Using Yoga to Enhance
Coping and Spiritual
Development
Dr. Christina Jackson
Yoga means “to yoke” or “union”
Person and the divine reality/God
Body-mind-spirit
What is yoga?
A set of practices, including postures
(asanas), breathing (pranayama),
meditation (dhyana), and more
Though not a religion, provides tools to
prepare for spiritual enlightenment,
facilitate religious experience and practice
Patanjali’s Eightfold Path
These practices can enhance acceptance
and serenity
Patanjali’s Eightfold Path (the 8 limbs of yoga)
Yamas:
Niyamas:
Asana:
Pranayama:
Pratyahara:
Dharana:
Dhyana:
Samadhi:
Ethical guidelines
Spiritual observances
Physical postures
Breathing exercises
Turning senses in
Concentration/focus
Meditation
Union, enlightenment
Different styles of yoga…
…focus on different aspects of the eightfold
path
Hatha yoga focuses on asanas and
pranayama to achieve self-realization
Karma yoga is a path to self-realization
through selfless work and service to others
Bhakti yoga (devotion to God) consists of
meditation and prayer. The emphasis on
devotion can be applied to any
religious/faith practice. A robust body of
evidence shows health benefits for those
who belong to faith communities.
Yamas
Ahimsa:
Asteya:
Satya:
Brahmacharya:
Aparigraha:
Non-violence/harm
Non-stealing
Truthfulness
Moderation/Sexual
restraint
Non-greed/hoarding,
non-attachment
Niyamas
Saucha:
Santosha:
Tapas:
Svadhyaya:
Ishvara
Pranidhana:
Cleanliness/purity
Contentment
Discipline
Study of self or
scripture
Devotion/surrender
to God
Postures (asanas)
Experiencing the body in new ways
enables the practitioner to view the
body and the world differently, thus
gaining insight
Seated awareness and body scan
Mindful practitioners take the practice
“off the mat” and into all aspects of life
From The Mystic Heart
by Wayne Teasdale
“Yoga and the martial arts allow us to
experience our connection with the
natural world directly and intimately
by stimulating our awareness of life
energy that flows through us. Yoga is
a spiritual practice…and places the
person in a unique position to receive
many insights and to access states of
consciousness [usually] beyond
reach…”
Breathing awareness (ruach)
Ujjayi breath
Inhale fully through nose, exhale fully
through mouth
Diaphragm drops into belly
“Ocean sound” at back of throat (as if
fogging a mirror)
Key Spiritual Issues
Meaning and
Purpose
Love and
Belonging
Hope
Guilt
Faith/Belief/Doubt
Forgiveness
Mystery
Transcendence
Any disruption to physical or mental
health triggers spiritual concerns
An 18 year old high school track star tears a
knee ligament. Surgery seems successful,
and extensive rehabilitation begins. The
student becomes increasingly irritable and
withdrawn. Motivation to participate in
physical therapy declines. The youth
makes a suicide attempt.
What body-mind-spirit issues/crises is this
youth exhibiting?
Bodily response
Pain
Reduced mobility
Reduction in production of “feel good”
peptides such as endorphins,
serotonin, norepinephrine (our
internal apothecary)
Withdrawal from these natural “drugs”
Mood instability
Yoga can be practiced by anyone at
any time!
Even altering breathing patterns alters
production of neurotransmitters and
hormones (endorphins, serotonin,
dopamine)
Seated yoga experience
Stretching, breathing, physically resisting in
new ways becomes an “edge” experience
and stimulates positive physiologic
changes (PNI or psychoneuroimmunology)
Molecules of Emotion ~ Dr. Candace Pert
Mind responses
Loss
Fear
Possible guilt or blame
Disruption in goals and roles
Reordering of daily schedule and
rhythm
Depression
Anxiety
Quell the inner critic and ANTS!
“Yoga slows down the
fluctuations of the mind”
~ Patanjali
Spiritual responses
Why did this happen? (meaning &
purpose)
Am I being punished? (guilt)
Will I still fit in with my peers (fellow
athletes)? Where will I belong now?
(love and belonging)
What can I do with my life now? What
does my future hold? (M & P)
Self-study (svadhyaya)
Illness/disability offers an opportunity
Asking existential questions invites
one to go deeper, to examine
perspectives
Finding your “dharma”- what is
meaningful, what is your path and
higher purpose?
