Some Musings on Yoga, Health, and Sanity

Your Body Doesn’t Lie

Same time last year I started feeling a burning pain on my right leg running from my sit bone down to my ankle. I thought I injured myself while doing the pigeon and the monkey poses in one of our sessions. I wrote a series of blogs about it, which ended in my realization that my pain was more psychological than physical…and that I had to quit my job if I wanted to be healed. The experience led me to search more about the mind-body-spirit connection and thus to buying the book Your Body Doesn’t Lie by John Diamond, M.D.

I asked my acupuncturist, himself an M.D., if the book is credible and he was positive. I likewise asked my mentor, who used to be a cranial pranic healer, if I should believe what the book is saying. He said, “that you know from experience that your body doesn’t lie should not make you doubt this book…it even led you to decide to quit your job.” (Epilogue: I haven’t felt the same kind of crippling pain again since I resigned from work last December.)

The book is unorthodox in that it combines western medicine with the eastern beliefs such as the existence of chakras or energy fields. And while the western medicine supposes that the thymus gland does not have any function in adult life, the book says (and is supported by the alternative medicine practitioners and healers I know) that the thymus is the control house of the body’s immune system. The thymus reacts easily to stressful stimuli such that continuous stress causes it to shrink and thus weakens the immune system; at times the gland becomes “confused, disoriented, imbalanced” as in the case of myasthenia gravis.

The book never mentioned yoga but after reading it, everything I do in yoga and everything that yoga advocates now make MORE sense to me. For instance, breathing in from one nostril and breathing out through another help the body achieve balance (pranayama!). Using the left side of your body if you are right-side dominant and vice versa also does the same (asanas!).  Using plastic and anything synthetic material, on the other hand, creates imbalance (love mother earth!) and so does listening to rock music (hmmm, kirtan?). I always hear the term “centering” in counseling or psycho-emotional-spiritual processing but this is the first time I hear about it in physiological terms. It was a good read, indeed.

A few days ago, I had a dilemma—my ex-boss asked me to work on a project with him. Aside from my need to earn a living, I did not want to burn bridges, thus my inclination to accept the offer. However, I have not forgotten yet our arguments, one of which led me to telling him “It’s not about the money; it’s your attitude toward my work and that really hurts” (you see, I won’t make a good politician—I’m too honest and straightforward.). When I was about to give him a second chance, my mentor’s words started having yet another meaning: that you know from experience that your body doesn’t lie should not make you doubt (this book)…it even led you to decide to quit your job.

I guess I could and would never go back to where I left off. There is no turning back.

 

The Challenge of Being a Yogini and a Catholic

The other day I visited a friend who was confined in a hospital for treatment of myasthenia gravis, a disorder where one’s antibodies attack the muscles instead of the viruses and other “foreign bodies”. The culprit, her doctor said, was a malfunctioning thymus gland, which is supposed to be taken out this week. Incidentally, I have just read “Your Body Doesn’t Lie.”

So I was torn between giving my friend the book as a way of saying “please reconsider your decision, there is no turning back” and just supporting her on what she’s decided to do. I asked another friend, who was with me at the hospital, for his opinion. His reaction? “Why in the first place are you reading such kind of book? Why are you into this mind-body thing?” By the way, this friend is a part of a Catholic group, of which I used to be a member. Why I left the organization five years ago after spending 11 years of my life in it is a long story.

Some time last month I met up with another friend, let’s call her Girl A. When I told her that I had resigned from work for several months already and that I have been a “full-time yogini” since (which means I have been spending more time on the mat than at work), she was not a bit surprised. Or so I thought. Girl A recently bumped into a common friend, Girl B, who told me about Girl A’s breaking of news: “Girl! Did you know that Chona is into yoga?!” Apparently, Girl A was so upset about it, thinking that yoga is another religion. So I asked Girl B if she was as upset as Girl A to learn about my practice. She answered, “Of course not! As long as you don’t become a Buddhist or a Hindu.” Ommmmm….

Oh well. I met both of these girl friends of mine in the Catholic group I mentioned earlier.

I guess I could and would never go back to where I left off (nor be part of any organized religious group again). There is no turning back.

