APRIL – Train Your Brain #4

The free monthly Train the Brain sessions continue to unfold with the fourth session having taken place April 20.

The focus of the session was the importance of relaxation in order to perform to your fullest potential.

Meditation is a tool for consciously moving toward the expression of your highest and best self.

It does this by supporting the evolution of the mind from low levels of awareness to higher levels of awareness. These levels of the mind are called chakras.

Each chakra corresponds to a bundle of nerves in the head and spine. The lowest level of awareness is a small concentration of nerves at the base of the spine (marked by the lower red circle on the right). The highest levels are associated with the large concentration of nerves that make up the brain (indigo and violet at the top of the diagram).

As the mind evolves, it moves from being reactive to responsive. Like climbing up the Calgary Tower, as the mind evolves, your perspective changes. Rather than being caught up in the chaos of street level life, you are able to observe situations, your thoughts and your feelings more clearly and objectively from a higher perspective. This allows you to effectively respond to the circumstances rather than being reactive.

The more you learn to plug into these higher centres, the more effective you become because your ability to access, develop and apply your executive functions improves. Executive functions are a set of cognitive processes associated  with the higher chakras. Executive functions all have to do with managing oneself and one’s resources to fulfill desires. Executive functions include organization, planning, focus, time management, self control, working memory and self awareness.

To summarize, think of the head and spine as the Nexen Tower. As you practice meditation, you move your mind to higher levels of performance, climbing the corporate ladder to the head office, fully expressing your executive functions and becoming the CEO of your life.

What gets in the way? Judgement.

Meditation supports a natural growth process, allowing you to mature into your full potential much like fruit ripening on the branch. Judgements like,  “You can never be that” block this process by creating barriers that result in inner body tension.  Judgement is a dream killer.

Meditation is a growth process expanding your mind. Our natural tendency is to resist change and judge our current reality. This resistance shows up in the body as tension. Therefore, meditation is essentially a process of releasing tension and relaxing on the road to the highest expression of your self.

Unfortunately, due to a glitch in the recording software, only the PowerPoint slides were recorded during the this month’s session. The 25-minute meditation was not captured.

The general steps are as follows:

Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your knees and ankles hip width apart. Take 5 deep breaths in through the nose and out through your mouth. Relax all the muscles of your face. Settle into stillness and scan your body from head to toes noticing areas of tension in your body.

Begin deep diaphragmatic breathing. This triggers relaxation, sending messages to the brain that everything is all right. There are no current threats. No need to fight or flee.  Now slowly curl and uncurl your toes 10 times at a relaxed even pace. Notice the contrasting feelings between the motion of the toes and stillness in the rest of the body. After curling the toes the tenth time, release them with a big exhale. Relax for a few moments. Observe how your body feels.

Begin opening and closing the hands 10 times at a comfortable pace. Notice the contrasting feelings between the motion of the fingers and stillness in the rest of the body. After closing the hands the tenth time, release them with a big exhale. Relax for a few moments. Observe how your body feels.

Now, balance the right and left brain by consciously making your inhales and exhales equal (see the bottom of the March Train the Brain blog post for a hyperlink to instructions on Equal Ratio Breathing). This breathing technique will create greater depths of relaxation.

Scan through your body and notice where you are still holding tension. Focus on one of these areas and consciously create more tension in the area by tensing it right up to the point before movement occurs. Hold this internal tension as you breathe normally for 5-10 breaths. On an exhale breath, release the tension. Notice the changes in the area. Notice your ability to both create and release tension. Focus on the same or another area of tension. Repeat the process of generating internal tension. Holding the tension while breathing regularly. Consciously releasing the tension on an exhale. Noticing the changes. Noticing your ability to create and release tension.

The next session is May 18, 12:15-12:55 p.m. in the Discovery Theater (Annex A). We’re getting into the meat of performance now so you don’t want to miss it.

Register on myGPS
I hope to see you there.

PaulPaul Larmer
Program Coordinator
Nexen Wellness Centre

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