Ayurveda: the path to balance between body, mind and soul

Ayurveda – the Knowledge of Life.

Ayurveda is a system of traditional Indian medicine that aims to promote balance between body, mind and soul. It is a holistic approach that considers the individual as a whole, not just a collection of parts.

Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit words “ayur” (life) and “veda” (knowledge). Translated, it means “knowledge of life”, or “science of life” and is considered the oldest and continuously practiced system of medicine in the world.

Although lifestyle and self-care practices are part of Ayurveda, so are the use of herbs and spices, oral hygiene, mental well-being and massage, among other therapies. Far beyond treating imbalances, Ayurveda focuses on preventing disease and maintaining health.

Ayurveda is based on the theory of doshas, which are three bodily humors known as Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each Dosha is made up of two of the five elements: Vata (air and space), Pitta (fire and water) and Kapha (earth and water), with each person having different amounts of this composition of elements, which makes their Biotype unique. .

Thus, to have a balanced state of health and well-being we must maintain our Doshas in the same proportion as when we were born. When the doshas are out of balance, physical, mental and emotional health problems can arise.

The benefits of Ayurveda

Ayurveda offers a range of health benefits, including:

  • Improved general health
  • Reduction of stress and anxiety
  • Increased energy and vitality
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Reduced pain and inflammation
  • Improved digestion
  • Improved concentration and memory
  • Promotion of mental and emotional well-being

How Ayurveda is practiced at Soul Bliss

Soul Bliss offers a variety of Ayurvedic treatments, such as:

Ayurvedic consultation: An Ayurvedic consultation is the first step in any Ayurvedic treatment. During the consultation, the Ayurveda Therapist evaluates the individual constitution of the person being treated, including their predominant Dosha (prakriti) and the unbalanced doshas (Vikriti). Based on this assessment, a personalized treatment plan is created.

Mukha Abhyanga: Mukha Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic facial massage that helps improve blood circulation, skin nutrition and eye health.

Abhyanga: Abhyanga is a complete Ayurvedic massage that helps relax the body, improve blood circulation and tissue nutrition.

About Chinese Medicine

Armando Rola Pata

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

It is the name usually given to a set of traditional medicine techniques originating in China, which were developed over thousands of years. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), it is a complementary treatment method for multiple diseases. It was also declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). In Portugal, it is one of the Non-Conventional Therapies (TNC), regulated by law.

The TCM approach to the human body is comparable to looking at an irrigation system – since the body, on average, is 60% water – with main channels and tributaries; with wells, springs and streams, rivers and even seas; with an intricate system of floodgates, which allows us to both flood dry areas and drain flooded areas, thus, we are seeing the body through the “lenses” of Chinese Medicine. It is through these channels, or meridians, that Qi, Blood (Xue) and Organic Liquids (JinYe) circulate, and disease occurs when this circulation becomes pathological.

Our body naturally seeks balance through its self-healing capabilities and TCM enhances these capabilities, by focusing its care on a holistic vision, centered on the existence of well-being and not just the absence of disease, and the which, the person, as a unique being and in constant interaction with everything, requires personalized and integrated care.

TCM is not limited to Acupuncture – with the insertion of very thin needles in specific locations. It includes, as therapeutic resources used for both treatment and maintenance of health, therapeutic herbal medicine based on plants and minerals; the TuiNa therapeutic massage – a type of Chinese physiotherapy; Dietetics – with food as our medicine; and the practices of TaiJi and QiGong – physical exercises of breathing, concentration and movement.

Build your health and future well-being in the present!

Acupuncture (and Moxibustion)

Acupuncture consists of inserting very fine needles (duly sterilized, packaged and disposable), into certain points on the body: the Acupuncture Points. Although the insertion of the needles is practically painless, it is sometimes possible to feel a very slight sting.

Following treatment, a slight and temporary worsening of symptoms may occur, which is considered a sign of a good response, which is generally followed by a significant improvement. Drowsiness during and after treatment is also often reported.

It is very safe and serious complications are very rare (less than 1 in every 10,000 treatments). The most common complications, when they occur, are a small hemorrhage or bruise (bruise) at the site where the needles were inserted.

In the West, Acupuncture is sought mainly for pain relief and emotional control (depression, anxiety, stress). However, due to its therapeutic success, exhaustive studies have been carried out in Western hospitals and universities since 1979, confirming excellent results in more than 140 pathologies.

Moxibustion follows the principles of Acupuncture, however the stimulation of points and channels (or meridians) is promoted by heating by bringing the moxa closer to the skin. Moxa, in the form of a stick, cone or “rice berries”, is the herbaceous mugwort plant (Artemisia sinensis or Artemisia vulgaris), dried and red-hot.

Sometimes, Acupuncture and Moxibustion are applied simultaneously.

Phytotherapy

Chinese Phytotherapy consists of the oral or cutaneous administration of herbal compounds. Although these are essentially made up of plants, this form of treatment also uses ingredients of mineral or animal origin.

The various ingredients that make up each recipe, or formula, are combined in proportions that maximize the desired effects and inhibit possible side effects. The knowledge of these combinations and proportions is the result of empirical experimentation over thousands of years and recent research.

The formulas can be presented in the form of tablets, pills, capsules, drops and oils.

Recent research into Artemisia, widely used in TCM, resulted in the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Medicine (2015) to Tu Youyou, for his research into the effect of artemisinin in the treatment of malaria.

Since ancient times, Chinese materia medica has been categorized into three levels:

Superior – which enhances health and spirit;

Medium – with medicinal effects on the body;

Inferior – with drastic action, which includes substances that can be toxic depending on the dosage.

Dietetics

Along with Western Nutrition, Chinese Dietetics, Nutrition or Food Therapy, seeks balance and well-being in each person, through the adequacy of the foods to be consumed.

Much like the famous Hippocratic phrase: “Let your food be your medicine”, which summarizes the fundamental role that food plays in health and the special care we must take with our health. what we eat, and in what quantities.

Chinese Dietetics also classifies foods according to their taste: spicy, sweet, bitter, salty and acidic; and its nature: hot, warm, neutral, fresh and cold.

