Category: Movement + Mindfulness

Our Organs Have Their Own Consciousness And We Can Talk to Them

organs have their own consciousness

My teacher Carlos Castaneda taught me this:

Our Organs Have Their Own Consciousness And We Can Talk to Them

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the departure of my dear teacher and guide Carlos Castaneda. I met him in the mid-nineties as a young doctor looking for a deeper meaning in my path as a healer to people.

My life brought me to him without looking for it.

Not long before, as a medical resident in Bariloche, Argentina, I had wanted to go in all the way into the medical knowledge. I come from a family of doctors and scientists, where hard work and dedication to the ethics of truth was a strong value.

our organs have their own consciousnessThanks to high grades, luck and daring, I managed to get into a unique and prestigious program where I was left as the front person in charge of the ER (Emergency Room) every four nights. It was an exciting and also daunting all-in immersion into hospital life that got me dealing with all kinds of medical issues and emergencies. I practically lived in the clinic, and assisted in trauma, strokes, heart attacks or child births.

I had the experience of dealing with life and death decisions, of seeing the mystery of the body healing miraculously and the humbling presence of death in my hands. Life was fast, and surprising. Yet, I missed the touch of a larger, more encompassing view.

In many occasions, the tools I had been given as a Western MD couldn’t help me; It could only take me so far and a more holistic view became a necessity.

One such day, during my night shift, a patient died on my watch.

He was staying overnight after a minor surgery and he developed an acute pulmonary edema that led to him to going into arrest. I moved him into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and tried to resuscitate him, but I couldn’t. It later turned out that a key heart medication the patient needed had not been logged into his chart and was never given to him. He shouldn’t have died. The event caused me to deeply re-evaluate the meaning of my profession and life in general. Medical school did not give me the container for these situations. I even considered to quit medicine.

I left Argentina back to USA, my country of birth. Then, there, serendipity and fate made me meet Carlos Castaneda and everything changed in my life.

When I first met him, he invited me to lunch, at a local Cuban restaurant called The Versailles which he frequented. I remember that, when he invited me, he had said he wanted to know more about me, but I barely opened my mouth during lunch. He was very animated the whole time, and made me laugh so hard with his storytelling that my belly muscles ached badly. He had such a mesmerizing and charming presence and it absorbed me completely.

At the end, as we were walking towards the car in the parking lot, he came close and almost in a whisper said that the reason we were there that day was because I could be a bridge between the shamanism he had learnt from his teacher, don Juan Matus, and the world of health and medicine.

At the time, I had no idea what this meant, but his message of a higher intelligence and energy at play in everyday life came to fill exactly the void I had found in my regular medical life. I was hooked.

A direct apprenticeship that meant being open to new ideas.

Over time, Carlos Castaneda became a mentor and guide. He said I could not run away from my destiny and encouraged me to return to medicine. But he gave me the larger container, he opened up what was to me a new paradigm at the time, one which today, decades later, has emerged in science and in our collective understanding: that there is no such distinction between the mind and the body;

rather, that we are a network of energy and information crisscrossing in all directions between the mind and the body. Peptides and other biochemicals carry the messages of our thoughts and our emotions everywhere, perception affects behavior and behavior changes the very physicality of our brain and body, memories from our life experiences are stored in the organs and in our fascia and,

more than a defined, isolated individual, we are more like a cooperative of many voices including a majority of foreign DNA from a microbiome which gives us fundamental aspects of our identity such as our very personality traits, as a pioneering study from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) recently showed.

our organs have their own consciousnessEverything in us is changing and evolving, not isolated, but in deep resonance with our environment, such as the quality of the electro-magnetic field emitted by our hearts which can cause specific changes in the brains of the people around us.

We now know that it is a fact from research we can enter deep meditation states through practice and then these states can cause definitive changes in all our major regulatory mechanisms such as telomere length (a key biomarker for cell lifespan), inflammation cascades and cell repair. These and other behaviors can change the very expression of our genome through the epigenetic landscape that we now recognize as a highly fluid pluripotential environment in which our body lives.

