STRESSED? EXHAUSTED? OVERSTIMULATED? TRY YOGA NIDRA

Feel refreshed and relaxed in 20 minutes!

–and you don’t need to be a practiced yogi or meditator to enjoy the benefits.

You don’t even need to go to a class or pay a teacher with today’s audio downloads and smartphone apps.  All you need is a place where you won’t be interrupted for a short time and it can be done in any physical orientation (sitting, lying down, or even standing. Through guided imagery, breathing and body scanning, you submerge yourself into a restful, healing state that is a unique combination of alert awareness and deep relaxation-yoga nidra. Your brain waves slow to the alpha state or even theta, where you are able to tap into your subconscious mind and source of intuition, creativity and healing while remaining aware and conscious.

As you scan your body and explore sensations, emotions, and thought patterns you will be guided to move back and forth between feeling and witnessing, observing without responding, as your nervous system unwinds and comes into balance.

Through the integrative process that that balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, it quickly relieves anxiety and slows the fight or flight response. Stress hormones are reduced, blood pressure and heart rates decline and the metabolic system slows down.

Since Yoga Nidra has been shown to reduce levels of stress, hostility and anxiety in chronically-ill patients, veterans and school counselors it has been integrated into a program to treat vets with PTSD.

The benefits credited to Yoga Nidra practice include both psychological and physical-

  • Relief from insomnia
  • Reduction of depression and anxiety
  • Elimination of phobias
  • General improved well-being
  • Lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Improvement in immune system function
  • Pain relief
  • Asthma relief
  • Reduction in insulin dependence in diabetics

Mind/Body Explorations-New MeetUp Group!

Denver area friends, wanted you to know that I have a new Meetup group that I think you’d enjoy-Mind/Brain Explorations for Living. To help you create the life you are meant to be living, we will learn, explore, meditate and create on our journey to wellness and personal/spiritual growth.Technologies of the Self

Topics range from learning self-hypnosis techniques, stress relief, meditation, pain management, brain optimization, weight loss, and recovery support, to sound healing. Are you the type that loves to keep growing? We will have a creative, rewarding time together. I will be sharing a lot of the same information from my workshops and leading you through some hypnotic visualization sessions. So, this is a very affordable way to experience and learn. Each session will give you take-home exercises, techniques and info to support your creation of the New You!

Our next session, this Tuesday evening, is about willpower, how to access it and how to strengthen it. It’s pretty surprising stuff, based on the work of Dr. Kelly McGonigal.

Besides looking at this fresh new approach to habit change, I will be sharing a very simple 5-minute meditation that anyone can do, in fact, she says it works even better if you’re not good at it!

Space is limited to 8, so make sure to RSVP through Meetup, the rest of the info is there, too-
Mind/Brain Explorations for Living

Is Anyone Touching You? ( I mean physically.)

My strongest visual memory from my first class in psychology many years ago is a photo of some very sad, pathetic looking baby monkeys who were fading away, with “failure to thrive” because their “mother” was a wire mesh feeder,  instead of a warm, soft one. Researcher Harlow found that they valued being touched even more than a full stomach.Harlow cloth

We humans need touch to thrive, too. Touch is our first sense to develop, as early as the first 3 weeks in the womb. It is also the only one of our senses that is reciprocal. As a human mother cradles, nurses and strokes, her newborn her baby is affecting her, too, stimulating lactation, releasing pleasure and bonding hormones and even aiding her body to recover from the delivery by contracting the uterus.

With the number of single people increasing in America through divorce, postponement of marriage and widowhood many of us go long stretches without even a hug. We hear much about the need for sexual fulfillment nowadays, but the physical need for tactile stimulation is even more basic and primal. Fortunately, there are increasing offerings for somato-sensory experiences in most communities, at least if one has a budget to pay for a professional touch, like massage therapy and other modalities. In urban areas, one can even find groups created to provide safe environments for mutual cuddling, “Cuddle Parties.”

According to Hal and Sidra Stone, the developers of Voice Dialogue, our vulnerability is one of our first parts that we suppress, usually by the age of 5. We learn at a very young age that we get made fun of when we act “needy.”  We learn quickly to project an independent image to the world to not show how much we still would love to be held and nurtured.

Physicians rarely touch patients anymore, except to check pulse rate, certainly never for comfort or reassurance, and therapists are well-trained to restrain from physical contact with clients. With such an ingrained touch-taboo are many of us not thriving, just due to something as simple as needing a hug? Americans are spending millions on prescriptions and natural supplements. Maybe we just need more touch.

I have been rereading Where Healing Waters Meet: Touching Mind & Emotion through the Body, by Clyde W. Ford.

Touch is our first language. Touch is our one reciprocal sense. We cannot touch another without being  touched ourself.