But many seem unreceptive…
Yoga practice is experiential and
without using words…
It invites pause, enhances receptivity, and
increases awareness of inner wisdom
Enhances insight
“Be still and know that I am God” ~Psalm
46
But exactly how can we become more still?
The Power of Pranayama
Slow, deep breathing >
Soothes the nervous system >
Calms and shifts the mental
environment >
Enhances feelings of compassion,
creativity, sense of connection,
intuition, and receptivity to spirit >
Healing and spiritual growth
Abdominal breathing
Compare movement over belly and ribcage
(are you a reverse breather?)
Follow your breath in and out -experiment
with Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses to
inward focus) and Dharana (concentration)
during this breathing exercise
Attention to spine and hips during the
breath- what happens to them?
Complete (3-part) breath
Expand belly, chest, shoulders on
inhalation
Exhale fully and slowly with
awareness of deep abdominal
muscles
What does the research show?
Improvements in psychological health
measured as well being, mood, selfesteem, stress/anxiety reduction, sense of
equanimity and balance in daily life,
improved cognitive function, improved
relationships and quality of life.
Fosters spiritual growth measured as
forgiveness, empathy, and transcendence
of suffering and negative experience
Community (Sangha)
A valuable yoga concept found with
increasing frequency in research
Effectiveness of group support in
health outcomes
Dr. Dean Ornish’s work on those with
heart disease and prostate cancer
Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn’s work using
MBSR for myriad health challenges
Cancer and yoga
Many studies
Ongoing research
Improvements in body, mind and
spiritual aspects of persons leading to
improved immune function, cognitive
restructuring and greater serenity
The relationship between yoga and
science
“Ultimately, science and yoga should not be
seen as competing. What yoga does well
complements modern medicine’s
strengths, providing more options for
people in need of healing. While…yoga
and medicine provide very different
perspectives on health and disease,
viewing the world through both paradigms
can help you see reality more clearly and
help you make more skillful choices”
~Timothy McCall, MD in Yoga as Medicine
Essential equations:
Pain + Resistance = Suffering
Loss of Function+Resistance= Suffering
(function= role, mobility, ability)
Postures, breathing and
meditation address resistance…
Restless thoughts (monkey mind)
Fear
Past experiences
Automatic negative thoughts (ANTS)
Feelings of isolation (vs connection)
Use awareness to ‘tune in’ to all
aspects of self and shift resistance
Breath
Body scan ‘head to toes’
Feelings
Thoughts
Energy level
Back to the body- release of tension
through head, neck and shoulder
movements
Pain + Resistance = Suffering
So, yoga practices reduce resistance
Thoughts and emotional responses
can inhibit or promote healing
Even in the presence of ongoing pain
or dysfunction, suffering will be
reduced
Quick techniques for
chaplains/healthcare professionals
to use for self-care
Breath awareness and body scan to
enhance mindfulness and full
therapeutic presence
Palming over eyes to release stress
Third eye focus to access higher
purpose and set intention
Quick coherence technique to
stimulate flow of compassion
Quick bedside techniques to shift
illness experience > reduce
resistance > lessen suffering
Synchronize your breath with client’s
Teach belly breathing 4-2-4, 4-2-8
Teach palming exercise to relieve tension
Head, neck and shoulder movements
Positioning, eg. lowering chin when lying on back
Guided imagery to access ‘special place’ of
healing, and explore meaning
“Where in your body are you feeling this emotion?”
“What does this mean to you?”
“What color is your pain? What color would it be if
it was gone? Can you transform it?”
Create a healing environment
Music
Nature
Aesthetics (beauty)
Build loving community (sangha)
Health as expanding consciousness…
Nursing theory developed by Margaret
Newman, PhD, RN
Non-judgment about illness experiencedetachment from outcomes
Openness to growth in mind, body and
spirit as a result of illness and at end of life
Can be a stretch for many of those in our
care
We can create that space for them,
imagine, and hold them in the light
“…every yogi has grown old, and even
though they are in remarkably good health,
they still get sick and die...As these
inevitable changes come, a yogi can be
content with the fact that the physical body
he or she has worked so hard to balance
and gain subtle control over is really a
temporary phenomenon.”
~ Richard Freeman, Yoga Workshop,
Boulder, CO
Download

Using Yoga to Enhance Coping and Spiritual