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Archive for the ‘Spirituality’ Category

The 4-7-8 Breath: Health Benefits & Demonstration.

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Metabolism and the Throat Chakra

Donna Eden & David Feinstein, Ph.D.

Metabolism—necessary for all life—is the unceasing transformation of matter into energy (catabolism, a yin process) and energy into matter (anabolism, a yang process). Ideally there is a harmony between catabolic and anabolic processes, a yin-yang balance.

While metabolism takes place at all levels of the body, down to events in the cells, metabolism is governed by the throat chakra.

Beyond metabolism as we usually think of it—involving physical matter such as food—information carried by a more subtle form of energy is also metabolized. This is the job of the throat chakra. Information from the other six chakras passes through the throat chakra.

Seven different truths, different kinds of information, are represented in the seven chakras. Here is how information from each chakra is metabolized at the throat chakra. It is both broken down (catabolism) so it can be assimilated, and assimilated information is built up into new syntheses (anabolism). The value of having all this occur in one place is that the truths of all 7 chakras can be incorporated into the new synthesis.

Each of the 7 chambers of the throat chakra corresponds with one of the 7 chakras.

The 3 chambers on the left side correspond with the 2nd, 4th, and 6th chakras. These are a more receptive energy, more yin. These chakras are catabolic, more involved with breaking down and assimilating information, though this is not to say that any chakra is all yin or all catabolic. Each has both yin and yang energy, but the balance of these three is more toward yin, toward catabolic action. These three chakras happen to contain more layers that spin counter clockwise (which breaks down, catabolic) than clockwise (which stabilizes, anabolic).

The 3 chambers on the right side correspond with the 1st, 3rd, and 5th chakras. These are a more active energy, more yang. These chakras are anabolic, more involved with creating new information out of information that has already been assimilated. But again, every chakra carries out both processes–it is simply that the balance of these three is more toward yang, toward anabolic action. These three chakras contain more layers that spin clockwise (anabolic) than counter clockwise.

The energy of the 7th chakra comes through the central chamber, at least during the times in our life when we are enjoying harmony among all our chakras. When this harmony does not exist, however, because new information needs to be synthesized, or because of stress or other factors, the energy of the throat chakra comes through the central chamber. It does this to give a boost to the metabolizing and harmonizing of all the chakra energies it is managing. When the throat chakra energy comes through the central chamber, the energy of the 7th chakra will move through the far right chamber.

In case all of the above is too simple, some people are more yin and others more yang, which impacts the degree of anabolic or catabolic properties you will see on each side of the throat chakra. There are also figure 8 forces and spiralling layers of energy that move and blend the energies of all the chambers together, which are the final influences on the way the throat chakra metabolizes information from the other six chakras.

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The Self-Healing Benefits of Meditation

By Susan Piver

We all know that regular, moderate exercise is good for us. But imagine what it would be like  if all you did was exercise: if you ran, walked, jumped, or lifted 24 hours a day. After only a very short while, exercise actually wouldn’t be   that good for you because without rest, exercise becomes counterproductive and even risky…and so it is with your mind. We spend all day (and sometimes  all night, too!) in a whirlwind of thought. When there isn’t something particular to think about (what to eat for breakfast, the tasks of the day, or what you’re going to say in an upcoming meeting), we search restlessly for something to fill the gap-worries, hopes, television, and so on. We never   allow our minds to rest. And without this precious self-healing time, our  minds become exhausted and thoughts less trustworthy. Just as we need to stop  moving our bodies every once in a while, we also need to stop moving our minds. But how? The idea can actually seem terrifying, not to mention  impossible.

But it is quite possible. The practice of self-healing meditation is just this: resting the mind in silence and space, allowing it time to recover and rejuvenate.   Meditation does not mean sitting in a perfect state of peace while having no thoughts. Big misconception! Instead, meditation is about   establishing a different relationship with your thoughts, just for a little   while. Instead of attention being drawn off by whatever thought happens to  present itself, in meditation, you watch your thoughts from a different, more  stabilized perspective. You’re training yourself to place your attention   where and when you want. This is very powerful. It gives you the ability  to direct your thoughts (and mood) in more productive and peaceful   directions. And, as has been demonstrated in the last few years, this ability  has profound self-healing implications for physical and mental health.

Over the last 10 years, Buddhist leader the Dalai Lama has been engaged in formal top-level dialogues with leading scientists and brain researchers from M.I.T., Harvard,  the University of Wisconsin, and others. Until several years ago, these annual conversations were held in private as simple but powerful inquiries into each other’s methods for understanding the mind. Recently, the results of this dialogue, and resulting studies into meditation, have been made public, and they’re fascinating.

When studying the brainwaves of meditating monks, Dr. Richard Davidson, director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin, found that brain circuitry is different in long-time meditators than it is in non-meditators. Here’s how: when you are upset – anxious, depressed, angry – certain regions of the brain (the amygdala and the right prefrontal cortex) become very active. When you’re in a positive mood these sites quiet down and   the left prefrontal cortex – a region associated with happiness and positivity – becomes more active. In studying meditating monks, Davidson found they had especially high activity in this area.

One of the things that is so amazing about this finding is that for a long time, scientists  thought that each individual was wired with certain “set-points” for happiness, depression, and so on. This study shows that the brain can rewire itself and alter its set points – simply by the self-healing power of   thought.

We’ve all read reports that stress can affect health and immunity; Dr. Weil has emphasized this repeatedly. An ulcer, for example, has direct correlation with emotional stress. An ulcer, simply defined, is the presence of certain bacteria in the stomach, plus stress. Other conditions have a noted relationship to stress,  such as heart disease, lowered immunity, diabetes, and asthma. The acute stress that results from almost being hit by bus or thinking your house may   have been broken into is not the kind of stress that has deleterious affect.   This kind of stress mobilizes your emergency responses and capabilities. But, according to neuroendocrinologist Dr. Robert Sapolsky, Professor of   Biological Sciences, Neurology and Neurological Sciences at Stanford University, chronic stress is a different story. There is evidence that it shrinks neurons on the hippocampus, a part of the brain involved in learning  capacity, memory, and positive mood. The self-healing hippocampus has the ability to regenerate, if stress is discontinued. And meditation reduces  stress, as shown in Dr. Davidson’s research.

Medical research   has shown that there are two main contributing factors to depression: a   genetic predisposition, and environmental factors such as stress, loss, and   trauma. The first factor, genetics, is not within our control. The second,  however, is. We can’t prevent loss and difficulty, but we can significantly   alter our reactions to them. Zindel Segal, Chair in Psychotherapy in the Department of Pschiatry at the University of Toronto, a pioneer in   Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) has shown that MBSR participants  are 50% less likely than other patients to relapse once depression is  alleviated through medications and other therapies. This is because  meditation teaches us, thought by thought, to alter our responses to stress, thereby increasing serotonin production, a neurotransmitter that influences   mood, sleep, and appetite. Anti-depressants such as Prozac and Paxil,  so-called SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) are drugs that   increase serotonin.

As mentioned,  meditation is often viewed as a way to relax — and it is. But it’s also a  very precise strategy for maintaining health and training the mind in keen  observation, increased power of concentration, and emotional stability.

 

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