Friday 26 April 2013

The Mind-Body Connection

  Although I'm not ready for a baby and am not looking to get pregnant, I'm reading, " Ina May Guide to Childbirth".  I FREAKING LOVE IT!!! Anyone interested in becoming a Doula or Midwife should read this book. 
       Ina May is one of the best midwives in North America. In her book she not only shares her client's birth stories, but she shares her personal birthing tips and tricks. One observation that she has made over the years, is how powerful the mind/body connection is. This caught my attention because the mind/body relationship is strengthened through yoga as well.
     Most of us brought up in Western cultures are taught that thoughts and feelings don't matter when it comes to the functioning of your body.
     Ina  states, "When something goes wrong with the body, our culture teaches that pharmaceutical medicines or surgery will be necessary."
      In the early stages of her career, she learned quickly how powerful the mind/body connection can be during labor and birth. In many cases, woman's cervix dilate at a steady rate to about seven centimetres, and then cam became locked there for many hours. When this occurred Ina would begin an open dialogue with the soon to be mothers, to try and get to the bottom of their physical hold up. She discovered that in all cases, it was an emotional hold up that needed to be released before the cervix could relax.
    One woman was riddled with fear of dying in childbirth, and as soon as she confided in Ina her baby was born within two hours.
     Ina reflects, "I was quite impressed to know that an unspoken terrible thought could so powerfully alter a woman's body's ability to perform a normal physiological function."  
     In another case, the power of mantra (a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation") was used to progress the physical body in labor. The woman experienced her cervix opening just after her husband whispered in her ear, "You're marvellous." The couple used positive affirmation to ease their baby into the world free of medication, mechanical intervention or surgery.
    Talk about re-establishing trust in your intuition and feelings: Ina and her midwife partners have experienced labor coming to a halt when someone entered the room who was not intimate with the laboring mother. If that person left the room, only then would the birthing process return to it's natural pace and intensity. 
   Yoga helps to enhance mind/body coordination through meditation, pranayam and asana.
     "These techniques help to awaken poise, grace, strength and the development of centered awareness, even in the midst of chaos and turmoil, " shares physician and spiritual guide, Deepak Chopra.
    It's quite impressive to watch the muscles, nervous system, breath, and heart beat become affected by what is happening in the mind. For example, if you hit meditation after a whirlwind of a day, you can calm yourself quite quickly and efficiently by focusing the mind on a relaxing image, or word. In asana practice, if the body is being challenged by an advance posture, you can ease your experience by softening the edges around any reactive thoughts.
    Chopra affirms that, "the activity in your mind is communicated to every cell in your body. When your mind is turbulent your messenger molecules communicate turbulence to your cells, tissues and organs. If you can quiet your mind, you can send messages of peace and harmony to every cell in your body."
     Your body is listening, so never forget that thoughts become things.