Mind Stuff — The Next Frontier in your Yoga Practice
I realized this is over 20 pages of mind stuff trying to teach you about the power your mind stuff … So lets break it down into different areas I am approaching:
- Taking your practice from the inside out, looking at thoughts and emotions.
- Your nervous system and how your thoughts effect your nervous system. This is powerful alone, you can stop the stress response in a second by changing your mind!
- The power of your mind and using it in visualizations
- The power of the placebo effect
- The Power of what you believe – Quantum Physics, Biophotons, Intension, and perceptions
The other sides of Yoga
There comes a time when we’ve done enough asana! While asana will remain in a daily yoga practice, what I mean is its time to move beyond asana and stop defining your yoga by your physical performance.
The Inner Experience
We can start by taking your practice from the inside — do your practice from the inside out — working with your nervous system and very importantly your breathing system and patterns of your attention or consciousness, you get the inner experience. This is much deeper and satisfying, you are not limited to what your muscles and bones can or can’t do.
Do not define your yoga by what your muscles and bones can do.
Yoga is really about awareness of your thoughts and how they effect your nervous system balance, and how to use breath to gain control of your nervous system balance, and then health of the physical body through improving circulation and removing toxins.
Yoga is not just for our physical bodies — yoga is really more a mental practice than a physical. Or I should say yoga is more a practice of being aware of your mental thoughts. This was lost as yoga became more physical as it moved west. We have more and more science supporting the role of how our thoughts and moods effect our health.
Many times the method is mistaken for the goal. The goal of yoga is not attaining a posture – a yoga posture is a method to remove tension and toxins from the body, improve circulation of blood, lymph, neurons, hormones, and other communications in the body (which is truly where vitality lies), to get to the goal of being aware of what you are thinking and how it is effecting you — and those around you.
We want to be aware of negative thinking patterns. When negative thoughts or experiences pop up in our thoughts, we don’t want to dwell on them – we do want to transform them – turn them into good. This is the alchemy of yoga.
When we do experience negative emotions many tend to want to keep them pent up — anger, jealousy, grief are common emotions that get pent up because we don’t want to feel this way or want others to see us this way.
When we don’t acknowledge them, and figure out a way to let them go, these feelings then release a tangible molecule carrying peptide — a neuropeptide (‘molecules of emotion’ — more shortly on this) that can lodge in your body indefinitely blocking the flow of information in the body compromising immunity, mood, and energy — remember the flow of information in our body equates to health.
When we feel a negative or challenging emotion, we want to feel it and then resolve it. Then we will detox the neuropeptide that was released.
Before we go tucking away little molecules of negative emotion into our tissues let’s learn how to transmute them. If it is something that may take some work to accept then choose a limited time to work on it; say in a 15 minute meditation. If you don’t transmute it or turn it to good after 15 minutes, then make the conscious decision to put it in a box and tuck it away, where you do not think about it or brood on it, for a week or so until the time is right to pull it out and look at it again. How can you turn it into gold?
Like stress, pent up emotions also block blood flow to parts of the brain; specifically our prefrontal cortex which is the part of our brain we use to make good decisions and judgments. Instead blood is shifted to our amygdala which is where our stress response is located, when blood in the brain shifts to the amygdala the body wants to think fight or flight — it stimulates that will to personally survive — sometimes at others expense. You want to feel this process in your body so you can calm yourself down, and get better blood flow back to your entire brain where you can make better decisions.
Reduced blood flow to the prefrontal cortex also interferes with our mental clarity and our ability to handle stress, creating a viscous cycle.
Chronic stress or holding on to emotions leads to chronic reduced blood flow in the brain = less of an ability to handle stress = compromised decisions and health = chronic stress. YOU CAN BREAK THIS CYCLE. Minding your mindstuff is a good start — you can learn do it in meditation of course, but you can also just learn to pay attention to your thoughts and shift them to a positive state.
- By being conscious with your thoughts you can release the neuropeptides that are blocking the flow of information into your cells and into your brain. You do this by making a conscious effort to be joyful, thankful, appreciative, and aware. One of the reasons gratitude practices are popular.
- Breathing, meditation and yoga are some of the most effective ways to release those neuropeptides … and there is another way that is even better …
- Cuddling! Cuddling will release oxytocin into our bloodstream which is the feel good “I am loved” hormone. Cuddling has been shown to also break the stress cycle allowing you to look at your emotions and thoughts and sort them out for the better.
While we know stress hurts our immune function and increases our risk for heart issues, joy actually improves immune function, and is good for heart health.
There are so many ways to be healthy. Time to get more joy and less stress in our life, you can do this just by paying attention to your thoughts and consciously directing them.
PNI – Psycho – Neuro – Immunology
A big word that was termed in the 70s and pooh-poohed by modern medicine, until recently.
Psychoneuroimmunology looks at the response the mind and emotions produce in the body — how thoughts and emotions physiologically effect our autonomic nervous system balance and immune system.
Though more recently it has been tagged Psycho – Neuro – Endo – Immunology pulling in our endocrine system, recognizing the mind and what we are thinking also effects hormones.
And in reality it should be psycho-neuro-endo-digestive-immunology because our thoughts effect our digestion as well.
Most are now aware imagined stress is just as harmful to the body as real stress. Real stress or stressful thoughts effect the body much the same way as an infection or a virus. And if you are stressed it paves the way for you to be more likely to get an illness as well, and vice versa — if you have an infection it is a type of stress on the body and makes it easier for you to become more stressed.
Basically stress is like an illness in the body. However, you have more control over stress than you do an infection, sometimes. All you have to do is have power of mind to stop stressing thought patterns — power of mind is developed through minding your mindstuff, or inner contemplation.
Inner Contemplation – watching our thoughts and feelings
Contemplation is defined as an inner seeing or inner vision with a spiritual component — or even a mystical awareness. When most people are thinking they are so wrapped up in believing their thoughts that they are not evaluating their thinking.
Inner contemplation, watching your thoughts and feelings as if you are an observer of your own thinking mind. We need to evaluate our thoughts, most of our thoughts are not real and will never come true.
Also be aware of the way you talk to yourself, what do you say to yourself? Most people tend to beat ourselves up for many reasons, all day long. STOP THAT. On average we have 3 negative thoughts to 1 positive thought.
If you are having a ‘bad’ thought – look at how you can shift that thought into something positive or productive. We can not stop our thinking mind, even long time consistent meditators when hooked up to devices can only go about 12 seconds without a thought.
The trick is to catch yourself — to not listen to your thoughts, don’t believe what you are thinking. You can’t stop the thoughts coming, it’s changing the tune that is important. How can you direct your thoughts productively?
This is what is missing in physical yoga classes, the awareness of our thoughts and how they effect your nervous system balance. Yoga needs to have an internal contemplation to be yoga. Alignment is not inner contemplation, cues like lifting your heart and lengthening your spine, while feeling good, are not helping us find the deeper work of yoga.
- A beginner will need to spend about 1 year of consistent asana focusing on alignment, after that, time to take it deeper.
As I have been talking about over the past couple years — another main reason for all this yoga asana is its effect on our nervous systems.
Our nervous systems are the key component on whether you are aging or regenerating in your practices or in your days in general. If your thoughts are putting stress hormones in your body, you will not heal, detox, or even just daily regeneration very effectively.
A balance in our autonomic nervous systems seems to be a primary goal of all alternative mind body medicine and exercise practices.
Almost 30 years in the yoga and exercise industry brought me to the realization that all these practices — and the Traditional Chinese Medicine physical practices as well like tai chi and qi gong are all based on shifting us to a parasympathetic nervous system dominance.
The science behind “The Issues are in your Tissues”
ALL THOUGHTS CREATE A NEUROPEPTIDE CHEMICAL that is released into our body.
What is a neuropeptide? It is a type of neurotransmitter. What is a neurotransmitter?
Neurotransmitters are chemicals the body releases from one neuron that binds to receptors in the next neuron — it is how our nervous system relays a message from our brain.
Neurotransmitters are small and fast, and their messages are either inhibitory or excitatory depending on what we are thinking. Inhibitory neurotransmitters calm us down, think PNS (parasympathetic nervous system) activation. Excitatory neurotransmitters give the message to release stress hormones, think SNS (sympathetic nervous system) activation. Think calm thoughts and your neurotransmitters send calm neurotransmissions.
Neurotransmitters are here and gone — they attach quickly to their receptors, do their job, and what does not attach the body re-uptakes or destroys.
Neuropeptides on the other hand, are neurons similar to neurotransmitters, but they are larger and slower; they “secrete” like a hormonal gland, and they stay in our body much longer.
While they are released from neurons to neurons they act on more receptors than a neurotransmitter. They also attach to receptors in our hormonal glands such as the thyroid, hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and others sites on our body as well, relaying or blocking information our brain sends to and from the cells.
These neuropeptides are the molecules of emotion I was referring to that can become stuck in the body.
Here are some examples of common neurotransmitters and neuropeptides that you may have heard of:
Neuropeptides: Oxytocin, thyroid hormones such as TSH, and insulin and glucagon are also neuropeptides.
Neurotransmitters: GABA, Acetylcholine, Dopamine, Serotonin, Histamine – these are all neurotransmitters.
Neurotransmitters and neuropeptides both influence our emotional state — neurotransmitters by either making us alert and precautious or relaxed and and carefree. Neuropeptides influence our hormonal balance which greatly effects our moods — and vice versa, our moods, emotions, and thoughts effect what neuropeptides get released. By making a conscious effort to control your thoughts you will have a much better balance in your hormones.
Literally all our thoughts and perceptions get flavored by emotions that release these chemicals — what we are thinking and feeling creates a chemical network of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, and hormones that reflect the state of our mind in our body — like a painting represents an artists state of mind. And you have the power to choose what chemicals you paint your body with.
What are you thinking and what state does that put you in?
- This is interesting; emotions are not tangible (they are energy), yet they release into our blood stream as tangible chemicals (matter) that we can trace. Something intangible becomes tangible = energy into matter!
In the book The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D a cell biologist will forever change how you think about your own thinking. He proves the biochemical effects of the brain’s functioning effects all the cells of your body — literally your cells are affected by your thoughts.
Your thoughts effect every cell of your body.
Dr. Candace Pert discovered the role neuropeptides play in carrying the emotional chemicals that get released when we feel emotions. She wrote about it in her book ‘Molecules of Emotion’ and was ostracized from her field and laughed at by her colleagues. She died before her work finally became famous.
These neuropeptides she discovered can be released through deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and cuddling as I mentioned earlier.
Dr. Pert often referred to “touch therapy”. Many of the receptors our molecules of emotion attach to are in the skin, spine, and organs as well; making hugs and cuddling a therapy — especially for those who have experienced trauma.
I have often said in my yoga classes “Touch is to the emotions what food is to the body“, even a caring assist in a yoga class can begin the healing from trauma. Therapies that address the spine like massage, chiropractic, and craniosacral therapies can help release trauma and theses molecules of emotion.
While we can clean up these neuropeptides, let’s be more aware about how our thoughts create different neuropeptides. Here is a summary of all the different methods she discovered to clean up your neuropeptides~
- Touch Therapy
- Meditation, breathing, yoga & exercise
- RELAX. Each evening make sure you take any issues you might have had to deal with throughout the day, put them in a box and put them on a shelf for night. Having a period of relax each night will help your body release emotionally stored neuropeptides.
- Each morning and evening take a few minutes and review your day. I learned this habit from Carolyn Myss back in the 90s, she used to do a morning and evening short chakra meditation — the a.m. meditation to set how you want to behave for the day, and the p.m. meditation to evaluate your day and release any emotions – or make note of how you might handle something differently tomorrow.
- NATURE – one of the easiest ways to release these stored hormones is by getting outside with nature. Nature creates plant chemicals that help to regulate our neurotransmitters;
- If you can’t get outside, you can bring the outside in with plants and herbs, and oils. For example:
- Lemon (ingested) lowers the neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline (aka epinephrine and norepinephrine) while it increases dopamine and serotonin
- Lavender helps GABA — our feel good neurotransmitter — get to the receptors of the receiving neuron, therefore calming us down better.
- Clary sage increases dopamine and therefore is a very good anti-depressant.
- Spanish sage improves acetylcholine in the brain — therefore improving cognitive issues — by inhibiting the release of the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine allowing it to act on the brain longer.
- Sweet orange demonstrates stress-relieving activity by decreasing cortisol in saliva samples.
This study was done after an aromatherapy massage with sweet orange essential oil. (Hongratanaworakit T and Buchbauer, G. Autonomic and emotional responses after transdermal absorption of sweet orange oil in humans: placebo controlled trial. International Journal of Essential Oil Therapeutics (2007) 1,29-34.)
- If you can’t get outside, you can bring the outside in with plants and herbs, and oils. For example:
And the real work is to release your emotions after you have felt them, and watch what you are thinking to not collect stuck neuropeptides in your body — then you don’t need to release them.
The science is there, “THE ISSUES ARE IN THE TISSUES” What you think becomes imbedded in your physical body.
Short meditations (3-20 minutes) is a nice place to start this work of minding your mindstuff and watching your thoughts, and of course in your yoga practice — after all this how yoga was intended to be used. Other good times to mind your mindstuff:
- While you are cooking! The ancient yogis believe that if you cook food while you are upset you will transfer some of your upset emotions or excitatory neurotransmitters into the food — Time to cook in happiness.
- While you are driving is another good time to evaluate your thoughts. It could save you a little road rage.
When I was researching about issues in tissues I came across some new information about storing memories in our body as well, not just neural tissue or in the brain.
We store memories in our tissues too.
Memories also leave traces in our body, I came across some research on engrams. Engrams are how memory is stored in the brain and other tissues. Excerpts from wikipedia:
- Engrams are means by which memory traces are stored as biophysical or biochemical changes in the brain (and other neural tissue) in response to external stimuli.
- The existence of neurologically defined engrams is not significantly disputed, though their exact mechanism and location has been a focus of persistent research for many decades.) http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engram_%28neuropsychology%29
We used to think we stored memories only in the brain and neural tissue; more recently there is more data showing these memories and emotions are stored in all our tissues throughout our body, not just neural tissue.
It makes sense to me, our muscles have a memory. A muscle can remember a repeated action without brain involvement hence they have memory of some type, it seems to reason other tissues can store memories outside of the brain as well.
In alternative therapies it is believed that when something traumatic happens to us, and our brain is not yet ready to accept it — or sort it out and store it in neural tissue, then the engram or piece of memory gets stored somewhere else in our body. Many believe these stored memories or engrams in bodily tissue make certain areas more susceptible to pain, injury or illness.
And you might not even have a recollection of what you tucked away, it could have been a minor childhood event — like a playground incident where your feelings got hurt or it could have been a traumatic event that your body tucked away so your brain didn’t have to think about it — but you still feel the emotion of that memory as it is released.
At some point that memory stored in the body may be tapped into – be it with physical movement like yoga or a body work therapy like massage, and possibly even released with or without having a memory of it.
Many people have felt these releases during or after yoga; while in rest pose you feel overwhelming emotions, sometimes so strong they bring on tears and you don’t even know why you are crying.
Feeling the release of a stored engram or memory, is much like what you feel when you go through a healing crisis; for example when you do a detox. Your body tucks toxins away in deep fatty tissue where they don’t circulate, you don’t feel as much of the harmful effects of those toxins while it’s tucked away, but as you detox them the toxins come out of the tissues, and they circulate in your blood stream until your liver and kidneys can rid them. While they are in your blood stream you feel them until they are cleared. It’s the same with stored memories.
We store a lot in our tissues that we are not aware was even there, nice to know they can be detoxed.
Our Mind and our Gut
Even though I am talking about the power of our mind — there is an inherent intelligence in the power of our gut as well.
We feel so much with our gut. Is it our gut or brain driving our emotions? Turns out what is in our gut has a big effect on our mind and the functioning of our brain.
All of our lives we have used terms such as gut instinct, butterflies in your stomach, listen to your gut, — or as kids sometimes we’d say something like “I hate his guts” — why did we hate someone’s guts and not something like their heart or brain?
Our gut has been coined as our second brain, in reality it might be the first brain. The mind and the gut are very connected — the vagus nerve is a direct highway between our gut and brain — and it is not the only way our gut and brain communicate.
Turns out our guts inform our brain more than our brain informs our guts. 80% of the communication that crosses the vagus nerve is gut to brain and only 20% is brain to gut. Truly our gut informs our brain. Trust your gut instinct!
And this is true for the heart as well. The heart sends more signals to the brain (telling the brain how to respond) than the brain sends to the heart. We do feel a lot of emotions around our heart too.
This would leave me to believe our emotions and moods are more influenced by our body than our brain.
Through the work of HeartMath they discovered our eyes communicate what they see to our heart and gut first, and then to our brain. They determined this by hooking test subjects up to biofeedback devices, then showing them a horrible picture or a beautiful picture (car crashes vs. flowers) and noting what areas of their body reacted to the scene first.
So what your eyes see get communicated in this order:
- to your heart
- to your gut
- to your brain
And I experienced this myself when a nice big cane spider came to visit me and decided to hang out on my knee … by the time I realized it was a cane spider on my knee I was already standing up and washing him down the tub as his 100 cute little beady eyes were pleading with me. It was gut instinct — or I should say my guts setting my actions in motion before my brain even had a chance to react.
And you probably have too, ever needed to slam on your brakes — doing it instinctually before you realized what was going on? If you had to wait for the message to get to your brain you might not have reacted quick enough.
Our vagus nerve is connected from our brain to all our senses, most of our organs and ends in the gut. It is the vagus nerve that is sending the impulses of what is seen down into the body then up to the brain.
And it’s not just our vagus nerve that is involved in our gut feelings. All those microbes give us some pretty powerful feedback. Our gut microbes communicate to our brain, they can make us crave certain foods and feel different emotions. Later in this topic I will delve more into how the microbes communicate to our brain.
Your Microbiome and your Brain
It is now proven that an imbalance in gut bacteria can be directly linked to depression and other neurological disorders such as bipolar disease, schizophrenia, and autism. And it has been recognized these imbalances can be improved by changing gut bacteria. In the medical world they are doing this through fecal implants and fecal pills (yuck!), but you can do it yourself with food, though it may require some will power.
If you struggle with a sweet tooth, or a fat tooth, or a carb tooth … you most likely have gut bugs that are driving that struggle. It’s not you that is craving that doughnut, it is your gut bugs hijacking your prefrontal cortex, your decision maker, making you go eat something you know is not healthy for you. And those gut bugs can even release dopamine, the reward neurotransmitter, making you feel rewarded for feeding them sugar. It’s their way of saying “thank you host”.
This is why with a little will power you can change your cravings. I tell a new health coaching client that it won’t always be hard to not eat sweets, eventually you lose your “taste” for them and you don’t desire them. It’s not a lifetime of white knuckling. It’s not that you had the taste and lost it, you had the gut bugs that made you want the taste, and you lost the gut bugs by changing the balance of bacteria in your gut.
We have beneficial bacteria and pathogenic bacteria that are always in flux with each other, it is important to keep our gut seeded with more beneficial bacteria than pathogenic. It’s like real estate, the more real estate the good bacteria take up the less real estate available for bad bacteria to settle.
It takes more than just head work to mind your mindstuff
It is important to realize what we are putting in our gut could make minding your mindstuff easy or hard. You can’t do this work in your head alone. Get your body healthy, and the brain will follow.
What we are eating influences our gut microbes which also influences our mental health, our emotions, and what we are storing in our body.
And another important point about diet and mindstuff is blood sugar.
If you are eating white flour, processed foods, sugary foods, sodas, and juices daily your blood sugar will be in flux. Unstable blood sugar makes you crazy. It is pretty hard to have anxiety attack if your stomach is full of a high quality, nutrient dense, balanced meal.
Most people are not aware when they have a blood sugar crash; symptoms like feeling weak, brain fog or not being able to focus, ADHD symptoms, jitteriness, and stress are some of the common signs you are on a blood sugar roller coaster. Stabilizing your blood sugar with high quality proteins and fats in each meal will go along way toward stabilizing your mindstuff.
“Overall diet quality, high sugar loads, and rampant nutritional deficiencies (including deficiencies in omega-3 fats, zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and B vitamins) all drive behavior problems and mental health issues. It’s an injustice we cannot ignore. And you won’t when you realize how extensive the damage is.” Quote from Dr. Mark Hyman from his Longevity Roadmap series.
The healthy mind is rooted in a healthy gut. Eating real whole foods and avoiding processed foods and sugar will go a long way in helping to mind your mindstuff.
So as we take a dive into our nervous systems, and how you do have control over your autonomic nervous system more than you realize —out of control blood sugar is a stress to your body and will cause your body to release stress hormones no matter how well you are at minding your mindstuff and mitigating stress.
Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic, Understanding our nervous systems.
This brings me to the importance of understanding your nervous system and the balance between the different branches of our nervous systems and how that effects our health and can even drive your thinking process.
We have a central nervous system and an autonomic nervous system. It is the autonomic nervous system we are learning about today — thats the side of our nervous system that beats our heart, shines our eyes, grows our hair, actions that happen involuntarily. We have two sides to our autonomic or involuntary nervous system; the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous systems, abbreviated as SNS and PNS respectively.
The SNS is the fight or flight side of our nervous system, when we engage our SNS stress hormones are released into our bloodstream giving us energy to think quick and run quicker. We don’t have energy to much of anything else, like digest food or kill an unwanted microbe that we may have been exposed to.
The SNS is our “emergency” state where all the bodies energies shift to just a few functions to save our life in an emergency —at the detriment to the other systems and organs in the body. In caveman days if a tiger was chasing you it didn’t matter if you had an infection, what mattered most was getting away from the tiger. Once safe, your body could go back to work on the infection.
The PNS, parasympathetic side is a calming restorative state where we want to spend most of our time. (Our vagus nerve is the main nerve in the PNS — 80% of our PNS is the vagus nerve. We will address the vagus nerve in detail later.)
When we are operating in our PNS life is good. We heal, digest, have good hormonal balance, get creative, procreate, play and have fun — and we can passionately work in this state too. This is where we want to be most of our days.
You can strengthen this side of your nervous system like a muscle to make it stronger than your SNS. Some of the latest information on heart attacks now recognizes that heart attacks are the result of a weak PNS, something sets off a stress response and the PNS can not override it.
While short term infrequent SNS domination is healthy — once or twice per day for a couple minutes — think dodging a car while driving. Spending too much time in your days in your sympathetic or stress response is detrimental to the body and mind — especially if it goes on for day after day.
Most people don’t understand why the stress response is called the “sympathetic” response — it’s because our body is being sympathetic to whatever we need to get out of the stress-out situation.
Short term this does not pose a problem — but long term, the body is so sympathetic … it will drain itself to “fix” the situation.
How do you strengthen your PNS?
We use the practices of yoga to influence the shift to be parasympathetic dominant, meditation, breathing, releasing tension, chanting – these are some of the ways we can learn to strengthen our PNS.
These two sides of our nervous system are called our autonomic nervous system because it is mostly involuntary … but not so much!
There are ways we can control our body to consciously switch from being sympathetic dominant to parasympathetic dominant, the two most available to us ~
I’ve spent the last three decades educating everyone about breath and its importance and how much effect conscious breathing has on our health. It’s time to now engage our mind in this process as well. Our mind can shift our stress response in an instant — Just as quickly as changing your mind.
Imagine; you are walking down a dark street alone at night, you suddenly hear foot steps behind you -and they are getting faster. You start to pick up your pace, heighten your senses, dart your eyes around (this would be the start of your stress response) … then all of a sudden you hear a familiar voice call out your name -It’s someone you know! Stress response over. Back to being parasympathetic dominant.
You can make this switch at will, anytime. It is within your control. All you need to do is change your mind. Change what you are thinking. Most all stress is no longer life threatening as it was in the caveman days, it’s time for us to learn a new evolutionary response to stress.
Our body doesn’t have unlimited energy to handle every system of the body all day long. Instead our body moves energy around to where we need it. When we eat we send more energy to digesting (this is why it’s best to rest for 10-20 minutes after a meal), when we sleep our energy goes into our detox pathways, when we’re sick the immune system takes up the energy and so on.
During this process some organs and systems of the body may be deprived for a period of time — if it short, it’s not a problem. If there is an increased or prolonged need for energy in one particular area or system, such as your SNS, the other systems will start to be drained.
Think of it like bandwidth.
If you get the flu, all your bandwidth is taken by your immune system and you are so tired you can barely get out of bed. There is no bandwidth for your muscles and bones, no bandwidth for your digestion (usually there is no appetite when someone is ill), no bandwidth to think creatively. All your bandwidth is taken by your immune system to fight off the invaders. So the good thing is you feel this and stay in bed.
In the stress response your bandwidth goes to your muscles and your amygdala — your body needs to pull energy from your immune system, your digestion, your reproductive and endocrine system, and any other system of the body to give your muscles the energy to run or fight. All your energy in your brain is shifted to your amygdala impairing your decision making process and putting you survival mode thinking.
With all that bandwidth in your muscles you feel strong and energetic, not a bad thing.
The problem is if this is sustained your body breaks down because the other systems need energy to function for your health — and the bigger problem is you don’t feel this until an imbalance or disease develops.
You can feel the energy shift away from your muscles when you are sick but you don’t feel the energy shift away from your immunity or digestion during stress. You don’t feel your body not breaking down B12, iron, zinc, or magnesium so you can digest and utilize it. You don’t realize you are becoming deficient in these nutrients until you experience the side effects of being too low for too long.
Under the stress response we do not digest well, detox, have good immunity, heal, or regenerate our organs and skin, which is why stress ages people. If you are spending too much time with your SNS being dominant you are breaking down your body.
Since the body can’t tell if this stressor is only in our thoughts or if it is a real danger, this potentially sets us up to be in our stress response for hours every day if we are not aware of what our thoughts are creating in our body.
What is the best way to access control over your nervous system? Your thoughts.
And these are also the most important aspect of our physical yoga practice.
Yoga is really about mind control. Learning to use your mind to not put stress in your body and to help direct your energies toward healing, regenerating, digesting and other endeavors.
As we start to do the work of watching what we are thinking it is important to not fall into the habit of self-criticism. Self Criticism = SNS activation. We are working here to not set off a stress response, being hard on yourself will set off your stress response.
If you need to look or critique yourself for something — say “constructive criticism”:
Don’t talk to yourself in your own voice, use a voice of someone who soothes you, someone over the years who would give you gentle, loving advice. When you talk to yourself, in your minds’ eye and mind’s ears, see and hear this loving person gently talking to you with a warming caress or loving hug.
Or if it is hard for you to not talk to yourself in your own voice, then talk to yourself as you would a friend you were consoling.
You can start to reshape what you are thinking one little thought at a time.
How to get aware enough to become aware?
Some suggestions of how to start minding your mindstuff, frequently ask yourself:
- What am I thinking?
- “What do I need right now?” Do I need a sip of water? A feel good stretch? A bathroom break? A smile?
- Am I breathing through my nose?
- Tension anywhere?
Train your brain by habitually asking yourself these types of questions. Habitually “check in”.
And this is what meditation is for, meditation is not about being a good meditator on your mat for a period of time everyday, meditation is to help us be aware of what we are thinking and saying to ourselves as we go throughout our days.
Having a daily meditation or breathing practice can help. Try to make a 10 minute slot most days where you sit and consciously watch your mind as it jumps around, and gently bring it back. Bring it back to what?
- Your breath
- Healing something in our body
- What do you want to grow? What are you trying to build?
Then take that mindset with you off your mat and into your day. The better you are at taking your mindset with you the shorter the meditation time you will need.
You can shape your future with your thoughts.
Our Thoughts and The power of our Mind
Through biofeedback we now know what the yogis said about ‘where your thoughts go prana (energy) flows’ is true. When you think about a certain organ or area in your body, you increase blood flow to that area, lymphatic and neural flow, even white blood cells if necessary. Because of this there is now a renewed interest in looking at the power of visualizations and what you are thinking.
We can harness the power of our mind and direct it to good use for ourselves. When you put your mind into what you are doing it is more effective.
Use your mind to heal your body.
Mind body medicine is defined as using the mind to effect the body. Mind body medicines and practices are rooted in calming the nervous system and increasing your belief in your bodies natural abilities to heal. Calming the nervous system is an important part of mind body practices, the nervous effects all the systems of the body that allow healing to occur. If our thoughts or actions or situations put stress hormones in us, then healing is much slower. Learning to make the shift in your autonomic nervous system at will can help your healing potential.
The good news is there are many different mind body medicine techniques available that are effective; from meditation to imagery to visualizations, and your belief system.
Most people believe placebos somehow “trick” our body into healing or working; in reality it is someone believing the pill will heal them or believing the pill holds some pharmacological ingredient that will heal when it is totally inert. Our belief system plays a big role in how illnesses, diseases, or injuries effect us emotionally, physically, and in our healing process.
We can use our imagination to improve our health, job, relationships, and our happiness or mood by developing a deeper self-awareness about what we are thinking and constantly saying to ourselves. Many successful people be it speakers, actors, business people, or athletes have learned how to stop their negative back talk and incorporate positive visualizations — some of them on purpose and some through intuition.
Your mind is a powerful tool! It can enhance anything we are trying to accomplish — or lead us down wrong paths. You can even use the power of your mind to increase healing, boost your immune system, and improve strength and coordination in your physical body, and help to achieve your dreams.
Right now, let’s use our mind to boost our immune system; here is a picture of a white blood cell (the orange) consuming pathogenic bacteria (the blue rods) and neutralizing them. Now close your eyes for a moment and picture this in your body. You can help your immune system rid your body of bad bacteria!
Here is another image of another type of white blood cell, a macrophage eating candida albicans — gobbling them up.
For example, you can use the power of your mind to improve strength; here is a study done on mind only exercises vs. using resistance training for muscle strength for the same exercises (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14998709 ).
In this study they tested elbow flexion and pinky abduction with what they called “mental contractions” — Only doing the exercises in the mind without any physical exercise being done; they tested the same exercises being done with real weights, and had a control group. The results . . . the “mental contraction” group had a 35% increase in muscle strength, the group who used real weights had a 53% increase in strength and the control group stayed the same — simply focusing and imagining doing the exercise increased muscle strength! This study concluded “The mental training employed by this study enhances the cortical output signal, which drives the muscles to a higher activation level and increases strength.”
