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April20thShanti Medina, RYT CNSF CPT created the Body Current® modality after over 15 years designing personal therapy and transformation programs for clients infusing simple and highly effective yoga therapy and nueuromuscular exercises with the mindfulness practices of awareness, acceptance and allowing. These highly accessible and transformative practices have proven to mitigate stress, eliminate chronic pain, heal systemic disorders and align the mind, body, and spirit by engaging in the current of innate, somatic wisdom. To find out more about Shanti and the Body Current® modality visit: http://www.EnergizeShanti.com
It’s no surprise that recent psychological studies and neuroscience research have shown that humming a happy tune can impact our health and well-being. Take 30-60 seconds right now to hum your favorite tune or simply hum any sound that naturally comes through you. Hum loud our soft with your lips closed and jaw relaxed. Notice where you are feeling this vibration in your body. Relax into the sensations you are experiencing. When you finish, take a few moments to become aware of the vibration that resonates within you even after the humming sound has stopped.
How do you feel? You may notice a sense of calm coming over you. You may even begin to yawn as your parasympathetic nervous system comes online with a relaxation response.
Good, good, good vibrations for depression
The International Journal of Yoga has reported from a recent study of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) with ‘OM’ chanting, which ends on a long vibrating humming sound, a significant deactivation of activity in certain areas of the brain associated with depression.
The researchers found that the vibrations from ‘OM’ chanting stimulate the vagus nerve, which then sends out neurotransmitters and electrical signals that reduce activity to key areas of the brain like the amygdala, associated with our flight/fight/freeze response. In addition, the increased oxygenation of the blood from the vibration facilitates feelings of relaxation and release in the muscles and structure of the body. In my private work, I have experienced clients reducing and even eliminating chronic pain due to humming along with their daily Body Current® routine.
Humming has also been shown to reduce hypertension.
One study that involved participants humming “O-U-Mmma” for only 5 minutes experienced a significant drop in blood pressure, particularly the diastolic pressure as well as a slight decrease in heart rate. The activity in this study was part of a yogic breathing exercise called Bhramari Pranayam.
Buzzing Bee Breathing Practice (Bhramari Pranayam):
This is a potent humming breathing practice that relaxes the autonomic nervous system. This can be practice daily or only several times a week.
● Sit in a chair with your spine aligned or lay on the earth with a pillow under your knees or in Constructive Rest with your knees bent and resting in toward one another. Allow your eyes to close. Relax any tension in your body. You can choose to put your thumbs in your ears and fingers across your eyes, if you wish. Keep your shoulders relaxed.
● Keep your lips gently closed throughout the practice, but allow your tongue to rest gently behind your top row of teeth. Open and relax the jaw and back of the throat.
● Simply make a sound like a buzzing bee, as you exhale through the nostrils, allowing your belly button to come into your spine. Extend the hum with the exhale as long as possible without strain.
● Notice the vibration in your throat, your cranium, your cheeks, and your heart. You will hear the sound from within. What sensations are you feeling?
● Slowly inhale through the nose leaving the lips closed, and allowing the lower ribs to flare out slightly as you expand with your breath. Inhale as deeply as you can without creating strain. Keep your shoulders relaxed. Again, be aware of the sensations you feel and listen to the sound you hear.
Enjoy! Repeat for as little as 30 seconds and up to two minutes. Take a few moments to notice how you feel after each practice and see if you can still hear the vibration resounding within you. Let me know what you experience!
Posted in: brain balancing, Energy, gratitude, Inspiration, mindfulness
What is your body grateful for in this moment? Do you see or sense a color or symbol associated with your gratitude? Perhaps there is a particular taste of your gratitude coming through the tip of your tongue or the back of your throat?
Embodying our gratitude takes slowing down and tuning in to fully be present giving permission to experience the moment through the body as a barometer mapping out our gratitude one sensation at a time. This is very different than having a thought or reflection of gratitude. This is BEing your gratitude. A thought can be very powerful and even trigger sensations in the body, but shifting our focus to receiving gratitude through our sensory perception invites us to fully embody in the moment that for which we are grateful.
Below you will find a quick and simple practice you can do anytime anywhere to invite an attitude of embodied gratitude into your moment. I developed this personal practice of embodied gratitude when a family member was recently struggling with a life-threatening illness. It helped me to authentically embody gratitude even when life situations and the commentary of my mind couldn’t find any “thing” to be gratitude for in the moment. It was very powerful for me and I hope it serves you.
