Awareness - Benefits and Pitfalls

Awareness has become a real buzz word in recent years. There is a plethora of information on the internet about the benefits of being conscious, of breath works and mindfulness (which many people assume is the same thing as awareness).

I’m going to explain what awareness could mean within the context of Re-organisational Healing and Network, but also in your day to day life. Because there has to be a reason to do something, doesn’t there?

First of all some examples of where awareness is really important?

·         If one of your friends or partner is really upset, it’s important that you notice and act

·         When you touch a hot stove, you need to feel the pain to remove your hand and minimise damage

·         When you’re giving a talk to a group of people you need to be aware of their needs and hopes

·         When you’re navigating through the hills with a map and compass you need to know where you are in space

·         To maintain your balance your body needs to send signals to your brain that tell the muscles how to keep you upright

Very different examples and that’s for a reason.

The research in Network Chiropractic showed that people who were aware of their breath and the breath wave got better, more sustainable results than those who just showed up. So what does being “aware of the breath” mean.

Firstly, watch this short video of a Respiratory (breath) wave and listen to the commentary.

 

Everyone can develop a Respiratory Wave and experience the benefits

Having worked with literally thousands of people over the years what I have learnt is that we are all capable of having a Respiratory wave and we have our own unique experience of it. I’m going to share just a few here to help you understand your experience.

Some people find it very easy to be aware of their breath moving up the spine. They can tell you when it stops and where it goes. It’s effortless for them.

Others are very aware of how their body moves, where they feel movement in their spine and where they don’t.

Some feel the boundaries of the movement and often their Respiratory waves have brief “pauses” in them. They are aware of the bench underneath them and how their body interact with the bench.

Some people have to see the Respiratory Wave in someone else before they know what to look for in their own body.

Some people have to do something after they come off the bench to know that the wave was there – like touch their toes or turn their head, or stretch their arms and legs. Then they can feel that their body has changed. The actual awareness of the breath at a spinal level takes more time to become conscious.

Some people need others to tell them they’re changing before they are ready to feel it in their body. Often, but not always, there has been big traumas or stresses that have made it unsafe to feel their body so they need others to affirm what is happening. It’s ok if this is you. It just takes more time to create the safety to experience your body than some people. It’s neither good, bad, right nor wrong – it just is.

Pitfalls

For some people awareness of their body is a real challenge. It’s like asking them to learn Russian before they’ve even learnt the alphabet. If you’re in that group my advice is – be kind to yourself. It’s easy to go “this is too hard, I’ll just give up” or “this is a load of rubbish, real people don’t feel” or something like that. Celebrate every small gain. Do simple things like notice the speed of your breath. Putting your hands on your chest so that you can feel it move and looking at it can help with this. When you’re lying or sitting become aware of the bench or seat underneath you. When you’re walking notice your legs moving, the pressure coming up through your feet.

There are so many small things we can become aware of. It’s like a muscle – you need to use it for it to grow.

Benefits in Everyday Life

As you become more aware of your body whilst on the bench – we consistently observe that people become more aware of their body on a day to day basis. They may find themselves dropping their shoulders or straightening up when they walk. They don’t want to sit for long, their body is saying “move” and they listen. They notice how certain people make them feel or how they make others feel. Their responses to stressful situations change and they notice.

The list is long and you may notice many things not even mentioned here.

So if you are having regular care – see what you can notice that’s new, that you haven’t noticed before. And if you don’t have NSA, that doesn’t stop you from become more aware of your body, your movement, your reactions to others and theirs to you.

Awareness comes with practice. Small amounts of practice repeated over time. You have a choice and the benefits are big. How can you improve your awareness?

Copyright Rachael Talbot 2015