TuiNa Massage

It is a therapeutic massage that is mainly based on the stimulation of points, channels and other parts of the body, to correct physiological imbalance and achieve well-being.

It is often used in conjunction with other therapeutic tools of Traditional Chinese Medicine and its methods include the use of manual techniques, pressure and glide techniques, and manipulative techniques for musculoskeletal and ligament disorders.

TaiJi Quan and QiGong

These are activities with roots in ancient China and a proven therapeutic effect, which include integrated exercises for the body, mind and spirit.

They are characterized by their smooth, fluid and relaxed movements. These practices can be carried out by any age group or health condition.

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The normalization of the disease

The Human Being is wonderful in its complexity.

It’s incredible how our body works so harmoniously in all systems (gastrointestinal, brain, urinary, cardiac, respiratory), when we are younger and have good health. As we get older, it seems that it becomes normal for the appearance ofexcess weight, hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis. It seems normal, but it’s not. It may be common, but it’s not normal.

The Human Being responds to the laws of time, in this dual world in which we live, therefore the meaning of life is aging, through increasing age. Thus, it is common to have some degeneration of organs and structures, but the disease is not normal. It’s just been normalized.

I’m not going to list the culprits here, because I believe in individual responsibility, I believe in the power of free will, in the Human Being as the ultimate decision maker regarding their health, and not in external decision-making, exclusive to the healthcare professional.

The pharmaceutical industry can create fantastic medicines for hypertension, which the doctor, in good faith, will later recommend. But you can also seek help from a nutritionist to find out how your diet is promoting the onset of the disease.

The doctor can advise you on some anti-inflammatory pills for back pain (low back pain) that has been persistent for 3 months, but you can also book a physiotherapy appointment and understand what other strategies there may be to treat the condition. chronic pain you feel.

Whoever says this in relation to low back pain and hypertension says this in relation to many other diseases that have the same basis: chronic inflammation.

Inflammation and chronic disease

Inflammation is an adaptive response of the immune system to restore functionality after an imbalance of the organism (a balance typically called homeostasis); however, when inflammation is excessive or becomes chronic, it can become pathological. It is now known that chronic inflammation is one of the main causes for the development of chronic and autoimmune diseases: cardiovascular disease (such as high blood pressure), type II diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, among others.

Many things can influence and promote this chronicity:

  • stress,
  • eating habits (low intake of fruits and vegetables, excess sugar and processed foods, gluten, among others),
  • hydration (water is the best source of hydration, not juices or teas)
  • toxins (environmental or ingested through food),
  • dysbiosis (imbalance in good and less good bacteria in the intestine),
  • quality of sleep (poor sleep, few hours of sleep or having sleep problems – example: sleep apnea),

Share this article with anyone who could benefit from this information. If you need, leave us a message, we are here to help at this challenging time in your life. For more information, contact us and schedule an integrative physiotherapy or functional nutrition session.

Preventive and Integrative Health

There will only be truly holistic medicine when doctors acquire a better understanding of the deep interrelationships between the body, mind and spirit (…).” – Richard Gerber.

Health, that little 5-letter word that can represent so much joy and happiness, and which we so often only give value to when we find ourselves in a situation of pain, injury or illness.</p >

Health is much more than the absence of disease. Health, according to the World Health Organization, is the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just the mere absence of disease.

It is common practice to have an annual check-up, where laboratory analyzes are carried out (which generally include fasting blood glucose, blood count, urea, total cholesterol, HDL AND LDL, triglycerides, values related to thyroid, urine, blood test in feces, among others), ultrasounds (upper and lower abdominal, gynecological) and control electrocardiogram. However, considering the WHO postulate, does this biochemical assessment effectively verify the presence of health? Or does it “only” attest to the absence of illness? From my perspective, the positive answer is to the second question: it certifies the absence of disease.

As we have seen, Health includes a state of well-being. In the vision we advocate at Soul Bliss, this well-being is dependent on four areas: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The equation below can summarize the concept of health:

Wellbeing

Physical + Mental + Emotional + Spiritual / Energetic = Health

Complementary diagnostic tests can only answer the first part of the equation, the physical part.

To achieve an integrated response regarding the state of health, an integrative and holistic assessment is necessary, based on other specialties in the area of conventional and non-conventional therapies, let’s see how next.

 

 

 

A new paradigm: Prevention

We’ve all been sick, so we’ve all certainly had something to deal with. But let me ask you: how many times have you had consultations or treatments in the true sense of preventing the appearance of injuries or illnesses? You may respond that you have an annual check-up, I understand. But I question: is the annual check-up really a form of prevention, or is it a way of finding the disease before it gets worse? Let me give you some examples of what for us one could consider acting in prevention.

One of the best ways to prevent the development of tension and contractures is to have a massage, a physiotherapy or osteopathy session so that the therapist can help you reduce discomfort even before any pain, injury , contracture or tendinitis bother you in your day-to-day life. You can turn to these professionals to evaluate and treat the physical part, and in the presence of complaints the physiotherapist and/or osteopath will look for the origin of your problems. complaints based on anamnesis (clinical history), varied, specific and differential physical tests.

For example, a test that is easily applied in the office is the straight leg raise test, which aims to assess the existence of radiated pain originating from lumbar problems (protrusion or disc herniation) and/or muscle shortening in the back of the lower limbs (hamstrings and calves). You may also be asked, from a standing position, to bend forward until you touch your feet with your hands (or try to), to analyze the existence or not of scoliosis with the naked eye (Adams test). Many other tests can be carried out in an office context, depending on the complaints of the person being evaluated.

As we saw before, a massage can promote a feeling of well-being, lightness, contributing to the maintenance of physical and emotional health, as during the massage, through touch, hormones are also released that promote this state. You have many to choose from: relaxation, sports, therapeutic, Ayurvedic, Thai, etc.

To analyze and take care of the mental and emotional part, psychology is an excellent way to understand if there is any issue that needs to be addressed: traumas, fears, phobias, stress and anxiety, additionsetc. You can also see on our blog an article about Emotional Intelligence and Illness. Psychology and psychotherapy can, and should, in my opinion, be a resource as a way of promoting mental and emotional health and well-being.

