Each moment offers us the opportunity to plug into our current of body-brain-breath communication, also known as our Body Current intelligence. New neural pathways of well-being and embodied self-realization begin to take root as cellular imprints in our neurobiology when we are reminded of and rest into our true nature, breath by breath. With so many world and life events out of our control, compassionately taking control of our inner environment is key in finding a safety and ease in a less than easeful situation . Empowered and primed to navigate our inner landscape, we begin to take our health into our own hands by regulating our emotional response from a place of self-compassion and calming clarity.
Dr. Stephen Porges, in his research with the Polyvagal Theory, found self-stimulation of the vagus nerve can mitigate stress responses, improve levels of anxiety and depression, relieve inflammation and pain, as well as improve digestion and sleeping patterns. The vagus nerve, our tenth cranial nerve, is one of the master regulators of our autonomic nervous system. The current of communication in the vagus nerve connects the brain to major systems in the body as it innervates the heart and lungs, stomach and gut, throat and facial muscles. Approximately 80 percent of the vagus nerve feedback loop travels from the body to the brain allowing us to create a sense of safety and connection through the body to reprogram the neural pathways of the brain.
In my Body Current® modality, we create the opportunity to cultivate a felt-sense of safety through the present moment by plugging into our mind-body-soul-centered current of intelligence with the 3-A foundational principles of embodied self-realization. These simple, yet not always easy, principles create a sense of safety, calm and ease in the autonomic nervous system allowing us to self-stimulate the vagus nerve. These 3-A principles can be applied immediately to our everyday lives creating pathways of resiliency in self-regulating our nervous system, breath by breath or layered with your favorite mindfulness practice like chanting and yoga.
Why not give it a try with me now?
Engage with these simple 3-A principles for the next few moments to plug into your mind-body-soul current of embodied communication.
▪ Awareness – Focus your heightened awareness on the current of sensations informing your present moment experience. Remind yourself that you are safe enough in this moment to be directing your awareness in this way. What’s happening in your body? What’s arising in your thoughts and emotions? What’s the cadence and texture of your breath? Self-directing our attention to novel awareness of the felt-sense of whatever is arising through the moment, while curiously observing the associated thought script or story, disengages the limbic activity and engages the higher executive functioning areas of the brain to create new neural pathways.
▪ Acceptance – Without judgement, notice and accept with curiosity whatever is arising through the present moment: thoughts, feelings, sensations and emotions. Even if you feel some sort of pain, momentarily accept and lean into the sensations, emotions and thoughts arising by viewing them outside of you on a screen. This does not mean you need to agree with or support what is presenting itself thorough the moment, but rather reduce resistance and increase acceptance of all that is arising to create space allowing the nervous system to detect a sense of safety and calm through the vagus nerve.
▪ Allowing – Once safety and connection to the inner landscape is established with the first two principles, you are now equipped to self-regulate your emotional response by stimulating your vagus nerve through your breath. Taking as little as 5 minutes, focus your attention on your breath. Inhale for a slow, smooth count of 6-8 and exhale completely gently bringing naval to spine for a count of 6-8 to establish a balanced, rhythmic breath. Imagine you are literally plugging into this abiding intelligence and awareness within you as you self-stimulate the vagus nerve regulating your emotional response and any residue in your nervous system. You can also hum, chant or invite your body to move with your breath during this practice.
When you feel complete, take a few breaths imprinting your experience. Plant a somatic seed by either alternating finger taps on your heart and head or naming what you observed during your experience in 3-5 words. You can then plug into this intelligence by remembering these words or repeating the somatic imprint during times of stress, pain or life’s strife.
Take the next step in building Your Own ABC Toolkit:
At the age when most children are being taught their ABCs, I was learning the ABCs of life through the actions of my biological parents. Rather than building a foundation of letter shapes and sounds like the kids around me, I was developing a different kind of foundation based on building resiliency and self-soothing tools. This ABC toolkit became my go-to during the stormy seas of abandonment, betrayal, and childhood emotional abuse and neglect.
As an adult, having gone through many body-centered certifications, mindfulness trainings and a profound personal healing process, I continue to draw from the strengths and insights developed in my childhood and have created simple and effective ways to share these resiliency tools and help others navigate their own life experiences of trauma, stress and pain. I realize in my own life as a mother, wife and teacher that each moment offers us the opportunity to slow down, create space and choose how we respond to life. Navigating the rough seas of life can be as easy as ABC provided we choose tools that tether us to the moment rather than getting lost in the sea of the past or torrent about the future.
Read the full blog here and begin to build your very own ABC toolkit through your Body Current intelligence: ABCs to Navigate Rough Seas: A Yogi’s Toolkit for Resilience and Restoring Innate Wisdom
Shanti Medina, CYT CNSF is the founder of Body Current®, an empowering application of simple somatosensory practices and entrainment principles to ignite embodied self-realization, release stress patterns, resolve trauma imprints and live a life powered by intention with each breath. She is a Certified Neurosculpting®Facilitator, Pranic Healer and Yoga Therapist sharing her Body Current curriculum as faculty at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and 500HR Yoga trainings. She and her husband recently released their highly celebrated double CD SoMAntra®. The CD is a collection of original ecstatic chants from wisdom-traditions around the globe along with soundscapes and guided meditations alongside Body Current® practices to self-regulate the nervous system and empower the innate wisdom for healing and well-being. Shanti offers retreats and events around the globe as well as personalized Body Current® consultations and embodied meditations in person, by phone or via Skype. Find out more about Shanti at www.EnergizeShanti.com