- For example, gyms that have TVs by the aerobic devices, while exercise is good no matter how you can get it (for the most part) if you put your mind into your exercise it will be even more beneficial instead of zoning out on the tv. For example feel your breath rate, flare your nostrils as do nasal breathing (this takes awareness to not slip into mouth breathing while exercising), feel your muscles responding. Exercising this way has the potential for even more benefit than zoning out while you work out. Exercising in this way keeps you present and away from spinning stories in your mind.
Training the mind is just as important as training the body
I have read studies of Olympic skiers rehearsing the course in their head and gaining more consistent improved performance — As in this NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/sports/olympics/olympians-use-imagery-as-mental-training.html?_r=0
You have to do the exercise or performance real time in your head, you can’t just think about it for 30 seconds and get the same improvements (though maybe?), in these tests participants were doing their sport real time in their minds’ eye.
We can also use imagery to improve artistic performance, here is a study where participants who Mentally Practiced on an imaginary piano had the same neurological changes (and reductions in some mistakes) as the participants who Physically Practiced. While the group that physically practiced improved overall performance slightly better — there were measurable gains in improvement in the Mental Practice group. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3747442/
This type of mental practice is especially beneficial to prevent overuse injuries — or in the case of athletes who may get inured; mental imagery allows them to “practice” while they are off for recovery.
How does mental practice enhance performance? Before our muscles move our brain has to engage to tell them to move, this is the corticol output signal. Imagery or rehearsing in your mind stimulates the corticol output signal driving muscles to a higher level of performance or coordination. As stated in the piano study “Some have suggested that mental practice activates the same brain regions as physical practice, and may even lead to the same changes in neural structure and synaptic connectivity.”
To get the most of your visualizations, pull in as many senses as possible; as Emily Cook (a U.S. freestyle aerials Olympian) in the NY Times link above says, she goes beyond “visualization” in her training. “You have to smell it,” she said. “You have to hear it. You have to feel it, everything.” For example she talks of feeling the wind on her face, hearing the crowd, feeling her muscles work as she does the imagery.
I did some research on using the power of your mind, here is what I found:
To use your mind power, you have to know how to employ it — the best way to do that is to know what it is you want to do and to think it often;
- The thoughts you think most often are more likely to happen
- If you put your mental energy into the same thoughts day after day they become stronger — and eventually affect your health, attitude, and behavior.
- Not every thought turns into reality, a thought not only has to be repeated but believed to carry power.
- Doubts, fears and worries tend to destroy what you build with the power of your mind. It is helpful to clear your mind of negative thoughts and doubts.
Your daily exercise or yoga practice is a good place to put your thoughts into the healing of your inner body, in this way every day when you practice you are using the power of your mind to keep your body healthy. This is why I feel it is so important to share where we are working internally in yoga postures and the benefits of exercises.
Another way of using your mind to heal your body is “talk to your body”. “What if your body could speak to you?” For example if you are having heart trouble, imagine your heart could speak to you — what would it say? What does it want? If you have chronic headaches, imagine your head or brain telling you what it needs in order to not hurt. You may get some very useful insights. Try it and see.
Another way of using your mind to heal your body is “talk with your body”. “What if your body could speak to you?” For example if you are having digestive issues, and your stomach could speak to you — what would it say? What does it want? If you have chronic headaches, imagine your head or brain telling you what toxins are making it hurt.
This is not a new concept, it’s called interoception and is now being studied by modern allopathic doctors.
Sometimes described as ‘the hidden sense’, interoception is all about the sensory signals inside our own body, from our own organs. On a very basic level this is knowing when you need to go to the bathroom or when you are hungry.
Once we start to realize we can learn to listen to more of what our body is saying we can we can tap into any bodily functions that need tending to, including sensing pain, breathing rate, heart rate, and even sensing signals happening within the body, such as which neurotransmitters get taken up the excitability ones or the calming ones that influence stress control, the vagus nerve, and how our autonomic balance. This is also being studied in how we can use this to help control our own cardiovascular function, breathing and metabolism.
Our interoceptive system can also help us regulate our emotions and levels of excitement or anger. Try it! You may get some very useful insights.
You too can harness the power of imagery. We can use mental imagery to heal our body, improve how we do our job, find the way to change to our “dream life”, or toward any area in life we want to rise to a higher level.
The Placebo Effect
Take the power of your mind to medicine … Placebos are getting some exciting attention, it seems the placebo effect is increasing.
Pharmaceutical companies are having a harder time proving medications are better than a placebo. To receive FDA approval a pharmaceutical company has to prove their medication can outperform a placebo. This is getting harder and harder to do, and often requires companies to make studies look more effective than they are; for example by using a relative vs absolute numbers and not disclosing “effect size”.
Here is a quote from Michael P. Hengartner, PhD
“The mean efficacy reported in the most recent meta-analysis by Cipriani and colleagues3 and in many other meta-analyses before1 4 15consistently show that the effect size corresponds to a standardized mean drug-placebo difference of 0.3. I will not enter into statistical details, instead I want to summarise briefly what this figure means: It indicates, that the short-term effects of antidepressants and placebo overlap by 88% and that 9 patients need to undergo antidepressant pharmacotherapy for 1 patient to experience a benefit that is superior to placebo. This undoubtedly is not an impressive figure and clearly shows that in most people with major depression8 9 the drugs do not have an effect that is different from the effect of an inert sugar pill.”
Why take a medication with side effects when you can take a placebo and why take a sugar pill when you can just think and believe you can heal your body?
There are companies popping up now that sell placebos and tell their clients they are placebos.
We also know our body makes it’s own natural opioids that are released during intense exercise or stress — it is believed that placebos can also have this effect. Taking a placebo over an opioid and believing the placebo helps your body release your own natural pain relieving opioids is effective. In fact there is a company called zeeboo effect that is sharing these studies and selling placebo pills, they have a pdf book called “The placebo Cure“
What the pharmaceutical companies look at as a hassle we can use to our advantage!
Sham or placebo surgeries?
Even sham surgeries work! We have studies of sham surgeries done on knees with great results. Here is an study on Arthroscopic surgeries where they made incisions but never operated — the sham surgery had as high of a success rate as the real surgery. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24369076) This could be called the pre-cebo effect.
Using your mind to improve outcomes of a surgery is being employed now too.
In my Functional Medicine Health Coaching certification they taught about mind body medicine and using imagery to make a surgery more effective and to speed the healing process. Health Coaches are taught prior to a surgery to help your client with visualizations of the surgery being successful, waking up feeling no pain, etc. And after surgery visualizations are used to speed the healing process, seeing your body heal from the surgery.
The doctors who are using imagery before and after surgery are finding a greater success rate, many of them have started documenting this and getting studies published. I think we will start to see more use of imagery in the medical fields.
And more recently I was listening to a podcast the Dr. Stuart McGill, PhD – aka “The Back Mechanic”. He teaches how to move and use your body and muscles to heal and protect your back from pain. He works very closely 1:1 with his patients, sometimes taking up to 3 hours to get a full intake on the first visit.
Many of his patients had been scheduled for back surgery, but thanks to the pandemic he had a chance to work with them prior to surgery. Prior to them going to their surgeon, he made a “virtual surgery visualization” and he guided them through the entire visualization process, multiple times. Of those who did his virtual surgery 95% of them never needed the surgery — he can stand by that statistic — he is documenting and currently running studies to be published.
It’s not only the surgery or virtual surgery that heals, but it is his belief that the rehabilitation after the surgery — in cases where actual surgery was done successfully — is what did the healing and re-educating of how to move your body. In other words he thinks the rehabilitation process after the surgery is what healed the person, not so much the surgery itself.
“A lot of people who get better from back surgery, its because they are forced into a rehabilitation program. They’re forced to comply with that rehabilitation program.”
There was some research done on placebos vs. pain meds, surgery, or other pain management therapies. Some placebo treatments works better than others. Placebo means “to please you” by the way. That’s a nice thought Here is what the study found :
- Placebo surgery worked better than placebo injections
- Placebo injections worked better than placebo pills
- Color and size of the placebo pill makes a difference
- Sham acupuncture works better than a placebo pill
- The more expensive the more effective the placebo, and the more administered the more effective
- Telling the patient “this will relieve your pain” is better than saying “this might help”.
Clearly our beliefs have a powerful effect on our body and healing. Scrutinize the quality of your thoughts.
In addition to placebo, we also have:
- pre-cebo = your perception will effect the outcome
- placebo = ‘to please’ – A substance that has positive effects as a result of a patient’s perception that it is beneficial rather than as a result of a causative ingredient.
- nocebo = Believing something will harm – A substance that causes undesirable side effects as a result of a patient’s perception that it is harmful when it is void of a causative ingredient.
Or a substance which a patient experiences as harmful due to previous negative perception, but which is in fact is pharmacologically (medicinally) inactive.
Placebos in reverse work too! There was also another study I came across here on anti-depressant use; Patients who felt they were better on Prozac were told that they would be “randomized” to either continue the exact dose that had helped them OR get a sugar pill. It turns out that both groups became equally depressed — even those that were still taking the real prozac. The exact same pill that made them feel better the day before, suddenly did not work when they thought they were one of the one’s getting the placebo. More on this here. On antidepressants? Would you like to get off? Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD uses education, food, breathing, yoga, online support groups, and imagery and visualizations to help her patients get off antidepressants.
A word about Rumination
Rumination aka re-hatching — the worst thing you can do! Rumination is directly linked to depression, anxiety, PTSD, and digestive issues. (Tartakovsky, M. (2018). Why Ruminating is Unhealthy and How to Stop. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 11, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/why-ruminating-is-unhealthy-and-how-to-stop/)
When you are faced with an unpleasant situation or find yourself very mad or upset at something someone did — It’s important to stop yourself from ruminating on it.
Remember the old saying “It hurts you more than it hurts them”? It’s true.
Instead try to paint a positive picture of the best possible outcome from this situation. Every time you start to worry, train your mind to go back to painting positive pictures.
There is a book out called “The Worry Solution” which includes a CD set of visualizations you can listen to. According to Dr. Rossman:
“Imagery, which seems so invisible and ethereal and airy-fairy, is one of the most powerful faculties we have as human beings for not only changing our behaviors, but changing our minds, which changes our physiology. It changes our body. It changes our health.”
What is your Belief System?
In order for the power of your mind to heal and change your body, to be most effective, you need to believe it in. Our belief system effects our health.
Your belief system is more powerful than your genes, more powerful than any medication you put in your mouth, and even more powerful than eating 9 cups of vegetables per day. Our mind is strong and can influence our body greatly.
The Power of what we believe
Is our intelligence level fixed or can it grow? It depends on what you believe.
One hundred 7th graders were given this question, then tracked for two years through math grades.
- Those with fixed mindset showed a decrease in math grades.
- Those with a growth mindset steadily increased their grades over the 2 years.
They took another (different) one hundred 7th graders all doing poorly in math and randomly assigned them to two different workshops.
One workshop was on how to study, the other workshop taught about the expanding nature of intelligence and the brain — how it can grow and change shape as we learn something new, and about how neurons wire together to create pathways of learning and skills.
By the end of the semester, the group who had been taught that the brain can grow smarter, had significantly better grades than the group taught how to study better.
(The above studies I learned of during a workshop with Kevin Spelman, PhD. MCPP, RH)
Who’s your teacher? Beware of who you choose to learn from.
How do you think about your childhood? Or past traumatic events?
We all have had challenges and stories through our lives, how do you think about yours? Your perception of those events effects your DNA, your health, and your quality of life. There is an abundance of research now on how Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) effect people well into adulthood and most of their lives. This is not necessary! You can be your own alchemist and turn your challenges into strength and resilience.
This is not new knowledge. We have a history of research by Albert Ellis in how our beliefs effect the consequences of what happened to us — It is not what happens to us that effects us, it is how we think about what happened to us that effects us.
He calls it Emotional behaviors consequences, and it is in line with other studies in Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Cognitive behavior meaning “how you think”. If you think something is going to wreck your life for the rest of your life, then it might. If you believe you can heal and overcome whatever it is you are facing, then you can.
And this is the good news!” What do you believe about your health and your body’s ability to heal? Do you believe you need something outside of you, like a doctor to heal you, or a medicine to kill the invader or balance your body? Most traditional medical practices lead one to believe we are unable to heal ourselves and we need something outside to heal.
Our reliance on medications leads one to believe there is a particular remedy that is best for each particular disease and the only way to heal or overcome disease or infection is with that particular pill or treatment. While there are many times when we do need medical assistance, there are many times we don’t — and even adding insult to injury we have to heal from the treatment in some cases then heal our own body from the original disease.
Where as alternative and Eastern medicines teach us about the amazing ability of our body to heal. There are many things we can do to resist and treat diseases and aging.
Which would you rather believe?
You can change your DNA by changing your perception. Your belief system has the ability to turn certain genes on and to turn certain genes off. Our feelings and our thoughts effect our gene expression and our health.
Human consciousness also effects our DNA. When a person is feeling gratitude, love, and appreciation the DNA relaxes and opens, it becomes longer.
When you feel anger, fear, frustration, or stress the DNA became shorter, tighten up, and switch off. You don’t want to stay in this state very long.
Our perception of love or fear will also effect our DNA in the same way. If we are getting tweaked emotionally it is so expensive to every cell in your body.
Wake up excited about your day and genes turn on for learning and growth. Wake up bummed about your day — ugh another day of work — and disease promoting genes turn on.
What is going on inside your head? Your DNA is eaves dropping on what you are thinking!
Energy has a physical effect. Your thoughts effect your physical body.
Mind Power & Intentions
Intention, Quantum Physics & Albert Einstein’s “spooky effect from a distance”.
Quantum physics is the study of the behavior of matter and energy at the molecular, atomic, nuclear, and even smaller microscopic levels. It seems the laws that govern macroscopic objects that we can see and hold do not function the same on microscopic molecules.
The next step down from a molecule is an atom. The next step down from an atom are subatomic particles which consist of Photons, Leptons, Electrons, Neutrons, and other particles. Of concern right now are photons— specifically biophotons.
Photons are quantum particles that can be expressed as particles or electromagnetic waves — depending upon what you are looking for.
If you are looking for a particle it will behave as a particle — matter.
If you are looking for a wave, it will behave as a wave — energy.
Photons can be matter or energy, depending on what you are looking for, is this mind power influencing it’s behavior?
Biophotons are photons that emit a very weak light that all living beings have, they are classified as UPEs or ultra weak photon emissions.
Biophotons are stored and concentrated in our DNA.
Biophotons act as communicators in our body (and outside of our body!). They are connected to vitality as biophotons helps our cells and organs communicate wirelessly and very fast — kinda like wifi. Normally information and nutrients get in a cell only in a lock and key method, the receptors act as a lock and certain nutrient’s molecular form acts as a key that allow only that molecular form to enter a cell.
Biophotons bypass this and directly and faster communicate information and nutrients into the cell! We want biophotons in our body.
Good communication between all the cells and systems of our body is important for health. This is why alternative therapies are always looking to remove blockages and improve the flow of energy with modalities such as acupuncture, massage, and yoga. The better your cells and systems of your body communicate the more vitality you have. For example;
- Our thalamus receives signals from our senses, filters them, then communicates to the brain what it detects.
- Our hypothalamus receives signals from our nervous system, it then responds by sending signals to our adrenals and pituitary glands.
- Our pituitary gland responds to the hypothalamus by secreting hormones that effect thyroid function, reproductive hormones, growth hormones, adrenal hormones, oxytocin, and more — these hormones then act as little communicators turning cells on for growth and regeneration during good times or turning those cells off if stress is being communicated.
- Breathing exercises and other modalities encourage gamma brain waves in our brain — gamma brain waves help all four lobes of our brain communicate faster and better helping us integrate life experiences better.
- Our Brain, heart, and gut communicate between one another sending signals of happiness or stress accordingly.
- Our breath rate communicates to our heart, regulating it and improving “coherence” between heart and mind.
- Communication also happens between food nutrients and cells.
The better and quicker these communications happen the healthier your responses are and the better your body can handle a stressor, cope, adapt, and grow. For example the better and quicker you can absorb nutrients from the food you eat the healthier your cells are.
Biophotons improve and hasten how our body communicates.
“He (Fritz-Albert Popp (1938- ), German biophysicist and cancer radiotherapist) concluded that biophotons appear to communicate with all the cells of the body instantaneously in a synchronous wave of informational energy (Popp et al. 1988). Overall, there is a relatively large amount of literature about DNA and its ability to create photons in a coherent state (Laager 2008; Conference 2013).”
And it’s not just communication between the own cells of our body, but also from our microbial hosts to our body.
More recently there has been some research that our gut bugs, our microbes also communicate to our brain through biophotons. You know that sugar craving you have? It’s not you craving the sugar, it’s the imbalanced gut bacteria making you eat the sugar so it can survive.
It has been well documented that microbes can travel our vagus nerve to deliver messages back and forth, but there are other pathway as well. In mice studies where they have severed vagus nerves, these messages still get to the brain. It has been theorized that these messages get communicated via biophotons.
Which means that microbe sending you the craving for sugar, can send it at lightning speed through biophotons, sending you to the cupboard or the store for its sugar fix. I think society is slowly starting to understand the importance of our microbial balance.
Biophotons and Intelligence
Some researchers have reached the conclusion that biophotons are what enabled humans to have greater intelligence — and maybe even why some humans are more intelligent than others. There is even a study showing Biophotons transmit and process messages more efficiently, specifically advanced cognitive functions like language, planning, problem solving, and analyzing. Linear brain processes require a lot of energy and can be slow or inefficient, while biophotons can process the same amount of information at the speed of light.
There are some different theories about how we get biophotons, one is through digestion processes — which might be connected to “light in food”. Another theory is that we absorb these biophotons from the sun through our skin, eyes/pineal gland, and from food we eat.
Plants also collect these biophotons, when you eat fresh vegetables from your garden they are loaded with biophotons, once those vegetables are in the fridge the “light” in them or biophotons start to fade. The longer the vegetable is out of the sunlight the less “light” it carries. A head of lettuce shipped across the country will have a lot less biophotons than one from your garden or a local farmer. Another reason to eat local fresh organic produce.
Interestingly damaged DNA can not hold onto biophotons, and leaks about 20% of their biophotons resulting in higher oxidation and free radicals. Yoga and meditation have been found to reduce the leaking of the damaged DNA — and even help the DNA repair itself and reduce free radicals and the loss of biophotons.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5433113/ By Division of Yoga and Physical Sciences, Swami Vivekananda “In one experiment, photomultiplier tubes were used along with a charge-coupled camera. Any stress to the skin in the form of exposure to ultraviolet radiation or cigarette smoke enhances the emission of biophotons while topical application of ascorbic acid or antioxidant solutions reduces such radiation. It is thought that studies of spontaneous ultraweak photon emission could be used for assessing aging in humans as well as for determining oxidative processes in humans.. It is known further, that after practice of meditation, biophoton emissions from the body decrease; this could be due to reduced free radicals in meditating subjects. Communication and control are two required activities within and between cells to maintain homeostasis. Normally, it is thought that both these functions are achieved through biochemical and neurological means. The coherent light source is now thought to be another arm through which both control and communication are achieved. This may be true especially in long-range communications in the body.”
If you live near the west coast (and other places) you can see biophotons in action… the phenomenon of bioluminescent waves — which we just had appear in April and May 2020 along the CA coastline
Certain types of plankton make the phosphorescence as a protection — when a predator comes around they use their light to scare them away. When they are tossed around in waves they also light up. The phosphorescents are BIOPHOTONS 🙂
Prana, Chi, and Biophotons
It has been theorized by Swami Vivekananda and other Yogis and Chinese Doctors that biophotons are akin to prana and chi. There has been a lot of debate in yoga circles what prana is in the body. It used to be thought it was breath because when we die prana leaves the body just like breath. However, prana is present in utero so it’s not just breath though it may be present in breath. It was then thought prana flowing was our neurons moving within our nerves, and that may be true as well but prana is not just that, it’s also that. Prana is biophtons in our body. Biophotons are throughout our body.
Biophotons can be in our breathing functions, in our nerve functions, there are a lot of them in our eyes, and throughout our body concentrated in our DNA – biophotons are the prana yogis have been speaking of.
I have also heard biophotons being our aura. Which makes sense, biophotons glow. There is a lot of talk about auras in esoteric circles, but it is also in science; aura is just a woo woo term for the electromagnetic fields of our heart and brain. More recently it has been found the electromagnetic fields of the heart can reach at least 3’ around us, maybe even more – it was only tested up to 3’, while the electromagnetic field of the brain only transmits about 1 inch.
When we are in each others presence our energy fields are mingling, we share these fields with people, animals (especially dogs and horses) and any other living being in our energy field. According to this work by HeartMath our nervous system‘s are picking up on each others electromagnetic fields or auras.
From HeartMath: “Science has only begun to understand the effects of the electromagnetic fields produced by the heart, but there is evidence that the information contained in the heart’s powerful field may play a vital synchronizing role in the human body—and that it may affect others around us as well.” … “these heart signals also profoundly impact perception and cognitive function by virtue of the heart’s extensive communication network with the brain. Finally, rigorous electrophysiological studies conducted at the HeartMath Institute have even indicated that the heart appears to play a key role in intuition.”
Intuition may be our aura intermingling and communicating with other auras from all living things.
When we are all mingling together such as in a yoga class our biophoton auras are communicating and intermingling below the level of our consciousness.
The earth has this same electromagnetic field that our body resonates with when we are in nature or standing barefoot on the ground. Our biophotons are exchanging energy with the earth’s biophotons.
And really tis is not new news! Albert Einstein discovered this intermingling of photons, he coined it “Spooky Action at a Distance”, because what he found is that some photons intermingle, and continue to communicate even at great distances.
Some of those yoga classes where we were all practicing together, chances are some of our biophotons intermingled and we are still communicating below our level of consciousness even while I am 5000 miles away.
I, myself had an experience with Trixie knowing I was going through a major stressor even though I was about a half hour from home, where she was. She sensed my level of stress and reacted as if it was her going through the stress. Trixie and I were very intermingled <3
Does this happen with everyone? Einstein didn’t say, from what I can find he just said some intermingle. Maybe they all do and we are only aware of it with those we are close to? I don’t know the answer but it’s interesting! Let’s take a look at the science of this beginning with Einstein’s work.
Spooky Action at a Distance
A strange or spooky aspect of quantum physics is entanglement of photons: when two photons become entangled and then separated, you can observe one photon in one place, and the other photon particle somewhere else —even if it’s light-years away—if you change one of them the other will instantly change its properties to match, as if the two are connected by a mysterious communication channel — that can communicate faster than the speed of light. Scientists have observed this phenomenon in tiny objects such as photons, atoms, and electrons.