What my teacher Carlos Castaneda introduced me to was this same viewpoint. It used different language but its syntax carried the same implications and conclusions. It enlarged the scope of possibilities of my human experience, and that of my patients. Modern science and ancient shamanistic principles and practices came together into a similar unit of life: Our internal body-mind world.

What it means ‘I can talk to my internal organs.’

One practice that Carlos Castaneda taught me was “talking to my organs.” The idea was simple: just as there is the overall me, there are also many smaller individual aspects of that me, represented in my tissues and organs themselves. In the dynamic world of information within my body, there is a distinct consciousness in each of my organs. Our organs store memories and also contain information. And they can talk to us. The big me can go in and establish a dialogue with the different organs and tissues.

In over twenty years of teaching workshops and clinical practice, I have found this to be very accurate and of highly practical value to understand ourselves and what our bodies are experiencing.

At times, I would see Castaneda ‘talking to his liver’, for example. He would talk to it in a very kind way, thanking it for all the work it took on. He would caress his ribs right where the liver is, and also pause and take a moment to ‘listen’ to it.

More than 500 vital functions have been identified in each liver cell, 24/7. It is the organ that organizes and distributes our internal nutrients and resources. In our busy modern lives, it tends to get overburdened. It stores ‘excess’ material, not only physiologically but also in our Consciousness.

our organs have their own consciousnessOur stressors are ‘stored’ in the liver.

When our liver gets overwhelmed, it also gets tight, and interferes with other neighbor organs, such as our stomach and intestines, or our sense of calm in our heart.

Our organs can tell us a lot of things. For instance, a patient who came to treatment for severe constipation, had received standard help from doctors such as increasing fiber and exercise, stool softeners and even antidepressants, with weak results. During the consult, using guided imagery, we established a conversation ‘between his higher self and his colon’, and his colon told him that the reason it was holding its movement was because he was feeling stuck at work. He had a long term dispute with his business partner that wasn’t being resolved.

The colon was storing that emotional and perceptual component of his inner life.

He realized then that he had been very rigid in his position about the dispute and needed to move on. The day after he signed the dissolution papers he had a bowel movement and within a month he had his regular rhythm restored.

Another fascinating example of how our organs store information and life experiences, even highly specific and detailed stuff, was reported by Paul Pearsall, Ph.D., in his book The Heart’s Code. I heard about this account by Ron Hulnik, Ph.D., one of the founders of the prestigious program in Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica, where I am so excited to be currently taking a Certification. Pearsall, a clinical neuropsychologist in the Transplant Donor Department at the University of Arizona, describes how organ recipients take in memories and personality traits from the donor. He tells the case of a girl who had received a heart transplant from another girl who had been murdered. She soon began to have dreams and flashbacks of being murdered herself that eventually became so vivid and detailed that her mother reported it and it led the police to identify the actual murderer and prove the case in court. The implication of such an unequivocal event makes it undeniable that the organs themselves, independently, are capable of storing a high level of specificity of information.

How do I talk to my organs?

There are two steps and one rule to do this. our organs have their own consciousness

The first step is doing something to quiet the mind chatter and be present. This can be one minute focusing on our breathing, or even just one breath!

The second step is to turn our attention to a particular organ with an attitude of inquiry and establish a dialogue.

The rule is that when we ask a question, we have to be direct, as if we were talking to someone right in front of us, and then pause and wait for the very first thing that comes to mind, without preconditions. It might be a thought, an image or a memory. It might be the feeling of something that could become clear at a later time.

The rule means that it is spontaneous information that formulates in our Consciousness in the pause immediately after we address the question to the organ.

Sometimes, there doesn’t need to even be a question; all that seems to be needed is to turn our attention to the organ with the intention to see it and listen to it.

The Practice.

For the next moment, close your eyes and let your attention shift from the outer world to the inner world. You can simply let your body release any tension that it doesn’t need, right now.

In one sweep from head down to toes, just scan across your whole body with your attention and let each muscle relax, let each joint soften, letting all the nerves just open, the circulation and the skin open. And let your body do this at its own pace.

Now, open your inner eyes and go with your attention to the organ you want to talk to, listen to, or just hold space for. Allow yourself to use your full imagination and live it inside of you.

Have you been having any issues with the health of this organ? Connect to these symptoms, and specifically to the emotions that these symptoms arise in you. Stay attuned to these emotions for a moment. Don’t judge them or try to change them, just be with them.

Now, begin to talk to the organ, as if it was a person you are talking to. A person that is also you, or an aspect of you. Hold an attitude of appreciation, companionship and support. This part of you has been suffering and you want to be there for it. Lovingly express to the organ your support at this time. Talk to the organ as if it was your own 5-year old kid.

Ask simple, direct questions such as:

“Why are you in pain?”

“How does this relate to my life right now?”

“How can I help for you to feel better?”

“Is there anything I can do for you to stop this symptom?”

our organs have their own consciousnessRemember, don’t prejudge or discard whatever arises when you ask. Spend a moment or as long as you feel is right in this dialogue, or simply sit in the presence of the organ, holding your Consciousness there. 

When you are ready, say thank you to your organ for being available to you. Ask permission to further dialogue in the future. Come out at your own pace and immediately take count of the experience and of any information that came from it.

I highly recommended to write down this information.

That’s it.

Simplicity itself!

3 Reasons to Get More Sleep

So how’s that sleep thing going for you? Do you feel rested?

You’ve probably heard this, but sleep really, truly is important. Getting enough sleep is vital for optimal health and wellbeing. Yet most of us don’t manage to sleep enough, or sleep well. This can be complicated by hormonal shifts, especially for women.

For everyone, though, sleep deprivation can lead to trouble both instantaneously and over time. From accidents to chronic health problems, sleep deficiency can be dangerous. Let’s look at why good sleep is so important. Sleep affects:

  • Brain function
  • Physical health
  • Performance and Safety

Brain Function

Research reveals that the brain actually shrinks when you don’t get enough sleep. With less sleep, cognitive function declines and ventricle enlargement grows (a marker for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease).

Recent work by Oxford neuroscientist Russell Foster even links abnormal circadian rhythms to mental illness, including schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder.

Additional studies show that lack of sleep has a direct impact on memory, focus and the ability to make decisions and control your emotions. It has also been linked to depression and mood swings.

On the upside, studies also clearly indicate that proper sleep improves learning and problem-solving abilities. In fact, when you sleep well, your brain actually forms new learning and memory pathways.

Physical Health

When it comes to disease prevention, good sleep is key. Studies show that getting six to eight hours of sleep per night lowers your risk of developing:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

In fact, it’s estimated that 30 – 40 percent of all medical problems that a general practitioner sees are, directly or indirectly, related to lack of sleep.

Sleep affects healthy growth and development, immunity, hormones (including stress hormones), the body’s reaction to insulin and more.

It might surprise you to learn that getting good sleep is essential for weight control. It’s been shown that sleep directly influences the level of hormones that make you feel full (leptin) or hungry (ghrelin). When you don’t get enough sleep, your levels of ghrelin go up and leptin down, resulting in you feeling hungrier and more likely to overeat.

Performance and Safety

Lack of sleep not only affects us individually, but it also affects those around us—our families, coworkers and even our communities. Insufficient sleep can lead to everything from lack of concentration, moodiness and reduced physical performance to a public safety hazard.

A study led by Dr. Charles Czeisler of Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep, for example, found that hospital medical errors could be reduced by as much as 36 percent when limiting doctor’s work shifts to 16 hours and reducing their total work schedule to a maximum of 80 hours per week.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that driver fatigue is responsible for 100,000 reported crashes each year (other data suggests that it the numbers are closer to 1 million crashes and 8,000 deaths per year). Sleep deprivation was also identified as a significant factor in the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident, and the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl.

Getting More Sleep

It’s clear that sleep deprivation is a serious matter. So what can we do to improve our quality and quantity of sleep? You can purchase our on-demand video Sleep, Body Repair and Dreaming to learn more.

Also, you can download Aerin’s guided mini-moves to practice on bed and fall sleep easily and wake up refresh.

For now, how much sleep is enough sleep? Studies show that for most adults, six to eight hours per night is optimal.

Wishing you good sleep,
Dr. Reid

Young, Vital and on the Move: The Vascular System

It would not be an exaggeration to say that young vessels equate to young age and that a healthy, vital flow in the blood vessels makes every other part of your body shine and function well. Open yourself up to discovering the universal flow and connections that are inherent in your arteries, veins and lymph glands.

Our Vascular System is one of the most amazing elements of our body. As a teacher’s assistant during medical school, I was able to see firsthand the incredible complexity of our network of vessels, the arteries, veins and lymphatics. A few years ago, the German medical artist Gunther von Hagens toured Europe and the United States with an exhibition called “Body Worlds,” where, through a medical education process called plastination that turned the liquid within vessels into an acrylic compound, he was able to show whole segments of just vessels, with no other structures. Smaller and smaller tubes that ultimately became thin as hairs, spreading in shapes that made out the exact body of each organ—a sight to behold! A true community where every single corner is linked to the 3 main attributes of the system:

  1.  Each cell receives oxygen and nutrients through an artery
  2. Each cell delivers CO2 and toxins through a vein
  3. Each space between cells drains leftover excretions and debris through a lymph vessel

In Eastern thought and martial arts practice, the term vessels was the original description to what later was translated in the West as meridians, or channels. It was the observation of circulation by the ancient physicians and healers which gave them an understanding of how to move information and resources—energy, throughout the human body.

In shamanistic principles, as I learnt them from my teacher, Carlos Castaneda, the body can revitalize by means of a process that he called energy reallocation. The circulation in this case occurs through a network of vessels carrying a vital force called tendon energy. During the practice of physical movements, which in Being Energy we call Energy Passes, we deliver jolts or strikes to a certain count, stimulating the flow of tendon energy along vessels from the feet to the head.

Learning how to feel our vascular system, and how to activate each of its three parts, can bring lots of benefits and it can also be fun to do. Join our last class of the year this coming Saturday, November 12 to learn more!

Register Here

Miles Reid, L.Ac. National Board Certified
in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology
Medical Doctor (AR)
Founder Energy Life Sciences
Clinical Director
Dr.Reid@energylifesciences.com
info@energylifesciences.com
elsi.wpengine.com
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Turn off to Stay on Top of Your Game

As a doctor in a busy clinic, I often find myself in a similar predicament as my own patients, that is, how to stay focused and stay present, without feeling that there is not enough time to take care of all that is on my plate. From early morning professional meetings to a lively stream of patients throughout the day, to important time with family, it’s key for me to be vital in every moment—to be physically, mentally and emotionally present.

I need to engage in active listening, critical thinking, business planning and fine motor skills and deliver medical interventions at the same time. As I do all of this, I need my heart to be open and connected, and my spirit to be grateful and joyful. I need my memory to be clear, my muscles to be relaxed yet springy, my body functions to perform in balance, and in general to generate the necessary energy to sustain my day. This is just the basic demand, without any additional emotional or relationship experiences that might be playing out in my mind at any time. Welcome to modern life! And hold on to your seat because this ride is just going to get more intense over the next few years. Time is accelerating.

No matter what is happening in my life, I am sustained by the practices that I learned from my teacher Carlos Castaneda. In particular, he taught me various series of movements to revitalize the body and mind. One of his favorites was a very simple yet powerful one he called Turning on the Body. A practical, descriptive name (quintessentially Castaneda).

To “turn on the body” means to first completely relax the body and then, in a split second upon a sudden command, engage the totality of ones muscles, joints and even internal organs, followed by turning everything off again. The effect of this on the nervous system is to trigger a state of readiness and ease at the same time—much in the same way as taking a short cold shower and then drying the skin briskly to warm it up again creates a circulatory flush from the blood shunting, which is very invigorating. The idea of turning on is alluring, but the real gem lies in the corresponding opposite state: turning off. Our capacity to be on wears off unless there is an equal and opposite capacity to turn off.

Radiant Health2016“You have to turn off to turn on,” Carlos Castaneda told me. The longer the distance between the off muscle state and the on muscle state, the stronger the activation of the body awareness. When we apply this to the heart muscle, we call it Heart Rate Variability (HRV), and the longer the variability, i.e., the more distance between the heart beats, the healthier the long term outcome of not only the heart, but of health markers across the board in all bodily systems.

Biologically, turning off is a given. Though we may have forgotten how, we are naturally designed to be able to turn off with no effort of our part. That is our nature. That is what I saw with my very own eyes while on safari once in the Serengeti plains. A pack of female lions chased a group of Impala. The gazelles seemed to freak out and run everywhere. The lions finally caught one of them, rounded up to eat it, and then, right beside this, the rest of the Impala returned to grazing, as if nothing had happened. So why is it then that when, for example, we feel betrayed by what someone said to us, we stay contracted and anxious for days or months or even years?

Peak performers know that the ability to turn off is as important as that moment when they turn on. Elite tennis players are a great example of this. How does a player sustain energy throughout a match that lasts hours? They cycle through being on and being off from moment to moment. With some players, it can seem like they have all the time in the world to return a serve across the net.

We, too, can have all the time in the world and operate at our highest level.

In our September Radiant Energy + Radiant Health Los Angeles Retreat, we will show you how to retrain your body to turn off when it doesn’t need to be on so that you can get deep rest, tap into your well of energy and move with suppleness. You’ll learn how to identify holding patterns held in your fascia, the fascinating network of soft tissue that turns on to help us do all the things we need to do in life, and release these patterns so that they no longer interfere with the on-off cycle that is required for you to perform at your best.

Group-4b

Times have changed, and in our world today, learning how to better adapt to the growing demands that life places on us is vital. It’s also of great help to receive specialized treatments to help your body restore and investing time in seeking neurological balance. These things are not luxuries. They are now, more than ever, necessities.

In health, joy and energy,

Dr. Miles Reid

Mind over Matter?

How powerfully do our thoughts influence our health and wellbeing?

The intricate connections between mind and body are only beginning to be scientifically understood. What we do know at this time is:

  • Our emotions affect our physiology
  • The brain is an amazingly adaptable and powerful organ
  • Regular exercise can improve memory and cognitive functioning

Studies continue to illuminate the interrelationships between the mind and body, and suggest that we only understand a small fraction of what we’re capable of (see what Drs. Deepak Chopra, Dan Siegel and others say on Discovery). What has become clear is that what we think, feel and believe plays a role in how our DNA expresses itself.

So what can we do with what we do know? We can be self-empowered in our own healing process. We can think loving thoughts, be compassionate in our relationships with others, exercise and eat healthfully. We can recapitulate, meditate and form health partnerships with caring and knowledgeable health-care providers.

The relationship between psychology and the immune system, between mind and body, is at the core of my medical practice, and helps inform my Energy Life Sciences classes.

5 Steps to Feeling Good

Feelings. The senses. Our emotions. Being aware of your feelings can have a directly positive influence on your health and wellbeing. I’ll share a couple of exercises with you here, visual and physical, to help you hone that influential connection between feelings and health.

For more detailed information about this and other topics, consider subscribing to our Nutrition + Health video library, which gives you access to all of the videos of classes I’ve presented on nutrition and health.

