3 Ways to Activate Self-Healing in Your Yoga Practice
As a human being, you are designed to self-heal. The miracle that is your body knows exactly how to regenerate, renew, and combat illness and disease. So why is it that so many of us feel challenged by chronic health issues?
Science tells us that it is the parasympathetic nervous system that allows the self-healing mechanism of the body to function. In other words, when we are relaxed self-healing occurs as it naturally should. It is when the body enters the sympathetic nervous system – and “fight or flight” takes over, that this ability to self-heal bottoms out.
The miracle that is your body is designed exquisitely. The “fight or flight” response of the sympathetic nervous system is designed to kick in when you are in danger. If a tiger appears in your path, you must fight or run away as fast as you can, or perish. This hyperactive stress response allows you to respond as you should when danger is present and get the heck out of there. Everything else, including your ability to self-heal, is put on the back burner so you can deal with crisis.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture when stress is around every corner. While there is some physical stress, such as the dangers of driving in traffic, most of our stress originates in the mind.
The mind has the ability to create continuously stressful scenarios, such as financial worry, work stress, relationship challenges and an endless list of problems. Negative self-talk and limiting beliefs can contribute to a mental environment of low grade stress.
Here’s the thing – your body reacts to actual physical danger, and the stress created by your mind, in the exact same way – “fight or flight” – and the body cannot self-heal, self-generate and self-renew.
The key to activating your self-healing potential is to de-stress and engage the parasympathetic nervous system.
Here are 3 suggestions for harnessing your yoga practice to do just that.
1. Use mantra to focus the mind.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.2 tells us that calming the fluctuations of the mind is essential to the path of yoga. While it is hard to simply stop thinking, you can use mantra to replace random thoughts and elevate your consciousness. Sanskrit is a vibrational language, designed to activate higher parts of your consciousness. You don’t even need to intellectually know what the words mean.
Try the powerful mantra “So Ham” which means I AM THAT. Silently, as you inhale chant “So” and as you exhale chant “Ham.”
2. Feel it to heal it.
Oftentimes there are unprocessed emotions and traumas that cause the mind to loop in a stress response. When you are on your mat, make it a practice to allow emotions to arise, to feel them fully, and to let the energy release with each exhale. Embrace your mat as a safe space to “go there” and feel what you may be resisting in the rest of your life. When we feel, the energy that has been blocked inside begins to flow and healing can happen.
3. Surround yourself with nourishing community.
We are not meant to live in isolation. It is a basic human need to be in community where we feel a sense of belonging. When we feel connected, our nervous system relaxes. Find supportive teachers and practitioners to practice yoga with, both on and off the mat.
Hanuman Festival is a conscious and heart-felt gathering for yogis to come together in like-minded community to grow and transform. Experience the power of nourishing community to uplift and inspire your highest potential and wellbeing June 9-12, 2016 in Boulder, CO.
Dayna Seraye a multi-passionate yoga educator. She leads transformational classes, trainings, retreats and ceremony nationally and internationally to support individuals and communities in connecting and awakening. Dayna infuses her teaching with shamanic practices, somatic psychotherapy principles and energy medicine to support a deeply connective and healing journey. Dayna is co-founder of Hanuman Adventures, and Creative Director for Hanuman Festival. You can find her at this year’s Hanuman Festival offering classes and facilitating an uplifting and transformational experience for all and can reach Dayna her at http://DaynaSeraye.com