Ford provides academic backing for the reminder on bumper stickers to “Give someone a hug today.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Quick Tips to Relieve the Stress of a Serious Illness

In the classic Cancer a Turning Point: the Handbook for People with Cancer, Their Families, and Health Professionals, Lawrence Leshawn decribes the difference between a bad dream and a nightmare. In a nightmare these three elements are present:

  • Terrible things are happening and/or worse are threatened:
  • Your will is helpless to aid you—there is nothing you can do. Any hope resides in other forces or people (as in medical discoveries about which you can have no real effect and on whose appearance your life depends); and
  • There is no time limit (155).

He states that cancer patients awake to a nightmare every morning and makes the observation that besides the physical discomfort, “the fact that the person with cancer is living in a waking nightmare has a weakening and exhausting effect.”

I would extend this appraisal of life to many people living with a serious chronic illness, from MS to rheumatoid arthritis, to Alzheimer’s or mental illness.  And, it’s not just the patient who is living the nightmare, but the loved ones and family members, too. Never knowing when there will be another sign that the remission or period of calm is over, anticipating ahead of time another outburst or emergency.

Are You Sick of Being Sick?

Do you live in dread of a relapse, or new sign that things are deteriorating?

Are you having trouble sleeping?

Worried about your finances? How you can pay for the expensive treatment? Keep your job or relationship?

This is a time where all your energy should be going to your own healing, not dealing with the circumstantial issues, but of course, they are real.

Here are 5 tips to immediately bring you inner peace within minutes-
Easy, free, and non-addictive!

The great thing about these particular suggestions is that they are free or very inexpensive, work quickly, and can create a peaceful atmosphere for others too, even without their awareness. (More in-depth suggestions will follow in another post.)

1.  Breathe like a baby. When we are stressed, we tend to breathe very shallowly. Notice how a baby’s tummy rises and falls as they breathe? You do it, too, when you are truly relaxed or asleep. Exhale completely through your mouth, now breathing through your nose; imagine that you are filling a balloon in your belly. Now let go and feel it emptying as you exhale. Even 3 deep breaths can affect our sympathetic nervous system activity, changing our brain chemistry and bringing in the relaxation response. The typical chest breath moves only about a half a pint of air. A full abdominal breath moves 8-10 times more. With more oxygen we also can think more clearly and make better choices in how to react.

2. Stretch. We often have no idea how tense our muscles are. To instantly relax muscle tension-as you inhale, tense up even more, in your pet areas to carry your stress. Now, let go all the way as you breathe out. Common areas are the shoulders, neck, and back.

3. Smile. No matter how bad we are feeling, for 40% of us, just changing our facial muscles into a smile will send a happy message to the brain. Check yourself now, to see if you are in the lucky group!

4. Smell. Neuroscientists say that the olfactory structures of the brain that process smell are wired directly into the deep limbic system. The natural oil of lavender reduces stress and depression and also enhances sleep.

5.  Listen. Music has quieted our inner selves for millennia. There are many CDs for various tastes in music that entrain the brain and heart, creating instant calming. One cardiologist found that for his cardiac patients, listening to classical music for 30 minutes produced calming effects equivalent to a 10-mg dose of Valium.

Great Resources

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love & Wisdom, by Rick Hanson, Ph.D 2009.

 

Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, by Joan Borysenko, Ph.D, 1987.

http://www.joanborysenko.com/en/mind_body_balance/

 

Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping, by Robert. M. Sapolsky, 2004.

30 Uses of Hypnosis

This is not an exhaustive list, but is designed to give you an idea of the range of conditions that can be helped at Technologies of the Self.

  • Addictions-Smoking Cessation, Substance Abuse
  • Anger Management
  • Bedwetting
  • Career/Financial Success
  • Confidence/Motivation/Self Esteem, Self Image
  • Eating Disorders
  • Eczema
  • Fear of Heights, Water, Flying, Fear of Doctors, Dentists, Medical Procedures
  • Headaches
  • Immune System Support
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Memory, Concentration
  • Nail Biting
  • Pain Management
  • Panic Attacks
  • Phobias, Agoraphobia
  • Psoriasis
  • Fear of Public Speaking
  • Relationship Enhancement
  • Recovery from Surgery
  • Relaxation
  • Sexual Problems
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Sports / Work Performance
  • Stress / Anxieties/Worry
  • Study Habits
  • Test/Performance Anxiety, Stage Fright
  • Weight Loss
  • Writer’s Block

Some issues can be resolved in just one session. Others may take a series. For some conditions, a medical referral will be requested. We believe that a team approach offers the greatest support, so we are happy to collaborate with your psychologist and/or medical professional.

Call 720-460-0758 to set up a free consultation to find out how our services can help you find relief from a challenging condition or to achieve your personal goals more effectively.