Embodied Gratitude Practice:
It’s important to remember there is nothing to attain here or anything to achieve or gain. You are simply noticing what is already naturally happening as you experience gratitude in present moment time through the communication of sensation in your Body Current®, the wave-like abiding intelligence unique to you. You can do this practice anywhere at anytime.
1) Begin to slow down and expand each breath without counting or predicting the length of your breath. Simply feel a slowing down and expansion of your breathing. Perhaps you notice a softening into the moment as your explore the sensations of your breath. Take a few moments to rest your awareness here.
2) Notice your inhale filling your heart center perhaps feeling the expansion as the breath is embodied or hearing the breath slowly fill your heart. Notice any sensation of ease, peace or gratitude arising in the heart. You can even ask your heart, “What are you grateful for in this moment?” remembering the body communicates in the language of sensation. What do you see, taste, hear, smell or feel as you inhale the sense of gratitude into your heart?
3) Exhale gently notice any tension, stress or resistance around your heart center. Slowly expand your exhale letting the sensations of tightness and constriction release out of your heart, down your arms and out your fingertips as you complete your exhale. What do you see, taste, hear, smell or feel as you release and let go of stress and tension with the exhale? You can even flick your fingertips for extra release if you wish. Follow with the embodied inhale detailed in #2.
4) Repeat this practice as long as you wish. You may want to journal afterward to remember your experience of embodied gratitude. This is a nice practice to begin and end your day. Enjoy!
What is AWAKE and FULLY ALIVE in unique YOU? Can you feel, taste, smell, see, and hear the rawness of this very moment through YOUR Body Current‘s communication of sensation? You have all the answers within just waiting to be seen and heard. Are you willing to soften into the sensation to radically shift how you frame the “pain”? Can you break it down to raw sensation and description without the labels, judgments and predictions? How does joy taste and smell to you? Try this for yourself, in your own way, at your own pace to have YOUR unique experience.
The back pain and sore joints are teaching us to pay attention and tune into the body as a barometer from which to navigate and integrate mind, body and spirit. Look within, turn on YOUR body intelligence, shift your beliefs and reprogram your neurology linked to old conditioning and filters.
Let go of past patterns that no longer serve you in this moment, release yourself from old constructs and open up to the wisdom that is within waiting for you. NOW is the time.
Did you know SLOW MOTION CUTS THROUGH COMMOTION whether you are experiencing physical commotion, mental commotion or energetic commotion? Slow, deep awareness of our senses TURNS ON our BODY INTELLIGENCE and cuts through commotion which, the field of neuroscience has proven, creates a fertile ground in the prefrontal cortex of the brain for neuroplasticity. Try it for yourself to resolve old conditioning, chronic pain and ISSUES IN YOUR TISSUES by exploring and experiencing YOUR innate wisdom through your Body Current®.
“To lay down a new neural groove, we need to move slow and smooth.” Shanti Medina, RYT CPT CNSF
Body Current® Awareness Exercise:
Come to a place of awareness through your sensory perception. Make this true to YOU.
You can focus your awareness on any of the senses that are magnified for you in the moment: What do you taste? What do you feel? What smells are you aware of in the moment? Where do you sense expansion? Can you soften into any sensation of tension? Can you name the sounds you are hearing? Can you hear these sounds and feel these sensations through raw vibration without the labels and contexts of past conditioning? What sensations and textures are you feeling in your skeletal muscular system? What are your organs sharing with you? Can you hear, feel, see and taste what is being communicated or can you imagine with great detail what is being expressed?
Responding with open curiosity and awareness to this information is how we adjust and align to balance systemically avoiding dis-ease in the body, mind and spirit. This experience is unique to YOU and all you have to do is turn on your OPEN AWARENESS through the senses OBSERVING AND LISTENING to what is being communicated through YOUR body’s intelligence. The more you DON’T DO and JUST BE, the vaster your awareness will be. Take several minutes to notice who is doing the noticing and what your body is communicating in the moment without judgement or labels, just open playful awareness. Let thoughts just come and go without following any line of thought. Rest in the awareness of what is arising through deep listening to the sensations within you and around you. Notice your current of energy and the pulse of life that is abiding and flowing in each moment.