For now, let’s look at connecting to your feelings. Here is a very effective visualization exercise for you to try.  To prepare, begin by writing any physical symptoms that cause you discomfort. Also write down a few things that symbolize your ideal of wellbeing (for example, clear thinking).

Now, look at the first item on your symptoms list. With that in mind:

  1. Connect to the symptom. Close your eyes, breathe easily and allow any feelings, emotions and/or images related to this symptom and this part of your body to rise up, without judgment.
  2. Connect with the feeling or image. Clearly identify what’s coming up for you. What are you feeling? (For example, “My knee gives me pain when I walk; it makes me feel unworthy, and incapable of moving forward.”)
    Stay with the feeling. Resist avoiding it and instead just be there with it, allowing it to exist for what it is. Be open to what it has to teach you. Then open your eyes slowly and write down the feelings that came up for you.
  3. Track the feeling to its origin. Close your eyes again and return to the feeling or image. Once it’s clear in your mind, ask yourself: Where is this coming from? When have I felt this before? Does it relate to a past experience?
  4. Learn from the feeling. How is this feeling or image preventing you from enjoying optimal health? What past experience or belief is standing in the way of you feeling your best? What is the payoff for you holding onto this feeling? What can you learn from it? What will it take for you to resolve this feeling, or dissolve this image? What do you have to let go of in order to change?
  5. Take action. You have the power to decide to let go of this feeling.

Repeat these steps with something from your list that symbolizes wellbeing, shifting the focus in step 4 to what is preventing you from having the sense of wellbeing that the image or feeling gives you. What barriers are in the way? And what is the payoff to staying within those boundaries?

You may want to repeat this for other symptoms of disease and symbols of vitality on different days, focusing in on one pairing at a time.

This also relates to a physical exercise we want to share with you. The exercise is part of the body of the Being Energy work. The following video takes you through this simple exercise, called a Being Energy pass.

In the video, you’ll notice me mention “recapitulation”—this word in the Being Energy work means to look back to the past to the root experiences of behaviors and beliefs that are blocking you in the present. Recapitulate, as defined in Merriam-Webster and how we use it in Being Energy, means: “To give new form or expression to.”

6 Windows to Perception: Overcome Sensory Overload and Optimize Your Awareness

It’s almost here! Being Energy’s next Nutrition class—all about the senses. I invite you to join me live, online on Saturday, October 3rd. We’ll explore the importance of the five senses and how to optimize them, and even give you an exercise for activating your 6th sense for expanded perception.

So why are we doing a class all about the senses? The senses are our windows to the world. They give us information that we use to stay safe, interact with others, experience our world and understand life (the hallmark of our species).

The challenge is that we’re so constantly bombarded with a stunning array of input, that most of us suffer from sensory overload. What we register consciously at any given moment is but a fraction of what is coming at us. So what should we pay attention to? How do we prioritize? How can we focus on what is important and ignore the rest?

The art of developing our attention is perhaps more important than ever before in human history because we are faced with more sensory information than ever before.

We do have a natural filter, the reticular activating system (RAS), that enables us to sort out what information to pay attention to and what to prune so that we don’t go crazy. Moreover, it is a filter that is trainable. We can consciously engage our awareness to manage our sensory perceptions.

An important thing to understand is that our beliefs and past experiences shape how we filter sensory input. The great news about this is that we can focus on the senses to quiet the mind (and vice versa) to affect our interpretation of what we are sensing. We can free ourselves from belief systems that don’t serve our overall wellness to activate a greater awareness of what is both seeable and un-seeable around us.

The eyes are especially important. They are often more fatigued by overstimulation than any other sense organ. We make countless decisions each day based on what our eyes are telling us. There is a voluminous amount of information to process. Computers, smart phones and TVs vie for our attention and cloud our visual sensibilities.

In the Being Energy Nutrition class on Saturday, I’ll teach a technique to soften the eyes, and relax and release the eye muscles to open up your perception.