Healing Sounds

We are used to listening to music, analyzing how it is performed, and occasionally being moved emotionally by what we hear, but research shows that sound affects us more deeply that we realize. It can be used to heal us, but it also can harm us.

Ancient stories from the Old Testament show the dramatic use of sound, like when Joshua commanded the Israelites to shout and blow trumpets to destroy the walls of Jericho, or when King Saul called for David to play his harp, to get the “evil spirit” to leave him in peace.

The father of many disciplines, such as architecture and geometry, Pythagoras, wrote in the 5th Century, B.C.E.-“There is geometry of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.” Plato insisted that the police of the ideal city needed to study harmonics, “for a mind exposed to the principles of proportion is more likely to have a true appreciation for the nature of justice.”

“What the philosophers wrote about and now scientists are finding is that “the laws of harmony are truly universal principles, of the same order as other universal phenomena, such as light, energy, or gravitation, and that ‘harmony is not invented, it is discovered.’”

We remember from high school physics that matter is highly condensed energy, which to our senses appears solid. Sound and color are both made up of vibrations, and so is what we call “reality.” “The visual spectrum in frequency terms is 400-790 THz, so it’s just under one octave. Humans with great hearing can hear from 20 Hz to 20KHz, which is ten octaves.” So, we while we can see one octave, we can hear ten! Yet, we hardly pay attention to sounds around us and often learn to suppress them.

Resonance is the frequency at which an object most naturally vibrates. Besides the destruction of the walls of Jericho, we’ve all heard about singers that can break a glass by singing loud enough and long enough at the glass’s resonant frequency. What researchers are finding is that every cell, every bone in your body has its own resonant frequency, and to carry it a little further, we can actually think of disease as disharmony, being “out of tune!”

The early Christian writer, Clement, recognized this when he exclaimed, “Humanity is a beautiful breathing instrument of music made after God’s image.” Using music and sound appropriately not only can relax us, but bring us into harmony with others and nature.

Recently, a lot of work has been done to document the measurable effects that sound can have on the heartbeat, respiration, and the ability to concentrate, and some really exciting exploration is looking at its use in healing and supporting the immune system. Just as different tones can affect the walls of Jericho or a glass, different tones and instruments have been found to affect various parts of the body. There are many elements to sound that affect us, for instance repetitive rhythmic patterns affect breathing and the heart rate, much more than lyrics or melody. Think of all the noises and sounds we are bombarded with everyday!

The knowledgeable use of sound can support us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Technologies of the Self sound sessions will surround you with the healing tones of crystal quartz bowls. One recent client reported that when the bowls were played on her body, she felt like her body was an empty vessel, vibrating as if it were a musical instrument, like a flute.

Socrates said that, “Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul, on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace.”

Contact Victoria (720-460-0758) or Victoria@technologiesoftheself.org), to experience an orchestra of healing, restorative sound within your own body.

Sessions: 1 1/2 hours,  $95

The Gospel of Thomas and the Spiritual Life

Jesus said, “Wretched is the body that depends on a body, and wretched is the soul that depends upon these two.”
———–Gospel of Thomas (Logion 87)

The spiritual life demands an entirely new orientation. We’ve been looking at our feet. We’ve been obsessing over what we are going to do in the coming months. But if we want to enter into the spiritual life, we need to stop and look up. We need to attempt to take in the big picture and to understand where we came from and where we are headed.

So where did we come from? Where are we headed? This passage warns us not to answer these questions in a facile manner. On one hand, “we are what we eat” and a baby comes forth from the body of its mother. Our bodies depend upon an entire chain of complex causes,––there is a horizontal line of bodies that we can trace back, and through this chain of causes we can explain everything.

But the spiritual life demands a different type of understanding.  More….

Dream Yoga: Meditation for the Lazy

What if you could meditate only during the time between hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock and getting up in the morning? And what if this meditation was certain to be more powerful and deep that any of your standard “insight” meditations?

In fact, the Tibetan Buddhists have numerous practices that follow along these lines. The goal of many of these practices is to reach a state in which one can observe the “natural light” of the mind free from thoughts and attachments. The time before you have fully come into wakefulness is also a time before you have resumed all the trappings of selfhood.

One simple method is to focus on a symbol, say an “X”, as resting right on the inside of your forehead. This will help you stay half-awake and half-asleep letting you persist in a dream-like state while alert enough to observe the nature of the mind.

You can use this practice either first thing in the morning (which I recommend), during a nap, or at night when you go to bed. The result is a feeling of freedom, peace, and detatchment. One simply feels less constrained, having seen first hand a limitless and infinite space.

For more information on these techniques read How to Practice by the Dalai Lama or Dream Yoga and the Practice of Natural Light by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu.