Posts Tagged ‘breath’

How to use our Meditation to heal

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“Pray for yourself to find peace and healing, pray for them to do the same, pray for forgiveness to release yourself and forgiveness to release them. Pray for an opening in your ego to allow the heart to temper it all with love and grace.”

My two cents: How do I go about accomplishing these goals?

First by setting intention before meditation.

I was taught to ask for information, knowledge not solutions in my intention.

Asking for different ways, different ideas, outside the box that will help me succeed, has helped me in the past.

It uses the law of attraction and the basic building block of neuroscience, where we place our attention grows, where we withhold withers and dies.

There must be many ways to find peace and healing.

It’s like climbing a ladder, each rung we ascend expands our horizon, our visual reality.

How many ways are there to open our hearts that I have never entertained.

The big issue for me is forgiveness. Praying for the ability to forgive is a unique approach.

Trying to just forgive has not worked for me yet.

The hurt and shame feel alive, present, oh PTSD is so irrational.

That’s why the phrase “Pray for an opening in your ego to allow the heart to temper it all with love and grace” gives me hope.

Cognitively or rationally forgiveness feels impossible, opening the heart seems the only path.

What has worked in your attempts at forgiving the abuser or abusers?

Next post we will craft an affirmation around our goals.

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Is Meditation The Reason Why This Monk’s Brain Is 8 Years Younger Than His Body? By Natasha Ishak Published March 18, 2020

Edward Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty ImagesYongey Mingyur Rinpoche (left) and Richard Davidson (right), who runs the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin.

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Over the course of 14 years, a group of scientists from the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin-Madison followed the brain development of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, a Buddhist monk and meditation teacher who has been practicing since he was nine. 

According to Live Science, the study discovered that Mingyur Rinpoche’s brain appeared to slow in its aging over the course of a decade. Mingyur Rinpoche is 41 years old but researchers found that his brain matter seems to be eight years younger than what it should be. 

“The big finding is that the brain of this Tibetan monk, who has spent more than 60,000 hours of his life in formal meditation, ages more slowly than the brains of controls,” said Richard Davidson, a senior researcher on the study and a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the university.

Believed to be the seventh incarnation of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, the meditation guru has been practicing since he was nine.

But how can you tell how old a brain is? Davidson said that it’s all in the brain’s grey matter.

“Grey matter is the neural machinery of the brain,” Davidson, who is also the founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds, explained. “When the brain atrophies, there is a decline in grey matter.”

The study, published last month in the journal Neurocase, examined the changes in Mingyur Rinpoche’s brain over 10 years beginning when the monk was 27 years old.

Mingyur Rinpoche was the perfect subject to test the long-term effects of meditation on the human brain because of his remarkable life.

Believed to be the seventh incarnation of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, master of the Karma Kagyu and Nyingma lineages of Tibetan Buddhism, Mingyur Rinpoche has guided other senior Buddhist practitioners in the methods of Buddhist meditation since he was a teenager.

As such, his brain experienced routine — even intense — exposure to meditation. Other past studies have suggested that there is some connection between routine meditation and the slowing of biological aging and the discovery by Davidson and his team seems to add to the growing evidence. 

During the course of the study, researchers scanned Mingyur Rinpoche’s brain four times using structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to scan the changes in his brain over time. The brain scans of a group of 105 adults sharing the same age as the Buddhist monk were also monitored and routinely compared to Mingyur Rinpoche’s test results. 

Then, using a machine learning tool called the Brain Age Gap Estimation (BrainAGE) framework, researchers were able to take the brain scans to estimate the age of the brain through its grey matter.

When they scanned Mingyur Rinpoche’s brain at 41 years old, his brain tested as if it belonged to a 33-year-old. In addition, the BrainAGE analysis found that the meditation guru’s brain had also “matured” early. Researchers are still trying to figure out what this maturing means but they do have a working theory.

There are areas of the brain that come online in the mid to late 20s, for example, regulatory regions of the brain that play an important role in self-regulation, in regulating our attention,” Davidson said. “It may be that these areas are maturing earlier in the meditators, and that would make sense, because we believe that meditation can strengthen these areas and these kinds of functions [in the brain].”

