Monday, 16 May 2016

Stress – live it, breathe it, embody it and it will slowly devour you.

How can stress in our lives eventually lead to organ collapse and depression?

Let’s looks at the primary change in our bodies when we experience stress, the breath changes. It moves from the parasympathetic state (relaxation) to the sympathetic state (stress).

This then signals to the adrenals to start releasing cortisol in the body.
Now for short spurts our bodies can cope with this and when the stress has passed, our body does its house cleaning and restores us to good order.

However with our ever stressed, fast paced lives, our bodies are pumping out cortisol almost constantly, then when peak stresses occur in our lives our health begins to fall apart with many complex mechanisms in the body leading to specific damage.

You can google the effects of stress in the body - high blood pressure, susceptibility to diabetes, depression, weight fluctuations, inability to absorb nutrients from food, the gut becomes toxic and for women, although it doesn't make the top ten, it is right up there, suffer enough stress and it will take out your beautiful thyroid. More on this soon.

Look at your language to gage your level of stress, what are your repetitive words saying to you? Look at your loved ones language, what state of stress are they in?

And lets begin at the primary shift in our body that signalled things to begin to unravel – recovering the natural breath.

Refer: Book: A State of Mind - happiness beyond all anxiety. Page 47 - Beginning to Quieten the Mind. Check in breath Meditation 

And check out the following youtubes: Begin here:


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Relaxation Meditation – Yoga Nidra

Twenty years ago I began teaching relaxation to veterans and others suffering PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

One of the most effective methods to help them relax, as well as using specific yoga postures was teaching the Yoga Nidra technique.

The method of systematically relaxing certain body parts helps the brain to relax and in doing so allows the entire nervous system to begin to move into the para sympathetic state. This relaxes the diaphragm sufficiently to begin conscious breathing.

Lets begin here:

Find a quiet space to lie on your back (bolster under knees if your back is uncomfortable also small one under neck if necessary).

Let your arms release away from your body, palms turned upwards. Your feet will rest hip width apart, with your toes falling outwards. If they don't, start a small jiggling movement through your entire body to ‘loosen up’.
Gently close your eyes, a eye pillow (with natural fragrance of lavender oil) can be nice to relax the eyes. Check your body is symmetrical, imagine a line running from the crown of your head down through to the centre space between your feet.

This relaxation posture already begins to influence your consciousness and will
allow for relaxation and the energy flow through your body to be restored.

Now we have to give the mind something to engage with!

Bring your attention inwards and become conscious of your breath. Don't let the mind fall into judgement, rather become the observer of the breath. The gentle in breath and the gentle out breath.

As you move through the meditation take as long as you need to at each stage. If you are unable to connect with any body part, simply apply a little tension to that area and then release with the breath.

As we go through the physical body, if you come across a part of your body that you can’t actually feel then just slightly tense it, the release it. Pay a little more attention to this area.

Relax the top of your feet, the underside of your feet.
Relax your ankles, the bones of the feet,
Relax your calves and shin bones
Relax the underside of your knees, the upper knee
Relax the underside of your legs, relax the top of the legs
Relax the sitting bones
Relax the buttocks
Relax the hips
Relax the lower back
Relax the belly
Relax the middle back, the upper back
Relax the chest
Relax the underside of the shoulders, the tops of the shoulders
Relax the underside of the upper arms, the elbows
Relax the underside of the lower arms,
The back of the wrist, the back of your hand, your fingers
Relax the palm of your hand, the front of your wrist
The lower arm, the upper arm
Relax your throat, the back of the head, the skull, the skin on the skull
The forehead, eyebrows, the eye bone, eyes
Relax your cheeks, cheekbones
Relax your nose,
Relax your ears, your lips, your tongue, and your jaw
Allow your entire body to relax
Your entire body to breathe


The recording for this meditation will be uploaded shortly. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

For all those with ageing parents

 You have a Choice

You have a unique new role in life, one you didn't choose so much as you grew into.

It is when the tables are turned and your aging parent becomes dependent on you and you become the carer.

But this is not like the child parent role, no this is a whole lot different.

Now in our country we are really gearing up for the aging population as elsewhere in the world. You will inevitably become very familiar with the acronyms ACCT and OT’s, and a new and burgeoning …trician as in geriatrician, so new, spell check doesn't pick it up. So your aging parent will be well cared for, their physical and mental needs met through a well structured support system.

Be very careful that you do not try and fulfil all these roles as well as being the emotional support for your parent or you will need up exhausting your self, becoming extremely stressed and end up with ill health, as I did. You simply can’t take on the role of multiple people, be the emotional support for someone who is becoming increasingly dependent on you, care for your family and home and work. Is there any thing left for your self? Nope, and you end up depleting yourself and perhaps feeling resentful.

Instead you could choose a different outcome. For you are none of the above mentioned roles, no your role is a unique role and it will be the last one you have with your parent.

It is not the role of doing that is amply covered, rather it is the role of being the listener. The one who simply sits in companionship and silence for the age old art of stories being passed through the generations.

A time of sharing, of memories and bonding when the roles of parent and child morph into two human beings. And why is this a unique role? Because it is born of a lifetime of sharing, a blood bond that even if years and animosity have separated you, now here is the time for the continuity of life.

After your parent has passed away, will the stories you share with your children be about the stress of looking after your aging parent or will it be the joyful re telling of the stories of your children’s grandparents early life of lasting memories.


Ps When I wrote the title spell check changed ageing to raging, and as Bernie Siegel wrote in his book 'The Art of Healing', there are no mistakes when this happens, so a note on raging.
Your parent is losing control of their lives, they may suffer fear, anxiety and anger, and invariably it will be directed at you. An opportunity to practice mindfulness, they are their emotions not yours.