Health in Motion By Cheryl Van Demark, PT Cheryl Van Demark is a registered Yoga teacher, Yoga therapist and physical therapist with a Masterís degree in physical education and exercise science. She has enjoyed over 25 years of helping individuals optimize alignment, restore movement, build strength and cultivate a balance in body mind and spirit to pursue joyful living.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Far beyond its duty as a pump, our heart's nerve complex continually dialogues with our nervous system about the status of multiple body systems.
This 2013 blog has taken us on a healthy heart journey. We have identified risk factors for heart disease, acknowledged the heart's desires and increased our understanding of our stress response. We have practiced observing our thoughts and their effects on our breath and our muscle tension levels. The value of mindfulness as a tool for bringing the body-mind into synchrony, facilitating presence and managing stress was repeatedly emphasized. Contentment and self nurture were championed to build resilience amidst periods of chronic stress. Throughout the blog, simple mind-body awareness practices were offered to tune into your potential for promoting health and well-being.
The November blog provided a segue into the power of our emotion. Readers were invited to use the Thanksgiving holiday as a catalyst to frequently practice conscious cultivation of gratitude/ appreciation as a felt experience in the chest and belly. Quoting from a publication from the Institute of Heart Math, "Positive emotions have been demonstrated to improve health and increase longevity, increase cognitive flexibility and creativity, facilitate 'broad-minded coping' and innovative problem solving, and promote helpfulness, generosity and effective cooperation."
This December blog invites you to set your 2014 resolutions by acknowledging the wisdom of your heart! Far beyond its duty as a pump, our heart's nerve complex continually dialogues with our nervous system about the status of multiple body systems and makes necessary adjustments. This communication creates a powerful energetic field. The extent of this cellular intelligence is beyond our current scientific understanding. What has been demonstrated is that the heart's energy field influences our brain waves and can bring our internal organs into a measurable state of cohesiveness that ultimately optimizes the cellular environment. When in this cohesive state, we are also much more receptive to this same field in others. This cohesive state can consciously be produced, felt, practiced and learned. This cohesive, resonant and attuned mind-body state is at the heart of the art and science of yoga. (translated as yoke, union)
Here is a simple energetic practice for touching base with your heart's wisdom about your New Year's resolutions. Write out no more than three to four of your resolutions Taking one resolution at a time, silently repeat it for a few minutes and notice what you feel (sensations and emotions - not thoughts). Focus on noticing freedom and comfort of your breath in the chest and solar plexus. Do you experience a comfortable fullness of breath or a sense of constriction? Freedom of breath may imply strong energy and is a pleasurable sensation, while constriction of breath may imply weak energy and feels unpleasant. Not surprisingly, your "will power" is more likely to be used for resolve to achieve the resolutions that generated feelings of freedom. You may also wish to use your heart's wisdom to feel your response to each of your resolutions in the light of inquiry to the potential for your resolution to also result in greater good for your community.
Thank you for reading my Health In Motion blog this year. I hope you will visit the blog regularly throughout 2014. Wishing you a joyous New Year.