While these findings are certainly remarkable, there’s still a lot of possibilities that could explain Mingyur Rinpoche’s “young” brain. For one, researchers have yet to definitively determine whether it was solely his meditation practice that caused his brain to age slower. 

Some researchers think it’s possible that the brains of those who were born in the high altitudes of Tibet like Mingyur Rinpoche might naturally age slower due to the environment. There’s also the possibility that his Buddhist lifestyle — practicing a healthy diet and living in the low-pollution area of the Tibetan mountains — could have contributed to his “young” brain.

Nevertheless, the study does reveal that meditation provides some sort of health benefit for the body.

It kind of makes sense biologically, because stress is a thing that causes aging,” said Kiran Rajneesh, a neurologist who was not involved in the study. “Not just psychological stress, which is definitely a part of it, but also stress happening at the cellular level.”

Until scientists know for sure we’ll just have to be content with our “old” brains for now.

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Narayan Maharjan/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty ImagesBelieved to be the seventh incarnation of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, the meditation guru has been practicing since he was nine. 

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A technique using a large Circle, a big Zero 0

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Find a quiet spot, focus on the breath intently, slow way down, calm your being.

After the body calms, Visualize an enormous circle in front of you.

Bring all awareness to your body sensations, be extremely sensitive, explore the inner world.

Now let your trauma thoughts and feelings have an audience.

We are just observing them from a short distance. Next start filling the big circle, that zero with your trauma.

Every exhale, shovel some more inside the ⭕️ circle, all the worry, doubt, humiliation, loss and unworthiness we carry like an anchor.

When you have shoveled all you can, every exhale moves the circle farther away as it begins to shrink.

In a couple of minutes the circle is so far away, it looks like a period.

Do you notice any change?

We are trying to build some space, some distance between us and our trauma, between stimulus and response in waking life.

Remember, it takes repetition to handle trauma, to enjoy wellbeing.

My Wednesday meditation group leader, Cam, introduced this technique today.

I adapted it to trauma, fill that ⭕️ circle, it is like a door, an opening to jettison our PTSD.

Being able to focus on the breath and visualize things has helped me get better.

As usual, new things are awkward and we are not very good at it in the beginning.

You can do all this in private, avoidance is a big symptom.

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3 tools for calming the nervous system

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I know of three ways of depleting cortisol and adrenaline.

First is our diet, what we eat and how much body fat around our belly is influenced by our cortisol levels. Certain foods help deplete cortisol.

Second tool is Slowing the breath, focusing intently, activates our parasympathetic nervous system, applies the brakes.

This calms us, settles us down and lowers cortisol and adrenaline. It’s called meditation, it has many variations.

The third way is purely physical, aerobic exercise works like a charm.

Aerobic exercise to near failure works like a miracle. Start slow and adapt, then build up so you can exert maximum energy.

We have to want to heal more than any desire we entertain. I have never read that in any psychology book.

Therapy and my two therapists, one in San Diego then another in Eugene , helped me on my journey. I was encouraged to explore and try new things outside therapy.

Aerobic exercise and meditation were my two most valuable skills. Being a former pro jock, aerobic exercise was easy for me.

All my friends doubted I could ever meditate, I was always amped up, excitable and kind of high strung.

Do not let other people’s judgments rule our behavior. We get lost and run over by others because we are different, stay strong and try like hell in the face of worry and doubt.

I laughed at my friends, you think focusing on the spin of a baseball while hitting with 25,000 screaming fans can not be turned internally.

For a jock, being told we can not do something, is not something you want to bet against.

When my mind was frozen from trauma, my legs could still move and my willpower drove me to exhaustion.

Mechanically I can calm my body completely down.

We can not separate our mind from our body, they work as one.

There are many skills or tools we can learn to improve.

Yesterday, I started hiking to exhaustion again.

It’s half mental and half physical. It builds willpower.

How bad do you want to heal?

