Almost everyone has heard of Mind-Body medicine. The mind – what we think and feel – affects the health and well-being of the body. Yoga is a system designed
thousands of years ago with the very same principles many people are just now discovering for themselves. It’s a practice of movement, breathing, meditation
and lifestyle that nourishes the whole person – body, mind and spirit.
I have practiced yoga on and off for the last 15 years. In the last few years, my practice has definitely been "on" and I have benefitted greatly from it. My body has become more toned and strong, as well as flexible. I have found great joy in seeing my body change and I have noticed changes in my psychology, as well as my physiology.
Recently as I was struggling with a pose because a certain part of my body was very tight, I had an insight. I began to wonder what else in my life was "tight" and inflexible.
The mind is located in all parts of the body. From the top of our head to tip of our little pinky toe, the brain/mind pretty much runs the show. Science had found there are brain cells located everywhere in the body. So it begs the question: Can a stiff and inflexible body mean a stiff and inflexible mind? I think so. I think our bodies tell us all the time what is going on in the dark, back rooms of our mind. It may not be obvious, but here is an exercise you can do whenever you come up against some physical resistance that may also help you clear mental and emotional "stiffness" as well.
If you practice yoga, start doing some of your poses. If you don’t currently practice yoga, just slowly stretch your body in all directions. Move your limbs, your back, your neck, bend forward, backward and side to side. When you feel resistance, imagine that there is also a thought pattern or mindset that is rigid and unmoving. Breathe into that part of your body and see if some new insights come to your mind, as well. Spend a little time there just breathing and feeling the resistance melt away. Keep moving into other areas and breathing as you encounter resistance. You might even find that some emotions start to surface. Listen to your mind talk and see what it is saying. Are you talking to yourself nicely and in an encouraging way or are you being critical or telling yourself that you can’t do this? Use this as an opportunity to release negative mind chatter as well as your tight muscles.
As you open and free your muscles to a greater range of motion, imagine that your mind is also opening to new thoughts and ways of being. Expand your range of motion physically, psychically and mentally and watch your life open to new levels of insight and joy.