Once you feel this place of resting as awareness, begin to integrate long, slow deep breathing and any smooth and slow authentic movements that arise spontaneously. Surrender into and notice, without judgement or filters, any areas of tension, contraction or resistance that come to the surface. Simply rest in the awareness of the raw sensation with radical allowing and child-like novel wonderment trying not to map to the labels of pain, trauma, etc. of past conditioning. You may notice the impermanence of each sensation or you may begin to recall stories and issues that are living in your tissues. Try not to hold onto any particular sensation but simply allow for the body’s intelligence to begin to navigate from your inner compass as you move slow and smooth.
How slow can you go? How aware can you BE? Even in the midst of tension and stress, can you BE in a place of harmony?
When you feel complete with this exercise, gently release the focus on the exercise while continuing to keep your Body Current® wisdom ON. Notice the shifts you experience throughout your day as you navigate from your inner compass of your Body Current®. Remember, this is YOUR unique body intelligence. Empower yourself to create new neural grooves that are true to YOU for health and well-being.
Each Body Current® experience is unique to YOU, so integrate anything that resonates and discard anything that does not feel authentic. To set up a private phone or in-person Body Current® session to dive deeper into your unique experience and obtain specific exercises to shift YOUR neurology, contact us at info@EnergizeShanti.com
Happy New Moon!
The New Moon was today, September 5th at 5:36am MST. This is a prime time to tune into the power of new beginnings as we align with the forthcoming New Moon. Holding ourselves responsible for tuning into our innate wisdom and taking inventory, without judgment or filters, of the areas within ourselves we can further clear away, bring into balance, and attune during this time of rebirth and renewal.
Below I offer a simple and specific exercise to tap into and harness our inner wisdom balancing and uniting the brain, body and spirit. This practice can be done during the New Moon and daily to reset our nervous system and sharpen our mind/body mapping awareness skills.
This tapping into the pulse of the Universe through our inner wisdom, is using our body intelligence as a barometer, as I often share with my clients and students. We are responding to the moment through our inner navigation system by attuning to our innate body intelligence through sensory and somatic feedback.
Neuroscience has proven what the ancients have been sharing for thousands of years: The practices of mind/body/spirit integration through the radical awareness of the breath and the body’s sensory intelligence, such as yoga and mindfulness, increases growth and stimulus in our prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for higher evolved thinking.
Here is an exercise easy as 1,2,3 to bring your brain, body and spirit into balance. You can do this exercise daily anywhere from 60 seconds to 30 minutes. It requires you to find a comfortable standing, seated or laying down position that feels right for you in the moment. If you feel safe in where you are positioned, please close your eyes. If you choose to leave your eyes open, shift to a gentle, soft gaze. Once you feel settled in a comfortable place, you can follow the instructions below:
1) Begin by noticing the natural rhythm of your breath as it flows consistently and effortlessly in and out of your body. Notice the taste, sound, smell, touch of your experience without adjusting anything, just noticing. When thoughts come, simply let them come and go like clouds without following one train of thought. If a thought takes you away, gently bring yourself back to just noticing the sensations of the moment. Take several moments here to notice your inner and outer landscape through your sensory perception.
2) Keeping that open awareness through your senses, begin to breathe very slow, smooth, deep, unforced breaths feeling all sides of your body expand on the inhale and relax on the exhale. You can breathe through your nose or your mouth with pursed lips like you are sipping through a straw. If you are breathing through your nose, try to have the inhale begin equally in both nostrils and exhale leave completely through both sides. As you cycle your breathing notice it’s rhythm and pace, again come back to the sensations of the moment presenting themselves. Notice what parts of your sensory experience is magnified. Are you focusing more on what you hear or smell? Or are the colors and textures of the seen and unseen in the moment capturing your awareness? Just notice what is showing up to be seen, heard, tasted, etc. Notice if you can tune into that sensory perception a little deeper weaving in your complete, slow, deep unforced breathing into that experience. Stay here for several breaths.
3) As you continue steps one and two, layer in some neurolinguistic reprogramming by repeating an empowering statement to yourself. It can be “I feel peace” or “I am here.” Make it true for you in the moment and repeat it like a mantra slow and steady. Repetition is another tool we can use to bring ourselves into balance. It’s like giving our brain a toy to play with while we dive deeper into the fertile ground of the moment in the prefrontal cortex where we prime new neurons to fire and wire together around our affirmation. Continue to toggle between gently repeating this affirmation/statement and noticing how your sensory perception is magnifying. Continue unforced deep and slow breathing as you build these new neuropathways. Breathe here for several minutes.
