Isn’t it always a paradox when you hear someone say, “Just relax” as if it’s a conscious decision the person is making to be tensed and keyed up. Like “yeah the thing I want most in the world is to be stressing out right now”.
Read on to understand a connection between our perceptions, stress, and movement and how you can get first dibs on my fully-downloadable audio course: Movement Meditations.
You can tell a traumatized or chronically stressed person (which is nearly everyone and probably includes you) to chill out but keep in mind that this is predominantly subconscious. Something threatening has triggered them to enact protective behaviors including muscle tension and loss of coordination. Their thoughts are just complex rationalizations of what they subconsciously feel.
Have someone sit next to a foul smell and they become more selfish and conservative. Ask them why they’re behaving this way and they give a rationalization that has nothing to do with sitting next to garbage.*
Even when you (‘you’ in this case is the prefrontal cortex, the conscious executive brain) tell yourself to calm down, the amygdala and its friends can’t listen because they are still perceiving and predicting threats. The higher brain says it isn’t a threat, but the lower brain says it IS a threat.
The higher brain then begins look for more negative associations in your world because if one thing is dangerous, maybe there are more. Simultaneously, the lower brain (amygdala and limbic system) activates the hypothalamus to engage the neuroendocrine system to mobilize energy while tensing the movement system for protection. These defense networks have no chill.**
So while you can scream inside your own head or at someone else to calm down, the body reacts as if the perception of threat is the correct assumption.
This makes sense from an ancestral standpoint because it’s better to activate protection and be wrong than it is to be super calm and dead or injured.
The problem is when this occurs repeatedly to non-dangerous information which is much of what creates chronic stress in modern society.
I propose that executive control (the higher brain) of attention is really just higher-order motor control as there is evidence there are shared pathways between the control of attention and control of movements of the body.
If you can perceive your body more accurately on a subconscious level and control your movements in real-time with conscious attention then you are teaching your brain how to override its learned instinct to overreact. You will begin to be better able to discern real danger from assumed; less trigger-happy and more calm.
So it’s become clear to me that safety must be felt and embodied. To live in attunement is the source of calm. One way to do this is to move with attention and intention, free of gravity’s influences on postures.
I have found that my new course, Movement Meditations, allows you to re-orient your attention toward your body from a place of safety and regulation.
Movement Meditations is a fully-downloadable audio course that guides you thru how to meditate and attune your senses using your body. Each of the 4 lessons, which I recorded during a live course, targets different and unique functional patterns allowing you to:
Here are the lessons:
Lesson 1: Flexing the Spine (45 minutes)
Lesson 2: Orienting the Eyes and Head (49 minutes)
Lesson 3: Rolling the Pelvis (50 minutes)
Lesson 4: Rotating the Body (42 minutes)
No more trying to meditate by just sitting there trying not to think.
Instead, you learn how to use your body to calm your mind and have a more connected experience.
And because I recorded it in front of a live class you'll feel like you're part of the class yourself.
Here's what one of my attendees had to say:
"Dr. Oberst’s Movement Meditation course is a finely crafted exploration in awareness through movement, visualization, and relaxation. It provides the framework for improved mind-body connection utilizing mindful movement patterns and improved visceral attunement with oneself. It is a novel way of practicing mindfulness, and has become a staple in my personal practice. I have seen a tremendous decrease in my stress and anxiety levels, which had reached a lifetime high. My productivity, sleep quality, and energy levels have all increased and I believe it is a must for those who continue to strive for better personal health. I recommend the Movement Meditation courses to family, friends, and my athletes."
-Cade Jones MS CSCS
Wanna just buy this thing?
This is a $140 dollar course when I give it live but I'm selling the audio, which is all you need, for $49.
And if you use the code SAVE10 at checkout you can save $10 off the price.
That's nearly 4 hours of guided Movement Meditations for $39!
If you are stressed out and don't know how to relax, this course is a game changer. I hope you find it as helpful as my students.
Still want more info? Click here:
Here are a few free Movement Meditations I've recorded in the past.
*Cited in the tremendous Behave by Robert Sapolsky.
**I have just described the basic neurophysiology of anxiety and most chronic tension syndromes