What is your level of commitment, are you in a little, a medium involvement or are you all in.

Intensity is a necessity for optimum results.

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A one minute practice for awareness, focus and healing

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First squeeze both nostrils then try to exhale, feeling the ears pop. This opens up the vagus nerve, breathing becomes more open.

Set your phone for one minute.

Try to inhale, pause, exhale and pause as slowly as possible.

How few breaths can you take in the next minute?

Slow inhale with a long pause, then extra slow exhale with a long pause.

I can get to three breaths a minute. Long pauses help me slow down my breath.

My focus seems easy for this minute.

See how much better you are after a week of practice.

One minute.

Explore, play around with your breath.

Practice like this strengthens our focus and ability to deal with anxiety, triggers, or ptsd.

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The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo: Breathing

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“Breathing is the fundamental unit of risk, the atom of inner courage that leads us into authentic living. 

With each breath, we practice opening, taking in, and releasing. 

Literally, the teacher is under our nose. 

When anxious, we simply have to remember to breathe. 

So often we make a commitment to change our ways, but stall in the face of old reflexes as new situations arise. 

When gripped by fear or anxiety, the reflex is to hold on, speed up, or remove oneself. 

Yet when we feel the reflex to hold on, that is usually the moment we need to let go. 

When we feel the urgency to speed up, that is typically the instant we need to slow down. 

Often when we feel the impulse to flee, it is the opportunity to face ourselves. 

Taking a deep meditative breath, precisely at this moment, can often break the momentum of anxiety and put our psyche in neutral.”

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My two cents: how simple and eloquent can you describe life.

We get lost in the complexities of people and life.

Remember, we are the center of our happiness.

Focused breathing has helped me get better. I depend on its power and soothing properties.

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Childhood abuse: Formation of our Ego

Dr. Anne Brown

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Our Ego should be carefully created like a resume. A lively rejoice of our great qualities.

Wow, I wish with all my heart.

Resumes do not have any negative words, admission of loss or highlighted weaknesses.

Abused kids create an Ego that is flawed, it has elements of unworthiness, as it creates not only a damaged Ego but a dangerous world.

Our created Ego has never known a time without abuse, he/she never has experienced what normal people think or feel.

Attachments are dysfunctional and abusive in our childhoods.

My low was not thinking I had a right to be alive. True story.

It is insidious as a disease the way it impacts our mind and heart.

I have worked many hours recreating a normal Ego, but stress or crisis brings PTSD and the old Ego thrives.

Our self image was distorted by abuse and criticism, we never felt good enough, this feeling seems to be there from birth for us.

It is haunting not to have a memory where we felt ok, normal, deserving.

Creating a new Ego, working feverishly to heal, has only garnered short periods of freedom from my abused Ego.

He feels so hard wired, I have no remembrance of feeling ok, ever.

How are we supposed to feel? What do kids not abused feel like?

My abuse plays everyday, on its own, it brings not good enough trauma, it brings shame.

Every day I try to distract my mind, try to let the shame go, try to stay present.

I am exhausted and worn down from the constant onslaught of intrusive thoughts.

My mind is attacking my sanity.

It does not care that it harms the host.

That is childhood abuse matured into adult Complex PTSD.

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Friends tell me, i am to hard on myself.

tsemrinpoche.com : My Favourite Cartoons by Gary Larson

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Be easy on yourself, is the refrain that I hear.

My childhood was dominated by a violent narcissist, perfection was demanded, criticism is all he knew.

There were no compliments, encouragements or second chances, I knew I was not good enough, he told me everyday in my youth.

It was like that narcissist could not resist brutalizing that little boy without mercy, without blame.

I never heard my dad apologize to anyone for anything, ever.

What is there but being hard on yourself? I have no experience with anything else.

Conditioned love is abusive for a child. My self worth was determined by performance, no intrinsic value did my father ever recognize inside me.

I was a thing to make him look good to his buddies.

Pro baseball was a meat market, you were only as valuable as your next at bat. Another performance equals value world.

I do not think at 69, feeling great self worth and trust are part of my path.

