Recently I went to the dentist. I needed to get a filling done. These are the moments I am most grateful for the practice of yoga and Pilates. Yoga for the mindfulness, the breathe, self knowledge, and body awareness. While I am feeling a bit faint sitting in the chair in preparation, I am aware of - I'm feeling faint. Which leads me to, you need to take a breath or two or 100. Which leads to signaling the nervous system, I'm okay, we're okay, this will be okay. Then an hour later, filing complete without losing consciousness or my sanity. And, this is truly the impactful gifts yoga bestows it's seekers.
Yoga is far from just asana, the physical practice. And, for the sake of debate, Pilates can be much more than just a workout. Ancient yogic texts such as the Upanishads found that there is not merely an accidental but an essential relationship between mental and physical activity. Joseph Pilates was all about the breath, concentration and its power on our health and well being.
Breath connects our body to our mind. Most of us would agree the mind is a complicated space. There are thoughts, emotions, planning, thinking, let alone all the chemistry and functioning going on up there. Every event (or thought) has a cause and an effect. So telling myself I will be okay at the dentist office, leads to calming down the mind and body. Which also leads me to a short discussion around karma.
karma = something that is done. every event is both a cause and an effect.
Karma refers to not only to physical action but to mental activity as well.
The physical side of karma, however, only touches the surface of life. To get an inkling of how karma really works, we have to consider the mind. Everything we do produces karma in the mind.
Another example is the kindness to others. Kindness to others favors a nervous system that is kind to itself. Its the old idea of if I know how to be kind to myself, telling myself to breathe while I was anxious to get my tooth drilled, versus telling myself I'm being silly, and overreacting, I'm also practicing kindness to others. I am in a better position to be kind to strangers and to be able to walk the walk.
There are also studies in psychosomatic medicine. This is a system were mental phenomena and biochemical events take place in the same field, studies to account for how ways of thinking affect the body. The mind body connection is real. Not just a industry wellness sense but a true sense.
So back at the dentist appointment, I was able to take breathes when I felt a little icky, I was able to focus on releasing my tongue when asked (which is a tricky thing when half of it is numb), able to notice the shoulders creeping up to my ears, how to sit to now clinch my low back.... these are tools we learn in a session. How to quiet down, slow down, and notice. Great skills to have in a dentist chair, and other everyday places we go in modernity. Be well out there.