Showing posts with label meditation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label meditation. Show all posts

Thursday, August 15, 2019

How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body - Book Review

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Every once in a while you come across a book that reawakens the intentional use of a power you had forgotten you possessed.  Anyone dealing with chronic illness, pain, a life-threatening disease, or another condition seriously impacting quality of life could benefit from reading How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body.  This is a book I would also recommend to those who support others who are experiencing critical health challenges.

Anyone interested in the mind-body connection is likely to find something of value in Dr. David Hamilton's examination of the enormous healing capacity we hold within.  My hope is that today's book review will encourage the one reading this who is searching for a way to positively deal with an issue that is making life difficult or less satisfying than it could be.

The mind: Do we even have the slightest inkling of what it is doing for us at this very moment?  I hadn't gotten very far into this book before I was completely captivated.  As I write this review, and as you read my words, we are changing the very structure of our brains.  Every thought we are having is reshaping the most marvelous instrument ever created.  We are becoming something new even as we share this experience.

Starting with a review of applicable medical research, Hamilton provides the fuel to launch us into a place of wonder.  The studies he shares took me well beyond my earlier Psychology 101 introduction to the Placebo Effect.  I was especially intrigued by those control group participants who knew they were taking a placebo (a substance that has no intended therapeutic effect) and yet did nearly as well physiologically as the group getting the real medication.  This was something entirely different from the psychological effect of believing in a new treatment.  This was the mind actually healing the body without the assistance of any external chemicals.

You won't be surprised when I say this is not a beach read.  I found that I needed a change of pace after wading through the introductory chapters.  There was much of interest, but it was a lot of information.  Right when I was about to skip ahead, the author shifted gears and moved on to what it looks like to heal the body with the mind.  The profiles of individuals who used the mind to help shrink cancer tumors, to gain strength and mobility after a stroke, and to activate the immune system are the types of stories I find interesting.

It's all about visualization.  The brain doesn't discriminate between what is real and what is imagined.  In other words, what becomes real to the brain is what we imagine, and what we think becomes the basis for regenerating cells within our mind and body.  The good news is that we can experience regeneration every day of our lives.  This isn't a process that shuts down when we reach a certain age.

As an athlete, I was taught the importance of visualization.  Most of us have watched Olympic athletes, during their competition warm-ups, go through a visualization exercise (imagining the race, or gymnastics routine, and every move they will make).  I never really knew exactly why that worked or how the benefit came about.  Reading this book provided me with a better grasp of the why.  It really was astonishing to learn how imagery can elevate performance and strengthen muscles before they are even used.

For those of us who have worried at times about the health inheritance from our parents, there is encouragement about how we can use the power of the mind to impact whether or not certain DNA switches turn on or off.  We don't have to accept that it is inevitable that we will suffer from the same poor disease outcomes.  Where once we felt doomed by our DNA, we can now experience a greater sense of hope, knowing that we are not powerless.

There are many mind-body connection books from which to choose.  I felt this was a worthwhile read.  It set the stage for taking my learning even farther.  Anything that keeps us on the path to healthier living is worth the investment of time and energy.  I'm glad I read How Your Mind Can Heal Your Body.  It reminded me that there is more I can do to be an active participant in my own healing.  It also caused me to celebrate the wonder of the mind and to feel a sense of gratitude for what I have been given.  What more can you ask from a book?









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.


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Sunday, October 28, 2018

The App Calm - A Personal Review

I Finally Downloaded the App 'Calm' onto My Cell Phone

Since our computers spit ads and suggestions based on what we might like or want, it figured out I could use a little 'Calm' in my life.

After ignoring the App for several years, it finally got me! I downloaded it a few days ago.

The App has a free version and a paid version. I'm using the free features at the moment.

Scenes - The Feature I'm Currently Into

I use Scenes for relaxation and as a sleep aid.  However, it's the sounds of the scenes, not the visuals that I'm focused on. The scenes are beautiful and you can also watch while listening.

Scenes is essentially the same as the radios from back-in-the-day that feature a choice of background sounds such as waves, thunderstorms, forests, and more.

Simply, choose the scene and calming background sound you prefer. Put the headphones on, listen and relax. 

What We Get with 'Calm' Premium

A full library of music, meditation, and stories.
  • Guided meditations for stress, gratitude and more
  • Sleep stories are pretty cool! Put in your earphones and listen to a relaxing story to help you fall asleep. I've listened to one story included with the free portion of the App. It was hauntingly relaxing.
  • There's also music to help you focus, relax and of course, the obvious, to sleep.
  • They have Masterclasses by world-renowned mindfulness experts designed to help you take control of your thinking and guide you towards living in the now. I haven't tried this yet. However, this feature absolutely appeals to me.
Why Use Calm

With the internet and YouTube you might be asking yourself why would you need to use an App. After-all, why not just listen to videos from YouTube on your phone, or read articles you find via search. That was my original thinking as well.