No one is made of iron, we all need everyone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, on the contrary! It takes a lot of strength to recognize that you need help, to ask for it and to act towards change.So, if you are doing so, congratulations in advance!

Within Psychotherapy there is Body Psychotherapy which is of particular interest as it forms a very direct relationship between body and mind, physical and emotional, evaluating and treating the person as a whole. In fact, body psychotherapists also work through body massage, aimed at treating certain tensions and specific points according to their assessment, and also with other techniques that involve moving the body. More on this in a future post.

In addition to these aspects, Nutrition is essential to maintain the supply of vitamins, minerals, proteins, hydrates and healthy fats that our physical vehicle needs so much. Functional Nutrition, Naturopathy and Quantum Medicine can provide an analysis of the general condition of all components of the body, ultimately making a recommendation of nutrition and supplementation to promote health or, if necessary, for the clinical condition in question.

The last point of the well-being equation remains to be addressed: spiritual or energetic well-being. Science is little by little proving what spiritualists have been saying for many years: everything it is energy, including us, Human Beings.For this reason, everything that happens is related to the energy field.

“Everything is energy and that is all there is. Tune in to the frequency you want and

inevitably, this is the reality you will have.

It can’t be any different.

This is not philosophy. It’s physics.”

– Albert Einstein –

 

 

Several authors within the energy area, such as Cyndi Dale or Richard Gerber (author of the book < a href=”https://www.wook.pt/livro/medicina-vibracional-richard-gerber/52524″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Medicina Vibracional), citing just 2, present us the Human Being as a Multidimensional Being, made up of 7 bodies, only one of which is the physical one, the one we see and feel. Richard Gerber even says that changes in the etheric body (the second body, closest to the physical body) precede the manifestation of diseases in the physical body. Some authors point out that this energetic “disorganization” precedes the appearance of problems on the physical plane, the body, by months. Most of us are simply not used to paying attention and noticing our energy, our body.

How exactly does this connection happen then? In the East, through the ancient wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this answer has been known for years: through the meridians. The energy (Chi) penetrates the body through the acupuncture points and flows to the deepest organs, bringing them vital energy, that subtle “food”. These aspects can be worked on through acupuncture but also through disciplines such as Tai Chi or Chi Kung, or even through Acupuncture with a Medicine professional Traditional Chinese, allowing to balance the energy system.

Another technique that promotes well-being, not only spiritual/energetic, but also physical, mental and emotional, is Meditation. Meditating, in a simple way, can be seen as deliberately focusing your attention on something. It could be breathing, a sound, a plant, sea waves, or even a white wall. Meditation is not stopping thinking, as we often hear. Emily Fletcher, author of “Stress less , Reach More” refers in his book to something very caricatured but very true: asking the mind to stop thinking is like telling the heart to stop beating. It’s not possible, it’s not possible, that’s not what they were created for. What we can do is learn to focus our attention.

Meditation is a mental and spiritual discipline that is open to anyone with the availability and openness to try to put it into practice. Meditating, according to some sources linked to spirituality, is a way of putting ourselves in contact with our highest Self, also called the Higher Self, or even the Divine Consciousness that inhabits us. If you are looking for this spiritual connection, meditating may be the solution you are looking for. But developing this theme would be the topic for another article.

In simple terms, to meditate you can:

  • Use symbols that make sense to you: sacred geometry symbols, a Bible, a rosary, a japamala, an image, etc.
  • Through sound: Tibetan bowls, gongs, chanting or mantras.
  • Guided meditation.
  • Freestyle, simply closing your eyes and focusing your attention on your breathing.

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Rem

João Pedro Soares

according to Traditional Chinese Medicine

Theoretical framework

When we translate a Mandarin word, the translation is not so much a concept as it is a context. It is rarely possible to make a literal translation, and to explain a translation it is necessary to know many implied ideas or explain many definitions.

For example, the character 日 translates simultaneously to “Sun” and “Day”, 月 translates to “Moon” and “Month”. These values are not dissociated and there is always a connection between the various different translations even if they are not immediately obvious to us. To go deeper into this explanation: unlike us in the West who follow the Gregorian calendar (also called the Christian calendar) they follow the Lunar calendar which is the oldest known chronological record. Each month corresponds to a cycle of the moon. In China, the year is 4718, with the counting starting at the beginning of the reign of Huang Di the Yellow Emperor (or 110 adopted in Taiwan marking the beginning of the Republic of China).

There are other counts in other countries, I will mention Thailand, because I have a special love, where the year begins with the Spring Festival (Songkran) with 543 more counts than our calendar. As is easy to see, they do not count the years from the birth of Jesus, but from the death of Buddha.

But I’m getting off topic. What I wanted to convey with this is that concepts cannot be interpreted literally, but have to be “translated” in a way that encompasses the explanation.

The concept of Kidney merges with the concept of the Water element. It is not possible to explain what the Kidney is without framing it within the theory of the 5 Elements. There are relationships between the elements and these in the physiological or pathological state of the organism.

In the human body, each element, as you can see in the image above, is associated with an organ, a viscera, a sense organ, a “tissue” (tissue to simplify the explanation) and an emotion. In nature, each element is manifested in a season, a direction, color, flavor, and, without going into too much detail, a state and a mutation.

Why is this important? Because there are interactions between organs and often a function or pathology cannot be explained without the link with other organs and functions. A healthy lung strengthens a healthy kidney. An injured spleen and/or heart can affect the kidney, a weak liver will overload the kidney. An organ cannot be treated using only points on its meridian. And, again, when we use the name of an organ it does not mean that we are talking about the organ literally, but rather the context and all the relationships in which that organ is involved.

No more beating around the bush.

Kidney Functions

  • Store the Essence (Jing). Govern birth, growth, reproduction and development.
  • Produce the Marrow, supply the brain and control the bones.
  • Governs water.
  • Controls Qi reception.
  • Opens in the Ears.
  • It manifests itself in the hair.
  • Controls the lower holes.
  • Houses willpower.