Relaxing is a key thing for all of our senses, in fact. When we can quiet down the way we normally use our senses, we make way for opening to a more expansive way of interpreting sensory data. When you relax your eyes, for example, you’re able to see other aspects of the world. When your eyes become silent, you can see silence. This is true of all five senses. It is also a key for waking up the 6th sense.

When we activate our 6th sense, we have the capacity to apprehend what isn’t commonly available to us—something that we sometimes feel in our gut or our heart.Nutrition 2015_Featured_2

I’ll talk more about the 6th sense and how to cultivate it on Saturday. I hope you can join me!

The class airs live on September19 at 8:30am Pacific Time. For more information, and to register, please see beingenergy.com.

How to Be Flexible to Stay Strong

Movement. Energy. Health. Vitality. It’s all tied together. At Being Energy, we think it’s important to take the whole into consideration. But to understand the whole, you must look at the parts, and vice versa.

Movement is a key part of what we teach in our classes and workshops because movement, in one way or another, is a fundamental part of life, and a key for staying healthy and happy.

We want to cultivate flexible movement. To be flexible is also to be strong. So we offer the practices we do ourselves every day in Being Energy’s live online daily Mind + Body + Spirit classes.  We also just launched a new Video Library, with a collection of daily 30-minute classes, many of which focus on movement.

In a presentation during one of Being Energy’s Nutrition + Health classes this year, our colleague Jordan Hoffman shared some philosophy and simple exercises of Aikido. Jordan is a longtime Aikido practitioner, and 2nd Degree black belt, in addition to being an outstanding acupuncturist. He shared some valuable insights.

Aerin and YelenaBecause the class theme was bones, tendons and muscles, Jordan spoke about keeping the tendons and ligaments nice and open, and how this enables energy to flow throughout the body.  In every healthy joint there is space. That space allows for comfortable, easy movement. When we’re stressed, tight or tense, we tend to contract, reducing that space, which results in more tightness and tension. This also slows us down, and creates an environment ripe for injury. But if we’re supple, we can move faster with more fluidly and grace. When presented with an obstacle, the more supple we are, the better we can navigate in the situation.

Think about the branch of a young tree. You can bend it and it won’t break; it remains flexible; but an old branch can snap. Just so, we want to keep our bones and joints supple. We want to be able to move easily with the winds of change and challenge.

An inspiring example of flexibility and grace at any age is Aikido’s founder, Morihei Ueshiba (December 14, 1883 – April 26, 1969). In this video from 1935, these qualities, and more, are made clear.

Here, you can see his last public demonstration, in 1969, at the age of 85 (it’s a little fuzzy, but nonetheless worth watching).

So how can we embody this? What can we do to meet the challenges of life with power and grace? We can start with awareness.

At the end of every day, you might notice that you feel shorter, tighter, contracted, more compressed. Cultivating awareness is an important step in remaining strong yet flexible. Hold the image in your mind of spaciousness in your joints. Think of elongating your spine. If you’re standing and notice that your knees are locked, soften them, letting the energy flow through the joint and through your body.

To your health, strength and suppleness,
Dr. Miles Reid

8 Great Reasons to Meditate Today

You can enjoy positive effects from even just one meditation, and the long-term benefits multiply with continued practice.

Recent studies show that meditation not only reduces stress—which would certainly be enough reason to try it—but it actually affects our DNA, protecting the life of our cells and slowing aging. One study showed that just one meditation session can have a positive impact.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace and balance that benefits both your emotional well-being and your overall health.”

Scientists are just beginning to understand how and why meditation works, but its mental, physical and emotional benefits have been appreciated since ancient times.  It has been proven to lower stress and to help combat illnesses such as:

 

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Pain
  • Sleep problems

The greatest benefit comes from a daily practice, and there are many forms of meditation to try. From Mindfulness and Transcendental Meditation to Tai Chi and yoga, it can involve movement or stillness, attention or transcendence.

Meditation is something that helps you turn the volume down internally, and shift away from the stress response toward a parasympathetic response. It may include breathing in a purposeful way, using guided imagery and your imagination or focusing on an object. I often coach patients in meditation techniques to address their particular situation.

