Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Come Home

A baby, emerging into the world,
takes a first breath. From this moment,
the breath is home.

The health of the body is nourished and sustained by the breath.

The state of the mind is reflected in the state of the breath.

As we breathe, so we are.

Whatever is happening inside or outside,
the breath is present.

When we sleep, we breathe. When we work, we breathe.
When we laugh, and when we cry, we breathe.

In each moment, when we come home to ourselves, we come home to our breath.

When we leave this world, we breathe our last breath.

As long as we live, we cannot escape the presence and the power of the breath.

To consciously breathe is to come home to who we are.

Our breath knows us intimately. Our breath knows us better than we know it.

Let the breath be your guide and your refuge. Keep your focus on your breath,
experiencing the wonder of your being, the miracle of your life.

The powerful simplicity of concentration on the breath is a blessed remedy to our ills.

Come home to your breath, and rest.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Balancing Brain and Mood with Yoga

Did you know that one side of your brain is more associated with anxiety, depression and antisocial behavior than the other? 

High stress and various types of trauma can cause the right forebrain to become excessively dominant. Some people are born with this type of forebrain asymmetry. With frontal asymmetries in the brain, many people have difficulty concentrating, lack social skills, feel disconnected and have poor impulse control. These individuals often experience a high level of negative thoughts and emotions. 

We can address asymmetries in the brain through physical movements which naturally balance activity between the left and right hemispheres, across the corpus calossum. Contralateral movements synchronize opposing limbs on their respective sides, and crosslateral movements cross the midline of the body with opposing limbs. Practicing these sorts of movements in conjunction with the breath in a yoga practice has been shown to balance mood and decrease anxiety and depression. Additionally, these practices enhance the attention network in the brain and nervous system. 

This video demonstrates a few yoga poses which may be quite familiar, yet you may not have known that in doing them, you were balancing your mood and brain hemispheres! 

There are many styles of yoga using these types of movements, and in any good yoga class you will be instructed in breathing and relaxation techniques to address mental and physical imbalances. To find a practice that addresses your particular imbalances, seek out a qualified teacher to custom design a program for you.