Understanding the Messages of your Body
Recently inspired by a book I read called, Understanding the messages of your Body by Jean Pierre Barral How to interpret physical and emotional signals to achieve optimal health I felt inspired to write about my discovery of the interconnection of body and mind. It’s a book I recommend to Yoga Teacher trainees to to bring context and validity to body/mind links which Yoga connects us with. Its a book I would recommend to anyone wanting to know more about this fascinating yet relevant topic.
In his book he talks about how organs react to emotions and that reaction can determine a behavioural pattern. Every person has their own weak link, an organ or part or system that is vulnerable to stress. Every organ has its favourite terrain for example the liver is sensitive to everything pertaining to unity of our being, to our deepest self. Its a sensitive organ.
If our respiratory system is weak this relates to the lungs. Lung people can feel locked in as well as inhibited. They can be afraid to stand tall and can have a tendency to stand back. Having self-confidence enough to occupy your personal power and territory can be a challenge.
The respiratory system is so vitally dependent on healthy breathing habits but with unresolved inner tensions like grief or insecurity and this as a weak system, lung people can suffer from compromised breathing disorders like asthma and bronchitis.
This was exactly what I discovered, unravelled and worked with through a steady holistic hatha practice.
I reflected on my own yogic journey and my profound realization had one day standing in the shower, that the body and mind were interconnected realities. It was a pivotal moment in my experiential understanding; the reciprocal relationship of all parts of ourselves; body, mind, emotions and spirit. All unique aspects yet continually influencing each other in order to serve wholeness. That moment has stuck with me.
When I was diagnosed with glandular fever in my late 20s, I needed to re-assess not only my lifestyle habits, work demands and stress levels but also how my mental states played their part also. It was my wake up call and many of you may relate to these kind of defining experiences. Where life holds up the stop sign and we are propelled to take a look inside and dig deep to find authentic answers.
Yoga gave me the tools to firstly identify and viscerally comprehend how thoughts and feelings easily translated into felt sensations and bodily responses. If I felt sadness I had less energy, an inability to tackle difficult situations. If I felt healthy and robust this translated into exuding confidence and warmth to others. It wasn't rocket science, it just required an ability to be in tune inwardly, with your body and mind.
As the journey into personal practice deepened so too, did the insights like if I hold onto old hurts and feelings of loss then I feel drained, deflated, and eroded self confidence. On the contrary if I am able to forgive and let go then my heart feels lighter and my mood positive, lightness pervades. I discovered first hand this very direct correlation.
Books like 'The body keeps the score' by Van der Kolk, 'The Biology of belief by Joe Dispenza' ‘You can heal your life’ by Louise Hay, started to match up with what was becoming more and more obvious.
This discovery has given me a lot to work with on a daily basis both in practice and off the mat in everyday life. As time passed, many unrecognised, invisible or unconsciously suppressed experiences became the catalyst for further growth and inner work.
My personal history of respiratory conditions including constant bouts of bronchitis, pleurisy and adolescent asthma became an expedition to unearth the root cause behind its manifestation. You know, that nagging feeling that there is more to this illness than what appears on the surface.
A psychosomatic illness originates from or is aggravated by emotional stress and manifests in the body as physical pain and other symptoms sometimes referred to as neuro-muscular knots. In my case this manifested as a weakened immune system and constant respiratory illnesses. Getting sick every six to eight weeks is exhausting!
Yoga practices like the deep relaxation and meditation practice of Yoga Nidra bought fresh reservoirs of energy and a profound release of deeper held tensions. It was a revelation of how subconscious tensions if not resolved will manifest in some way, shape or form, seeking resolution or energetic release.
The Yoga Nidra as devised by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, (Bihar Yoga Tradition) has been in my yoga practice for 20 years now. That’s something I want to celebrate. It is a practice that is truly transformative.
Showing me where the work lies. Which patterns still need attention and bringing me in touch with the constant spacious and blissful experience that inner relaxation gives. The embodiment of a meditative state is achievable through this practical Tantric based technique.
Anchoring into a personal resolve, sankalpa is an essential aspect of Yoga Nidra, one that brings inner resilience and I am able to draw on at anytime and helpful during challenging times like the present global pandemic.
I recommend you check out the book and discover for yourself your own unique innate intelligence that constantly seeks to find balance and harmony in every moment of our life.
Yoga Nidra and Meditation Courses, retreats and Teachers Trainings run through-out the year, continuing the transmission of ancient wisdom for the modern world.
Aum shanti Pragyadhara
25 September 2020