I realise in order to read this you will probably be using Wi-Fi and I am not suggesting for a minute we do without it! It is a great tool in helping us communicate and connect with one another. As human beings we have an innate desire to connect with another human. This feels so natural to us, we don’t even think about it, we just do it. So it might be no surprise that this need to connect arises from our basic instinct for survival.
As babies, we humans are unable to do pretty much anything for ourselves for the first year of our lives. We are totally reliant on our mother or other kind adult to provide us with food, warmth and safety. At this stage being able to connect with another human is a matter of life and death and is the basis for our strong desire for connection.
As we grow, forming strong healthy connections with our adult carers is essential for our mental and emotional wellbeing. Many issues with mental health in adult life can be traced back to the lack of having this need met during childhood. Being cut off from other people has a detrimental impact on our physical as well as our mental health, as research on loneliness in older people has shown.
Most of us will know how good it feels to connect with another person, whether it is in a group, individually with a friend or romantically. It makes us feel good, and when I say this I literally mean it FEELS good. Our emotions are mostly based on our brain responding to body sensation. How do you feel when you are with someone you have a strong connection with? Light, expansive, fizzing with energy or you may get that warm and calm ‘fuzzy feeling inside’.
But we are busy people. We rush from place to place with our heads full of ‘stuff’ and our ‘to do’ lists. We are often distracted and prone to daydreaming. Some of us may have even had experiences in our lives that mean we are completely out of touch with ourselves. All of this makes it difficult to connect with ourselves, let alone another person.
However, one way to help us connect well with ourselves and others is to be ‘present’. You know how it feels when you are talking to someone but you can sense they are not listening? This is an example of them not being ‘present’. How does it feel? Frustrating, upsetting? Now try and remember a time when someone gave you their full and undivided attention, listening carefully to all you said. How did that feel?
One of the ways to help us be more present is to be embodied. What I mean by this is that you can feel yourself in your body. All of you – your body, mind and consciousness are all fully attending and in the same place at the same time. You may have heard this called being grounded.
Fully inhabiting our bodies will help us bring our attention to the present and one of the best ways of doing this is to focus on our felt sense. This is the world of sensation, touch, smell, sound and taste. Focusing on our felt sense takes us out of our heads, where we often spend most of the time, and into our bodies. It helps us stay present, and yoga is the perfect way to make that deep connection with our body.
In yoga practice we focus on our breath, and on our body sensation as we go into a pose, hold it and come out again. We notice what is stiff, what moves easily, and notice if we are trying to force our body or can't be bothered to make the effort. We also notice if our mind becomes distracted – and as a result we get to know ourselves a whole lot better.
Another great way for those seeking deeper insight into and better connection with themselves is craniosacral therapy (CST). It allows you time and space to be with your self in a supported environment and the possibility to experience peace and stillness.
CST is a complementary therapy that has its origins in osteopathy. Biodynamic craniosacral therapy, the form I practice, is based on the understanding that the tissues in the body display a rhythmic motion and recognise this motion as a natural self healing force.
Throughout our lives factors such as accidents, injuries and physical and emotional stress cause our tissues and bodies to contract. This creates an imbalance that may result in illness. By listening with our hands to the subtle rhythmic tide-like movements, craniosacral therapists work to help raise vitality and support your body’s innate ability to balance and heal itself.
Who is it for? In this Biodynamic form of craniosacral therapy, we do not use manipulation. In fact, the treatment is so gentle it is suitable for people with fragile conditions. For example, after an operation or accident. People seek CST for many reasons, from helping to reduce stress and promote relaxation, to helping recovery from an illness, accident or chronic conditions like headaches or digestive disorders.
Whether you choose to connect with your friend, your loved ones, your pet or go for a walk in the forest and connect with nature, I wish you meaningful and fulfilling connections.
Originally posted on yogacrow.com