Deep Relaxation: 3 Steps to Neurological Rest & Repair
In last month’s blog we went over how the immune system THRIVES and gets all its work done when the nervous system is in a parasympathetic state of REPAIR. Conversely, when the nervous system is in the sympathetic state of cortisol production, functions such as immunity, digestion and deep breathing are suppressed. The obvious question following the scientific understanding of these two alternate states of nervous system function is… how do we move from sympathetic (stress mode) into parasympathetic (repair mode)?
When we enter into inner body awareness, we are then able to quiet the mind and calm the nervous system:
Step 1- Notice: Feel the aliveness of different parts of the body, noticing, noticing… drawing attention to the feeling of every cell becoming more alive with the attention you give.
Step 2- Connect: Notice that the energy in different body parts is the same energy in different places. All the parts are one cohesive unit, one energy field, no separation.
Step 3- Expand: Continue to discover the vastness of this energy field. Does it have a boundary? Does the “inner body” stop at the “outer body” walls? Allow the energy to expand outward, past this “perceived boundary.” See what happens for you.
***These 3 steps are an adapted and condensed summary of Chapter 5 in Eckhart Tolle’s second book, Practicing the Power of Now*** I recommend the audiobook. I can feel the sincerity of his voice in a greater capacity than just the words. Words are limiting, but we can still try!
See what can change from observing the mind from the inner body perspective, instead of the usual- observing the body from the mind’s perspective. When I come into this place of experiencing my energy for what it is, (not a body, not a thought, not a gender, not an age, not a pain, not a circumstance, not a story) my nervous system enters the relax and repair mode. I feel “at home” with myself and others, “UN-manifested” (I know, everyone wants to “manifest” nowadays!) But for me, nothing can compare to this place of “un-manifestation” which is simply an awareness of what exists or doesn’t exist in THIS moment– just energy and pure, intense love. I prefer experiencing myself and others from this place where forms and materials are irrelevant, giving attention to our similarities rather than our differences. THIS is deep relaxation for me. What is deep relaxation for you?
With that said, I have found it is MUCH easier to get to the parasympathetic state of REPAIR when the body is healthy– with low physiological stress and distraction. This is why “getting there” includes taking care of our bodies. Everything we need is available, and there are many ways to get to this state of clean energy:
- We mentioned in the last blog post how exercise is a powerful mode to enter the parasympathetic nervous system by maximizing blood flow and burning off excess corticosteroids.
- I have found upper cervical chiropractic care to be the most profound and immediate relief from a sympathetic stress state. This is because a proper adjustment corrects imbalances in the central nervous system directly.
- Other proven relaxants of the nervous system include belly aching laughter, deep breathing, acceptance, forgiveness, spending time with nature and a clean, balanced, hydrating diet.
- When I want some additional support, I enjoy various herbal teas such as holy basil, lavender, passionflower and chamomile.
- My husband likes the Mag Calm drink mix— a magnesium supplement that calms the nervous system naturally. He prefers it over tea and drinks it daily. You can certainly do both if you like both!
- Traditional Chinese Medicine practices for deep relaxation and neurological balance include acupuncture, qi gong, tai chi and gently holding the tongue to the roof of the mouth. These methods are used to connect energy circuits and enhance communication between the brain and body.
- Utilizing the airplane mode and WiFi OFF functions on our phones and devices supports relaxation efforts tremendously. This is especially important while sleeping and meditating.
- Local Hypnotherapist and NLP Practitioner James Barfoot has graciously provided us with his expert guidance in deep sleeping (audiolink HERE).
I would bet we haven’t yet discovered all of the ways to enter into rest and repair mode. This is why it’s so crucial for each individual to tap into their own understandings– discovering what works for them.
Listening to the inner body:
In every moment, we are given the opportunity to learn the body’s language. This is especially true in times of pain and illness. It’s important to remember not to silence the body’s pain (physical or emotional). This inevitably cuts off the communication system and connection to our innate answers, deep relaxation and self repair. Drugs, prescription or otherwise, stunt our growth and numb our ability to ground into the body fully. Perhaps we are learning that medication doesn’t satisfy our deeper longing for connection. And maybe (maybe not, you decide) it’s just another opportune lesson we can potentially integrate collectively. Wherever everyone is on this path is completely OK and possibly necessary to finding this deeper understanding, deeper feeling.
Meditating can be FUN and practiced throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be confined to sitting alone in a quiet room (although sitting alone can be tons of fun too!) Let’s say we are waiting in the grocery line or at a party… can you feel the aliveness in your hands? When we pay attention to the body in this way, it has the power to teach us not to take ourselves too seriously! The mind relaxes; then the nervous system relaxes (and vice versa). Life is just one great big fun house if we allow it to be : ) We can experience whatever we want to, for better or worse. We ultimately CHOOSE our every experience, and can just as quickly UN-CHOOSE the experience. Sometimes we are simply not finished learning through experiencing pain, and that is completely OK, we all go through this to some degree : ) The most profound lessons / growth are found here after all.
When you go deeply into the inner body, can you begin to think with your whole body instead of just your mind?
Can you feel the central nervous system when it switches from sympathetic (stress mode) to parasympathetic (repair mode)? Do you notice this switch while in the zero gravity resting chair, immediately following an upper cervical adjustment?
Heal Your Central Nervous System Today!