Nightwalking class in central Texas! Dec. 6-9, 2018

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My friend and NLP trainer Katie Raver has organized another nightwalking class — and you don’t have to go to Taos to take it! It’s at the Canyon of the Eagles, a dark-sky friendly place about two hours northwest of Austin on Lake Buchanan near Burnet, Texas.

You can camp or choose from lodging options, and there are two restaurants on the site.

The dates are Dec. 6-9, Thursday evening through Sunday mid-day.

Details are here. The course fee is sliding scale, making it quite affordable if cost is a consideration.

The Geminid meteor shower peaks on December 14, and some meteors will be visible Dec. 7-16. (I saw the brightest meteor I’ve ever seen last August on a nightwalk just outside of Taos.)

What I like about nightwalking:

  • you learn to use your vision differently
  • this affects your physiology — wide vision = wide mind, a state some meditation practices cultivate
  • anxiety is impossible while using your eyes this way
  • it’s outdoors in nature where the skies are really dark
  • your senses are augmented
  • you notice so much more
  • you become very sensitive to light
  • you really can walk fearlessly in the dark!

 

Treating TMJ issues: the relaxing breath

Today I want to complete something I promised, sharing a quick way to relieve stress. This is important since so much TMJ misery is related to stress. Either the pain causes you to feel stressed, or your stress from other reasons creates muscle tension, which creates pain. It can be hard to break that cycle.

Some people have a hard time relaxing. The pressure to perform, to get things done, is on. Maybe they have a lot of energy but haven’t learned or had a chance yet to create time for themselves yet. (Yep, in my 30s.)

Or they’ve gone through a stressful period and it feels like their body forgot how to unwind. (Been there multiple times.)

Perhaps they’ve suffered a trauma that keeps them hypervigilant. (I know that one too well.)

Some psychotherapists specialize in helping trauma victims rebalance their autonomic nervous systems, so they can pendulate between fight-or-flight only when a true threat is present and rest-and-digest when they’re safe (and enjoy its benefits of better digestion, better healing, and inner peace). If this is the case with you, check out Somatic Experiencing therapy.

Others just need a little help to get started relaxing. Massage can help tremendously.

A meditation practice is a commitment to relax while sitting upright every day, with attention on your breath and sensations, observing the activity of your monkey mind with some detachment and humor (or horror!).

In fact, I have been curious for years about how relaxed I can become without falling asleep! It’s what drives me to meditate daily, do 10-day vipassana meditations, float in floatation tanks, and get esoteric acupuncture.

If you’d like to start rebalancing from stress into relaxation on your own, there’s an exercise I recommend called 4-7-8 breathing (the Relaxing Breath). Dr. Andrew Weil, who has been practicing and writing about holistic health and integrative medicine for 30 years, came up with it, although its roots are in yoga.

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The video is 3:18 long. Dr. Weil recommends doing 4 breath cycles at least twice a day for two months to get the benefits.

After a month, you can increase to 8 breath cycles, the maximum.

He recommends slowing the cycle down, with the limiting factor being how long you can comfortably hold your breath.

After practicing this for 4-6 weeks, you can begin to use it when something stressful happens. It’s a great resource for me when another driver does something alarming, but there’s no accident and I am left with the residue of stress in my body. A few of these breaths rebalance me. It can help with cravings and falling asleep.

After 2-3 months, it changes your physiology. It lowers heart rate and blood pressure, improves digestion, and is much more powerful than anti-anxiety drugs.

In essense, you are retraining your nervous system to be more relaxed. In my 7 years of doing bodywork, one day I realized this is what we bodyworkers are doing: retraining your body to be more relaxed and functional.

You may become less stressed from using this technique (yay!) and still benefit from receiving a TMJ Relief session to retrain your jaw muscles into relaxation.

If you’re ready to have that conversation with me, please connect. I’d love to hear from you.

Treating TMJ issues: music to heal the throat chakra

Last week, I shared two links to YouTube recordings of music to heal the throat chakra in this post, in case you missed it.

Today, I want to share more about this. I use the free smart phone app Insight Timer for meditation. It has a timer for silent meditation, chanting, and breathing among other practices, as well as thousands of guided meditations and music for meditation.

In the app, you can click the earphones icon and do a search on “throat” to find guided meditations and music for the throat chakra. I found seven musical meditations, ranging from 4 to 35 minutes in length. The one I’ve listened to most is Throat Chakra Singing Bowls, by Sonic Yogi (29 minutes).

(If you don’t want to use the app, it’s also available on Bandcamp here.)

Which ones do you enjoy?

Sound penetrates our bodies. We’ve probably all felt the vibration in our bodies when we were near a large bell being rung or a gong being struck or loud music being played. Since sound travels in waves, and we are made of waves as well as particles, of course it enters our tissue, fluid, and energy fields and influences us.

The human love of rhythm and music must go way back, long before writing and perhaps before language. Harmonic sound is pleasing. I believe it can harmonize our bodies at a cellular level, creating higher coherence, which means our various systems coordinate with each other better.

Can sound cure cancer? I haven’t heard of that, but I believe it’s possible, probably when it’s very small, before we even know about it.

In my experience, sound can definitely create a sense of inner peace.

In my training and observation, healing takes place when we are relaxed, when our parasympathetic nervous systems (rest and digest) are dominant. If music can get us there, our bodies can work on healing.

To take your self-healing further, while you listen, visualize sky blue or turquoise light surrounding your neck and jaws. Imagine a sense of spaciousness. Deliberately relax the tight muscles with each exhalation.

If you are suffering from TMJ pain and discomfort, I hope you will find some relief from listening to music designed to clear and heal the throat chakra.

Treating TMJ issues: what various professions do to help

I’m going to write about what various healing professions do to treat TMJ issues to help you be good consumers and know what to expect in terms of results. I am a massage therapist who specializes in TMJ work, including intra-oral (inside the mouth) work, in which I’ve had special training.

I want to say up front that most massage therapists do not work inside the mouth, which is where the jaw muscles most likely to be causing TMJ pain are located. Most massage therapists have the skills to release tension in the external jaw and neck muscles. Maybe that’s all you need, if your jaw pain isn’t severe and it comes and goes. You will feel better after such sessions.

But if you are really suffering from chronic or severe jaw pain and dysfunction, you probably want a lot more than that. You will greatly benefit from intra-oral work, which takes special training and experience to do effectively.

Do not hesitate to ask whether a therapist you are considering working with is trained in releasing tension in the internal jaw muscles and uses gloves or finger cots.

Whole-body work can also help, when the TMJ pain is related to your posture (for instance, head forward posture).

These are the major results that help with TMJ symptoms, along with the professional training that can provide them:

  • reducing stress (massage therapist, acupuncturist, yoga teacher, meditation teacher)
  • reducing tension in your external jaw muscles (massage therapist)
  • releasing trigger points in your external jaw muscles (any kind of therapist with trigger point release training)
  • releasing your neck tension (massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor)
  • getting your pelvis aligned and balanced (massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor)
  • preventing your teeth from cracking due to bruxism (dentist)
  • reducing tension in your internal jaw muscles (massage therapist with special training, physical therapist with special training, Rolfer)
  • getting craniosacral therapy to restore alignment in the external cranial bones (craniosacral therapist)
  • getting craniosacral therapy to restore alignment in the internal cranial bones (craniosacral therapist)
  • repairing a torn or perforated articular disk (oral surgeon — get reviews first)
  • getting whole-body therapy to help with alignment and release strain patterns (craniosacral therapist, Rolfer, Zero Balancer, yoga teacher, yoga therapist)

This is a brief and imperfect overview to help you get the results you want, and there are many fine points not mentioned here.

 

The free flow of the universe

If you are quiet enough, you will hear the flow of the universe. You will feel its rhythm. Go with this flow. Happiness lies ahead. Meditation is key. ~ Buddha

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On Saturday, April 7, 2018, I will be Investigating the Power of Silence with attendees at the annual Free Day of NLP, held at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. My presentation is at 1 pm.

To RSVP, please click here, which will help with planning for the free breakfast and lunch and free parking.