“Grow old along with me the best is yet to be.” — Robert Browning
My advice for aging is actually the opposite of this quote. I say grow young along with me because though I know there are benefits, which come with aging — I want to preserve my body and my health — and keep them from aging to enjoy the present moment. — Dr. Bernie Siegel
What I know for sure, after 45-years in the field of movement education, is that the key to living younger, longer is…
Circulation, Circulation, Circulation!
The reality is we have a numerological age. Nevertheless, every positive lifestyle choice we make throughout each day can help lower our physiological age. It’s like a wellness savings account.
The real secret to waking up energized day after day is how you choose to boost your circulation the day before. Don’t resign yourself to the notion that you have to live with aches and pains. You can “speak” to these little annoying discomforts via active circulatory-boosting tools.
For example, when a client gets a cramp I encourage them to breathe instead of holding their breath, then gently massage around the cramped area.
Muscular tension, pain, and cramps are informing us about our bodies. It is to our advantage to pay attention. The body systems are interconnected. When we boost the circulation to a troubled area it’s harder for an issue to take up permanent residence. Also, a blocked area could lead to other systems of the body breaking down over time.
Instead, revitalize your daily morning routine with this circulatory “re-set button”…
Make a fist and rhythmically “drum” your legs, hips, lower back, stomach, and arms. Next, press your fingers together. Then make a cup-like shape with your palms. Tap your cupped hands along your chest: you should hear a cupping sound. This helps break-up and move inflammation, which builds up during restorative sleep. Use the tips of your fingers to gently tap your forehead, temples and jaw. You just kick-started your circulatory system for your day.
How can you age if you never know what time it is? I know from experience and as a physician that the healthiest state one can be in is when you are doing something which makes you lose track of time. When I am painting a portrait or operating upon someone I have no sense of time or self. I am in a trance state and I believe when we are being creative our physiology gives our body a profound live message. — Dr. Bernie Siegel
Dance, teaching, and writing about movement is where I lose track of time and self. My desire to share the joy of movement is why I invented a practical visualization mind/body system. When you combine visual imagery with movement it allows you to experience a state called ‘timeless flow.’ This is when time seems to stands still. That’s because visual imagery is the most direct link to our brain/body connection. I know a class or lecture was successful when they say, “Is it already over?”
What is visual imagery?
Visualization is something you see in your minds’ eye. Imagery is something you feel with your body. My visual imagery-based “mind/body connection exercises” unleash optimal breathing, centering, fitness, athleticism, and wellness.
What the mind visualizes, the body believes. — Dr. Bernie Siegel
A visualization system provides tremendous control over your thoughts, physiology, and feelings. Olympic athletes use visualization for peak performance. We can too.
How does visual imagery work?
While reading the following intensify your concentration and your body’s physical sensations:
• Perch tall on your sit bones
• Stack your hips, ribs, chest, and head like building blocks
• Press your feet into the floor like growing roots
• Stretch your body upward like a rubber band
• Take slow, long inhales while picturing filling a giant balloon inside your body
• Wring out your deep abdominals like a rag during your exhales
The everyday practice of visual imagery provides for a healthier lifestyle. Our miraculous body constantly regenerates itself and an awareness of how to awaken this restorative process is life-transforming. Today, faced with uncertainty, frantic schedules and an obsession with devices, we are in desperate need of internal centering exercises to combat the harmful effects of stress. Visualization exercises boost our “relaxation response” parasympathetic nervous system, which overrides our “fight or flight” stressed-out sympathetic system.
Believe in the mind-body unity and words. Our body responds to our beliefs. As a surgeon what immediately struck me was that you can kill or cure with a sword, or scalpel. But that you could also kill or cure with words. As I learned about the power of words they became my therapeutic tools. With paradox and humor I was able to readjust people’s thoughts and feelings. I also learned to ask people how they would describe what they were experiencing versus their diagnosis. Then I would ask how and what in their lives fit those words if they were negative words. The words they would share, like pressure describing her pain, or failure of her cancer experience — led me to helping them eliminate the pressure in their life and what made them feel like a failure. — Dr. Bernie Siegel
We all have negative thoughts which creep into our consciousness. I’m convinced that negative thoughts elevate our stress levels and therefore effect our physiology. Be aware and change what you’re saying to yourself. Your body and even your cells hear you. When you use empowering visualization tools to boost your circulation throughout your day it shelters you from inner and outer environmental stresses. The power of our thoughts can positively alter our body.
My clients who face inevitable challenges feel empowered. Their established visualization system gives them the tools to breathe efficiently and internalize centering to boost healing. They transmute fear, pain, and healing in order to control “moving through” instead of passively “getting through” illness.
Last but not least I remind patients of their potential. Our Creator has built survival mechanisms into all living things so we can heal wounds, alter our genes and overcome various diseases. Love your life and your body and amazing things can happen. — Dr. Bernie Siegel
I share with people that the very center of our body is where our radiant health resides! My internal centering embodies universal movement principles, a circulatory lifeline, and a heightened vitality in each… present moment.
“Larkin, what you are doing does make a difference — what the mind visualizes the body believes.” Dr. Bernie Siegel: www.berniesiegelmd.com
Originally published at medium.com