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Let’s face it, the holidays come during the darkest time of year when we instinctually feel a calling to slow down, turn inward and hibernate. This dichotomy we live in from Winter Solstice through New Year’s can wreak havoc on our nervous system. Taking a few moments throughout our day to release the stress of the season can be what shifts us from feeling run down and resentful to calm and joyful this holiday season. Enjoy these two quick and easy transformative practices you can do anytime anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes a day to reboot your nervous system.
Practice #1: Embody your Breath:
When we slow down our breathing, our thoughts slow down and when our thoughts slow down, our heart rate slows down allowing our nervous system to recharge and relax.
Slow motion cuts through commotion.
When we fully embody and slow down our breathing, we cut through the commotion of the moment simply by slowing down and being curious about the sensations our body is communicating. This simple shift triggers a parasympathetic nervous system response allowing our nervous system to release from the “limbic loop” and reboot. It’s important to remember there is nothing to attain here or anything to achieve or gain. You are simply slowing down your breath, thoughts and even actions in present moment time becoming very aware of what is already naturally there in the pulsation of your Body Current® [link: https:// energizeshanti.com/bodycurrent/] , the wave-like sensation of your unique mind/body intelligence. Try this transformative practice anytime anywhere!
1) As you slow down your breathing, give yourself permission to be curious about what you sense in the moment through your body intelligence as if it were a barometer attuning to your inner environment. What does your breath feel like as it enters your body? How does it sound?
2) As you continue to rest your awareness on the communication of sensation in your body like a wave rising and falling, begin to expand your breath without force. Perhaps beginning with a 4 count inhale and 4 count exhale slowly expanding to a 6, 8 or 10 count of balanced breathing. What do you notice about your inner environment as you expand your breath?
3) After a few rounds of balanced embodied breathing, begin to modify your breathing practice to respond to your specific nervous system needs of that moment. If you are feeling anxious or uptight, expand your exhale twice as long as your inhale perhaps beginning with a 4 count inhale and an 8 count exhale. If you are feeling tired or lethargic, expand your inhale twice as long as your exhale to recharge the nervous system. Notice the shifts you created with this practice.
Practice #2: Grow a Grounding Cord:
Neuroscience in the past 20 years has proven, thanks to extensive research on the brain, what the ancients have been sharing for thousands of years, “Where our attention goes, energy flows”.
When we focus our attention on the need to survive and control the holiday season, we engage our limbic system feedback loop full steam ahead. If we focus our attention on the novelty, sensation and curiosity of the holiday season using our imagination and awareness, we bring online our present moment experience through our prefrontal cortex (PFC) opening up to creating new neural pathways by shifting our neurobiology.
Simply by bringing our awareness, attention and novelty to what we are experiencing in the present moment rather than mapping to a past experience, we can “sculpt” a new brain and reprogram our nervous system in that very moment. This tool is called Neurosculpting® and is “the process by which one targets specific content to be discharged and begins rewriting the nervous system’s hold on that pattern.”, explains Lisa Wimberger, Founder of The Neurosculpting Institute and author of author of New Beliefs, New Brain: Free Yourself from Stress and Fear . One of my favorite tools in Neurosculpting® is growing a grounding chord to discharge stress and tension and begin to restore the nervous system. This practice can be done for as little as 60 seconds and be highly effective.
1) Envision a grounding cord growing from a place in your body down into the center of the earth. This can attach to any place on your body that resonates with you like the base of your spine, your cranium, your feet, and it can be made out of any material you wish like metal, fire, water, wood, etc. As you see the grounding cord growing down into the center of the earth, you can chose a color, texture, or vibration to deepen your imagery of your grounding cord.
2) Once your grounding cord feels complete and attached, press the “on” button and begin to discharge any content and sensations creating stress and tension in your mind, body and spirit. Remember to stay in the present moment experience of your sensations and thoughts without filtering or judging yourself or your thoughts. Feel free to use your imagination.
3) You may notice how your grounding cord and the discharging of stress and tension helps you to feel a deeper sense of safety and connection to the moment. Continue to release down your grounding chord anything that does not feel expansive and clear.
4) Begin to imagine a bubble above you filled with the color, vibration and texture of “stress- free empowerment”. Imagine the bubble popping and “stress-free empowerment” pouring slowly down on you honey-like filling every cell of your being until all of the stress is discharged and replaced with your sense of “stress-free empowerment”. Notice the shifts you created with this practice.
Shanti Medina, RYT CPT CNSF is the founder of Energize training systems and Body Current® therapeutics supporting elite athletes and everyday warriors to resolve trauma, pain and misalignments in their body, mind and spirit through neuroplasticity and neuromuscular conditioning. She is passionate about empowering her clients and students in discovering and experiencing integration of their innate body intelligence through radical present moment awareness. Her unique style of teaching is a fusion of sensory perception, Neurosculpting® and yoga therapy techniques. She is the Marketing Director for Give Back Yoga Foundation and is on the teaching faculty and serves as the Yoga Program Director at the Neurosculpting® Institute in Boulder, CO as well as on the teaching faculty for the 500HR TT at Samadhi Center for Yoga in Denver, CO. Shanti enjoys facilitating women’s spiritual authentic leadership retreats as well as co- creating devotional music community events with her husband in the Front Range area and around the globe. She offers private Body Current® consultations in person at her home studio, Prajna, in the foothills of Boulder, CO or via Skype or phone. You can find out more about Shanti at http:www.EnergizeShanti.com . To find out more about Neurosculpting®, the highly effective cutting edge technique utilized by thousands of First Responders around the country created by Lisa Wimberger, visit the Neurosculpting Institute in Boulder, CO or take classes online. [https:// neurosculptinginstitute.com] .