Our thoughts beliefs and attitude influence our overall sense of well-being resulting in a complex relationship between body and mind. Mental state, either conscious or unconscious, has a physiology attached to it with either a positive or negative associated feeling felt in the physical body. We may have a situation that causes a visceral reaction and have no idea why we are reacting.
The information loop
The brain, peripheral nervous system, endocrine and immune systems share a common language, and are in a continuous communication loop with one another. Developing an awareness of what affects the body affects the mind, and what affects the mind affects the body, we are able to understand our emotional self and the emotions of those around us, thereby creating deeper connections within that also extend outward.
The body experiences constant internal and external stressors that infringe on its natural ability to maintain equilibrium, and cope with whatever is happening in the moment. Sometimes, when we are confronted with life’s difficulties we react in maladaptive ways, for example self-medicating, in order to bring immediate relief to the undesirable feelings. And while these maladaptive methods feel like they are working in the moment, they are detrimental to health causing such symptoms as anxiety, stress, and lack of self-esteem.
So how do we flip the switch and tap into our adaptive self-processes that will allow energy to flow and quiet the mind? We integrate mind-body therapies that focus on bringing the brain-body loop into balance for optimal health and wellness. The mind|body connection is a holistic approach to treating the whole person by attending to the stresses we face.
Yoga has been around for centuries, so there must be more to it than contorting your body into complex poses. Rooted in Indian Philosophy, yoga has more than 800 styles and is praised for its effect on the energy flow within the body, and the relaxation qualities for the mind.
Yoga is more than asanas (poses). Through integration of breathing techniques, mindfulness and meditation, yoga benefits everyone. Yoga moves energy (prana) through the body, bringing awareness to the areas that need special attention, while clearing the mind of the days events that may seem relentless. By quieting the mind, we are able to identify the self-limiting beliefs that hold us captive. Then, we can begin to let go of the things that no longer serve us.
There are far too many benefits of integrating yoga into our daily lives, to list here, however; here are a few that that I have personally experienced:
Sleep (insomnia really sucks)
Stronger Immune System
As you attune the mind|body, the spirit also aligns. Our spirit is what guides our passion and pursuits, giving us a sense of purpose far beyond ourselves. Yoga is an excellent gateway to establish complimentary modalities of mind|body balance, which may include:
Creative arts (art, music, or dance)
There are many myths that prevent people from practicing yoga. You can learn about Exposing Yoga Myths here.
Counselors have been at the forefront of establishing holistic approaches for their clients that contribute to their overall health and wellness. By taking into consideration the whole-person as a way to assess and treat symptoms, and implementing complementary person-centered approaches this approach has a profound impact on well-being.