Mind and Body Connection
What does that mean? Do you fear it means some kind of psychic new age thinking? I received a call today and realized that the young woman was concerned about that phrase when I was sharing about the BOLD classes we teach. It was something that she thought may conflict with her religious convictions. It made me feel the need to explain what that means to me.
So first I did a search to see what that may mean to others. I love this Cleveland Clinic article.
The mind-body connection means that you can learn to use your thoughts to positively influence some of your body’s physical responses, thereby decreasing stress. If you recall a time when you were happy, grateful or calm, your body and mind tend to relax.
The article then gives you a variety of calming and empowering mind-body exercises have been proven to help people:
- Decrease anxiety
- Decrease pain
- Enhance sleep
- Decrease the use of medication for post-surgical pain
- Decrease side effects of medical procedures
- Reduce recovery time and shorten hospital stays
- Strengthen the immune system and enhance the ability to heal
- Increase sense of control and well-being
Yep, that is what our classes do! What else do folks think? We will do exercises to help you be calmer during labor and birth and give you homework to do as well.
The Holistic Healing page says:
The word psychosomatic (psyche-soma) means mind-body. It refers to the connection between the body and the mind.
The mind-body connection is based on the principle that the nature of the mind is reflected in the state of the body. It explains why every body is different. No two minds are the same and neither will you find two bodies the same.
Even identical twins are more alike at birth than any other time in their lives. Why? Because as they develop their own unique personalities and their bodies change to reflect their individual state of mind.
When we heal the body, through balancing the mind-body connection, we call it psychosomatic healing.
Yep, that is what our classes do! We realize folks carry baggage of past experiences and traumas in their mind and the scars of those experiences in their bodies. We help them uncover those issues and unpack that baggage before labor begins so that it does not impair their ability to let go and birth.
The Mind Body Psychotherapy site states:
What is the Body? Where is the Mind?
If you were asked to point to your mind, you would most likely point to your head, thinking that where your brain is. However, you would be wrong to think that your mind is limited to your brain alone. The mind exists throughout the physical body, mediated by the neurons and biochemicals of the central nervous system and the hormones of the endocrine system. The mind receives its impressions of the world primarily through the sensory system of the physical body (ie., the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) and interprets these perceptions through the brain
Yep, that is what our classes explore as well. We do discuss the sensory perceptions involved with labor and birth. We discuss the science a bit of how our brain and body work in the midst of labor.
Sometimes there is concern about the guided imagery we offer within the yoga nidra. I found this medical article that may help you understand how effective this can be.
Guided imagery, which utilizes the power of imagination to heal, has been shown to reduce anxiety and pain in people with a wide range of medical conditions, including asthma, back pain, and headache, and to help patients better tolerate medical procedures and treatments. “Imagery utilizes the natural language of the unconscious mind to help a person connect with the deeper resources available to them at cognitive, affective and somatic levels,” explains Martin L. Rossman, MD.
The first time my daughter heard me talking about the chakras of the body, she questioned that conflicting with my religious beliefs as a Christian. I see no conflict. But I believe that the power centers or meridians of the body called chakras, are there because God created us with energy within us. The halos that the early artists painted around the Christ was his aura that they believed were evident. We are a powerful duality of spiritual and physical. I think it is imperative to consider how our spiritual/mind connection to our physical/body need to be aligned in order to move smoothly and gently through labor and birth and into motherhood.
Our classes are not religious in nature but do touch on spiritual thoughts and concepts. We do some yoga movements in class but do not do any religious of yoga meditation. We encourage any person regardless of their religion or lack thereof to join our classes. If there are any conflicts within our class for your religious beliefs, feel free to step away from that part of class. The truth is we have had numerous religions represented in our classes and never had anyone feel the need to do so.
Hopefully these have cleared up what we mean when we use the “Mind-Body Connection to describe our classes.