Store the Essence (Jing). Govern birth, growth, reproduction and development

To understand this point it is necessary to take into account that according to Traditional Chinese Medicine there are 3 sources of energy in the human body. One comes from food, another from breathing and finally there is one called Essence that is stored in the kidneys. Not to complicate this explanation too much by talking about the interactions between these energy sources and 2 different types of Jing. I’ll just say that the energy stored in the kidneys is finite. It is inherited from our parents. We hold the maximum when we are born and use it throughout our lives.

Our growth, development, sexual maturity, and reproduction are a function of the existence of the Essence. This controls the various stages of change in life and aging consists of the decline of the Essence during life. If the Essence is abundant there will be great vitality, virility and fertility. If the Essence is weakened, the opposite will happen. The Essence cannot be replaced, but it can be preserved.

Produce the Marrow, supply the brain and control the bones
Brain function is closely related to the Kidney and Essence. The entire bone matrix, bone marrow, brain, spinal cord depends on the Kidney. As we lose Essence we also lose memory, concentration, vision and thinking. All skill and intelligence depend on strong Essence and Kidney.

Governs water
Controls the flow of body fluids. Controls urine. But it also keeps the organs that need it moist.

Controls the reception of Qi
This point refers to the interaction of the Kidney with the Lung and its function of receiving energy through breathing.

It opens in the ears
If the kidney is weakened, it can affect hearing or tinnitus.

It manifests itself in the hair
Abundant essence will make the hair grow healthy and vigorous, otherwise it may become thin, brittle and fall out.

Controls the lower holes
Self-explanatory 🙂

Houses willpower
The kidney determines our willpower.

Mixing it all up

  • Fear damages the kidney. There are many films in which, when someone is in a situation of fear, they urinate involuntarily, without controlling their lower orifices. Fear also immobilizes, losing the person’s willpower.
  • As we get older we lose memory and concentration. Impotence and vaginal dryness may occur in women. We may lose control of our sphincters, we may need diapers again.
  • Our bones become more brittle and teeth can fall out.
  • Our hair falls out and we can lose our hearing.
  • This is all part of the beautiful natural cycle of life.

There is no way to extend it yet, but we can take care of ourselves so that we remain in good condition in our advanced years.

Traditional Chinese Medicine seeks to improve the quality of life of those who use it.
Book a session and find out how.

Bibliography:

“Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine” – B. Auteroche – P. Navailh; ANDREI Editora LTDA, São Paulo; 1992

“The Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine A Comprehensive Text for Acupuncturists and Herbalists” – Giovanni Maciocia; Editora Roca LTDA; 1996

Change: Fear or Challenge

New year, new life…

… and with it many renewed resolutions and desires. The end of the year is naturally an important time for humans, as they represent the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. There is a natural tendency to analyze what happened throughout that year, good and less good things, and there is also the desire to revive old objectives (that were not met), define new things that we want to implement into practice, or even put into practice some ideas that until then were only on paper or in your head.

These vows typically include spending more time with family, doing more sports, getting promoted, eating healthier, earning more money, sleeping more hours (or better), having better relationships as father/mother/spouse/children, etc., launch a book or a business, emigrate, among others, depending on the priority scheme for the person in question.

The challenge appears when we realize that after 1 month these resolutions have already gone down the drain, and then the sadness and frustration of feeling that we are not capable of taking control of our lives returns.

I would say that most people are averse to change, or that at least its potential existence generates some type of anxiety or anguish. The difficulty of changing can have many origins:

  • fear of change or the unknown,
  • fear of other people’s judgement,
  • not knowing what you want (even if you know what you don’t want),
  • difficulty setting goals
  • not knowing who to ask for help
  • not correctly establishing priority,
  • not having enough discipline.

I know you would like me to include “not having time” here, but I won’t because I believe that there is never a lack of time. There may be a lack of priorityEven when they tell me they don’t have time to exercise, I can agree, but don’t say it’s because of a lack of time: it’s simply more important to earn money to pay the bills and have food at the table, rather than investing 1 hour a day training at home or in a gym. I myself have had phases like this in my life, where I did less of what I wanted to do, and that’s okay. Priorities 😊

Still, if you spend the day working, you will certainly do some exercise: walking from the car to work and vice versa, going up and down stairs (if there are any), carrying things from a side to side, in short, depending on your context you may start to see your day-to-day tasks as exercise and thus transform something commonplace into exercise. It all depends on how we look at and interpret situations.

But before I go any further, let me return to the issue of not having time. Typically we feel frustrated with the feeling that time is passing us by and we have done little of what we wanted to have done, and before we know it we are already at the end of the day, the week, the month… heck, even the year! I believe, because I also feel it, that the way we speak and the way we think about things has a very strong impact on the way we feel. See these two options and feel the difference when you read them:

a) life is very difficult, I can’t find time for anything, I work long hours to have enough money at the end of the month, I can barely keep the house tidy and cook to feed myself properly, this will never happen again ends.

b) I’m at a stage in my life that is very challenging, I’m working a lot of hours and it ends up not being a priority for me to take care of the house or exercise, but it’s just a phase and it will get better.

For me the first sentence (a) makes me feel that I am a victim of circumstances and that life is simply happening and I have no power or impact over it. The second option (b) makes me feel centered, with personal power, because even though I am going through a challenging moment in my life I know that it is my choice (by defining priorities) and that better times will come.

Knowing that everything has its ups and downs, good and not so good, and that all cycles close to open others, let’s now think about a phase in which exercise will begin to be part of your life, or that it will already do: you will certainly be able to recognize the countless benefits of exercising. Now take a look:

  • strengthens the immune system (which is so important for fighting viruses and other infections),
  • increases and/or maintains muscle mass (prevents muscle atrophy typical of a sedentary lifestyle),
  • maintains bone health (prevents osteopenia and osteoporosis),
  • facilitates weight loss (in conjunction with a healthy diet),
  • normalizes blood pressure,
  • helps control blood sugar levels (excellent for everyone, particularly diabetics),
  • improves sleep quality
  • reduces stress (or the perception of stress),
  • releases hormones that provide well-being and good mood (the much talked about endorphin, dopamine and serotonin),</li >

I hope you’re ready to put on your sneakers and go exercise, be it running, walking, pilates, playing football, practicing yoga, playing paddle tennis with friends, or any other way of exercising.