I have been following some research on this and then discovered, what these biophotons emit, communicate what is in our thoughts and intentions.
This took me into a research rabbit hole on quantum physics and Albert Einstein’s spooky action at a distance theory — these photons that are entangled communicating wirelessly at very fast rates over great distances, what gives them this ability? It goes against other theories about not being able to travel faster than the speed of light. The answer seems to be in this new understanding of biophotons — that can travel even faster than the speed of light.
And furthermore what makes photons entangle? Do some entangle and others not? Maybe they don’t have to get entangled instead they use biophotons and emit their communication.
Biophotons as I explained, help our body and its cells communicate — now researchers are starting to describe a phenomenon where not only cells in an individual body communicate via biophotons— it seems whole animals communicate with each other through emission and reception of biophotons; and even from species to species communication happens energetically through emissions of the low level light coming from our biophotons.
Many of us have all had experiences when we felt or sensed something that turned out to be happening the moment we felt it. That is an example of this type of communication.
Turns out we have known about biophotons since 1984 when they were first discovered and named by a German biophysicist. Full study is here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4267444/. Excerpts below from this study:
Fritz-Albert Popp (1938- ), German biophysicist and cancer radiotherapist, discovered a wider spectrum of ultra-weak photon emissions (∼10−3 eV) from 200 to 800 nm emitted from living cells. He coined the term ‘biophoton’ for them (Bischof 2003). According to Popp et al. 1984, a biophoton is a photon of non-thermal origin in the visible and ultraviolet spectrum emitted from a biological system. A comprehensive review of the field of biophotons has been provided by Ted Nissen (Nissen 2006). Popp found that biophotons were coherent and suggested that they may regulate all life processes of an organism (Popp et al. 1988). Biophotonic signaling may be used in the reception, transmission, and processing of electromagnetic data perhaps with some of the same transmission features of fiber optics. Popp believed that biophotons may represent a wide variety of frequencies which seem to originate from DNA and be concentrated in DNA of the cell nucleus; accordingly light can be stored in DNA and released over time (Popp et al. 1984). He concluded that biophotons appear to communicate with all the cells of the body instantaneously in a synchronous wave of informational energy (Popp et al. 1988). Overall, there is a relatively large amount of literature about DNA and its ability to create photons in a coherent state (Laager 2008; Conference 2013).
Biophotons may represent a complex cell-to-cell communication that relies upon speed of light transmission. The physics of light seems to fit the biological observations. Light is the most efficient and fastest mediator of information in the world. The coherent property of biophotons may have a profound effect on their ability to influence information transfer. Frequency coding gives light a capability of encoding information from DNA in biophotons.
*The following studies below were taken from a lecture by Kevin Spelman at the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. I did not look up these studies and include their references.
*In another study: white blood cells were taken from a woman who had been through trauma, and put in a different room. The woman then told her story of the traumatic event — while she was speaking of the story, her white blood cells (the leukocytes) – which had been removed from her – responded showing stress to her retelling her event. A cell shows stress by closing up and becoming tight or rigid.
They replicated this study with the same woman retelling an amorous event … the leukocytes in her white blood cells responded accordingly, opening up and and relaxing showing signs of happiness.
*This study was repeated again with cheek cells and violent movies. This time the researchers took the cheek cells of the participants 50 miles away (thinking just in the other room could be a “local” communication) — at the moment of violence in the film the cheek cells responded simultaneously even 50 miles away.
What researchers are figuring out is that biophtons communicate in a wave of synchronous information at the speed of light.
And furthermore it seems biophotons carry intention that can manipulate or change matter — physiological changes, and these photons can interact and carry information over vast distances faster than the speed of light.
Taking this a step further biophotons can carry our intentions and thoughts — they are literally charged with our intentions.
While researching biophotos I did learn something cool:
Biophotons are responsible for our visualizations! Biophotons create what we see in our mind’s eye.
- Interestingly what I also learned is the images you see when you rub your eyes or put pressure on your eyes — you know those fluorescent orbs floating behind your eyes? I used to get into creating and watching in my mind’s eye as a child, they are a result of the biophotons in our eye. The eye is one of the areas on the body with the most biophotons.
Visualizations we create in our mind are made with biophotons that carry information emitting what we are visualizing. I spoke about the power of visualizations and they effect they have on our healing capacity; these mental images are created in our brains by biophotons influence our body to change.
These biophotons create biophysical images in our brains — charged with the intention of what we are imagining. Meaning biophotons may be the avenue to manifesting.
It seems biophotons can manipulate or change matter — physiological changes. This can explain distance healing, groups of nuns praying together and healing occurring, and other “healers”.
I heard Bruce Lipton, PhD in a podcast talking about his book “The Biology of Belief”, he was talking about the power of our thoughts, he explained mental images; these biophysical images in our brain actually get “painted by hormones and chemicals” in our body.
Like a paint by numbers in reverse; you create the image in your mind (with biophotons), your body and brain turns the image into colors of hormonal chemicals — and your body behaves ‘as a canvas’ and becomes the image.
When you set an intention the biophotons you emit carry those intentions. According to Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance” theory our biophotons that are “related” or entangled as Einstein referred to it interact with each other’s biophotons at great distances; entangled biophotons change instantaneously together no matter where they are.
Here is a link from another little piece regarding biophotons and mental images, its called Bokkon’s Hypothesis, I found this “whilst” searching for studies on biophotons and mental images, basically it is saying what we see in our minds’ eye –imagery (aka cortical induced phosphene lights) is due to biophotons, and furthermore our mental images mimics corresponding events in the world. Meaning what we see in our minds eye we tend to create.
And interestingly I came across this study following up on Bokkon’s Hypothesis:
Our mental images effect reality.
Back to Einstein: A particle or a wave = matter or energy
Einstein had figured out the photons and biophotons can be both a wave and a particle —
A particle is matter
A wave is energy
It depends whether photons will be a wave or particle depending on the consciousness of who’s asking the question.
If you are looking for a particle (matter) the photon becomes a particle.
If you are looking for a wave (energy) the photon becomes a wave.
So it is dependent upon our perception. Just thinking the photon is matter made it matter — and just thinking photons were energy made it so. Our perception is so powerful we can change the reality of the photon to be matter or energy.
Another way I read Einstein’s spooky action explained as: “Observation eliciting a change in what is observed instantly and over extremely large distances.”
- Photons are at the junction between physical and non physical — physical representing the particle and non physical representing the wave.
Meditation may do the same thing — change or heal the body simply because we are self-observing it with a positive intention.
Pulling this all together, Quantum physics on a particle level — The small particles make up a whole and while changing a few small particles does not change the whole, it can start to change the whole, at some point so many particles will change that it does change the whole.
While you may not see immediate change in your total physical body, at a cellular level change is happening that you are not even aware of.
Although this may be particle thinking … changing one particle at a time to effect the whole is laborious work, but it is one of the the valid ways to start this work. Wave thinking would change the whole in the split second — instantaneously.
Yoga is not just to get a healthy physical body. Yoga is about making us more aware to be loving and compassionate people. You can see people who come to their mat just for their own benefit, and while they may get beautiful bodies —in many cases they walk off their mat and behave as selfish unaware individuals.
Your mind and emotions are just as important to your overall health as keeping your physical body healthy.
Part of the work of yoga is to teach us to pay attention to our mind and its thoughts, and direct them in a positive, productive direction. It’s easy to get trapped in worry and negative thinking. Now that we know negative back talk slowly eats away at our health and relationships its time to catch yourself with your thoughts and paint positive pictures in your mind which emanate love and vitality.
What do you want to give more power to manifest, your worries or your dreams?