From time immemorial, educating the body is a fundamental principle in China and India. The study of Eastern and Alternative Medicine has discovered new ways of working the body more naturally, even though it is suspect for the general culture.
80% of the vagus nerve fibers that attach the brain to many internal organs are afferent. That is, these fibers flow from the external body to the brain . Which means that we can directly educate and control our system of activation of the vagus nerve through breathing and movement.
Working the body to get to know each other better
We all know how to breathe, but calming our breathing is a key resource for recovering the mental health of many people. When we breathe slowly and deeply consciously, we teach the body to stop the SNP (parasympathetic nervous system).
For example, when working on the effects of trauma and abandonment, emotional regulation makes a big difference in outcomes . One aspect of this regulation is respiratory control. The more we remain focused on our breathing , the more beneficial it will be.
Thus, it is important to pay attention from the beginning to the end of the breath, and wait a moment before the next inspiration. If we can see how the air enters and leaves our body, it will be easy to become aware of how important this “vital and natural act” is.
Harmonize body and mind through yoga
Yoga is a traditional discipline originating in India, which means “union of physical and mental well-being”. The word is associated with meditation practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Through bodily work, a yoga class can help us connect with the deepest and most forgotten part of ourselves . Yoga is much more than a simple technique of exercise or relaxation, and these are the main benefits it can offer us:
- Development of consciousness: Through it we become aware of our potential and natural resources, as well as our resistances and fears.
- Inner peace: Helps achieve a life with more serenity and confidence.
- It increases the ability to be present in your own life: Relieves pain, reduces stress, improves breathing …
- Improves health conditions: There is a long list with all the benefits that yoga can have on our health. For example, cardiovascular conditioning, weight control, improved breathing, increased flexibility …
Research has shown that ten weeks of yoga practice reduced the symptoms of PTSD , especially in cases that did not respond well to other types of treatments.
“When we listen to our own body with respect and sensitivity, when we observe our mind objectively, and when we learn to live from our inner reality, we obtain the main goals and benefits of yoga.”
Movements that improve our health
Some cultures in Japan and Korea focus on raising awareness of the movement and the moment when it occurs; are capacities that, for example, may be altered in people who have suffered trauma. Martial arts, aikido, judo, taekwondo, jiu-jitsu, Brazilian capoeira … All these techniques have something in common, such as physical movements, breathing and meditation .
Yoga, taichi, gigong in China or the rhythmic sounds of African drums are also based on the idea that recovery is found in self-awareness or self-awareness. Jon Kabat-Zinn is one of the pioneers in interventions that seek to benefit from the communication channels that exist between body and mind. So in 1979 he created a stress reduction program based on increasing self-awareness.
“One way to observe this process of transformation is to think of consciousness as a lens that collects the disseminated and reactive energies of our mind, and concentrates them into a coherent source of energy for life, solving problems and healing us.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn –
Paying attention to our bodily sensations facilitates the recognition of the ups and downs of our emotions and therefore helps us to have more control over them. Practicing awareness calms the sympathetic nervous system and reduces the chances of “fight or flight” responses. In this sense, body awareness allows us to release sensations or impulses that were blocked at some point in order to prioritize other feelings that were most important for our survival.
Our sensory world was born before us
We can not fully recover if we do not feel secure in our skin. When the physical tension is released, the feelings are also released. The movement helps to breathe deeply and the tensions are released. Stories collected in studies of abused children, soldiers with PTSD, victims of incest, refugees … prove how expressive therapies can be effective.
By way of reflection and closure, let us think that support for the investigation of new intervention protocols is only allowed for what is already proven. Recall that nearly four decades have passed between the discovery of penicillin’s antibiotic properties by Alexander Fleming in 1928 and the definitive understanding of its mechanism of action in 1965.