The vocabulary of the bodymind

Does your body hold pain, stiffness, or tension?

Is your mind anxious, spinning, or critical?

Do you think those two things are separate?

They’re not.

In the past several decades, the interrelationship between mind and body has become apparent to researchers studying the placebo effect, the effect of stress on physiology, and the effect of meditation practices and yoga training on physiological processes. The field of psychoneuroimmunology, which explores the interaction between the mind, the nervous system, and the immune system, is now at the leading edge of Western medicine.

In the West, we are learning that the body is a subconscious mind, and that body and mind are not fundamentally separate.

None of this is news to Native Americans around the globe. When attempting to facilitate healing, Native American healers will first look for disruptions in the patient’s connection to their innate personal power, strength, and understanding. The Navajo word for health is hozho, a word which also means harmony, truth, balance, and the Great Spirit. As Dr. Carl Hammerschlag describes, “being healthy is when what you say with your lips, is the same story you’re telling by your actions, and what you truly believe in your heart; that’s when you are in balance, in truth.”  

During stressful times, it is important to remember that your body is a fine-tuned radio receiver, and it registers all of your emotional and mental states. Pain, tension, and disturbance are often signals that you’re compromising your inner sense of truth.

When you create greater spiritual, mental, and emotional alignment, the body will often heal itself.

“Listening is an art we must cultivate.”

– Thich Nhat Hanh

If you’re having physical, mental, or emotional health complaints, mindful listening to your inner sense of truth — for even 15 minutes a day — will put you back on track. Pull out your yoga mat and your meditation cushion. Turn off the radio, your phone, the computer, and the television. Slow down when you walk. Ask what your bodymind wants you to know.

Mind-body practices will change your experience and reveal new possibilities for how you live your life. They may be the most powerful tool that you have available to assure both short-term equanimity and long-term health.

To your success,