 

Tongue Reading (yes, you read it right but it’s not about my fortune)

I started seeing my acupuncturist again after I had flu last month and since then I had had a three sessions with him already. In all those sessions, his “reading” was consistent—my system is clear. No more thick, white coating on my tongue! (That’s how acupuncturists do their diagnosis—they examine the tongue.)  And this I attribute to my becoming a vegetarian. Again, I could and would never go back to where I left off. There is no turning back.

During my first session with him after 10 months, he thought that my flu was the “final step” of my body’s cleansing process (may be true since I have no more swollen lymph nodes now). In my second session, he said I needed sleep and rest (you mean 9 months of bumming around and sleeping until 7 am aren’t enough?!). I guess the effects of stress on the body are not that easy to reverse. Finally, this week, he said that I have stagnant energy that I could not release so he suggested that I do more poses that work on the abs where my energy is stuck.  I asked him why is it so considering that I do yoga at least five times a week. He replied, “it could have been worse without yoga.” There you go.

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6 thoughts on “Some Musings on Yoga, Health, and Sanity

  1. Hi Chona,

    What does the white coating on the tongue mean? I think I might have that. Hmmm…maybe I should go see your acupuncturist.

    Will I see you at the Global Mala Project?

    Namaste.

  2. Hi Avril! White coating can be interpreted in a lot of ways–it can be a sign of unhealthy eating habits or “dampness” (too much yin or coldness in the body), among others. Having teeth marks on your tongue is also not healthy (if I remember it right, it’s a stress sign)–and I thought it’s just normal! “Too red” tongue could either mean you’re eating meat or you have just experienced strong, negative emotions (he could actually tell kung may inaway ako during the day, ha ha!). The thing is, my eyes are not trained to judge the degree of redness of my tongue =( Interesting ‘no?

    Yes, I intend to go to the GMP, God willing. =)

    Namaste.

  3. Hay, the rigidness of religion…is God so small that He can only fit in one religion’s box?…or in one’s understanding of that religion-box? The human mind is but a grain of sand in God’s existence so who is anyone to be so conclusive.

    God’s ways are over and above ours. He will use what our minds will judge as evil, and we can’t even do anything about it. That’s what He’s being God means.

    Faith. “Eventhough I walk into the valley of the shadow of death…” If even in death, God is there then what more a “new age” belief. Sisiw lang kay God yan. 😉

  4. Gusto ko sanang magcomment pero di ko pa binabasa ng buo tong post na to, hahaha.

    One thought though… matter is made of energy… energy cannot be destroyed nor created but only transformed into another form… man is made of matter.

    When the body dies and decomposes, it is actually the start of new life… the maggots… the earth… and then the sun gives light so that new plants may grow… and then the plants provide food for man and animals… and the cycle repeats itself.

  5. Hay talaga, Crissy! Had another encounter last Tuesday. One, the mind-body thing (DAW) espouses that we are God (or god?) and makes us focus on the “self”, making us self-centered, selfish. But in my 13 years of reading materials on the mind-body connection, not one book ever mentioned about me/us being God (or god). Two, we need to accept (DAW) our brokenness in all aspects and let God heal and redeem us. Naku, mawawalan na ng pasyente ang mga doktor kung ganun! 😀

    Well, I’ve learned to take these comments as their personal stand, not that of the organization/Church to which they belong. And I’ve always believed that God will meet us wherever we are.

    Sige na, Jon, don’t be shy, he he…. 😀

  6. I think it’s the “the Divine in me…” that makes them interpret that we think of ourselves as God. Funny, the first time I encountered the meaning of Namaste, I immediately connected it to the Holy Spirit — how our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

    Saka, ano ber. Di ba sa Genesis nakasulat na God gave us this earth so that “one day they may be one of Us.” And the Us there are the Gods.

    Hay! Brokenness chorva. Hello, how sure are they that yoga is not one of God’s means to heal and redeem us?!?

    I’ve seen so many broken yogis and yoginis in my practice. I am one broken yogini who finds healing in my yoga practice.

    God does not heal in the confines of the church or through Holy Water alone!

    Amen.

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