There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen! — Rumi
There are many ways to listen. Sometimes words alone tell a story, but sometimes the true story is written on the body. Our bodies speak to us in subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) ways.
Although we often believe we are primarily thinking beings who have feelings, biologically, we are feeling beings who think. Our feelings appear first in the limbic system — our body registers them before our mind grabs hold and attempts to provide meaning. And sometimes words fall short in explaining the true depth of our experiences. We feel anxious and our stomach hurts. We’re sad and our chest feels tight and our throat aches. We’re worried, anxious, or stressed, and we find ourselves barely breathing, and notice the muscles in our shoulders and neck ache to the point of distraction. Sometimes the troubles our brain describes and the feelings in the body are treated as two separate concerns. We talk, we process, we gain insight and understanding….. and yet we don’t “feel” any better.
Incorporating gentle movement such as yoga or consciously working with the breath provides a bridge between the mind and body. Movement and breath speak the language of the body. They can translate the language of the mind. And they address the symptoms of both. They can help us respond with more flexibility to the stressors of life by increasing heart rate variability – the body’s ability to regulate stress. Yoga teaches us balance, flexibility and strength – components for a healthy life capable of weathering the inevitable storms of the human experience. Working with the breath helps us tune into the present moment. We can learn to use it to invigorate us when we are feeling low, and calm us when we are feeling anxious. When combined with traditional talk therapy, yoga, breath work, and other mind-body practices can provide a powerful tool for accessing, addressing, and improving how we function and relate to ourselves and those around us.
There is exciting research coming out on the beneficial effects of combining mind-body practices and psychotherapy for treatment of depression, anxiety, and stress related disorders. You can read a few articles on this work below, or call me and we can discuss the possibilities of incorporating these practices into your treatment.
Yoga as a Practice Tool:
The Science of How Our Minds and Our bodies Converge in the Healing of Trauma:
Integrating Yoga and Meditation with Anxiety Treatment: