Previous articles about the Mental and Physical effects of the Empatharian Initiation Practice: the Empath Stretch Movement Meditation, created a picture of wholistic benefits for mind and body. Reducing stress, producing clarity, stimulating and energizing cells and organs, creating alignment with body and thinking/intentions/purposes for peace and positivity, amplifying the core energy of luminescence and love, for projecting into every thing you do.
Now, let’s just talk about the Emotional Benefits specifically for trauma victims and victims of childhood abuse and neglect. Bringing the specific word to each movement, with mindfulness and intention, allows for neurological pathways to grow and expand, the synapses create connection where there was none, and with repetition, the healing occurs.
It feels good as you do it, usually. Sometimes stiffness and pain make a boundary to hold your attention and loosen mindfully the automatic patterns of contraction that keep us habitually stuck.
Each position holds an emotional key to liberation from the habitual survival mode that, as a child helped you survive, but now limits your creativity, relationships, and truth. We honor the child with each movement, kindly and firmly stretching into the movement, with breath, bringing in life-giving oxygen, and exhaling the stress and tension from our muscles and body.
Stretching Your Muscles
When you stretch your muscles, gently and slowly stretching to the end of their tether, holding for a moment, and then relaxing back: you are gently releasing lactic acid trapped in your muscles, the source of aches and pains, and helping to flush it out of your system with each breath. With time, and each repetition of the practice, there’s more flexibility and greater ease of movement.
You slowly move into the 12 positions, holding each one with a breath in and a breath out, and sometimes more. The 12 positions bring 12 different effects into your body, positions for healing and stimulating particular areas.
1. Making A Stand
This position has you moving from a curled at the heart state, uncurling slowly with soft fists, which then open to a “handball” hand, opening the energy of our intention out. One foot is forward, and the weight shifts to the back leg. This activates heart and lungs, and emotionally you are making a stand, a boundary, affirming your self: I am worthy and communicate that unafraid to the world. You are taking your child self and expanding its radiance, proudly. The dopamine (reward chemical) in your body shoots up!
2. For Peace-Building
Leaning forward into Harmony/Peace, with arms parallel, going diagonally we push the air with our hands, twice. This activates the wrists as we raise and lower the hands, keeping the arms placed parallel. The position requires balance as you lean in to it, keeping the body weight over your center of gravity, and finding that spot where you are outstretched, activating each arm’s strength to be horizontal to the ground. This is balancing right and left brain, helping the hemisphere’s to work together, building the neurological connection that makes meaning. When you raise the wrists and hand in the pushing motion, you are activating the synapses and empowering harmony in your own being as an ongoing emotional energy. The seratonin (mood stabilizer) in your body gets a big boost!
Stepping to the side, the feet land shoulder width apart, arms and hands stretch out straight to either side, and shoulders drop, head leans back stretching the neck, and putting gentle pressure on the back of the skull. This massage of the cerebellar vermis, which is there just above the brain stem, helps to stimulate it and promote its development, while promoting calming effects. With early trauma in a child, the cerebellar vermis develops abnormalities, attention and emotional regulation as well as motor coordination are affected. So this exercise may contribute to bettering all those things at once, and over time.
Feet come together and elbows bend upwards, with a soft fist as if holding a baby bird that you are protecting from harm, arms pull back on the shoulders, head and neck straighten. You are stretching and opening the chest, massaging the back muscles, the spine between the shoulder blades, and stimulating the back section of your lungs with a compression. Your biceps hold your arms up, becoming firm, your belly tightens with the out-breath, expands with the In-breath, continuing the expanded breathing that we have practiced with each position. But in this position the top of the head rises to the sky, chin very slightly tucked, spine stretches up, and the rib cage is massaged with the breath and the muscles becoming firm on the out-breath. This position stimulates the production of endorphins that are the body’s natural pain killers. Many people can’t help a grin in this position, which becomes your natural storehouse of the endorphin comedy show, that brings laughter, magic and you back as well as relaxing shoulders, neck and strengthening arms and balance, and healing pain!
Hands pointing outward at heart level come straight forward together at heart level, and then move up and out to each side, painting a rainbow to each side with each hand still facing forward. Ending position has arms out to the sides, horizontally even with the shoulders. This promotes nerve stimulation and activation through the arms to the tips of the fingers. The nerves strengthen and make for steady hands doing fine work, and precision when throwing a ball or tapping a keyboard. Right and left brain hemispheres are synchronized so that awareness strengthens the connection to the right hemisphere’s emotions, allowing for less and less swamping by the defensive adaptations of flight/fight/freeze, the major scar from childhood abuse.
Tomorrow’s post will do positions 6 to 12, with their special benefits for the nerves and emotions. The first 5 positions have worked to energize the connections between right and left brain hemispheres with multiple benefits for the whole body. The second 7 positions expand all those benefits, in addition to specific benefits for particular hormonal balancing, cellular regeneration and myelin sheathing of the nerve fibers required for conduction of electrical impulses. Wow!