The effects can be very powerful.

Here are eight scientifically proven benefits of meditation:

  1. Stronger immunity. Multiple studies show that meditation improves immunity in a variety of ways, from boosting antibodies to slowing down the production of CD-4 cell counts to stimulating the brain areas that control the immune system.
  2. Less pain. Meditation can reduce the experience of pain and lower activity in the brain’s pain-processing regions.
  3. Stronger and faster mental function. Meditation strengthens the connection between brain cells and may lead to increased gyrification (cortical activity linked to the brain’s ability to process information more quickly).
  4. Brain restructuring. It’s amazing to consider, but meditation can change your brain structure—brain scans of longtime meditators show increased gray matter, which is associated with intelligence, sensory perception, emotional stability and stress response.
  5. Increased learning ability. Research shows that students who meditate have better test scores, improved attendance rate, increased intelligence and creativity and less stress.
  6. Emotional stability. It appears that when exposed to stress, long-time meditataors show less activity in the right amygdala—the part of the brain that plays a key role in processing emotions.
  7. Better focus. A University of Washington study conducted by Dr. David Levy showed that those who are trained in meditation experience less negative emotion in multi-tasking tests and can switch tasks less often and more effectively. Meditators also showed improved task-related memory.
  8. Weight control. It turns out that meditation can actually help reduce belly fat. Increased stress increases certain hormone activity that can lead to weight gain, and study after study shows that meditation can significantly reduce the body’s response to stress as well as increase serotonin, a hormone that influences sleep, mood and appetite.

Meditation, in whatever form we choose, can play an effective and enjoyable role in our health and wellbeing.

If you participate in our upcoming LA retreat Radiant Health + Radiant Energy, you can experience the benefits of meditation in a fuller context. Or join us in Amsterdam in October!

Good Vibrations: Elevate Your Energy in Minutes

Energy is vitality. It is expressed in our bodies, in our moods and in the way we relate to others.

We might say someone has “good energy” or “bad energy” for example, or that we are energized by an idea. This all has a physical expression—as scientific studies continue to reveal, the physiology and the mind are intricately connected—some would say inseparable. This is great news. It means that we have the power to influence our health at all levels with our thoughts and actions, and that each influences the other.

The other great news? When it comes to movement, a little bit can go a long way toward your health and vitality. Combine this with intention, and watch your energy lift in just minutes.

In terms of exercise, the standard recommendation is to aim for 30 minutes a day, five days a week (hello BE daily Mind + Body + Spirit classes!). If this seems daunting, try starting small. Choose the stairs over the elevator, for example. Or park at the far end of the parking lot at the grocery store. Take five to fifteen minutes to enjoy an extra walk around your neighborhood or workplace, or try some squats or pushups before jumping into your other responsibilities—it will be time well spent, helping you function more effectively mentally, physically and emotionally.

Ideally, you want to get some cardio, stretching and strength training in each week. The main thing is to do things that you enjoy, both so that you keep moving and because that sense of joy is also gives your immune system a boost. Maybe you like to garden, or dance, or jog or play catch with your kids. Work those things into your week. Or go to the gym and make it your time for you.

The sense of joy touches on what we think is key: Intention. Our thoughts influence our energy instantaneously. Our movement also influences our energy levels and our thoughts. When we move with intention, this has an even more dramatic influence.

Being Energy’s daily Mind + Body + Spirit classes are all about moving with intention. Here is a sample to try (about 35 minutes)—why not give it a go and see how you feel afterward?

Remember that taking the time to move is like putting energy in the bank, and when you move with intention, you add interest to that account that you can draw on to accomplish more in your life.

Consider joining our daily classes—you’ll enjoy:

  • 30 minutes of movement each day
  • Improved posture, flexibility and focus
  • Connection with a vibrant global community

Wishing you a fun, playful time,
Dr. Miles Reid