When you conjure up the image of someone meditating, they are often sitting cross-legged or in the lotus position, backs of their hands on their knees with their eyes closed. The goal is to quiet the mind -- to stop the hamster wheel of thoughts that incessantly bombard you. For many, this can bring frustration as it isn’t simple to stop the chatter, often causing people to give up.
I once read the definition of meditation to mean opening your awareness while focusing your attention. This gave me a whole new way of seeing this practice, and it is very accessible. We all focus our attention on things we choose. For some it can be a sport where you are deep into your body and the practice, for others it may be art or music, where you become so focused on your craft, that your mind doesn’t wander. Meditation can take many forms. If you are engaged in something that allows you to have the control over your mind’s thoughts, then you aren’t allowing that chatter to be the one controlling you.
For me, I choose to focus on my pain, but in a way that is healing and liberating. Pain is an amazing teacher. It is the cell giving you information that it needs some attention. That is really all it is and when we understand this, and have an approach to move through it, it becomes a beautiful guide to improving your health and calming the mind.
With the practice of Block Therapy, we teach you to become a pain seeker. As you lie on the Block and slowly search for pain, you are instructed to use your breath as your guide to ensure you are persuading the adhesions in the fascia to melt, rather than forcing them to break. When you combine this understanding with focusing on diaphragmatic breathing, your attention is in your body and opening your awareness to the message of your cell. This ability to listen draws your focus deep within, providing relaxation as diaphragmatic breathing connects you to your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), rather than the stressed breath that comes from the upper chest that most of us unconsciously use to breathe.
Additional benefits come from knowing that the pain is something you are actively pursuing. Pain plays hide and seek in your body, and when it surfaces, especially without an immediate cause as it often will, it creates fear. The pain/fear cycle is set in motion as both cause you to reactively hold the breath. The limited supply of oxygen to the cells fuels both the pain and fear, locking you in a torturous vortex. Fortunately, the pressure fibers are larger in diameter than the pain fibers, so by choosing to seek pain with this process, you are activating the pressure fibers, changing the sensation to one of good pain.
Another point is you are the one in control so no one is pushing your body into spaces that you wouldn’t allow. With the instruction that the breath is your guide, you learn to respect your limitations and adapt your body as you need. This deep connection to your cells provides a knowing that becomes more obvious the more you practice. Soon you sense that you are in communication with a deeper part of yourself that is both empowering and calming.
You are the one in control so no one is pushing your body into spaces that you wouldn’t allow. This deep connection to your cells provides a knowing that becomes more obvious the more you practice. Soon you sense that you are in communication with a deeper part of yourself that is both empowering and calming.
Deanna Hansen - Founder
My understanding of meditation is to provide you with a direct link to your higher self -- your heart’s highest path. Alternately, as Eckhart Tolle says, the ego thrives on negativity so to allow the ego to run your life is a path to destructive thoughts and actions. Eckhart also mentions that upper chest breathing connects you to fear-based thoughts of the future and past - both of which aren’t real - whereas diaphragmatic breathing connects you to the moment, where God lives.
Combining diaphragmatic breathing with a focus on moving through the layers of pain in your body comes with many gifts to your mind, body and emotional stability. Empower yourself to be the pain seeker, to embrace the benefits of the diaphragmatic breath, and to hear your heart’s highest path so you can live the life you were meant to live.
Breathe & Believe,
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