So much has been written about pain, our bodies and how to tend to those achy muscles, joints and tissues. All the advice and information can become overwhelming and confusing for someone who needs relief and prefers to avoid drugs or surgery.
Still, many people continue to live in pain with conditions that persist, limiting their freedom of movement and quality of life. The tips I suggest here are simply a reminder that your precious body knows how to heal itself when it has the proper conditions.
Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order. -Samuel Beckett
Movement is life: the rhythm of our heartbeat, the ebb and flow of tides, the turning of the seasons, the cycle of our breath. Even the youngest infant expresses a range of core emotions in the language of movement. It’s a tiny dance with an arching and contracting torso, flailing arms and legs, before releasing the physical energy of delight, fear or frustration into sound. Continue reading MOVE THE EARTH→
Imagination is often misunderstood, defined as a fanciful flight away from reality – and sometimes it is. But there is another kind of imagination, one that is based on deep inner listening with a quality of calm presence, and a curious, open-minded focus. When images arise into that kind of spacious awareness, imagination is tapping into a source of wisdom, a type of intuition, that puts us in touch with more of reality, not less.
With deep listening, we bring our ourselves into relationship with the unknown. This is similar to the creative process, whether we are facing a blank canvas with a handful of paints, jotting notes for a speech on a napkin at the café, or in the scientific crowd, pondering how quantum gravity helps explain the origin of the universe. We step outside what we already know, send our inner critic on vacation, and make room for messy, confusing bits and pieces of insight to swirl and shift before connecting in new and meaningful ways.
Cultivating creative imagination has a powerful role to play at this pivotal time in human history as scientists around the world are reporting that the impacts of climate change on civilization and the natural world are accelerating. We need to cultivate a pragmatic form of hope by discovering clarity followed by empowering actions, resilient individual and systemic support with effective methods that support eco-harmonious change.
A powerful way to shift things in your life is by aligning your unconscious thoughts with your conscious desires. Yoga Nidra is a simple and elegant way to do that. Through a guided meditation, you allow the mind to relax and soften and then you insert a conscious desire while the mind is like soft clay. This desire, or vow, called a Sankalpa, helps you align with your deepest truth. Sankalpa translates literally as – the vow made in the heart that is greater than all other vows. We are constantly making vows to ourselves, and some of those vows are unconscious. These could be powerful internal voices that we don’t even realize are ‘vows’. Things like, “I’ll never amount to anything,” “No one will ever love me,” “I’ll never get a job I love.” Even though these just seem like our internal dialogue, they are actually vows that our internal computers read and enact as if they are computer code.
Most of you know that our behavior is run almost 90% unconsciously. This is why we keep getting the same outcomes in our lives, despite the fact that we really, really, really want to change and transform. But change is not always easy. There are energetic flows in the body whose job it is to keep you from change. Even when that change would be good! All the yoga and meditation and running and swimming and dieting and praying and vision boarding in the world won’t help you change if you can’t get your energies to agree to change too! This is part of the power and magic of Energy Medicine Yoga. In this modality, we work with our energies, and help them transform, so that the rest of our bodies and minds can follow. And one of the most powerful practices to help us change is Yoga Nidra coupled with a sankalpa.
Qi Gong is an ancient form of exercise and healing that focuses on breathing concentration and energy flow. The Chinese word Qi is formally defined as “breathing/air”, but can also be used in the context of describing the relationship between matter, energy and spirit. The dictionary definition for the word “Gong” is that of achievement or results. The two words are combined to describe a method of energy cultivation.
There are many forms and styles of Qi Gong originating from different segments within Chinese society.
Dr. Steven K.H. Aung is a pioneer in the integration of western, traditional Chinese and complementary medicine. His efforts have helped to make Alberta and Canada an active centre in the field of integrated and complementary medicine. His unique approach to medicine, combined with the remarkable compassion he brings to all that he does, has made him a highly respected teacher, researcher and physician. He been a geriatric and family physician, and a traditional Chinese medical (TCM) practitioner and teacher for more than thirty years. He has taught medical Qi Gong to thousands of people around the world, and is a clinical professor in the departments of Medicine and Family Medicine at the University of Alberta. In 2006, he was appointed to the Order of Canada.