If this is being a challenge in your life, talk to us, we can help. We have coaching sessions (with a psychologist), clinical pilates classes (individual and group), yoga (vinyasa flow) and even personalized training.

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Breathing and Mental Health – Part II

Author: Marcelo Lopes, Psychologist

In part I of this article we talked about how breathing is involved in everything we do and in every function of our bodies, and yet it’s amazing how many of us don’t they know how to breathe correctly. We know that breathing is one of our main sources of energy.

We talked about how breathing profoundly influences the nervous system, and how we can influence our health and condition by “manipulating” how we breathe (more deeply, more slowly, etc.).

You can read the first part of this article in full by following this link.

Far Beyond Stress

If stress influences our breathing, making it shorter and shallower, ineffective breathing also leads to a feeling of more stress. It’s a vicious circle. Whether the threat has already ended and we haven’t yet had a moment to relax, or whether the challenge is constant and doesn’t give a break, breathing continues to be altered – encouraging this cycle. This process goes far beyond stress, which already causes enough damage and we are all tired of hearing about it. Therefore, it is worth knowing in more detail the harm of not breathing properly:

  • There is no effective oxygenation of the brain:
    • Which contributes to difficulties concentrating, inability to manage emotions, irritability and memory loss
  • Changes in the immune system:
    • if a brief peak of stress makes the immune system more effective, optimizing the production of anti-inflammatory hormones, in the long term this does not happen, as there is an unsustainable energy expenditure and the body becomes resistant to the effect of these hormones (similar to how you become insulin resistant)
  • Depression and chronic fatigue:
    • in the long term, all this energy expenditure and ineffective oxygenation can deplete our energy
  • Anxiety, insomnia and increased blood pressure:
    • associated with a faster heartbeat and the entire hormonal component associated with constant alertness
  • Shortening of the diaphragm and atrophy of the remaining respiratory muscles:
    • we were made to breathe in the entirety of our chest space, with all the muscles involved contracting and relaxing with each inhalation and exhalation; not to take short breaths, in which the muscles do not play their role
  • Back pain and poor posture:
    • exactly because there is atrophy of the thoracic muscles, which connect to the spine, the space between the vertebrae decreases, altering the posture and increasing tension in the chest, where the antagonists of the dorsal muscles are found (i.e., a tendency to close the chest and increase tension on the spine).

Back to the Natural Rhythm

We cannot finish without leaving some tips, after all, the reader has followed everything up to this point and received a very robust theoretical lesson, in addition to raising awareness of so many negative aspects. We think it’s good to stick with exercise so you can, at your own pace, return to a calm state and recover properly.

The exercise can be done sitting or lying down, with your eyes open or closed – whatever is most comfortable for you.

The proposal is, in a similar way to what was discussed in the previous post, to bring awareness to what is happening inside your body.

You can start by checking how your breathing is, before even trying to influence it, noticing aspects such as rhythm, depth, tension, sensation. With genuine curiosity and interest, get to know your breath, just as it is. After a few moments, try to slow down the pace a little while gradually increasing the depth – allowing the abdominal area to be involved in the breathing, so that each inhalation is a true breath of fresh air, full of vital energy.

If it helps, you can count the number of times you breathe over the course of a minute and, over the next few minutes, try to gradually reduce your pace.

It is not recommended to make sudden changes in rhythm, taking into account that the nervous system can interpret a quick change as a threat, and turn on alert mode, causing the heart to race and everything else.

Gradually, surrender to your breathing and feel your body relaxing. The mind will wander, so breathing will be the anchor you can return to whenever you notice this wandering. Enjoy this relaxation and all the vital energy that is filling you right now. Feel alive, feel safe and, above all, know that this way of being is your choice.

If you are interested in deepening your breathing practice, learning advanced pranayama techniques or enjoying the therapeutic aspects of breathing for the body and mind, get in touch with the Soul Bliss team. We are waiting for you!

References

Nivethitha, L., Mooventhan, A., Manjunath, N. K., Bathala, L., & Sharma, V. K. (2017). Cerebrovascular hemodynamics during pranayama techniques. Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice, 8, 60–63.

Nivethitha, L., Mooventhan, A., Manjunath, N. K., Bathala, L., & Sharma, V. K. (2018). Cerebrovascular Hemodynamics During the Practice of Bhramari Pranayama, Kapalbhati and Bahir-Kumbhaka: An Exploratory Study. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 43, 87–92

Brown, R. P. & Gerbarg, P. L. (2017). Breathe – the healing power of breathing. Paper Moon.

Saraswati, S. (2002). Asana pranayama mudra bandha (3rd revised ed.). Munger: Yoga Publications Trust.

Telles, S., Singh, N., & Balkrishna, A. (2011). Heart rate variability changes during high frequency yoga breathing and breath awareness. BioPsychoSocial Medicine, 5, 1–6.

Emotional Intelligence and Illness – Part II

Author: Natasha Cecchettini, Psychologist

In part I of this article (you can read it in full here), we talked about how we need to seek a more questioning and deeper look at everything that happens to us so that experiences serve to increase our self-knowledge and, with that, emotional intelligence. We also talked about how we experience facts according to the meaning we attribute to them, this being a result of the way we interpret it based on the “baggage” of learning we bring from life.

We then realize how we can see illness as the process that allows consciousness to be brought to a new balance.

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To understand all this in more depth we need to go back to the beginning, to our first years of life when we were forming the basis of our consciousness. When we begin to say I we begin to “separate” ourselves from everything that we perceive as not me, as you, and by taking this step consciousness becomes a prisoner of polarity. The self is then tied to the world of oppositions which is divided, not only into me and you, but into good and bad, into right and wrong, into feminine and masculine, into illness and health and so on. onwards. The constitution of the human ego means that it is unable to bring to consciousness the perception of Unity, or Totality. Every identification that is based on a decision leaves one of the poles out of consciousness. Everything that we don’t want to be, everything that we don’t want to find within ourselves, that we don’t want to live, andeverything that we don’t want to let participate in our identification, forms what Carl Gustav Jung called the shadow of our consciousness, or its verse. Rejecting half of all the possibilities we perceive does not in any way make them disappear from our universe, but rather only excludes them from personal identification or the identification carried out by our conscious mind.

