Today is a day that welcomes new beginnings. Today is any day when this message reaches you and invites you to be present to noticing who you are and the offering you can be in this world. This is a mindfulness meditation practice that invites you to start with the breath. The mudra (or hand gesture) that is offered within the meditation and pictured above is called Pushpaputa mudra, and is a simultaneous gesture of offering and receiving.
This yoga nidra invites in sound as an external resource to deepen awareness into the physical and mental body. Sound is invited to help the listener explore and cultivate an understanding of intention (meaning/purpose) through curiosity. Also, in the practice of asking the listener to notice sound, we are creating the opportunity for the listener to temporarily redirect their awareness to this external element and in doing so there is the opportunity to work with sensitization.
The entire practice is based on inviting in awareness and breath, so there is activation of prana vayu. A body scan was incorporated to create a symbiotic connection to the entire body as a resource in creating body awareness. The movement throughout the breathwork was top to bottom as an approach in encouraging apana vayu movement, which was then balanced with udana vayu as the listener was invited to move their awareness back up the body.
As we move to more intentionally noticing the breath moving into and out of the body, we are working with inviting in a sense of balance from the center of the body, so there is a tuning in to samana vayu. As we move through the guided process we invite the listener to follow along, and there is the opportunity for them to create a connect to themselves as well as the process of curiosity and exploration.
We reconnect to intention at the end as a process of bring attention back to the process of self-discovery, noticing what the body needs, how the practice might have offered the chance to shift perceptions (sensitization), and ultimately allowing them to connect back to a sense of care of self and well-being (eudaimonia). As we end, the practice suggests elements to bring in grounding and reconnection
Meditation Using Sound & Sensing to Deepen Awareness & Stillness
If you’ve ever considered your options for treatment of depression or anxiety using pharmaceuticals and/or integrative approaches, we wanted to offer an educational essay on some of the comparisons of consideration from the perspective of what happens chemically and biologically in the body.
“Depression’s treatments have morphed over time, as has the disease itself, reminding us that suffering is never stagnant, that even discrete illnesses take the shape of the culture’s currents.” Lauren Slater
Mental healthcare in our society has become a touchpoint of awareness through not only self-awareness of individual mental health, but also through family influences, friends, colleagues, peers, and even through the increase in social influence through media and social platforms. Mental health effects a sense of self, relationships with others, physical health, and also an individual’s ability to maintain and balance stability, resilience and coping throughout one’s life. According to the World Health Organization, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” (WHO)
Mental health, as an attribute of the state of health, can branch into many conditions, disorders, and disturbances with a very broad number of diagnoses. The clinical definition of a mental health disorder according to the Diagnostic & Statistic Manual (DSM) is, “a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.” (DSM) An individual’s diagnosis of a mental health disorder can evolve throughout an individual’s life, but overall, the most common diagnoses for mental health conditions fall into the categories of depression and anxiety. The World Health Organization has announced that Depression is now the #1 Illness, with 300 million people worldwide suffering from this condition. (Depression) Clinical symptoms of depression include a depressed mood on a daily basis, a diminished sense of pleasure in activity, weight loss or gain, lack of sleep, agitation, feelings of restlessness, fatigue, feeling unworthy, and recurrent thoughts of death.
A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:
As I feel into and notice the sensation of stress in my body, it is like a panorama of sensations exploding and expanding from within. In any given day, we experience stress in multiple formats coming at us from multiple people through varied situations: lack of a good night of sleep, muscle pains from lumpy mattress or kids kicking us out of our bed, guilt over not making time to meditate or exercise, not enough hot water for a shower, cherrios box empty, grouchy spouse, kids not getting ready for school fast enough, work projects unfinished…whew! and it’s only 8 am! Now that’s a dramatic replay of distressing types of stress, and certainly not every morning is like this, but let’s consider eustress, the good type of stress. Eustress can still affect the body, but it tends to be as a result of positive events: marriage, having a baby, hosting a party, interviewing for a job, asking for a raise, competing in a sporting event, networking or social engagements….eustress allows us to have focused energy in a short amount of time, it motivates us and it usually is tied to a favorable end result allowing for change and growth.
Symptomatically, both types of stress can feel like…tightness in the chest, butterflies in the belly, heart racing, the body releasing cortisol and adrenaline, the body ready to react and to move into action…The Stress Response or, Fight and Flight, is being activated, and the sensations you feel are real and varied!
It is all of these processes combined, along with a minimum of over 20 additional reactions and changes, both internally and externally, that result in the “stress” we feel in our body. When we say we are stressed, it is not just removing “stress” in the body, but rather a combined effort of alleviating the panorama of symptoms of all of these bodily processes.
Try out this 61 point meditation for relaxation that draws on the science of the veda’s and the marma points of the body. Attached is an audio recording and a worksheet download for you to follow. As you try out the meditation and notice the points on the body, see what it may feel like to just notice each point as you move through the meditation, and then comparatively, try tapping along each of the points using your pointer and index finger of either your left or right hand on each of the points.
A Blog Post by Judy Thompson, Director Mind-Body Services:
Betrayal in one’s life often shows up like an uninvited enemy. It is unwelcome, often shocking, full of hurt, judgment and shame and faced with this challenge, it can feel like an end, a demise. No matter who the betrayer is, the feelings of hurt and pain linger with little submission, but when the betrayer is someone with whom we have entrusted our hearts, the pain and suffering feels that much more intense and activating. In Macbeth, Shakespeare wrote, “The saddest thing about betrayal is that it never comes from your enemies.” And so true are Shakespeare’s words still today, for it is those with whom we entrust ourselves and our vulnerabilities that the pain of the action, the betrayal, feels that much more deep and incomprehensible.
What may begin to arise within this activation is questions like, “How did I not notice?” “Why did this happen to me?” “How could they do this to me?” “How could I not have seen the writing on the wall?” “Why did I let this happen?” “How could they hurt me like this?” We begin to judge not only ourselves and our intentions, but also our intelligence, our trust instinct and our overall intuition.
Although betrayal is most often connected with infidelity, it can be realized and experienced through many other sufferings: disloyalty in work relationships, lies from colleagues or coworkers who you thought were your “friends,” abandonment from parents to children, even the spreading of gossip or lies by friends or family, verbally or otherwise.
As the brain tries to make sense out of the pain and understand the trauma, we are left in a place of lingering, a place of sadness, lost hope and sorrow. Our mind continues to try to work through and understand the abandonment and pain; it is trying to protect us and learn how to prevent the pain from happening again. It is vigilant, consistent, persistent and judicious.
Being able to apply skills of mindfulness, while still experiencing the pain and suffering of the betrayal, is one of the first steps towards healing.