When you feel complete, take a moment to notice the shifts you created with this practice. You may feel a relaxation response in your nervous system or you may feel more energized. This is your nervous system rebooting and your brain balancing! Easy as 1,2,3!
If you wish to learn more about these highly effective and accessible tools, please join me at one of my upcoming public Neurosculpting® and Body Current® classes in Boulder, CO or visit my website to find out more information: EnergizeShanti
Posted in: Energy, Fitness and Wellness Tips, Inspiration, mindfulness, training, Women's Empowerment
Peace-filled New Year’s Blessings to You!
So often this time of year I hear from clients and students the long list of New Year’s resolutions about their health and fitness. Many of these goals begin with, “I should” or “I shouldn’t” along with an urgency to make an immediate shift because a new year has begun.
Is it realistic to have a calendar decide when to take action to shift old patterns? What would it feel like to resolve old conditioning in the moment throughout the year?
My response to these annual resolutions is often: Where in your body do you feel this goal for the New Year? Is this an expectation you have of yourself or someone else or is this an intention from your heart? This leads to a long pause of self-inquiry in present moment time followed by an “AHA” realization shifting out of expectation and into intention.
Rather than mapping back to an experience in the past or projecting an outcome for the future out of fear, we simply pause in the unknown of the moment to a balanced body centered view.
Expectations are based on thoughts about past experiences. Intentions are found in the present moment through the intelligence of mind, body and spirit. In the seconds it takes for a neuron to fire and rewire the beginning of a new neural pathway, you can shift your belief and reprogram your mind/body map in present moment time.
Here are 2 easy tools you can use to set your intention and shed your expectations for the New Year:
❤ Practice turning up the volume of your body’s intelligence, or Body Current, through the gateway of your breath. By fine tuning our awareness of our breath and simply slowing down and softly deepening each breath, we open up the pathways for communication of sensation shifting our neurobiology and nervous system. The breath supports aligning our mind/body/spirit wisdom through our body’s navigation system in current moment time disengaging the trigger pattern of the limbic system. Rather than referring to an old map in the mind based on expectations achieved or lost, we simply breathe and become aware of this moment.
❤ Throughout the day when you find yourself setting an expectation of yourself, a situation or someone else, honestly ask yourself, “I wonder how I can reframe this into an intention for myself to follow?” More often than not, this simple act of self-inquiry and rewording widens the aperture of our perspective, opens our heart and aligns us to the present moment at hand where growth and change take root.
I look forward to supporting your intentions for optimal health and holistic wellness in the New Year whether in one of my playshops, retreats, classes or in a private session.
From my heart, Happy New Year!
Posted in: Energy, Fitness and Wellness Tips, mindfulness, training, Women's Empowerment
Having a challenging time through the transition into perimenopause or menopause? Here’s the latest research on Training through the Transition: IDEA Fitness Journal’s report on Exercise as Medicine for menopausal and perimenopausal women to aid in maintaining optimum weight, reducing depression and insomnia, and helping to balance hormones naturally:
1) Keep exercise levels at a moderate intensity with target HR 50-70% of max HR. Shorter (approx. 60 mins) daily workouts have proven to be more beneficial than longer less frequent workouts.
2) Cardiovascular exercise in combination with resistance training, core work and meditation practices (including yoga and conscious breathing) together increase the quality of life factor in women going through this tranition. 60 minutes per day combining these practices for 12 weeks will garner the best results.
3) Keep body temperatures at a comfort level when exercising to avoid an increase in vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes/hot flushes)
RESOLVING vs SOLVING… When we resolve trauma and pain in the body, the energetic charge and cellular memory of the experience is actually transformed in the Body Current.
When we try to solve a story about an experience of trauma or pain only with our thoughts, we replay and often recondition ourselves as we vacillate between right/wrong and good/bad of the experience. The cells reactivate, the mind renegotiates, the limbic system recharges and no solution is actually achieved.
What if we simply STOPPED our incessant thinking and problem solving and DROPPED into the sensations we feel and the wisdom we hear in our Body Current the next time we find ourselves triggered, in pain or spinning out emotionally? What’s your Body Current trying to share with you? STOP, DROP and LISTEN to find out.
