Hello beautiful friends,
Several years ago I recall a meditation student asking me the question - "just how do I feel my emotions?" And we regularly hear the term "listen to your body", but what does this really mean?"
Would you be surprised to hear that not only do we not just have one brain, we actually have three? Yes science recognises three brains in our body.
The very first brain to evolve in the awe-inspiring process of becoming a human being in our mothers' womb, is the brain in the belly, the "Enteric Brain". It's through this brain that we feel our emotions and hear the subtle whispers from our deep body experience and wisdom. Gut instinct", having "gall" and many other terms make reference to this highly intelligent neural infused centre in our abdomen. And the ancient yogis were on to it. They discovered that all the most subtle pathways for information, communication and nourishment arose from our gut.
Whilst the cranial brain is the centre of male values of action, control, systemisation, theory and metaphysics the enteric brain expresses the female values of conscious being, harmony, connection and our relationship with the world.
We need the awareness and aliveness of both the masculine and the feminine but clearly our current way of life has steered us in the direction of the head. It's now time to restore our intrinsic balance. (BTW our third brain is our heart).
The Enteric brain in the belly, what I call our 'Centre', provides the impetus for healthy self care, postural alignment and dietary choices. When we're highly attuned to our Centre, it also guides us in the prevention of the build up of stress and tension which leads to disease and ageing in both body and mind.
So how do we feel our emotions? A great place to start is to tune into the brain in our belly, our Centre.
We can connect with our Centre in many ways because just like our cranial brain, it connects with every part of the body and every aspect of our being:
We can physically Centre our bodies by aligning our head, chest and pelvis or our cranial, heart and abdominal brains and spine.
We can practice abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing whilst resting our awareness in the abdomen.
We can drop into our body and feel every nuance of our emotional responses to life as we rest our awareness there.
And we can consciously practice choosing balance, calmness and a holistic approach to life.
The Benefits of Centering
There are a multitude of possible benefits of practicing being Centred and the essence of these benefits arises from the physical and emotional effects.
When we align our physical body at this Centre in our belly, known as the Nobhu or Kanda in yogic philosophy, the whole structure of the body more readily falls into alignment.
The Centre (also the centre of gravity) is the point in the body for the calibration of the resting tone of all the connective tissues throughout the body. So as we Centre we create a healthier functional tension in our tissues and alleviate stress throughout our entire being.
At a more subtle level, tuning into our Centre helps us to develop greater awareness of our bodily sensations which are the physical manifestation of our emotional realm.
Emotions are stories that carry a charge with them. The charges may be ever so subtle charges or gross and highly tangible such as anger or sadness. Every sensation however is the root of our emotional stories.
Psychological approaches today recognise that when we feel the physical sensations and release the energetic charge in our cells, our stories and perspective of life changes. We heal. The stories lose their power over us.
With this energetic release we then become more relaxed.
Developing a sense of presence in our Centre, we embrace and integrate our bodily sensations and emotions into our awareness and thinking so that we live from a more embracing and holistic perspective.
So this is how we "feel our emotions".
Bring awareness to the Centre, the abdomen, align the spine, breathe into the belly and feel the subtle or gross sensations coursing through the body.
Slowly and steadily this practice enhances our ability to tune into our emotional life with greater sensitivity, which is the precursor to the healthy management of our emotions.
The Benefits of being aligned at our Centre and in tune with our belly brain may include:
relief of pain,
relief of shoulder and neck tension,
relief from headaches,
decreased lower back pain,
increased freedom of movement,
improved core strength
greater function and power from the synergistic action of the entire body,
a deeper and more efficient breath pattern,
enhanced diaphragmatic breathing,
greater calmness of mind,
greater detachment and less reactivity to others and life,
a more holistic perception of ourselves, others and the world,
the growth of wisdom.
When we're centred, our mind is calm, our body is relaxed and our awareness is amplified, causing time to slow down, life to expand and our joys to grow.
The Yoga & Posture Workshop Series explore Posture, the Centre, Core Stability and Blissful meditations embracing the unique insights of the head with your body's genius.
See this website for all the details of living with at least two of our brains working in harmony together.