The “no”, in fact, only made one of the poles disappear from our sight, but that didn’t mean we got rid of it. Thus, the shadow becomes the greatest danger for people, as we all have it, without knowing it and without knowing that it exists. It is the shadow that can ensure that all the efforts and objectives of our consciousness actually transform into its opposites, if we do not know how to recognize it. In general, human beings occupy themselves more with what they do not want, and in doing so they come so close to the rejected principle that they end up succumbing to it. Every rejected principle will tend to ensure that the person lives that same principle. According to this law, when we are not aware of this process, children later in life adopt exactly the same behaviors that they hated in their parents’ personality… that is So, often, over time, pacifists turn into war activists, moralists lead a life of dissipation and health fanatics become ill.

Therefore, the refusal to accept part of reality can force people to be intensely concerned with it. This, most of the time, happens throughprojection, which is a defense mechanism in which characteristics and/or desires are attributed to another person that are unacceptable to them, it is the perception of their own feelings and attitudes in another person< /strong>. As soon as we reject a certain principle and banish it from our consciousness, it will always generate fear, anger, irritation or discomfort in us when we encounter it in the so-called external world, that is, in the other.

What’s inside is the same as what’s outside

Like a microcosm, in the inner universe of the human being there is a reflection of all the principles of Life, of the Macrocosm. Consciousness, in its relationship with the world, experiences polarity, and its rejection of part of the possibilities forces it to experience, at some point, aspects of itself that were latent, hidden, through a process ofself-regulation. This can happen through illnesses and/or projections that generate conflicts in your inner and outer world in such a way that, with their help, you can become progressively more aware of yourself.

When a person becomes a victim, they end up preventing this process of becoming aware (self-awareness). The abandoned pole is expelled into the shade and continues to demand attention (that’s why the symptoms demand our attention). Illness is a form of expression of these contents, of these emotions that have been repressed, rejected by consciousness. Thus, the content manifests itself in the body as a symptom, as a symbol of something that was left out by consciousness.

Through the body, the entire symptom forces us to live some principle that consciousness had deliberately chosen not to live, and this, in a way, already reestablishes a balance. The symptom can be seen as the possibility for man to become more honest with himself, because it can make visible what was previously invisible. Therefore, the most important thing to reflect on is not the “why” we get sick, but the “for what” (you can read about this topic in the book Dor Para Quê, by our physiotherapist and author Sara Costa), i.e. the purpose of the symptom.What does he or we, through it, seek to bring to consciousness?

If the illness happened at work, or because of work, what do I need to bring to my awareness in relation to work, or the relationships I live in there?

To understand what the symptoms want to tell us, that is, to learn their language, we need to learn to think in analogies, since it is expressed in a symbolic way and just like when we learn a new language, understand the meaning of that language take your time. However, anyone may soon begin to notice that people who are sick often describe, along with the physical symptoms of the illness, something that they are unaware of. One sees poorly, due to conjunctivitis, a stye or some vision problem and needs to broaden their perception of things. The other has a cold and “has things through their nose”, feels overwhelmed by overwork due to a lack of assertive positioning, or because they are victimizing themselves. The other has a problem with his back or a joint and cannot bend because he is too rigid, the other cannot “swallow” because he has a sore throat or cannot “express himself”. The other suffers from incontinence because he cannot contain his impulses, or has an allergy because he believes the environment is aggressive to him, the other cannot hear… and there is the one who would like to tear off his skin because he scratches so much. It can be difficult for a person to confess to themselves that they don’t want to be in their own skin and that they would like to go beyond all limits. The unconscious desire, or the unconscious emotion, however, is realized in the body.

In this article we will not be able to address the symbology of all diseases, so the focus here is more on a new way of thinking about diseases and symptoms, whether they are related to work, or other aspects of life. life.

Illness and emotional intelligence

The four basic pillars of emotional intelligence are self-knowledge, self-management, empathy and relationship management strong>. We have focused so far on the pillar of self-knowledge. Now here are some valuable tools that can also help with the other pillars.

When something takes you off track, to manage your self-management do the following:

  • Stop – ask to stop the discussion for a while to think about what happened and leave,
  • Reflect – think about which battles are worth fighting, think about whether you are not projecting aspects of your shadow onto others and analyze what you lack awareness or, sometimes, your difficulty too You may need to know how to position yourself, if this is the case, think about how to be more assertive
  • observe – after the heat of the moment has passed, try to observe the situation from a broader point of view, try to understand and integrate both sides by observing from the outside, and
  • respond – see what is the best way to communicate without being aggressive and without failing to show your point of view.

Regarding empathy the tip is:

all behavior has a need behind it

Try to understand people’s needs and take a more collaborative approach, or if the situation calls for a firm position, have the courage to do so assertively.

As for conflict management the advice is to become aware of affective communication, which means to be aware of the affection that is generated through the way something is communicated. In all communication, an affective field is formed and the energy formed by this field can favor or inhibit people from giving certain responses.

Another important tip is to think that the people who irritate or bother you the most can be your greatest teachers by helping you become aware of what you reject.

James Allan from the book Man Is What He Thinks says the following:

“The outer world of circumstances shapes the inner world of thoughts, and external conditions, both pleasant and unpleasant, are factors that contribute to its final outcome for the good of the individual. As reapers of their own harvest, man learns through suffering as well as through happiness. (…).

Men do not attract what they want (only), but what they are.”

Share this article with anyone who could benefit from this information. If you need, leave us a message, we are here to help at this challenging time in your life.

Emotional intelligence and illness

Author: Natasha Cecchettini, Psychologist

Part I

The importance of questioning

What is commonly accepted and established regarding the disease tells us little about how illness can contribute to expanding our awareness of ourselves.

The truth is that, throughout the process of development of science, the knowledge disseminated and learned became increasingly specialized and technical, and many of the essential questions that were addressed back then, in the cradle of all sciences – the Philosophy – were forgotten, relegated to a dark corner that only a few trailblazers in search of truth could illuminate.

