“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”
– Carl Jung
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
- Pema Chödrön
A is for awareness - Becoming more A W A R E of what you are thinking and doing – whats going on in your mind and body.
B is for ” just B E I N G ” with your experience. Avoiding the tendency to respond on auto-pilot and feed problems by creating your own story.
C is for seeing things and responding more wisely. By creating a gap between the experience and our reaction to, we can make wiser choices.
-Juliet Adams, Director, A Head for Work
Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives.
– Cybele Tomlinson
photo credit: michellegardella.com
When breathing is restricted and shallow your body doesn’t feel safe. Muscles tense. Chest tightens. Jaw clenches. You under-breathe. The mind becomes anxious. Thoughts race.
I’m a firm believer that breath is medicine. The practice of Alternate Nostril Breathing can help calm an agitated, over-anxious mind.
I wholeheartedly believe that Alternate Nostril Breathing is up there, as one of the most therapeutic calming rituals. It profoundly helps to settle, calm and nourish an agitated mind and wired nervous system. Even after only two minutes you can feel and notice a distinct difference as to how you feel. Below, I will outline 5 benefits of Alternate Nostril Breathing and some simple how to’s, to get you started.
1. It revitalizes you.
A few rounds of Alternate Nostril Breathing is a quick pick me up if you are feeling flat, tired or over stressed. It provides your body with a much needed dose of extra energy.
2. It calms an agitated mind:
Many are prone to worrying. A few minutes of focused Alternate Nostril Breathing is helpful in calming the “over thinking” and “over-doing” mind.
3. It encourages a calmer emotional state:
In times of emotional distress and upset, a few rounds of mindful Alternate Nostril Breathing will soften the intensity of an over-stimulated emotional state. The longer you practice, the more stable your thinking, and the calmer your emotions will become.
4. It improves sleep:
If you have trouble sleeping, lay on your right hand side, gently close your right nostril with your right thumb and breath through your left nostril. See if this simple gentle practice helps in getting a sounder nights rest.
5. It soothes your nervous system:
By focusing on your breath and deepening it, your brain will register this message and trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. You can effectively switch your nervous system from a stressed response, into a relaxation response.
Step one: Use right thumb to close off right nostril.
Step two: Inhale slowly through left nostril.
Step three: Pause for a second.
Step four: Now close left nostril with ring finger and release thumb off right nostril.
Step five: Exhale through your right nostril.
Step six: Now, inhale through right nostril.
Step seven: Pause.
Step eight: Use thumb to close of right nostril.
Step nine: Breathe out through left nostril.
I hope you have found this breathing exercise useful. Please reach out if I can be helpful or resourceful in any way. I am a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher in Newport Beach, California. You can contact me HERE. I offer face-to-face sessions in Orange County as well as, online through eTherapi.
It’s important to note, that each of our feelings carries an important message. When we let ourselves feel our emotions rather than shoving them away, we can begin to experience greater emotional well being. When we don’t allow this process to flow, we may not have fully experienced an emotion & its message hinders us from moving on. In other words, we remain STUCK. Psychologically stuck, if you will.
So… as the 2015 spring cleaning embarks upon us, perhaps it’s time to swing open the door of your emotional wardrobe and ask yourself … “What was I thinking? What is that? Is this emotion useful?” Maybe, it’s finally time to listen to what you’ve been suppressing… Of course, I always encourage being gentle with oneself.
1. write One of the first things I suggest to a new client, regardless of the issue, is to journal. Spend a few nights in a row writing out your thoughts. Don’t lift your pen from the page; just write whatever thoughts come into your head for an entire page. Just let go and let your emotions come from your body to your mind and onto paper.
2. feel If you are feeling low, irritable or anxious, do your best to confront the uncomfortable feeling and try not to run away in search of a quick fix/distraction. Be honest with yourself and look at the feeling in the face and feel your emotions. Go for a walk, take a bath or listen to music. Allow your feelings manifest and fully embrace them. Cry, yell, scream just let what needs to happen, happen.
3. sleep Sleep is essential for good physical and mental health. Our brains don’t shut down during sleep, but they spend that time processing our emotions. Ensure you get enough sleep when you are freshening up your mental health this spring. This minor detail will make a huge impact on your ability to process feelings throughout the day.
Simple reminders, from yours truly.
______________________________________________________Shelby Castile is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, currently working with adults, adolescents & couples at her psychotherapy practice in Newport Beach. She has worked in the therapy field, teaching relationship and communication skills to couples for over 16 years, sharing the journey of hundreds of individuals and couples. With deep roots in mindfulness-based approaches, her therapeutic style is richly eclectic, integrating several research-based modalities. Aside from couples therapy, she also has specialized experience in working with anxiety, depression, panic attacks, chronic stress, addictions, and eating disorders. Shelby is currently accepting new patients, accepts all major health insurance and is also available for online psychotherapy sessions for people not residing in Orange County. In Shelby’s words, “I help to guide, support and empower my clients to build strength, balance, and flexibility from the inside out. My aim is to meet each persons individual needs and respect their unique way of being in the world.” Photo Credits: michellegardella.com & iStock