolution Have To Do With Healthy Digestion?

Issues like leaky gut often come from living a high-stress lifestyle. Most of us are under a lot of stress in today’s world. When you’re feeling anxious or rushed, your body goes into fight or flight. This is a survival mechanism that’s been with us since long before our frontal lobes developed. Back when we had to struggle just to survive, fight-flight -freeze was useful, but nowadays we don’t have to fight off predators and run for our lives (at least not often). This response to external stress kicks in anytime something triggers our stress response.

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Who’s Your Saboteur?

We all have a way to which we hold ourselves back. Ways in which we keep ourselves safe by settling for what is familiar. For example, try simply noticing that voice inside your head that gets very chatty whenever you are about to make a decision or do something new, especially something that could result in change. Is it telling you that you’re nuts to consider what you are thinking of doing? Does it say that you failed once before and will probably do so again? Or is your voice like a sly cat, sweetly seducing you to eat those fries and chocolate shake?

Simply noticing these habitual stories, seductive voices, and destructive dialogues will help you to realize that there are inner saboteurs at work. In the act of noticing you begin to empower yourself to make truly conscious decisions that will result in positive and lasting changes in your life.  

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Movement Of Emotions

Recently a student approached me at the end of class and asked me if experiencing strong emotions while doing Awareness Through Movement was normal. My answer: “Yes.” Emotions don’t surface all of the time, but it does happen and the intensity of the experience can vary.

When I first started reading Moshe Feldenkrais’ books nearly 20 years ago I was completely obsessed with the mind-body connections—specifically how I could shift my emotional base and perspectives by working with my body. I consumed his writings along with those of Ida Rolf, Alexander Lowen, and books like Emotional Anatomy (the source for the image above.)

You see, at the time, I was really interested in how different patterns of organization played a role in establishing a ‘baseline’ of emotional experience.

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