How Kindness Supports Physical Health

It was 7:30 am on the sugar sand beaches of Destin, FL.

I wiped the sand off my feet as I stepped on my mat for rounds of Surya Namaskar.

As I moved through my asana practice, resonant breath keeping me rooted and undistracted from the neighbor’s soft morning conversation, I noticed with delight that I was surprisingly flexible despite the early morning hour. This evolved into a moving meditation on the ethical foundations of yoga, the Yamas and Niyamas. I remembered the teaching passed through Rose Erin Vaughan during my Advanced Training. The Yamas and Niyamas, yoga’s Ten Commandments, are the DIRECT method to enlightenment. The INDIRECT ways are what we commonly think of as yoga: asana, pranayama, meditation.

Think about the last time you took a wonderful asana class. Didn’t you feel calmer and nicer afterwards? More patient? More insightful? 

But it only lasts for a little while. 

I know I have noticed this! 

The indirect methods correct the flow of energy through your body, allowing you to rest in the heart. Then the old patterns of your daily life reassert themselves, and we perhaps find ourselves right back in our stress, our anger, our “me first” attitude.

Now think about what it FEELS like in your body to be angry.

...to be anxious.

...to be kind (practising ahimsa, meaning non-violence, the first of the Yamas) or content (santosha, meaning contentment, the second of the Niyamas).

Based on this felt sense, which of these mental states and behavioral dispositions would you guess supports having a healthy, mobile, free body?

The kindness and contentment, of course! 

To me, anger feels like all my energy shoots upward from my lower body and into my eyes (this is the liver meridian’s pathway.) I lose rootedness. Anxiety feels like a shutting down, like my powerful river of prana turns into a trickle and goes underground.

When I’m performing an act of kindness, when I choose to do something for the betterment of other beings and our planet, my energy just explodes. My eyes get bright and my heartbeat feels strong. This is the pericardium, or heart protector, releasing tension so that the natural joy of the heart can be experienced. I feel a greater connection towards myself and others. 

Imagine if every kind thought, every benevolent action towards another being had the effect of a good yoga pose. One that releases your tension and helps you to feel present and connected. Because that is exactly how your thoughts and behavior actually affect your body! Click here for a free Loving Kindness Meditation that invites you to experience this.

Love,

Chelsey

I RELEASE CONTROL

Admitting it! As a quintuple Capricorn who was always systematically lauded for getting straight A’s (or reprimanded in their absence), speaking those three words spikes my internal chemistry with a paradoxical blend of anxiety and relief.

I tend to be a night owl. There is something magical that happens in those post-midnight hours. On Saturday, July 27th, as the night dripped into Sunday, I was still up at 12:30am with just 3.5 hours left until I had to get up for an early morning flight to the Deep South.

With my mind doing what minds do, jumping around from thought to thought, I decided to play somatic therapy with myself.

I asked myself to FEEL the answers.

1. What does it feel like in my body to NOT give up control? To micromanage?
A: Like a tightening through my central channel, especially my stomach, esophagus, heart and throat.

2. What does it feel like in my body when I think of releasing control?
A: Like a lateral expansion, from left to right. My side ribs soften. My shoulder blades release their weight. My facial muscles relax.


So as an experiment in a new pattern - I tell myself - I’d like to ease up on the reins a bit. I already know that this feel better in my body right now. But I’m curious about how the effects of this might ripple out and affect my interactions with others, and the outcomes of my endeavors.

However, I can tell you I’m not interested in completely giving up all control. I’ll continue to maintain healthy boundaries when and where they are needed, especially around my business and relationships. I’ll continue to voice my needs and feelings. I’ll continue to have ambitions and desires.

But I want to give space to things, to let them develop, and to trust that I’ll be ok, that I can coast a bit on the the work I’ve already put in. As an entrepreneur, I especially struggle with this around my career and finances. That’s a big part of what drove me to finally hire a personal assistant. And I. Am. Loving it! 

I know that I could argue myself right back into the command center at any time. That’s my old, familiar pattern, and to be honest, it seems to have served me pretty damn well. I like this life I am living, and a lot of that was consciously and purposefully co-created by my small self and something much grander.

Perhaps that is the key to integrating this new modus operandi. To recognize that the whole of my experience is a co-creative, co-laborative effort between myself and other beings. Between myself and the Divine.

To get out of my head, where I can convince myself of anything, I’ll continue to locate the changing feelings in my body, because it does not lie. It does not get so caught up in our intellectual, verbal worlds. It is our animal and our child, instincts more or less in tact as long as we are alive.  

Listen to it.

Craft a bold experiment with yourself which shakes up your modus operandi, and KNOW that you can have the old way back any time you want it. That safety net is not going anywhere. For now.

I’ll leave you with what I think is a beautiful song, the lyrics of which I sang out loud the morning as I wrote this.

Love,

Chelsey

5 Reasons Why People Seek Rolfing

#1 - Pain : A major motivator to change! Many who seek Rolfing have "tried everything" and find the process of Rolfing very helpful in alleviating their pain. This is accomplished by gradually and progressively changing the body's fundamental pattern over the course of treatment.


#2 - Posture : For all its conveniences, modern living costs us our alignment and ease. This is due largely in part to limited movement pattens: most of us are no longer climbing trees, running/walking much, chopping wood, growing food etc. And we sit in chairs. Rolfing reestablishes the integrity of your structure, and you can maintain that through an intelligent movement practice.


#3 - Tension/Discomfort : This is both a physical and emotional issue. While not all Rolfers focus on emotional and mental patterns, in my work I treat you as a whole person with many dimensions of being.


#4 - Psychosomatic Issues : Not all who seek Rolfing do so for strictly physical reasons. Some of my clients report no chronic bodily discomfort, but they see good results such as boosted confidence, mental clarity, voice, and better management of anxiety/stress. When you bring the mind back into the body, answers may spontaneously arise.


#5 - Better Breathing and Meditation : Many meditators come to perceive the subtle energetic imbalances that have taken up refuge within them. Rolfing can be very helpful for improving the flow along energetic pathways. I use the metaphor of building a canal (i.e., the gross physical body) so that the water (i.e., emotions, prana/qi) can flow through easily. This begins with establishing proper breathing.

Rolfing is about establishing a body that moves with ease and efficiency. Over the course of ten sessions, the structure and function of entire body is addressed. Book your first session today!