The answers:
  • Convenience, no commercials
  • No need to search YouTube or the Internet for Meditation or Relaxation tools
  • Your calming tools are conveniently located in one place
  • Quick access on your phone when you need a calming break
  • Daily Calm inspirations added
  • Body Calm programs included
  • Masterclasses on Mindfulness
  • They add new music weekly
  • A full library of stories to fall asleep by, and new stories always being added
My gift to myself this Christmas, is to upgrade to premium. I do love the convenience of this App.

Here's to your peace of mind.



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Monday, August 14, 2017

Reviewing Gentle Yoga Accessories

Gentle Yoga with help from Yoga Accessories
I have recently joined a weekly Restorative Yoga class (also called gentle yoga). The yoga has been so beneficial to my physical and mental health that I wish I had the time to attend the class several times a week. Sadly, I do not. But I do have an internet connection and access to gentle yoga "classes" in the comfort of my own home. Whether in a class or at home, there are several items that make this Yoga more effective; mat, blanket, bolster, blocks, and a strap. I want to share a quick overview of these items and the supplier I've found.

If you are familiar with the benefits of yoga and yoga accessories, please feel free to jump ahead to the Yoga Accessories store. I have found that they offer high quality items, affordable prices, and fast delivery.


The Benefits of Gentle Yoga


I have always enjoyed yoga. And up until a few years ago, I really enjoyed the Yoga Burn type of yoga. The type where I felt as though I was working out and working up a sweat doing it. But as the years have gone by, I have gained weight, lost muscle, lost flexibility, and my lack of range of motion is embarrassing.  I have allowed a stressful job to negatively impact my health.

I needed something, some form of exercise, that suits my current physical and mental state. This gentle yoga class is good for my body as well as my mind. I am increasing flexibility and range of motion. I am also finding that the meditative style of this yoga is helping me to release stress. I am more calm and sleep much better after the yoga class. I can feel my stress level lowered.


Gentle Yoga Accessories


In this yoga class, I have been introduced to several helpful accessories; blanket, bolster, blocks, and a strap. As I have begun to do yoga at home, I have found a reliable supplier for these items.  I highly recommend Yoga Accessories for your yoga supplies.

Mat - Yoga mats are familiar things to most folks. They provide a bit of padding as well as a no-slip surface.  I love that Yoga Accessories offers mats in many different colors. They also offer mats in different thicknesses. My preference is the very thin mat that provides no-slip and a sort of hygienic barrier between me and the floor. But there are also thicker mats of you are looking for more padding.


1/8" Lightweight Classic Yoga Mat

Bolster - Bolsters come in several sizes and either a round shape or a more flattened-oval shape. I am getting a lot of use from my new round bolster. It is used to prop up the knees, to assist while laying in the child pose, and my favorite pose - laying on it along my spine. This pose seems to release tension in my back and shoulders.


small junior sized round bolster (22" x 7")

Blanket - A blanket does what a bolster does, but on a thinner scale. You can also use the blanket to sit on, adding padding between your bottom and the floor. I also often use it under my head and under my neck for padding and support. 


Yoga Accessories Traditional Mexican Yoga Blanket

Blocks - Blocks are used as props for stability and/or for comfort. For example, while in certain poses that are meant to be restful, if you aren't quite flexible enough you aren't able to relax. The blocks can be placed to help you relax.


High Density and Lightweight Foam Yoga Blocks


Strap - As I mentioned, I have lost flexibility and range of motion. A few years ago, I could grasp my hands behind my back, lean over, and raise them above my head. Now I can barely clasp my hands behind my back.  A strap can be used to help with that move until you become able to perform the move without the extra assistance.  In only 4-5 weeks time, I am noticing improvement in my flexibility and will soon be working without the strap.


8' Cinch Buckle Cotton Yoga Strap



An Amazon Prime Free Gentle Yoga Video


I love this gentle yoga so much and am realizing so many benefits from it in just a few weeks that I've begun to practice at home. I was thrilled to find a free video, that is included with my Amazon Prime membership, that is very similar to the class I attend. If you have a Prime membership, you can take a peek at Easy - Gentle Yoga with Michele Fife to see what I am trying to describe.


A relaxing and helpful pose with the help of a bolster
photo: Yoga Accessories

*photo credits: all photos from Yoga Accessories 




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