Male Announcer: You’re listening to From Pain to Possibility with Susi Hately. You will hear Susi’s best ideas on how to reduce or even eradicate your pain and learn how to listen to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it scream. And now here’s your host, Susi Hately.
Hello and welcome back. With this episode I want to take you on a bit of a journey. A journey inward to yourself, to your breath, to the sensations of your body, to have you connect. I'm doing this because so often the issues that are in the way of our getting better are not the issues that we're actually aware of. As you've heard me say before, where the pain is, is not the problem.
Where the problem actually is, is not in our realm of awareness, what I call it's under our awareness. So how can we change or fix anything that we're not aware of? We can't. So, many people then will chase symptoms, not because they're in fact chasing them, but it's because that's the thing that they're paying attention to. And, unfortunately, that which they pay attention to, that gives them some result but not the actual longer standing result that they're seeking.
So it's easy when doing that to fall into a state of resignation about what is because they're, in fact, not solving the problem that exists, they’re solving the problem that they think exists. So I want to take this time to help you tune in. And I want to start off, and this might sound a little bit funny, but it’s something that I say to a lot of my clients, and that is I'm going to slow you down.
However, I'm not really slowing you down, because what I'm doing is I'm directing your brain to focus in a particular way, which in the end will have you slow down. But if I simply just told you that I'm going to slow you down, many people listening to this would be like, “I'm out.” But rather, what I'm doing is I'm focusing your attention in a certain place, which in the end will have you slowed down.
That was a little bit of a mouthful, I know. But it's important because many people who have persistent pain do in fact need to slow down. But just by putting the brakes on isn't going to be helpful. Many of my clients know how to operate at 0 or 100. And finding that space in between is what is a real key process for them to get in touch with.
And when they can, when they get to feel into 1 to 99, when they can start to work that dial better their rate of recovery speeds way, way up. Now to get there you've got to be able to feel. You've got to be able to listen. You've got to be able to go inside and pay attention. One last thing before I take you on this journey, what's tricky about a topic like this is nobody types into Google search “teach me how to feel” or “how do I listen to my body?”
And yet, in the work that I do the more that someone can feel, the sensations, their emotions, all the things, the more that they can pay attention to and learn to listen to the nuances and the subtleties and the sensations of their body, the quicker they get better.
So here's the next step that I'm going to take you on, the reality that I know to be true is that I want to guide you into this place of connecting to yourself, tuning in. And we'll start with your breath. We'll move into your body and then you get to see what's there.
So to begin, pay attention then to your inhale and your exhale. And notice how the inhale and exhale come in and then leave your body. I like to say that before a breath was breath it was air sitting in front of your face and then a vacuum shift, pressure changes, air comes in it turns into breath. Breath does its physiological wonder through your body and then out it goes on exhale.
So just allow for this entry of air into your body and feel wherever you feel that air, that breath moving through you. So maybe it's through the nostrils, maybe it's through the throat. Maybe it's how your ribcage moves with each phase of breath, or your belly, perhaps your pelvic floor. I'm just bringing your attention to these areas to notice if there is movement.
Just notice what is without trying to change it. Notice the architecture of your body, the fluidity and feeling of your breath. Notice if your inhale is any different than your exhale, if there's a quality that's different or if they're the same, if it’s the length of the inhale matches the exhale. Is there one that's faster or slower? If there's one that feels more thin or fuller?
What happens as you exhale? Do you just return to start? Does your body come back to that starting position ready for the inhale? Or do you collapse downward a little bit? Is there any bracing? Or is there any gripping going on while you're breathing?
Inhale coming in, exhale going out. And with this breath in mind, now travel down to your feet. And notice the whole foot and your toes, as well as the spaces between your toes. And allow yourself to really perceive or feel the toes, which is distinct from thinking about the toes. Like what are the sensations that exist in your toes? Can you perceive space between your toes? And the forefoot of the foot. And then around the heel or the ankle.
Being with the foot, both sides. And as you pay attention to each foot, does the feeling in your foot shift or change? And then allow that awareness to come into the ankles and then up through the lower leg to the knee. And there's two bones that make up the lower leg, the fibula and the tibia. And there's space between these two bones.
Imagine the bones as you feel the lower leg. And the top of the tibia, the shin bone, is the bottom of your knee. So feel the bottom of your knee and the kneecap and then the top of the knee, which is the bottom of the femur. Feel the connection between that femur and the tibia which creates the knee, this midway point between your hip and your foot.
Feel the outside and the inside. And then up through the thigh into the hip. So the hip then connects through to the knee, connects down to the ankle. There's a full chain from the hip to the foot. Allow your attention to be here. The entire limb, from hip to feet, both sides. And then connect back to your breath, noticing that inhale and the exhale as you notice the whole lower limb, both sides.
