Your Issues Are In Your Tissues – Ep#040 Diving Deep Into the Body Mind
It’s a scientific fact Our ISSUES are IN OUR TISSUES.
The way that our brain and body process emotions is inextricably connected to our hormones, nervous system and our immune function.
Whether its anxiety, depression, emotional wounding, addictive behaviors, an eating disorder, body image struggles — all our neuroses, (and everybody’s got something if you are a human living on planet earth!), have roots in our physical body.
This means by using our thinking mind alone we cannot heal, navigate and grow through life’s inevitable challenges.
Yogis and those in the healing arts have long known that healing requires changing longstanding patterns in our body.
Trying to change the mind with the mind is like trying to stop a runaway train by yelling stop.
Learn what happens to our bodies when unprocessed emotions and toxic stress traps us in our minds and what you can do about it starting right now.
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Welcome to the Soul Science Nutrition Podcast, where you’ll discover that when it comes to your health, you’re so much more powerful than you’ve been led to believe. And now your host, she’s a holistic nutrition and lifestyle coach, chef author, and Yogi, Christine Okezie.
Christine Okezie (23s):
Hello, and welcome to the Soul Science Nutrition Podcast. I’m Christine Okezie. Thanks so much for listening today. So on today’s special solo show, we’re diving deep into the ever so popular topic of the mind body connection. See the mind can be our best friend as they say, or it can be our worst enemy when it comes to achieving great health in the Western culture, we’ve been conditioned to see the mind and the body is very distinctive and separate domains. We’ve spent centuries relying on the intellect, our thinking mind as the sole guide for making choices and healing, our emotional woes, but more and more scientific research is revealing what ancient wisdom has long known.
Christine Okezie (1m 8s):
And that is the fact that our bodies store our emotional experiences and memories. So whether you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, emotional wounding, addictive behaviors, an eating disorder, or body image struggles, all our neuroses. And trust me, we all have them. If you’re a human being, living on planet earth, especially right now, we all have our neuroses. Well, they have roots in our physical body. It’s a scientific fact that our issues are in our tissues. Thus by using our thinking mind alone, we can not heal, navigate and grow through.
Christine Okezie (1m 53s):
Life’s inevitable challenges now, to understand why this is the case. I think it’s important. We dive a little bit into understanding what the nature of the mind really is. So the mind as we experience and know it is largely automatic, it’s constantly producing thoughts automatically, right? Just the way our pancreas secretes, digestive enzymes, the mind never stops. It’s in constant motion. It’s constantly sorting for difference and it’s assessing its options through, through contrast, you know, good, bad ProCon, positive, negative, right? But most significantly is the mind is just as real as this physical body.
Christine Okezie (2m 39s):
The mind has a structure, a process, a process that you can observe and influence both physiologically and biochemically through factors that we know like food sound conversations and breathing patterns. In fact, even our own thoughts affect the processing and the structure of our mind. Now here we have the body. So this physical self that we walk around in it’s the container for all of this constant activity. It is the place where our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs reside. So we know that the body and the mind are actually completely entwined and therefore have a very powerful effect on another your body’s reaction to this never ending stream of thoughts and emotions is a complex of cognitive and physiological process and, and certain States of emotion and thought, let’s say anger or rumination, right?
Christine Okezie (3m 45s):
Well, they can become, as we know all too well, very consuming and without some tools to manage these emotions, well, we end up feeling trapped or getting trapped in our mind, which means we’re disconnected from our body and the emotions just continue to build up energetically. And they express in the body in basically two ways. So number one is chemically. So we’re all aware of the cascade of hormonal changes that are triggered when our nervous systems are overstimulated. It derails the hormone balance, it depletes our brain chemicals that are required for happiness, right?
Christine Okezie (4m 25s):
It, it compromises our immune system, stress, hormones, and neuropeptides flood, our nervous system. And these act as pro-inflammatory pro-inflammatory chemicals, right, triggered again, in response to we’re pressed, or maybe poorly managed feelings like anger or fear bottom line is that we know chemically that these buildup of emotions express and they affect so many important bodily functions from our immune system. As I mentioned, certainly our metabolism. We’ve talked a lot about that on the show, our heart, our brain, and of course our gut health, which we’ll come back to.
Christine Okezie (5m 6s):
So the second way that these bottled up emotions leak into our body and express in problematic situations is patterns of tension in our tissue, literally patterns of holding in our fibers, our muscles, specifically in the fascia of the body. And over time, they cause a lack of mobility, chronic pain, and set you up actually for potential disease, disfunction, emotional holding literally gets locked, correct into our tissue fibers. They start in our nervous system and literally traveled deep into our muscles over time, repressed emotions, trauma, negative attitudes.
Christine Okezie (5m 54s):
They all become patterns in our nervous system patterns in our biochemistry, as well as patterns in our muscular system and fascia now yogis have long known that in order to make real change, we have to find tools that address the issues in our tissues. You really have to have a deep change happen in the patterning in the body, but in order for this to happen, we have to have our muscles lighten up. We have to have them relax, come out of that stress response, right then through movement and, and other modalities, we can find a way to stretch the fascia.
Christine Okezie (6m 36s):
Now pain in different parts of the body can be attributed to emotional blockages. And I’m sure some of this will resonate with you. So for example, if you have neck and shoulder issues, these are associated with overwhelm. I heard recently someone call our shoulders, the emotional junk drawer, and can totally relate to that. Right? Lower back issues are associated with feeling unsupported somewhere in your life, our hamstrings, well, they’re connected to our ability to let go to trust. And I’m sure if you’ve even attended just a couple yoga classes, you’ve heard the teacher make reference to our hips as a special place of emotional storage.
Christine Okezie (7m 24s):
What’s so interesting is that the psoas muscle in the body is the only muscle which connects the spine, the L and the leg bones. And it hinges thus on the central nervous system attaching through the spine and into the brain. So right there just anatomically and connectedly, we can understand how a tight, so as can lead to a stress response or actually reflect, or be the manifestation of a stress response in the body, right? Cause a tight. So as in fact, interferes with the movement of our diaphragm, so our abdominal breathing is going to be restricted, right?
Christine Okezie (8m 5s):
So we know that abdominal breathing is what allows us to affect that relaxation response, that parasympathetic part of our nervous system. Right? So clearly this is a really interesting and very practical way to understand how the issues get in the tissues are so as muscle by definite, by virtue of its anatomy and connectivity to our nervous system, plays a very important role in emotional holding to go further into that in yoga, we know that the breath and posture can absolutely facilitate a shift in our mood and our emotional state once again, because our mind and our biochemistry are intertwined.
Christine Okezie (8m 52s):
So speaking from my experience with Kundalini Yoga, Kundalini, Yoga works deep within the body activating and balancing our nervous system and glandular system through systematic movement, breathing exercises, the use of mantra or singing, right? All of these are changing the chemical balance of the brain or more specifically, they work on something called the vagal system or the gut brain, which we’ve talked a lot about on the, on previous shows. So remember the vagus nerve, that’s the longest nerve in the body. It connects your brain to all these other important organs in the body, your stomach, your intestines, your heart, your lungs, right?
Christine Okezie (9m 33s):
And that Vegas nerve is the, is the central component of that parasympathetic nervous system, right? That parasympathetic nervous system, which is the setting that oversees so many important bodily functions when it comes to our mood, our mental state, and obviously as well as our immune response and our digestion among other things, but see the explosion of research on this gut brain access on the gut microbiome, which I know you’re also much more versed in these days. It’s so interesting to understand that from a therapeutic intervention, when we look at the gut brain, more and more research is coming out to support how we can support, you know, shifts and healing with our cognitive and our emotional issues.
Christine Okezie (10m 23s):
Things like PTSD, things like depression by working on understanding how our issues in our tissues or specifically how our issues in our, in our gut tissues. So that’s just another lens to really understand this beautiful and very profound connectivity between how we feel and what we experience in the body. Now, Eastern medicine, which I’ve also talked a lot on various shows with my guests, Eastern medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, for example, has long correlated specific emotions with certain areas or even organs of the body. So you might know that liver with anger, kidneys, with the emotion of fear, stomach, with worry lungs associated with the emotion of grief.
Christine Okezie (11m 13s):
In fact, the chakra system itself also does the same thing. Another system of healing that provides a beautiful framework that literally maps out the organism, the organism that is this network that we walk around and reside in our body mind and emotions, right? Personally, I’ve experienced as so many transformational benefits through the practice of Kundalini Yoga, I’ve experienced incredibly strong emotional releases, meaningful shifts in my mental outlook, right, because here’s what I’ve learned. And here’s why I’m so passionate about this, this topic and how, and, and resourcing ourselves to really use this information to benefit our capacity for taking charge of our health.
Christine Okezie (12m 4s):
Here’s the deal trying to change our mind with our mind is basically like trying to stop a runaway train by yelling stop. There’s just too much going on, right? It’s rather ineffective. It’s also arguably not very scientific if we were, if we’re in the business of creating long-term real lasting positive change in any area of our health and wellbeing, quite frankly, what I want to say is that we need to find ways to drop more and more into our bodies. How do we do that? Well, there’s lots of options on the menu, but let me speak in by just highlighting that once again, when it comes to the most powerful way to sync up the body and the mind as if the two need to be, you know, they’re not really separate, but we want to sync them.