Will I be disappointed if self worth and trust never materialize, Hell no.

I do not know what I am missing, I never experienced unconditional love and support as a child. Or adult.

Happiness will look different to me.

After 15 intense years of healing practice, this is my reality.

Just having the nightmares, intrusive thoughts and suffering slow down would be a piece of happiness for me right now.

Living with Complex PTSD is something few understand the torturous life, we lead.

My friends, none of them can fathom my thoughts and my daily challenges.

This is a lonely journey.

You have to need very little to survive. I have learned to live inside my room when Trauma takes over without loss.

This quarantine has not impacted me in the slightest, I need very few people around me.

I learned this in childhood, my dad limited friendships, destroyed the ones that threatened his control.

I am the experiment of a violent, alcoholic, narcissist father.

My brain wired without attachment, support or any kindness.

It is my saving grace, I do not miss people, it helps my PTSD symptoms.

A late thought: I can meditate intently and make all this disappear for a while.

Trauma does not always win.

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Sometimes I write for me, let me share one

Cognitive Dissonance Redeux – The Greening of Gavin

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Sometimes I write for me, part therapy, part freedom to write my blunt reality and feelings on paper without others to judge.

This recent explosion of repressed, betrayal trauma has brought suffering.

My PTSD brings violent thoughts, extreme humiliation and despair.

It runs like a horror flick when it wants during the day.

Many things activate this movie, watching tv, going to grocery or quiet time is often invaded by heart wrenching violence and unbelievable abuse.

It rocks my soul, numbs my body and freezes me with hopelessness.

I would rather not be me, not be a part of my storyline.

Then my life has to turn back to my breath, focus and letting go skills. My meditation practice has matured and strengthened.

Meditation and giving have been my shining lights in this dark trauma jungle.

I can make all the noise go away for a while, quiet it down.

With a decade of processing trauma behind me, PTSD still takes up large parts of everyday.

Dealing with the movie, then working to unplug the damage takes time.

It also takes a physical and emotional toll.

How do we weave happiness inside our PTSD.

I have done it for periods.

Now a repressed memory has brought the old damage into my present..

The alternative is giving up and being a victim.

I will die before I take that road.

It takes stubbornness and willpower when things seem helpless, the ability to take action in the face of our terror.

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I joined a free online 30 minute Meditation Group

Jennifer Lakhmi Chand Kelly

Yoga & Meditation Teacher, Functional Nutrition, Reiki Master, Sound Healer, Hypnotherapist

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Since leaving the Zen center, I have been doing my own meditative practice. Recently I joined a unique meditation group that has expanded my PTSD centered practice.

Jennifer leads the group with a deep base of practice and study into kundalini yoga and the Suttras.

She uses the flame of a candle as a focus object for part of the period. We also move our hands at times scooping up healing water as a haunting chant plays in the background.

I was surprised how easy it was to focus with my eyes open, locked onto that dancing flame.

She gives great insight while connecting to our inner light. I have to admit, it feels great having someone else lead the group.

My mind feels much better after her class. My 30 minute meditative sit afterwards, let’s me appreciate the silence I took for granted.

There is a collective healing energy that happens when you sit together.

I highly recommend checking this out. Here are the details:

https://inlightencollective.com/yoga/#classes

Topic: 40 Day Meditation Join Zoom Meeting:

https://zoom.us/j/229287318

Meeting ID: 229 287 318

Jennifer Lakhmi Chand Kelly began her journey when she became pregnant with her oldest son in 1998. During her pregnancy she was introduced to whole food nutrition, homeopathy, herbs, essential oils and kundalini yoga. The experience was so transformative that it changed her life path.

She left a 16 year career in film and TV to become a Post Partum Doula, Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master, Functional Nutritional Wellness Specialist, Certified Hypnotherapist, Wellness Life Coach and is CARE Certified in Raindrop and Vitaflex Technique.

Today she owns and operates The Yogi Tree Center for Growth in Toluca Lake, CA and Healing Talents bringing the gift of yoga, nutrition and wellness to the LA area.

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