by Prashant Joshi, Keri Elkin and Julia Teters
During the frenzy of the holiday season, healing, communication and gratitude takes a backseat amidst all the stress in preparation of food, shopping and gifting. Those three words, however, would serve a better purpose if people could make them the primary theme throughout this holiday season and every day of the year. It is important to bring the message of healing, communication and gratitude to the forefront, which is essential to the prevention and reversal of sufferings from diseases. Here are the simple definitions of these three words:
Healing is about restoring a sense of wholeness at a physical, emotional, spiritual and social level. The holidays inherently are healing times as one goes from daily rut to some introspection, as well as a festive social time to spend with family, friends and seasonal feasts.
Communication—which in Latin means, “to share,” is the purposeful activity of information exchanged between two or more participants in order to convey or receive the intended meanings through a shared system of signs and semiotic rules.
Gratitude is the acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.
Combining these three simple words becomes a necessary and sufficient therapy of highest quality and positive outcome. Based on these definitions, it makes sense that when one is able to acknowledge what’s good in life or focus on what one appreciates about others, it’s possible to communicate from a place of love and compassion and gain the capability to work toward transforming unhealthy relations with others and the self. When one can clear the negativity that comes from toxic relations and emotions, one can help restore true wellness.
Miscommunication can mean a difference between war and peace. From a yoga therapy perspective, healing communication can mean abundance of endorphins, versus the hurtful communication, which can mean abundance of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. There are several yoga therapeutic solutions to address optimizing the art and science of healing communication:
Authentic yoga practice is holistic and kept simple yet powerful. Therapies include sharir sanchalan (body warm-ups), asanas (place and posture), pranayama (the control of breath), dhyana (mindful meditation) and omkar (ohm mantra). Learning these therapies helps bring out the compassionate self and reduces any anxiety that may be coming up due communication.
Begin with a couple of rounds of sun salutations—the warm up sequence of vinyasa- or flow-style yoga practice— to move the body and focus the mind. Focus on one breath, one movement. Next, practice a couple of poses that will help the communication chakra, such as the lion and camel poses.
After moving the body, it’s important to work toward steadying the mind. A pranayama technique to relieve stress and anxiety from communication challenges is to feel the self rooted into the ground in a comfortable seated position. Begin a series of exhalations that are longer than inhalations. Inhale for two counts and double the exhalation for four counts. Increase by inhaling for three counts and exhale for six; then inhale for four counts, exhale for eight. Gradually increase the counts.
Finally, it’s important to silence the mind. Like anything else that one wants to master, this takes practice. Try to rewire the subconscious mind by repeating this mantra for gratitude: “Gratitude brings me into a harmonious relationship with the good in everyone and everything that surrounds me.” After repeating the mantra a few times, practice staying silent.
In conclusion, communication is fundamental to healing, and miscommunication can be hurtful. Gratitude becomes a great attitude and an essence of healing communication. The more people focus on feeling grateful, the more people have to feel grateful for. If one hasn’t had the pleasure to notice the positive effects of being grateful and having healthy communications, give it a try today. It can have significant positive impacts on health, mood, productivity and relationships.
In yoga therapy and its ancillary tools, everyone has all that is needed to bring about healing communication. This holiday season, practice to slow down and appreciate the self and others. Let the love and compassion flow and see how beautiful communication happens to truly build a strong healing community, starting with the self.