Christine Okezie (12m 55s):
We want to bring them into harmony and we want to bring them into balance, right? It’s the breath using the power of the breath is the fastest way to interrupt the stress response, activate that parasympathetic nervous system and in turn slow down our heart rate, lower our blood pressure. What does this do? This mitigates, those anxiety and depression system. It creates a feeling of calm and unless we get the body and the mind in that setting, restoring that feeling of calm. We’re not going to get very far. You see, how does this work?
Christine Okezie (13m 35s):
It’s again, I just marvel at the design of these, these organisms that we, that were taking up space. And when we breathe long, slow and deep from our diaphragm, from our belly area, instead of our chest, we invite the neck, the rib cage, the chest muscles to relax. We engage all these parts of the body to bring in a larger amount of oxygen so that we can reach more cells and nourish our organs. So in addition to reversing that physical stress response, deep breathing, conscious breathing allows us to transcend the emotional commotion of the mind.
Christine Okezie (14m 21s):
How do we do this? Because it inevitably takes us to a deeper state of awareness. And it’s in this part of our psyche with this part of the brain’s capacity that we can shift and dissolve and release buried emotions. In fact, breath, work, breath work itself is a tool for meditation. I just want to be clear that working with conscious breathing is a meditative practice unto itself, right? And we’ll go through my favorite tool in a moment. What I’ve learned in my, in my studies is that emotions not only have a biochemical signature, but they’re associated with specific breath patterns.
Christine Okezie (15m 10s):
In fact, a recent study in the journal of neurophysiology showed that different breathing patterns activated our brain networks, different parts of the brain that are related to mood, attention, body awareness. All of these are activated by paying more attention to our breath. So it makes so much sense. It’s why using these tools, yoga tools, breathwork tools. However you want to approach it is, is just the most efficient way in to really help us manage, manage our thoughts, our moods, and control the quality of our experiences. Now, my favorite prana yum, or my favorite breathing exercise is called alternate nostril breathing.
Christine Okezie (15m 57s):
It’s becoming more and more mainstream, but you know, with just a few minutes, literally three to five minutes, right? A minimum of three minutes, everybody has three minutes, right? Of alternate nostril breathing. You can restore balance and ease in the mind and the body. It’s an amazing nervous system hack. If you will, what does it do? Well, as I mentioned, it rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating the balance of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. It absolutely improves your ability to focus the mind these days. It has the added benefit that we really are, you know, should be more interested in, which is it basically increases our respiratory strength, our lung capacity.
Christine Okezie (16m 42s):
It supports our heart health working with blood pressure and heart rate, alternate nostril breathing like so many other powerful breathing exercises helps remove toxins in the body and overall promotes just greater feelings of wellbeing. So why not? Right. So why is it alternate? Well, it’s curious because when we work with left nostril breathing, we stimulate that rest and digest that parasympathetic nervous system it’s very calming. So there are many variations of alternate nostril breathing. So for example, if we didn’t alternate between left and right, we would just do left nostril breathing.
Christine Okezie (17m 25s):
It’s very calming. It’s great. Let’s say when your mind is racing, if you’re in the middle of an emotional sort of commotional issues or, or perhaps you’re having trouble falling asleep, conversely right. Nostril breathing. If we were just to dude, right. Nostril breathing, that’s going to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, right. The activated part of our nervous system. So for example, you know, right around between three and five, we start to get kind of sleepy. We’re kind of feeling a little tired. That might be a moment where you’re going to go grab a cup of coffee or have an urge to have some thing, you know, sugary to, to boost you up. Well, it turns out that again, three minutes of right nostril breathing long and deep is going to give you a much greater source of added energy, much greater vitality in that moment.
Christine Okezie (18m 17s):
So let’s talk about how we do this. So what you want to do is sit somewhere comfortably with a straight Aspine, as you can, you don’t need to sit in any cross-legged position or, or any yoga style position. It’s really something you could do in your chair anywhere. As long as you’re comfortable, keeping your feet on the floor was helpful just to ground you. So wherever you can keep your spine straight and comfortable, frankly, as I mentioned before, you can even do it in bed. If that’s something that’s a little bit more available to you, you know, say waking up in the morning or trying to fall asleep in any event, it’s best sitting up. If you can, you want to use the thumb and the index finger of your right hand and make a you and use the thumb to close off your right nostril, just gentle pressure on the outside of your right nostril and the index finger to close off your left nostril is what you’ll be doing, right?