Since the questioning of these essential aspects of the phenomena of Life have long been left aside by man, we must always have a critical look at modern science and its current methods. Every technological advance in medicine, for example, certainly has a use, it is the result of a lot of research work over time. No one will deny this.

Now, what catches our attention is the fact that how the discussion is limited to the different methods and their effectiveness, and how little is said about the theory, or Philosophy on which such methods are based. However, consciously or unconsciously, transparently or hiddenly, every intervention expresses the Philosophy on which it is based. We need to seek a more questioning and deeper look at everything that happens to us so that experiences can help us increase our self-knowledge and, with that, our emotional intelligence. You can also read the article previously published, here on the blog, with the title “Emotional Intelligence and Health “.

When we experience a fact, an event, we never experience it in a purely objective way. We experience facts according to the meaning we attribute to them, as a result of the way we interpret it based on our “baggage” of learning that we bring from life. For example, when we look at a thermometer if we objectively observe the movement of the volume of liquid mercury in a glass tube, this does not bring us any results, it becomes meaningless, meaningless. Only when we interpret this fact and give it a meaning, such as a change in temperature (having a fever, or a temperature above normal), does the process become meaningful and useful for us. When people fail to interpret life events in a way that makes their meaning useful to them in their development, they sink into a profound sense of meaninglessness.

So, a key to understanding illnesses, whether related to work or other aspects of life, is to seek a coherent basis of interpretation that brings meaning to that illness, so that it can serve us as an opportunity learning about ourselves.

Since the time of Hippocrates, academic medicine has tried to convince patients that a symptom is something relatively accidental whose cause lies solely in the body’s mechanical and material processes.

Doctors, nurses and other health professionals, in general, carefully avoid interpreting symptoms and thus condemn the disease to meaninglessness. But we cannot only hold professionals responsible, as, in general, patients also accept this perspective without questioning. It’s interesting to also think about why this happens like this, in such a passive way.

When I think about this, the question always comes to mind: “do people want to know the meaning of their illness? Do they want to learn to become self-responsible for their health and other events in their lives? Or do they It is also not comfortable and convenient for the human being’s ego to think that these things happen in a more random way and that therefore they should not involve much reflection on the part of the individual who experiences them…” after all, think about these things It’s a lot of work, isn’t it? And it’s not comfortable at all… Yes, it can be, but it’s also extremely liberating to realize the truth and realize that by working mentally we can, by becoming aware of aspects that were unconscious, make changes in our body.

The car, the lamp and the mechanic

Thorwald Dethlefsen, a psychologist trained at the University of Munich, and Rüdiger Dahlke, doctor and psychotherapist, in the book “Disease as a Path” approach this perspective in a very interesting way and provide the following analogy:

Imagine that you are in a car. A car has several control lamps on the dashboard which only light up when an important function is no longer working as it should. Now, imagine that you are on a trip and one of those little lights, which you don’t know the meaning of, suddenly turns on.

Perhaps you would not be happy with this fact at all and would feel obliged tostop the tour to see what is going on. Despite the very understandable concern, it would not make sense to be angry with the lamp, after all it only informs us about an event that, otherwise, we might not even notice, or else it would take us a long time to notice since, for the driver, he is in a zone “ invisible.”

If we are intelligent, we understand that the fact that the lamp comes on is equivalent to an invitation to look inside and try to understand what is actually happening inside the vehicle. And, if we have difficulty understanding it, we can look for a mechanic to help us.

Of course, we would be very angry if the mechanic turned off the lamp using the simple strategy of removing it. Certainly, the light would no longer come on (and that was in fact what we wanted), butthe way in which the problem was “solved” would seem worse to us than incompetence, as we would know that it would cause us a bigger problem further ahead, as the reason why the light came on has not been resolved and the situation would most likely get worse without us realizing it.

So, the car is our body, the control lamp on the dashboard is equivalent to the symptom. What constantly manifests itself in our body as a symptom is the visible expression of an invisible process that wants to interrupt our path through a warning sign indicating that something is not in order. This should make us reflect on the reasons behind the sign that appears to us. It would be absurd to get angry with the symptom, no matter how annoying it may be, in fact it is actually absurd to simply erase it, merely preventing it from manifesting itself, don’t you think?

Yes, but this is how the issue is generally treated in current medicine and most patients are satisfied with this arrangement of simply “turning off the light”.

The symptom must be understood, so that it becomes superfluous and not simply prevented from manifesting itself. But to do this we need to look away from the symptom and examine everything in more depth so we can understand what the symptom is pointing to.

What happens in our body cannot be analyzed separately from the immaterial instance that we call consciousness, after all the wordindividual means without division. The body does nothing on its own, everyone can be sure of this by simply observing a corpse. When the various bodily functions develop together in a dynamically balanced and harmonious way, we call this global state of the individual health. When one or more functions begin to act in a in a different way than what was previously in resonance with the global balance of the whole, compromises the whole, so we call it illness.

Conscience precedes change

In this way we can see the disease as the questioning of a previously balanced order. However, from another perspective we can see illness as the process that allows consciousness to be brought to a new balance.

Our symptoms have more important things to show us about ourselves than most of our peers, for they (the symptoms) are intimate partners, as they belong to us completely and, in fact, know us. This provokes an honesty that is often difficult to bear, and therefore it is no wonder that we, as humanity, have allowed ourselves to forget the language through which they express themselves. After all, it is much easier to be dishonest. However, refusing to listen to or understand the symptoms will not make them disappear. The proposal I make here is that we know how to listen to them and establish communication with them, as this way they can become transform into incorruptible masters in the search for true Healing. As they tell us what we actually lack in consciousness to reestablish a balanced order.

The difference between this proposal and the commonly accepted proposal is between fighting the disease and transforming with the disease.

Healing occurs exclusively through the transmutation of the disease and never through victory over the symptom, such transformation will occur through the acceptance in consciousness of something that is hidden from it. In this way, the disease does not need to be perceived as an unpleasant deviation from the path, on the contrary, it can be perceived as the path to follow towards healing.