And then next connect into your pelvis. We often refer to the pelvis as a bowl, front and back and sides. Notice if you can feel any breath or movement of your body as you inhale and exhale. And you might or you may not, it's more just noticing what is there in existence.
Noticing your abdomen and then into your ribcage. The ribcage is a cylinder. And connecting to the ribcage are shoulder blades and arm bones. So feel this upper part of you, from ribcage to shoulder blades, and then out through the arms towards the hands.
And there's such a connection between the function of your hand and what goes on in your ribcage and in that part of your spine. There's a real fluidity of movement, just think around like think about someone playing guitar or violin or drums. Think about a pitcher, baseball, golf. This connection between hands and center, hands and ribcage.
So allow your focus to be on the ribcage, how the breath moves in the ribcage. And can you allow for the ribcage and the arms and the hands to be all at once in your focus of attention? Just settle in, allow the feeling to arise. Much like feeling the warm sun on your body, you don't need to do anything for that warmth to be felt. Allow whatever exists as sensation to simply be there.
And then focus on your neck and around the base of your head. And then into your face and forehead. And then feel whatever you are touching, if you're sitting or laying down notice what is touching your body. And then also notice what's not touching your body.
Notice where there is form, like your body, as well as space. So maybe a space between your arm and your torso or between your legs, between your feet. And just notice what's there. Can you relax your tongue? Can you soften your eyes? Can you settle into whatever it is that you are sitting or laying on? And breathe.
Now, for a moment I want you to pay attention to three areas: your eyes, your mouth, and your anal sphincter. I would like you to squeeze your eyes really, really tight. And notice what happens with your mouth and your anal sphincter. Okay, and then relax them all. And then squeeze your mouth really, really, really hard and notice what happens to your eyes and your anal sphincter. Now notice the anal sphincter and squeeze that are really, really hard and notice what happens with your mouth and your eyes.
And now relax them all. And with this squeezing and relaxing you may have noticed that when you squeezed one sphincter, the other two also squeezed too. The idea here is this relationship between squeezing or holding tense one area of your body and what happens in another area of your body.
These are simple exercises to guide you in paying attention, of tuning in, of recognizing where else you might be holding tension or where other areas might be contributing to tension. Areas and ways of moving or holding that you might not have been aware of before.
And then as you become aware of these awarenesses, be curious. You don't have to do anything about it right away. And as you notice, as you let them be, it will become clearer about what you need to do.
Now as a next step here you can be in the position that you're in, whether you're seated or laying down or standing. And you might have the impetus to want to move, to get up for a walk, to do errands, to go for a workout. And consider what you've learned or gained from this practice so far. And can you bring it into the next thing that you do?
Can you bring it into washing the dishes or brushing your teeth? Can you be aware of holding the toothbrush, of the toothbrush coming onto your teeth and paying attention to the gums? What happens with your tongue? If you're out for your run, can you feel your feet moving along whatever pathway you're running on?
If you're on your bike, can you feel your feet pushing through the pedals? The big circles of your leg in your hip socket? How does your breath move when you move when you're active, or when you're brushing your teeth, or washing the dishes?
Allow your attention to bask over you as you attend your focus to yourself as you do these activities. And then notice what arises. Notice what happens with your mind. Notice what happens with the trajectory of the activity. How it feels. How quickly it goes. The effortlessness or the effortfulness that arises out of your awareness.
And then simply take note. And as you do, more will arise, more will show itself, more will open up to your field of awareness. And then as you have more of that data, you'll start to develop an understanding of behaviors, of states of being. And that will give you much, much more information to really discern what you need to do next.
Now, if you need some more assistance with navigating through whatever it is that you're experiencing, you can dig in more to this process in Healing and Revealing Human Potential, which is a course that I have that walks you through step-by-step, holding your hand, this process of really listening and paying attention and feeling, helping to bring into awareness that which you're not aware of.
It also has you meeting with me three times each month to walk you through this process, to make sense of some of these sensations that are arising so you yourself can make sense of them. You yourself can decide on what your next step is. Because ultimately in this healing process, that is what happens.
You becoming aware of what your next steps are, whether it's through a yoga practice, or whether it's through an alternative form of medicine, whether it's through traditional forms of medicine. But you feel it from the inside. The intelligence comes from inside, integrating with all that's available outside of you.
It becomes a very, very powerful way of proceeding forward, tuning into your inner sense of knowing, your inner kinesthetic sense, your intuition, your instinct, and combining that with all that we know to be true scientifically. That's when powerful results happen.
To find out more about Healing and Revealing, you can visit the website at functionalsynergy.com/synergy. You can also email me directly at [email protected]
And if you are a health professional or a yoga teacher and you want to integrate these more mind/body integrative processes that really looked at whole body healing that's a bridge or a hub that between medicine and science and the internal world that is ourselves, you'll really enjoy the Yoga Therapy Certification program and the cohort begins this October. And you can email me at [email protected]
for more information. You have a great, great, great time exploring. See you soon.