Christine Okezie (19m 15s):
So we’re going to close the left nostril with your index finger, inhale deeply through the right nostril. Once you reach the end of that inhale, you’re going to close the right nostril with your thumb and deeply exhale through the left nostril. Now inhaling through the left nostril fully and deeply Taking the index finger to close the left nostril and exhale through the right.
Christine Okezie (20m 3s):
You want your inhales to be long, slow, and deep, and your exhales equally long, slow and deep. I would start out with a count of four or five. And if that feels good, you can continue to build from there. So again, you’re inhaling through the right nostril and you’re continuing to alternate, right? The breath MIS, as I said, be complete full on both the inhalation and the X place exhalation for maximum effectiveness. Now you can use this breathing technique any time in your daily life, right?
Christine Okezie (20m 43s):
You might use it to be more mindful, to be more present moment before you have a, and before you have an important conversation with someone, you can do it anytime that it feels most comfortable to you, you can certainly do it during the day when you just need to relax. Or, or like I said, when you really kind of need to focus noting that the breathing technique of alternate nostril breathing and most breathing techniques are best done on an empty stomach. So you don’t want to practice it. You know, if you’re really full from a big meal, or if, even if you’re feeling sick or congested, let’s say you’re just, you know, got some congestion going on. You probably won’t want to do that. But the potential benefits once again, more often than not are incredibly promising, but here’s the kicker of course, as I mentioned, with any breathing technique, with any self care practice that involves this kind of mind, body integration, you’re going to see results more, more beneficially or more long-term when you develop this as a consistent and regular practice, right?
Christine Okezie (21m 47s):
Whatever that means to you. So you will get immediate relief in the moment, but what’s even more powerful. Is that any time we’re engaging in a premium or a meditation experience, if we continue to use that tool, pull it out of your tool bag, let’s say on a more regular basis, you create deeper, deeper levels of change in the body and in the mind. So we want to remember that. So here’s the deal. We all have varying degrees of wounding, of trauma as a result of toxic stress or repressed, unresolved negative emotions that get trapped within our connective tissues and our organs.
Christine Okezie (22m 28s):
And we need to deal with these at the source, at the root, by working with the amazing design of this body-mind organism, we can shift the biology. As I mentioned, we can shift the biochemistry, but we can also shift our behaviors, right? When we step into a clearer, more intelligent use of the mind, we can shift our habits and how we show up in the world. That’s more in alignment with our health goals, with our life goals, in my own experience. As I said before, I have found my clients as well as in my own life, use these tools to be very powerful for interrupting, you know, this sort of health, derailing, stress, breaking those unwanted habits.
Christine Okezie (23m 15s):
And once again, just stepping into a greater wellbeing, a greater feeling of wellbeing. And, and that’s kind of what we need is that, you know, we can step into a greater feeling of wellbeing. Well, that gives us the motivation, the real motivation to continue to take care of ourselves in this way. Right now, of course, there are so many wonderful modalities out there. I’ve, I’ve had a number of them on my show and we’ll continue to do so. So it’s important to find an explore what really resonates with you, you know, things, there are other traditional yoga, yoga systems, there’s EFT, which is emotional freedom technique, otherwise known as tapping very, very powerful modality, cheek gong, different forms of meditation, different forms of massage and bodywork energy healing work, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, even just connecting with nature, you know, on a regular basis can bring so much healing to the mind through the body, mind connection, if you will.
Christine Okezie (24m 21s):
So in closing, I think it’s really helpful and important to know that however many issues we may have in our tissues, we need to remember first and foremost that we have within ourselves, the capacity to heal them all. The first powerful step is to become curious about finding the ways to come back into your body, to slow down and breathe more fully. So enough thinking, enough trying so hard to figure out life and health, give yourself permission to explore a gentle inward journey.
Christine Okezie (25m 4s):
This is what this is about. You can make a choice in any one moment, even right now in this now moment to pause, to take a deep breath, to close your eyes and gently redirect your awareness out of thinking busy mind out of the head, back into the heart and come back home to your body to heal. A beautiful quote from Candace Pert. She was an internationally recognized neuroscientist and pharmacologist. She, she was essentially, you know, her research in the 1980s on the mind body medicine area earned her the title of Mother of Psychoneuroimmunology”.
Christine Okezie (25m 55s):
And I just love her quote here. She says, “The body is not there to simply carry the head. Your body is your subconscious mind and you can’t heal it by talking alone.” So I hope this episode has been helpful to you my friends, if you liked it, I would really be grateful if you could leave a rating and review. And if you haven’t already hit that subscribe button, please do so. So you don’t miss any new episodes that are coming out every Thursday, stay safe and stay well, bye for now.