This article is part of the SoleHealing Fundamentals series.
The Beauty of a Yawn
A yawn is an orchestrated, rhythmic, simultaneous variance of contraction and expansion in the body through almost every neural pathway. Every joint is opened, released, rotated and relaxed. Animals do this almost every time they get up from rest, and so should we. If you are not having a natural stretching experience, begin to invite it in by starting a yawn. Your body intelligence will kick in and do the rest.Dr. Janice Brown D.Ac.
SoleHealing Potential Release Points
When energy transforms inside a closed system, it requires a potential release point; closed systems can pressure up. Think about water transforming into steam in a covered pot, the transformation creates an internal pressure under the cover. There needs to be a release for the steam, the transformed water, so that the pot doesn’t boil over. There are a few options, such as a release valve or taking the lid off the pot. The release space allows the transformation process of water turning to steam in the closed system of the pot to safely and continuously occur.
How does a closed energetic system in a body release its transformational pressure? In acupuncture we call these locations gateways. The most powerful gateways in the body are found in joints. These are natural transition points in the body that have a space which accommodates movement, expansion, contraction and release of these natural pressures, forces and processes.
You can think of the energies in your bodily system like weather, influenced by many factors that cause different behaviours. So your joints are special in more ways than you may realize, these bodily structures are created with a multitude of functions and purposes. Your joint spaces allow movement to occur and a physical structure needs to be able to accommodate a variety of stresses or forces from internal and external conditions.
What are we really talking about in this context? Let’s look at a practical example of this in the way bridges are constructed. Expansion and contraction joints are placed in the bridge structures to accommodate movement that occurs from environmental expansion and contraction of the physical materials the bridge is constructed of. Like the joints in your body, these spaces or gaps allow expansion and contraction under varying influences, while maintaining the integrity of the structure.
Each body system has an energetic space preference for release.
For example: My release joint is my left knee. This is the place my body naturally and purposefully collects energy that is in need of release due to transformation. This is a place that spontaneously aches and lets me know something is ready to let go. I used to interpret this as an old injury “back-talking” to me. Now, I understand that this is also a release area for me, and when I use the supportive exercises and tools, I can often release that whole sensation and many others just by releasing the “valve” that is holding back this energetic excess.
When I pay attention to this, I can feel better quickly in the moment instead of interpreting it as something that is wrong with my body. I now understand that my body is giving me very specific information and that there is something I can do about it right here, right now.
PS, you naturally and unconsciously abide this release. Part of you is compelled to touch or soothe this area. You may unconsciously rub the area or hold it, maybe you have the desire to put heat on it. This is an intuitive response to your own need. Abide it, allow it and feel thankful now for the keen insight you have been given by your body.
Exercise: Subtle Movement Full-body Joint Release
These are subtle movements that allow a gentle expansion of the major joint spaces of your body.
Energy collects in these pockets of space in the joints and becomes a disturbance of natural flow. When you gently release these aspects you will find that the movements you experience through the day become far more natural over time and this is the goal; natural movement, comfort and flow.
Try to keep your head out of the game and just move in a natural way, the body wants to experience the movement. It has to be subtle movement because when you force, when you overextend, you are using an energy to overcome the resistance instead of allowing the resistance to dissipate.
This is all about what you feel, not what a goal should be. So be present. Be gentle and be kind. This is the way you reconnect with you body’s natural rhythm and needs. Because this is a true natural rhythmic need, even a few moments in essence is far more powerful than days of therapeutic manipulations.
Try to be perceptive in your awareness of where there is an energy disruption (Is the joint tight of stiff? Do the muscles around a joint feel congested? What do you feel?) Mindfully choose to encounter that space with a welcoming awareness. There is wisdom in this space that you have called ‘something wrong’ before. Let it be what it is, an attempt for a natural occurrence of release.
Come to understand it is only a minor disallowance and see what the body needs in terms of gentle loving support.
Cradle this space in your gentle awareness. In your mind. In your heart. Do this joint release exercise lying fully supported on a soft surface like your bed. You want a surface that will have some give to accommodate your gentle pressure as you press the body through the movements. This is a great way to start and end your day. You may also find it a great prelude to your resting space if you are in the ‘lying down’ movement position.
ACTION: Feeling into your body, relaxing into your space and natural rhythm.
Body poisition: Lying on your back
Point the toe. Point the heel. One side then the other.
Pull the patella up (allowing it to slide over the knee joint and relax it, let it slide back.) One side then the other.
Rock the sacrum, gently press down through the heel to allow a gentle opening of the hip. Imagine that your hips are like a coat hanger and visualize and dip the corner of each leg down to open up and tilt the hanger.
Body position: Roll over onto your hands and knees.
Cat stretch the spine forward and back. Deep breaths through the rib cage and open and close the rib space.
Body position: Sitting
Roll your shoulders forward and back. Feel the scapula slide with this motion.
Elbows, wrist and hands open your hands and spread your fingers as wide as you can. With hands spread open, rotate wrists forward and back. There’s no exertion. Just breathing into these spaces. Allowing them to sigh open.
Neck and Jaw – yawning
Stretch everything forward and contract the front. Roll everything backward and contract the back. (You can also do this one while in a standing position)
Body position: Transitioning to rest or movement
A few big breaths and let the air settle through your body into these freshly opened spaces. And just feel. Find an awareness of your body so you know what this space feels like.
– If you are going into rest, just lie and observe where you feel expansion in your joints.
– If you are transitioning into movement, be aware of how these spaces feel now compared to how they feel at other times during the day.
A special note about yawning.
If you find you are yawning spontaneously it is the body reaching for nourishment. It is flooding itself with all the natural resources it possesses and swiftly redistributing them through the various pathways and channels of the body. This is wisdom at its finest. No planning, forethought or intervention required. Just opening the tap and moving things along.Dr. Janice Brown D.Ac.
This article is part of the SoleHealing Fundamentals series.
Author: Dr. Janice Brown, D.Ac.
Dr. Janice is a Doctor of Acupuncture, SolePath Certified Mentor and is the author of the SoleHealing Protocols. She has a clinical focus on helping people embrace their true nature and self through emotional and mental awareness and a little acupuncture persuasion. Dr. Janice’s SolePath is Spiritual Warrior and Intellectual Lateral Thinker. It is this SolePath that allows her to convey the protocols for the SoleHealing body of work in a practical way. She has a clinical practice in Calgary, Alberta, CANADA.