It only takes a moment, it is totally FREE, and all you have to lose is some old conditioning ~♥~
Posted in: Energy, Fitness and Wellness Tips, Inspiration, mindfulness, neuroscience, training, Women's Empowerment
Train your Brain to Sustain:
The food we ingest is fuel for our body and our brain. Glutathione is an important antioxidant found in the mitochondria (energy producers) of our cells which supports the production of ATP aiding in the transportation of energy throughout our cells. Research has shown our levels of glutathione decrease in our body by about 10-15% per decade; therefore we need to eat foods that increase glutathione production to keep our brains and bodies healthy and resistant to disease as we age. These foods also help to inhibit mitochondrial dysfunction which can lead to chronic fatigue syndrome and other depleting diseases.
Here is a list of some of the foods rich in nutrients for overall brain and cellular health that you can add into your diet to fuel your brain to sustain and thrive: Coconut oil, fish oil (or vegetarian form of DHA), blueberries, cherries, broccoli, dark chocolate, eggs, walnuts, cocoa, sunflower seeds, green tea, turmeric, rosemary, clove, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic, and in small amounts red wine and coffee. Also, it is very important to drink plenty of water as our brains function optimally when we are sufficiently hydrated.
Neuroscientists have found that multi-tasking between similar cognitive tasks, like checking Facebook while completing a work assignment, is not conducive to optimum brain function. The part of the brain that facilitates this type of multi-tasking is responsible for surface learning; therefore frequent multi-tasking strengthens this part of our brain rather than balancing the part of our brain that supports one pointed focus and deep learning.
In addition, splitting our attention between various cognitive activities has been shown to stimulate the limbic system which activates our flight or fight survival response and deeply impacts our autonomic nervous system. This activation produces an imbalance of stress hormones, such as cortisol, being dumped into our system. Studies have shown that prolonged exposure to cortisol actually damages our brain cells breaking down the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the region of our brain responsible for a great deal of our memories.
Mindfulness practices such as meditation and conscious breathing are associated with stress reduction as well as shifts in specific brain areas that are essential for focused attention, learning, and the regulation of emotion.
In the yogic tradition, we have been using conscious breathing (pranayma) techniques for thousands of years to support our ability to focus and to balance our nervous system reducing stress and increasing overall wellness.
There are several brain balancing breathing techniques we can use to train our brain and balance our nervous system.
Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana) is one of my favorites and one of the easiest to learn.
Step one: Use right thumb to close off your right nostril. Step two: Inhale slowly and deeply through left nostril. Step three: Retain at the top of the inhale (if you do not have high blood pressure) for a few second or longer if you wish. Step four: Close the left nostril with your ring finger and release thumb off right nostril. Step five: Exhale through your right nostril. Step six: Inhale through right nostril. Step seven: Pause again at the top of the inhale. Step eight: Use thumb to close of right nostril. Step nine: Exhale through the left nostril. Step ten: Repeat this full round. Start slowly with 1 or 2 rounds and gradually increase to several minutes. Never force conscious breathing techniques.Sit quietly for a few moments after you have finished to focus on your body and how it feels from your conscious breathing.
Research in neuroscience indicates that exercise stimulates new cell growth in the brain increasing mental capabilities by 20% to 30%. The brain benefits of resistance training, such as weight lifting, seems to differ from the benefits we get from aerobic exercise. According to Michelle Voss, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Iowa and lead author on a 2011 review of the effect of exercise on cognition, “Aerobic exercise improves our ability to coordinate multiple things, long-term planning and our ability to stay on task for extended periods of time.” Resistance training (or anaerobic training), which is much less studied than the aerobic side of things, seems to improve our ability to focus clearly amidst distractions.
A tip to train your brain is to experience new things! Each time you learn a new activity your brain builds new pathways. An easy way to prime new neural pathways this way through fitness is to try new forms of exercise or to explore a different walking, running, hiking or cycling route.
Finally, aerobic exercise actually supports us in releasing harmful stress hormones which helps in resolving the stress response produced when our brain thinks we are in a flee to survive situation. If there is nothing to run from, the stress response simply remains in our system forming conditioning and unhealthy patterns which fuel more feelings of unease and create disease.Exercises that gets your heart rate up into your aerobic training zone supports the release of the stress response in the body and the brain. Following a balanced and fun fitness routine will promote systemic health, a balanced brain and overall well-being!
Please feel free to contact me at Shanti@EnergizeShanti.com for a private session if you need support in designing a brain and body balanced fitness routine.