February 7, 2019
With the rush of the new year, it is essential to take a breather and find ones centre every now and then. Cathy Gamba of Pause Yoga Studio talks us through the practise of mindfulness as we get into 2019
Mindfulness and Neuroplasticity.
Mindfulness grows by the exercise of mindfulness. It is like exercising a muscle. Every time you work it, you pump it just a little. You make it a little stronger.
You have probably already heard the famous saying: "Neurons that fire together wire together"? But what does it mean really? To simplify: our brain cells communicate with one another via synaptic transmission. One brain cell releases a chemical (neurotransmitter) that the next brain cell absorbs. This communication process is known as "neuronal firing".
When brain cells communicate frequently, the connection between them strengthens. Messages that travel the same pathway in the brain over and over begin to transmit faster and faster. With enough repetition, they become automatic.
We know that negative thought processes follow this same pattern. The more we think about, or "ruminate" on a negative thought, the more entrenched the thought becomes. Negative and traumatic thoughts also tend to "loop", they play themselves over and over until you do something consciously to notice them.
Every time you practice mindfulness or focus on gratitude or simply focus on the present moment, you are effectively rewiring your brain. YOU are doing a rep for your brain and you are consequently strengthening the connections between brain cells.
The power of neuroplasticity literally allows us to pay attention to what is good in our lives and allow the good feelings to permeate our bodies and our minds. By repetitively doing this, we are making underlying changes to the neural circuitry of our brains increasing the probability that the same neural connections will fire quicker in the future.
Here is a simple mindfulness practice for you to try out today, you don't need to go to any special place, you can even do this now wherever it is that you are - whether it is at your desk, in your car or outside :
Inhale for a count of 3
Exhale for a count of 3
Repeat x 3
Now add retention:
Inhale for 3, hold breath for 3, exhale 3
Repeat x 3
Now add suspension:
Inhale for 3, hold for 3, exhale for 3, stay empty for 3
Repeat x 3
Now ask yourself:
Where I am? x 3
What do I hear? x3
What do I feel? x3
Open your eyes, what do I see? x3
Cathy teaches from her beautiful space over looking nature and the peaceful surroundings of Eastbourne. If you haven't experienced one of Cathy's Yoga classes, we can recommend you immerse yourself in the beauty of Pause Yoga.