Mind-Body Healing Tips for the Modern Mom

February 2, 2018; by Briana McDonald (UtopiaSilver.com) One of the first things I was taught in Yoga Teacher Training was how our breath and our minds are interconnected. If the breath becomes quick, shallow, and panicky our mind will respond accordingly. It will start to race and we can feel like our thoughts are spinning out of control. When are breath becomes rhythmic, and goes deep down into our bellies we will experience a deep peace and tranquility known in the medical community as the “relaxation response.” People who practice this regularly can develop the ability to change their body functions such as lowering their blood pressure and heart rate and increasing their internal temperature just by mediating on the breath. I wanted to put together some practical mind-body healing tips for the modern mom who might feel like their schedules are too full to take time for this practice regularly.

The Science

Many traditions associate the breath with our life force and Hippocrates felt that the breath was the most necessary and supreme component in each of us. Most traditional medicines such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, Aryuveda, and Native American practices pay careful attention to how we breathe. They use the breath as an anchor to go into deeper meditative states to experience a profound peace and tranquility necessary for optimal healing. Science is advancing to where we can see how these meditative states are changing the structure and the wiring of our brains.

A Harvard neuroscientist was interviewed regarding his research on meditation and the brain with the first study looking at long term mediators vs a control group. They found that the long term medihad an increased amount of grey matter in the insula and sensory regions and the auditory and sensory cortex. This is because when you are mindful you are paying attention to your breath, to sounds, to the present moment experience and shutting cognition down. It stands to reason that your senses would become enhanced. They also found that they had more gray matter in the frontal cortex which is associated with working memory and executive decision making. Our cortex will shrink as we age, making it harder to figure things out and remember details. But in this one region of the prefrontal cortex, 50 year old meditators had the same amount of grey matter as a 25 year old!

A second study was conducted where people who never mediated before went through 8 weeks of a mindfulness based stress reduction program. After 8 weeks they noticed differences in brain volume in 5 different regions of the brains of the two groups. In the group that learned mediation they found thickening in four regions:

  1. posterior cingulate – involves mind wandering and self relevance
  2. left hippo-campus – involves learning, cognition, memory and emotional regulation
  3. temporo parietal junction- involves perspective taking, empathy and compassion
  4. Pons- an area of the brain stem where regulatory neurotransmitters are produced (2)

Now on to the good stuff…how to put this information into practical, everyday use.

List of Mind-Body Healing Tips:
Re-Connect to Your Breath

Elizabeth Blackburn showed us  that we can help our telomeres, (the little things that allow our cells to keep multiplying) to recover by using relaxation techniques by working with our breath. (1)

Breathing Techniques

Part of the reason we want to focus on getting a deep full breath is because deep breathing helps to massage internal organs including the heart and improve lung capacity. Muscles need oxygen for their metabolic functioning and in order to heal from injuries. The best part of breathing exercises is that you can do them anywhere, at any time of the day.

Candace Pert, PhD, a well known researcher who discovered opiod receptors in the brain, has changed our understanding of the molecules of communication called peptides that operate our body-mind. “The peptide-respiratory link is well documented,” she writes. “Virtually any peptide found anywhere else can be found in the respiratory center. This peptide substrate may provide the scientific rationale for the powerful healing effects of consciously controlled breath patterns.” The ability to change your body and brain chemistry is always just one breath away.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

How to do Alternate Nostril Breathing:

  •  In this technique, the breath is always relaxed, deep and full.
  •  Use the thumb of the right hand to close the right nostril, and the index finger or ring finger of the right hand to close the left nostril.
  •  Close the right nostril and gently and fully inhale through the left nostril.
  • Then close the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril.
  • Then inhale through the right nostril.
  •  Close the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril.
  •  Continue repeating, alternating nostrils after each inhalation.

Benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing:

  •  Creates whole brain functioning by balancing the right and left hemispheres.
  • Is both integrating and grounding.
  • Purifies the ida and pingala nadis, gently.
  •  Creates a deep sense of well-being and harmony on the physical, mental, and emotional levels.
  •  Can help with headaches, migraines, and other stress-related symptoms.
  •  Inhale left, exhale right: Helps to make you calm and integrates unwanted negative emotions and stress. Excellent by itself before bed.
  •  Inhale right, exhale left:

Ujjayi

Ujjayi Pranayama (ooh-JAH-yee prah-nah-YAH-mah) is one technique that helps calm the mind and warm the body. When practicing Ujjayi, you completely fill your lungs, while slightly contracting your throat, and breathe through your nose.

Its name comes from the Sanskrit word “ujjayi,” which means “to conquer” or “to be victorious.” Therefore, it is also often referred to as “Victorious Breath.” Because of the sound it makes when performed correctly, this breath is also sometimes called “Ocean Breath” or “Hissing Breath.” But, many yoga teachers simply refer to it as “Ujjayi Breath.”

Benefits of Ujjayi Breath

Maintaining a steady, rhythmic breath is the single most important part of your yoga practice. By controlling your breath, you calm your mind and bring awareness to the present moment.

Three Part Breath

The “three parts” are the abdomen, diaphragm, and chest. During Three-Part Breath, you first completely fill your lungs with air, as though you are breathing into your belly, rib cage, and upper chest. Then you exhale completely, reversing the flow. (3)

This simple breathing technique can be done at any point throughout the day. I will use this breath to calm and re-center if I am feeling overwhelmed or frustrated at home with the kids. I will go into another room, even if I can still hear my boys yelling and fighting over toys I will take a pause and take up to 10 deep Three Part Breaths that will always help reduce my stress and help respond more calmly to my children’s big emotions.

An ending note…

I have found that you can use your breath as your anchor to come back to your center, your calm place, at any time of the day. When doing dishes, when changing a diaper, when preparing food – these are all opportunities to still the mental chatter, relax and be in the present moment. You begin to meet obstacles with more ease and grace and find innovative solutions to your problems. I’m not saying this happens overnight but over time, with repetition, and with love all things are possible.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_blackburn_the_science_of_cells_that_never_get_old/up-next
  2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2015/05/26/harvard-neuroscientist-meditation-not-only-reduces-stress-it-literally-changes-your-brain/?utm_term=.d968d82bbf2f
  3. https://www.yogaoutlet.com/guides/how-to-practice-three-part-breath-in-yoga/

Dr. Ken’s Miracle Magnesium Oil

MagnifiC Aloe Oil

Share

Tags: , , , , , ,