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We will soon share Part II.

Breathing and Mental Health

Author: Marcelo Lopes, Psychologist

Part I

Inspiring is the first thing we do when we are born. Exhaling is the last thing we do before we leave.

Breathing is involved in everything we do and in every function of our bodies, and yet it’s amazing how many of us don’t know how to breathe properly.

Breathing is one of our main sources of energy. Interestingly, the origin of the word “breath” has a meaning equivalent to that of “vital energy” or “spirit of life” in different cultures. For example, in Sanskrit the word is “prana”, in Chinese it is “qi” (read “chi”), in Greek it is “pneuma”, in Hebrew it is “ruach” and in Latin it is “spiritus”. Because our language derives from Latin, the word mother is “spiritus” and, therefore, “inspire” means to bring vital energy or life force into us.

For followers of yoga, the key word is “prana”, from which the discipline “pranayama” derives, whose meaning and practice consist of the expansion of vital energy through breathing techniques. Over the last few decades, Western science has been exhaustively studying these techniques to confirm everything that ancient wisdom has been trying to convey over so many years. A knowledge that now revives and comes to help us with a task that we carry out all the time, but with so little awareness.

yoga position

To carry out this vital task, we are equipped with a pair of lungs that extend from the collarbones to the last ribs. If we fully use our lung capacity, we appear healthy and radiant with energy. We are, literally, more alive. The issue is that, nowadays, we are not using this resource to its fullest. In fact, some argue that we only use half of our respiratory capacity and, if we analyze it, many of us only breathe into the upper part of the chest, or take shallow breaths. As a result, our energy levels drop and, to compensate, we start eating more and relying on stimulants, which only throws the system out of balance even further. Stress is the main culprit, as is nothing new – although it is increasingly difficult to notice that we are under stress. The complexity of more urban lifestyles brings a very subtle and hidden level of stress, whose presence is constant. Without realizing it, we are breathing shallowly and at a very fast pace.

Speaking of rhythm, we breathe on average 10 to 20 times per minute, a little more if we are more active, like when we exercise, and these are the numbers we consider normal. However, science has recently demonstrated that the nervous system is more balanced when we breathe around 5 or 6 times per minute. This proves that we already assume breathing that is quite accelerated as “normal”. In the words of Jiddu Krishnamurti, “it is not a sign of health to be well adapted to a profoundly sick society.”

Breathing and Nervous System

It’s legitimate to blame stress, but only because we experience it too much. Stress, like anxiety, are healthy responses of the nervous system that allow us to adapt to challenging or dangerous situations. It is normal that, in the face of a threat, the heart speeds up, the breathing rate increases. and temperature increase, and muscles become tense. This is the half of our nervous system, called the sympathetic nervous system, which moves all our internal resources, manages priorities, and prepares us to act – full of adrenaline and with warm and activated muscles, we are much more prepared for action . That’s why they called this response “fight-or-flight”. Managing these priorities also implies less emphasis on functions “secondary” to survival, whereby the sympathetic nervous system inhibits digestion, sexuality, regeneration and, in the long term, immunity.

The term “long term” is key. We have been training ourselves very well to stay in this mode for long periods of time. It’s easy to see why: we always want to be prepared, think and act quickly, respond to the endless demands that constantly arise. However, what is natural is to return to a state of tranquility and rest after responding to a challenging or threatening situation. Here, it is the parasympathetic nervous system that comes into play, the half that is responsible for relaxing, digesting and regenerating – which is why they recently started calling their response “rest-and-digest”. For this to happen, it is necessary to feel that the challenge is over, to let the body know that it can finally rest – this is the problem.

The parasympathetic nervous system perceives what is happening in the body through a special nerve called the vagus nerve. Extending from the center of the brain to the abdominal area, this nerve collects information through its contact with the intestine, lungs and heart directly to the brain. And while the signals coming from these organs indicate stress, the vagus nerve does not give the signal to relax. We remain ready to fight or flee, and not to relax and digest, remaining tense, with slow or inefficient digestion, and with low immunity. Hours, days or weeks can pass and, on autopilot, the answer to stop does not emerge. It is therefore necessary to become aware of and take control over this function.

“Enganar” a Mente

When we are happy, it is natural to smile. We smile to express the happiness we feel inside. But even if we’re not, if we try to fake a smile, we might end up feeling a little better. This is actually the brain being “tricked” by a neuronal process, because the neurons that process emotions are associated with the neurons that control the muscles of the face. As neuropsychologist Donal Webb said, “neurons that fire together, wire together”.

Our brains can’t always determine the order of emotional events or distinguish between imagination and reality. This is why we can also become anxious about things that haven’t happened yet, just by thinking about them. When a neural network is activated, our inner chemistry changes – forge a smile to generate more serotonin, the happiness hormone, or ruminate a little to raise cortisol (not recommended).

It’s no different with breathing. When we are calm, safe and happy, we breathe slowly and deeply, filling a large part of our lungs and giving it time to absorb oxygen. If we are under stress or in danger, we tend to take short, shallow and irregular breaths in order to obtain oxygen quickly. Thus, we could assume that we breathe according to what we feel, and this is true, although the opposite is also true. If we breathe fully, our emotions will tend to calm down. We begin to feel in tune with the way we breathe. Breathing is the only vital function that can be consciously controlled – if we forget about it, our body takes over, but we can take over. Autopilot has its uses, as we talked about in the previous article, but awareness has very broad applications. Why don’t we stop every now and then and, with curiosity, listen to our breathing? Its rhythm, its depth, the sensation associated with it. And try gradually slowing down this pace, encouraging a sense of fullness.

Breathing in this register may not feel natural… and that’s why we need practice and continuity. Over time, we make more relaxed states of consciousness and self-regeneration accessible. In a mysterious way, the vagus nerve can be activated through deep, slow, voluntary breathing. When active, it interacts with the parasympathetic nervous system, leading the entire body to relax, and this is how we trick our mind into relaxing–even if the challenge remains present. And, for those who like to live in constant challenges, or undertake very demanding projects, knowing how to make breathing a conscious process is fundamental.

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We will soon share Part II.