I love the voices in my head. I wouldn't trade them for anything. But lately, they've been bringing me down with their endless commentary and criticisms.
Last night I went to the first class in a series with Christa Rypins. She is the owner of Intelligent Body Movement Studio (where I teach yoga once a week) and a renown teacher of yoga, Pilates and the Franklin Method of imagery. The class is called Digest for Happiness. Christa shows us how to visualize our digestive system to help it work better through breath and imagery. Very cool. You wouldn't believe how transformative this stuff can be.
Here's the example she used to introduce us to the practice. We did the simple exercise of inhaling our shoulders up to our ears and then exhaling while releasing them down our backs. This is something I do daily and remind my yoga students to do throughout a class. After doing it the way I just described we then used 'self-talk' while doing the exercise-- saying (in our heads or out loud) "My shoulders are healthy and flexible". Just that simple change alone increased the movement of our shoulders and the positive feelings while doing it. We also tried 'mood' talk: shrugging while saying "I am loved, I am loving."-- it may sound out there to you, but try it-- it sure feels nice. Anatomical visualizations and metaphors were next. We did the exercise while visualizing the way the scapula bones glide up and down the back and also while comparing the movement to a waterfall. By the end of this my neck felt long and my shoulders were so relaxed I could practically reach my knees with my fingertips.
How will I use what I learned? First of all, it brought my attention to how negative the voices in my head have been lately. I'm always telling yoga students: "Talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend", but I have definitely not been practicing this. I'm going to start integrating imagery and self talk into my yoga class and personal practice to help increase relaxation and mind-body awareness.
I feel better already.
How are the voices in your head?