How Thoughts Impact The Body
Wheel Pose or Urdhva Dhanurasana opens my heart, and as it does I tell myself to let love in and sprinkle it everywhere I go.
Our thoughts affect our bodies, whether we’d like to believe it or not. On a very basic level, our emotions and thoughts trigger physical reactions. We might just think about an upcoming evaluation at work or exam at school and notice that our stomach starts churning immediately. We pick up the rotten trash scattered across the lawn, thanks to a menacing raccoon, and feel our face contort and the hair on our arms stand up. Some of it’s conscious–a reaction we choose to have to a situation– but, a lot of the time it’s subconscious. We think or feel a certain way and our bodies respond accordingly.
In the picture above I’m doing what the yoga world calls Wheel Pose or Urdhva Dhanurasana. I’ve learned that whenever I’m feeling insecure, unsafe, hurt or unloved my shoulders start to hunch over to protect my heart. I typically have good posture, so I know my body is trying to tell me something. Maybe I’ve been focused on my perceived flaws and am lacking self-love. When my body tells me I’m hiding my heart, I choose to break it wide open and let love in. Any heart-opening pose, like Camel or Floor Bow, can break you out of a negative, love-lacking state of mind. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just try standing up straight with your shoulders back and your arms wide open. Set your body up in the right position to receive love and your brain will do the same.
I learned a little bit about the Chakras when I was at yoga teacher training. I know some of you are thinking, ‘Well, if I didn’t think she was a hippie before I certainly do now!” That’s okay and probably true 🙂 I just ask that you have an open mind and consider that this age-old spiritual science has some real truth to it. Chakras are centres in the body which energy flows through. During my education, I found out that Chakras can become blocked and cause mental and physical illness. Certain ailments are associated with certain energy blockages. I discovered that I had a blockage in my Throat Chakra, that was preventing me from being in my full self-expression. Due to the fact that I had inhibited my voice for so long and refused to speak up and speak my truth, I had developed some oral issues. I was a life-long teeth grinder, which lead to headaches, and I also often battled sore throats. My body was relentless in trying to get me to notice how my negative thoughts and feelings were affecting me physically. I didn’t have to buy a mouth guard or start swigging cough syrup like Lil Wayne, I just had to start using my voice and begin expressing myself and my ailments slowly disappeared. To read more about Chakras and the link between mind and body, check out this website! http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-91/The-7-Chakras-for-Beginners.html
Feelings or thoughts that are repressed don’t just disappear. Your mind may be doing a good job of telling you that you’re over the situation, but that’s just your EGO speaking and it’s not the truth. When you think you’re squashing a thought by ignoring it, it only slithers into a part of your body to be stored until it becomes painful, or in some cases, lethal. Yoga has taught me that our hips carry a lot of emotional baggage. I’ve been in yoga classes where we hold a hip-opening pose for a while, like Half-Pigeon or Frog, and someone in the room bursts into tears. The reaction is likely not from the physical discomfort, but is rather an emotional release. I have felt feelings of anger or pain come up when I’m focusing on my hips, too. I breathe into it and let it go so I can be free of it and my body can, too.
A final and extremely powerful testament to the power of thoughts is a study done by Dr. Emoto. In 1994 he did an experiment involving water and messages (read more here: http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html). He exposed pure water to certain words, pictures, types of music and prayer, froze the water and then observed how crystals formed as a result of what they’d been exposed to. Here’s how water crystals formed after the words “You Disgust Me” were labelled on its container:
Courtesy Dr.Masaru Emoto.
And…here’s how the water crystals formed in response to the words “Love and Gratitude.”
Courtesy Dr. Masaru Emoto.
That’s just water taken from rivers and lakes. So, imagine what our thoughts and emotions are doing to our bodies–which are about 70% (or more) water. Don’t underestimate the power of your thoughts. Don’t give up on your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. Become aware of your thoughts and feelings by tuning into your mental tape and noticing how your body responds to it. Start with awareness and then make it a priority to work on releasing old, damaging feelings, beliefs, and traumas and make room for self-love, positivity and presence.
Spread the love! Tree Pose or Vrksasana.
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