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[00:00] Hello! And welcome to Move Into Coherence. I’m your host Pamela Stokes. In today’s episode we’ll be learning about fear and what it does to our brain, to our body, and also how we can help ourselves find relief. So let’s begin. Thanks for joining in.
[00:24] There’s been a lot of fear, lately especially, with all of the things that are going on in our world. And at the same time, it is something that is, it’s possible that, it can help us. You know that sounds kind of funny or strange, because fear doesn’t seem like something that would be helpful. But we are designed to notice when we’re afraid and notice things that make us feel fearful so that we get out of the way, and we move along. So it’s a good thing to have some fear. But oftentimes the fear can be so large, and there’s really nothing that we can find a source for this fear, it’s just sort of in us. And what happens, as we learned in Episode 6: Stress and Your Brain, that when we have fear, this creates a stress response, which can then affect cognition, which is your ability to think. And when we have the stress response, and we have this fear, there are little tiny cells in our brain and in our body that will basically turn on the eating capacity of these cells, and they’ll eat up our neurons, our brain cells. They’re called microglial cells, and you can listen to Episode 6 if you want to learn a little bit more about that. So rather than having our brain get eaten up because of the stress of the fear, we can do something about it. And today we’re going to be doing a motion, and it’s a little different from the one we learned in an earlier episode which I called the Four-Part Breath. This is a little different because we’re doing an extra thing at the end of the fourth part.
[02:33] So let’s get into it. The 4th part, I’ll just start there, is we’re going to be making a sound in our throat, and it’s as if we were fogging up a mirror like, “haaaah”, but our lips are closed. In yoga this is called the Ujjayi breath, and it basically creates a little vibration in your throat, in your larynx and pharynx, and this is an area that we know is innervated that will allow our nervous system to feel calm. In other words, if we know that it’s safe enough to make sound, then our nervous system knows we must be safe if we are making sound. So we’re going to be using that sounding in the throat for the exhale. So I’ll describe the parts. We’re taking an inhale—this is all through the nose—we’re taking an inhale into the low belly, we’re continuing that inhale up into the chest on the second part of the inhale, and then the third part of the inhale we’re bringing that all the way up to above the collar bones. Our lungs actually come up that high. So we’re imagining that we’re filling the low belly, filling the chest, filling the upper parts of the lungs on the three inhales, and then on the exhale, we’ll be doing that breath, that Ujjayi breath, which is that sound like you’re fogging up a mirror or some glass, but your lips are closed on the exhale. And when we do this exhale, not only are we making that sound, we’re going to tip our chin up a little bit so that the throat is extended and we’re going to roll our eyes to look up at the ceiling or above us. And then on the exhale, I would love for you to imagine that the breath is moving up out of the crown of the head. So we can kind of think of the breath as coming in through the lower part of the body, up through the legs, through the earth really, and then coming into the low belly, inhaling. Then the chest. Then the upper lungs. And then that nice long exhale with that sounding in the throat, as we tip our chin up and our eyes look up, and imagine that the breath is flowing out through the crown of the head. And we’ll do this breath—let’s do it five times—we’ll do a 5-cycle Four-Part Breath with sounding.
[05:24] Let’s begin. Inhale low, middle, upper and exhale. And again, inhale low, middle, upper, and exhale. And again low, middle, upper, and exhale. And again, inhale lower, middle, upper, and exhale. And our last one: inhale low, middle, and upper, and exhale. And then just come into regular breathing.
[06:38] Noticing how you feel is a very helpful way to notice if there’s any changes. This is a great activity to do if you’re feeling fear in the moment. Just let yourself breathe in this way. And if you’re in a place where maybe the sounding isn’t, you know, gonna be great for people to hear, then don’t make the sound, but just try the breath. It’s really good for bringing us into our body, for grounding us into our body. But also it turns on the parasympathetic part of our nervous system, which is the rest, digest, and some would say “repair” or “create”. Rather than being in the sympathetic, activated state of fight/flight. This breath is great for taking us out of that stress response—the fear response—and putting us into a place where we feel our, let’s call it,our power. But this is a soft power. We’re not tight and feeling tension in our body. We’re actually feeling calm, and you may notice that right now. Just noticing. Maybe you’re feeling some tingling in your body. That’s your aliveness. Anytime we can feel our sense of aliveness, that’s a really good thing that tells our nervous system everything’s OK. So thanks for joining in! I so appreciate you being here. Please practice this breath anytime you feel fear or just on a regular basis. It’s very good for clearing the lungs and opening up all of the tubes inside of your lungs—the bronchi and the bronchioles—and really allows a lot of the oxygen to get into the cells because of that long slow exhale. The sounding helps us feel safe because we’re using that social engagement system which turns off the trauma response, and our little microglial cells won’t put out the messages for our neurons to be eaten up. So it’s really a good breath, and I really appreciate you joining in and doing this with me today.
[9:09] Thanks for listening to Move Into Coherence. I’m going to take this opportunity to let you know about my new name and new website, Move Into Coherence dot com. I changed the name from Move Into Resilience for both the website and the podcast because I feel that the word “resilience” is an individual kind of term whereas “coherence” is more of a collective term. And right now in our history things are getting kind of wild it may seem. Old things are breaking down. New things are coming into being. This is a really important time for us to find our coherence, to find our integrated wholeness. So the name change was appropriate I felt, and I hope you’ll understand why I did that. Coherence isn’t something that we are in all the time, but we go in and out of coherence. And that’s a good thing, because what that means is that we’re able to take on any new situation that may arise, and that’s resilience actually—being able to bounce back and to come back into a calm state, a calm alertness or soft power.
[10:38] Thank you for joining in. Send yourself some appreciation for doing so. This has been Move Into Coherence. I’m Pamela Stokes. Take it easy.