I just spent the weekend in London on a Yoga course with the inspiring Bo Forbes at Tri Yoga entitled "Yoga as mind-body medicine; a weekend of integrative Yoga therapeutics".
Bo is a clinical psychologist as well as a Yoga teacher and integrative Yoga therapist in the Boston area, and it was great to hear her sharing her wisdom and experience of working with people through Yoga on a therapeutic level, plus a little of her clinical background.
Essentially Bo confirmed a little of what I already know - namely that memories, emotions and experiences are stored in the physical body's tissues, written onto the nervous system, and encoded in the mental, emotional and deep visceral bodies. These 5 bodies form a nexus through which we can assess the nature of dis-ease, they also act as channels for intervention and healing.
I was particularly interested in the sessions about revitalising the lymphatic system and quietening the nervous system. Essentially the lymphatic system is part of an intricate web that has filaments reaching deep into the nervous system, emotional body and pain modulation pathways. Stagnation in any part of the lymphatic web can reinforce neuro-emotional patterns, including anxiety, insomnia, depression and chronics pain disorders. Stagnation can also leave us susceptible to emotional contagion and accelerate the aging process.
So a practice which focuses, or at least incorporates awareness of flushing the lymph will help to activate the parasympathetic channels, boost the immune system, calm the brain, improve sleep, strengthen positive emotional pathways and build resistance to negative emotions.
With regard to the nervous system, chronic hyper-arousal can lead to anxiety and insomnia (think of the term "wired") and this can compromise physical health, emotional well being and creative potential. Fortunately the neural pathways to relaxation and calm exist within everyone and we can use Yoga (asana, pranayama and restorative Yoga) to learn how to activate the neural pathways to relaxation and catalysing the emergence of inner potential.
Essentially the nervous system is the gateway to the other bodies. It is designed to maintain homeostasis but if homeostasis has become a state of anxiety then this is what it will try to attain...so we need to re-programme the nervous system to a calmer state of being. It is all about changing patterns...and there are many ways we can do this but pranayama and restorative asana seem the most powerful here.
It was a truly fascinating workshop and while we only practised a little asana and pranayama, what we did practice was incredibly powerful as I have not slept so well in ages, nor felt such a degree of clarity or inner strength since long before I got sick. Simply learning how to hold your nexck properly, let alone massaging the neck and the base of your skull, can all have such a healing impact, plus of course being present with the breath in poses and engaging root lock throughout to contain your energy. Got to love it. Thank you Bo!
Aside from attending the workshop I was also fortunate to have time to chill out with H again. It is funny, we have spent quite a lot of time together over the last year or so but we simply never run out of stuff to talk about. In fact the first night, sitting having a drink in her local pub, the wonderful Pineapple by the way, we became so engaged in our conversation that we almost missed the late showing of EastEnders...good grief, now that would have been a shame!!
On the Saturday I managed to do some brief shopping in Camden during the lunchhour and visited the wonderful Wholefoods - I know I am weird but I take such great delight in visiting this shop as it is just amazing, all those organic foods, plus of course all the fresh salads and stuff. I could spend hours just wandeirng around. And in fact I believe that that is exactly what H and I did last summer when we were driving between San Fran and LA, not only were we searching for Starbucks for morning (and indeed afternoon) tea but also Wholefoods for our dinner - makes me laugh now, I remember those places more than I do driving through Big Sur (where was that exactly?!) and Santa Monica!!!
Saturday evening and we managed a catch up drink in a beer garden near to H's house and found ourselves sitting about a metre away from a Guernsey guy who recognised H, not that she recognised him. Very weird. We got the bus to Camden that night and managed Tapas at a restaurant near Wholefoods, great stuff, but then had to go home and get to bed, clearly the workshop had affected both of us even if H had not been in attendance!
Sunday morning and H and lay around on the sofa chatting to H's housemates and watching Holly Oaks, which I must say is a strange treat for me these days as I rarely ever watch television on account of the fact I teach in the evenings, Ewan and I like different programmes and even then I have to really want to watch something to watch something, we only have terrestrial and I don't find his sofa very comfortable.
I was back on Guernsey by Sunday afternoon and then the reality of the weekend workshop as I have to face up to the clarity and the options available to me, which have become clearer as the week has progressed but it has been a muddy week, the dis-resonance between the old energy and the new...and trying to find a footing in the moment all over again. But ha, all good fun, even if it doesn't feel like it at the time.
So a huge thank you to H again for shining the way, and to the angels too for making some things clear and leaving others to fate.