The Art of Re-directing Your Thoughts

As I drive up Central California, destination B.C. Canada, a flood of thoughts and images begin to fill my mind as I gaze off into the open road and the majestic landscape. My mind is active, my body on auto-pilot as the minutes turn into hours of open two way roads. I begin to observe my thoughts and take note of their positive or negative direction….

As we hustle through each day, repeating our daily habits: The same routine, the drive to work, the same drive home stuck in traffic, we train our bodies and minds to run by routine. We must remember that our mind needs to be enticed, focused, plugged in, like a switchboard operator. The question is, do you have control of the plugs? Where are your thoughts wandering to? Are these subconscious thoughts stressful? Joyful? Scattered? Confused? These are the thoughts that lay the foundation to your reality. They have the potential to become harmful to your health, but also become healing, cleansing and rejuvenating.

operators

As we move throughout the day on auto-pilot, our minds will begin to wander, while the breath follows closely behind.. If these wandering thoughts are stressful then the breath becomes shortened, resulting in less oxygen to the entire body. How powerful is that? One thought can change your body. When we think stressful thoughts it has a physical effect on our body, within each cell. Resulting in physical tension, chronic pain, and the body working in overdrive.

These moments on auto-pilot are where the problems can be created…

The mind must be plugged into something. If you don’t control the plug, your mind will find something to think about. The plug will control you. These are the thoughts that shape your reality.

So how do we control this reaction?

We must recognize stressful thoughts and breathing patterns and the key to this recognition and control (with practice) is mental effort. Yes, it takes work. You must train yourself, just like you have trained yourself to ride a bike, perform a new task at work, cook meals, and each time the task was performed you became more efficient, requiring less time for the same amount of work.

Remember the last time you got in your car and later you realized that you automatically started driving to work? Or the moment when you were driving a long distance and you then realize you have no recollection of the last few miles?

Those are the moments we are on auto-pilot.

commuting-womanWe must learn to recognize where our mind goes during these moments…

This involves pulling out the stressful plugs and plugging back into where ever YOU want your mind to go. You have choice.

Recognize the thought and then connect it with a calm breathing pattern.

And YES, this would mean you are talking to yourself. But that is what mental effort is essentially; talking and directing you through this life.

If your breath is always shortened or being held due to stressful thoughts and environments then how is your body able to heal correctly? Or heal at all? And yes, your body has the capacity to heal itself and even improve itself.

What if you spent the time in your car or at work actually pumping oxygen to the entire body instead of depriving it? How much better do you think you would feel? Oxygen is the fuel just like your engine requires gas and oil.

So whenever you remember or recognize a stressful thought, take deep a breath into the belly, trying to inhale and exhale for as long as you can (You can check out my post about belly breathing for more info) and try to keep your thoughts positive. There is power in connecting a deep calm breath to a positive thought.

This is where the training begins….

Create the reality you want within your daydream….Use mantras (i.e. I am strong, I am abundant, I will succeed) or just keep your daydreams filled with happy thoughts and memories. You can also focus on what is going on at that moment, notice your surroundings, the sounds, sites, etc. Be present. Your body will thank you…. OR spend that time thinking of all the negative things that could happen. That is up to you….

Let’s Recap:

When you are on autopilot or plugged into stressful thoughts, you must pull them out, and redirect the plug. Take control. As you learn to recognize thought patterns and replace them with deep breath and positive thoughts you will notice that you are naturally taking deeper breaths or thinking more positive thoughts, automatically.

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So where else can you apply this:

  • At work
  • Waiting in line
  • Before bed
  • The list goes on… what would you add to this list??
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Let Stress Be Your Guide To Stillness

Society tells us that we must remove stress from our lives. Leading us down a vicious cycle. We spend time trying to remove stress from our lives, and then stress out even more when the exact opposite occurs. What if stress was good? What if, instead of removing it you are able to increase your capacity to manage the stressors that are currently in your life, as well as the surprise challenges that occur at the most inopportune moments?

Perception is Reflection

Perception is Reflection

We cannot remove our body’s reaction to the challenges in our lives, we should be thankful for them and learn to find calm and relaxation as much as possible to counter-balance the “fight or flight” response that occurs daily. If we are always in constant stress and never fully relaxed how are we able to gauge how much stress is really in our lives? We must bring awareness to the way our mind and body respond to a certain situation, and then be able to release the emotion (anger, frustration, anxiety, etc) or physiological response (increased blood pressure, heart rate, etc) as soon as it occurs.

Our bodies are our instruments, our minds are the remote, the breath and central nervous system program and connect the two.  Think of stress and relaxation as a continuum, the breath is how you regulate between the two. It is important to have a wide capacity for both stress and relaxation. To know stress is to know peace.

So you may now be asking, “Great, so I need to use my breath more. How do I incorporate this into my every day life?”

It is simple. Begin by placing your hand over your belly button, THINK about expanding the belly button into your hand and gently press the belly button in on the exhale, image you are using your abdominal muscles to press the air out from the bottom of the lungs. The lungs can be filled up like balloons, it starts by filling up the deepest part of the balloon, expanding in all directions till it reaches it capacity, at the top, the point of entry for the air.

shallow vs full breathing

This may not happen right away, you may get frustrated because the air just goes into your chest, you will have to THINK about bringing the air into the belly. After a few or many tries, at that exact moment when you are able to breathe into your hand, finally, something will click, you will become aware, and you will have control. Autopilot turned OFF.

To hear more about deep belly breathing watch the video in my previous post HERE

Primal Coding: Deep Belly Breathing

 

My journey with the breath began a few years back. I was in search of something within me that I had not yet uncovered. My outlook was changing and my mind was in need of a rest, always racing day in and day out. I was in search for something to stop the chatter. I began to practice breath-work and meditation on my own and then discovered Kundalini yoga. Kundalini yoga is a deep spiritual practice and not for the weary, but for those who are not afraid to challenge the body and mind. As I begin to practice Kundalini yoga and get deeper into my meditation and breathing practices I began to notice how the breath was enabling me to push past the discomfort. I had finally taken control of the chatter. Today,  I utilized the knowledge gained from the numerous books that I have read, kundalini yoga, and all the experiences from my personal practice to teach others how to control the breath and take their mind and body off auto-pilot. Pranayama-3

The foundation of ALL pranayama (breath-work) is the ability to breathe into the abdomen and utilize the appropriate muscle to breathe. The abdominals, diaphragm, and intercostals (muscles between the rig-cage) are the muscles we are suppose to use with each breath. The problem is when our mind is cluttered with stressful thoughts our breath will be come stressed and then move up into the chest. If we are always stressed then we are always breathing only into the chest. This causes us to use the muscles of our neck and shoulders, which leads to headaches, back and neck pain, along with low back pain due to tightness within the diaphragm (attaches to lumbar spine and rib cage). In the video below I explain WHY, WHEN, and HOW to breath into the belly. Enjoy!