In our last article post, we spoke of the stimulating the cerebellar vermis, the right and left hemisphere brain integration, and the beneficial effects of stimulating the body’s own dopamine, oxytocin, seratonin, and endorphins while doing the first five gestures of the Empath Stretch movement meditation for peace-building, as well as some of the emotional inner strength being promoted, and finally some nerve and lymph benefits.
The next six positions specifically target the organs, as a side benefit to the fact of being wonderful affirmations, generating calmness and stress release. The repetition of these positions is particularly important when rebuilding and retraining the stuck flight/fight/freeze responses that are the scars of trauma and abuse.
The victim of trauma and abuse has had to survive by dissociating from the body, and these episodes may return in various levels until healing can occur. The Empatharian practice will help bring the dissocated trauma body back into sync with the whole person: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You embody the words of the meditation, relaxing into the movement, breathing in and out to help release with each outbreath, and bring gentle nurturing in with each breath in.
6. Respectful –
Hands form a pyramid framing the diaphram, and as you stand with feet together, you breathe in through your nose, and through the bottom of your feet, drawing in oxygen, bathing the stomach and diaphram area with oxygen. This position helps digestion and metabolism, bringing energy to the pancreas, as you breathe out through your mouth, lips slightly pursed, massaging the pancreas as the belly contracts. We are aware of the oxygen that trees have given us, and we give back to the trees our carbon dioxide, which they breath in. We are in perfect harmony with our earth, taking and giving back. Feel yourself being nurtured, heard, and seen- you are respected, respectful and dignified, as you breath in this pyramid of healing.
This gesture of hands rolling over each other, becomes the bow to the earth as we scoop down, breathing out, and then breathing in as we rise with hands rolling up to the sky. We are generating energy for our sexual organs, stimulating ovaries and pelvic floor, testes and urethra alike, to allow healthy flow, to help fertility and erectile functioning. This also coordinates left and right brain functioning harmoniously as the hands spin in a controlled circle around each other, and you bend the back down only as far as you want, coming up and raising your arms and hands to bring the energy up your chakras, to just above your head. You own your body, and you deserve energy!
One hand at a time rises to the eyebrow, shading our eyes to see, as the eyes scan the horizon, as we turn at the hips and waist to see around the back, twisting as far as we can to see the full 360 degrees, then turning to go the other way. Feet are hip width apart, and one hand touches the hip, to help us twist away from it. This spinal twist is excellent for straightening the spine and preventing a humpback from developing as we age, as well as stimulating kidneys and adrenals at the same time. The kidneys are the root of life in many traditional healing philosophies, and we honor our kidneys as we Seek. The adrenal function is key to stress resiliency, and reviving the adrenals is necessary when we are stressed.
9. Inner Joy
This bend down to the earth and scooping up to the sky is the massage of our spine, neck, and pituitary gland, stimulating and stretching, and helping your body produce loads of amazing hormones. We call this gesture “inner joy-aliveness” because it is key to so much. The pituitary gland produces 9 different hormones that stimulate different areas of the body: the adrenals, the thyroid, the ovaries/testes, breasts, kidneys, uterus, and growth hormone for all the cells in the body. The pituitary gland also produces endorphins, your body’s natural pain-killers, as well as oxytocin, which is the “love hormone”. Here in this simple movement, you are helping your body to deal with pain, to flush with the joy of love, and so much more. Located near your Adam’s Apple, the pituitary gland actually produces your inner joy and aliveness.
Arms reach up to the sky, hands straight or open to the sky, this wisdom you align with, stretching your spine, lifting from the crown of the head, making space between each vertebrae, allowing the stomach muscles to flatten the belly, massaging the stomach and intestines, improving digestion, as well as elimination. While your focus seems to be lifting up, your whole body aligns and falls into place. This one position is a fountain of youth, as you allow your shoulders to relax and drop, and straighten your arms. Many of you hold your stress in your shoulders, and this gesture will allow the tension and stress to relax, with practice, so that you transform the way you handle the stress of living. In addition, you can lean back your head to look at the sky, massaging the lymph nodes gently around your occipital bone, which can gently massage the lymph glands there, especially good for depression or fibromyalgia, and to combat Text-neck pains, from spending too much time bending over a smartphone.
With hands in the shape of a heart, pushing back our thumbs and fingers, allowing the muscles to stretch and flex. The hands are held in front of the diaphram. We are stimulating accupressure points in our hands which stimulate belly and intestinal function, so as our arms hold the position, we will also feel an effect in the belly, strengthening and expelling toxins and gases. The heart-hands are presented out to the world, and at the same time to ourselves – we are love, we be love, and we project love, in a positive infusion and affirmation of our loving inner child, expelling negativity through the power of love.
Connection is health. When our arms stretch one forward one back, our shoulders are pulling into alignment, hands straight ahead, fingers together. Our front leg will bend in a lunge, while the back leg is straight. Here, the legs and thighs are being stretched and flexed, strengthened. We reach forward to the future and future generations and reach back to our ancestors at the same time, keeping our good balance in the middle. The ancestors strength to survive propels us forward for the connection to our future, as well. As we step to the four directions, we affirm our connection with the four directions of our earth: east, south, west, north. Bringing alignment to each direction honors our balance and our place in the world.
The repetition of the practice daily will allow for a clarity of mind and mindfulness to develop, new neurological pathways of self-nurturing, self-esteem, and positivity, new connections and interactions within the limbic system and the brain, and an exponential growth in the equanimity that makes life joyful and satisfying.