Sphinx: Bust the Myth of aging

Bust the “Myth of Aging:” Move into Freedom and Relaxation

Remember the Riddle of the Sphinx: “What creature walks on four feet in the morning, two feet at midday and three feet in the evening?” The mythical Greek King Oedipus answered correctly that it is the human crawling as a baby, walking upright in maturity, and moving feebly with a cane in older age. This ancient riddle assumes the gradualBust the myth of aging deterioration of our bodies as we age is inevitable—and it is a myth that continues today. Unlike other animals that remain active until they die, many believe we peak in our twenties and start declining. But it doesn’t have to be. I’m on a mission to bust the myth of aging as I teach body-mind practices that can help us live healthier and gracefully, with vibrancy and ease to the very end.

Founder of Hanna Somatics Education, disputed this “Myth of Aging.”   believed our bodies and minds do NOT have to decline later in life. Nor do we need to allow worry, fear, anxiety, and chronic pain to rob us of our well-being. Instead, we are designed to age by GROWING! This concept is aligned with neurogenesis and brain plasticity—the capacity to grow and rewire our brains, offering hope, optimism, and expectancy for a vibrant and fulfilling later life, inspiring us to make the most of our golden years.

“We are not programmed to die. We are programmed to live.
Evolutionary Biologist Tom Kirkwood, PhD.

Why This Myth of Aging?

Age does not determine destiny. So why do we accept the idea that aging means decline? Your chronological age—the number of years you’ve been alive—and your biological age—your physical and functional ability—are all different and separate. You may be chronologically 40 but biologically 60, or vice versa. In 1950, the average American lifespan was 65 years. Today, it is closer to 80. Though people live longer, the average American can expect to spend nearly 12 years in poor health, mainly at the end of life. However, with certain practices, we can extend our healthy years by taking charge of our health and well-being.

Chronic Stress and Aging

Bust the myth of aging and chronic muscle painIt’s well-recognized that negative stress can significantly impact our overall health and well-being. We were designed to handle stress as a survival mechanism. In ancient times, we needed to protect ourselves by fighting or running from animals for whom we might make a delicious meal. Even today, when walking in a forest and coming upon a stick on the ground, we might perceive it as a snake or a bush that could be a bear; fear arises and stimulates our natural fight—flight or freeze response.

In our modern world, this defensive response has integrated into everyday life. You lose your keys, have an argument with your partner, or have work deadlines, etc. You begin to pile on chronic stress, which may cause worry, anxiety, and chronically tense muscles. We were designed to handle stress as quick starts and extended stops. Following a stressful encounter, our ancients had long periods of rest surrounded by their supportive clan. It’s the opposite for most of us in our 24/7 fragmented world, with long and even multiple periods of stress and never fully relaxing.

“Every stress leaves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older.”
Hans Selye, Endocrinologist, Founder of the Stress Theory

Chronic stress leads to aging. It causes our cells to malfunction and lose their ability to divide. It can also trigger inflammation in the immune system, which has been linked to numerous diseases, including diabetes, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and obesity. Chronic stress can also lead to chronic anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress following a significant traumatic experience or injury. All this stress lands in our muscles, resulting in tension and pain in our shoulders, neck, lower back, and hips. Finding healthful ways to release chronic stress in our body and mind is essential to busting the myth of aging.

Move It or Lose It

Bust the myth of agingWe don’t stop moving because we age; we age because we stop moving. Every animal on the planet moves. Humans are the only ones who develop problems because we stop moving efficiently. We are born to move and develop motor skills to do certain things to move forward into the world: lift our head, roll, stand, walk, skip, jump, and climb. Then we’re told to stop, sit still, pay attention, etc. We sit more at desks or slump in chairs, hunching forward towards screens and devices. We hold our bodies in contorted positions that become habitual. Chronic stress, accidents, and injuries all add to the formation of these habitual patterns, grooving them into our bodies like a path developing in a forest.

Over time, our posture suffers, and we lose the ability to move freely and easily, losing our natural gate and beginning to hobble like penguins. This is because our sensory-motor cortex loses connections in the brain for how to move muscles. Our routines and habits can lead to physical pain and mental and emotional disharmony.

If all this sounds like a lot of doom and gloom, there are things you can do to turn things around, no matter your age.

Breaking the Myth of Aging as Decline

Aging doesn’t have to mean decline. We can reverse habitual patterns in our bodies and minds by continually challenging ourselves physically and mentally. Instead of attributing changes to “just getting older,” we can view them as “gaining experience” and growth opportunities.

Evidence-Based Body-Mind Practices

Two evidence-based practices that I teach can help bust the aging myth and empower you to reverse symptoms of chronic muscular pain and emotional tailspins:

  1. Hanna Somatic Education MovementHanna Somatic Education: A gentle, mindful movement practice that releases muscle pain, improves posture and enhances mobility. It works directly with the motor cortex to create new neural connections.
  2. iRest Meditation: This technique guides people into deep relaxation by releasing held patterns in the physical, emotional, and mental body. It also provides tools to change stress responses in everyday life.

Lifestyle’s Impact on Aging

According to the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, lifestyle significantly influences how we age. Over 90% of our lifestyle is determined by environmental factors, including nutrition, exercise, and stress management.

Lessons from Blue Zones

Scientists have identified “Blue Zones,” where people live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Common factors include:

  • Regular movement (gardening, walking)
  • Healthy diet
  • Strong social connections
  • Sense of purpose
  • Stress minimization
  • Adequate restorative sleep

Empowering Healthy Aging

By incorporating body-mind practices and positive lifestyle factors, we can challenge the aging myth and potentially reverse many age-related symptoms. Remember, we are not programmed to die but to live. Let this knowledge empower you to take control of your health and well-being, leading to a healthier, more vibrant life filled with ease until the very end.

Click the links for classes and more information
on Hanna Somatics
and iRest Meditation.

 

your power to heal arthritis

Your Power to Heal Arthritis

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is a painful, often debilitating condition affecting millions worldwide. Some call it degenerative joint disease or “wear and tear” arthritis. Rates of joint replacements continue to rise—even in younger people ages 45–54. Perhaps you or someone close to you suffers from this condition. But here’s the good news: osteoarthritis is often preventable and manageable with the proper lifestyle habits. This gives us an enormous opportunity to take control of our health and reduce chronic pain and healthcare costs. I am on a mission to educate and empower people and change mindsets so we may continue growing and thriving. Remember, with the right knowledge and lifestyle changes, you have the power to prevent, manage, and heal osteoarthritis.
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Life balance as harmony

“Embracing Harmony: A Guide to Balance and Fulfillment in Life”

A formula for turning disharmony into harmony and life balance

Our life pathways are many, filled with twists and turns, paved and treacherous. While our formative years are fairly set, successive life chapters require choices that can set the tone for how harmonious our life journey unfolds.

Imagine if you could integrate a process  into your life Continue reading

questions to ponder for a meaningful life

Questions for Unveiling the Essence of a Meaningful Life

In the labyrinth of life, there are questions that summon us to dive deep into the core of our being, illuminating the profound and transformative aspects that shape our existence. These questions not only prompt introspection but also guide us towards a richer, more purposeful journey. I invite you to take some time as you start the New Year to ponder your own thoughts around these questions to help you begin to unveil the essence of a meaningful life.

What Makes You Come Alive?

Unraveling the mysteries of our passions is an exploration of the self. What activities, endeavors, or pursuits breathe life into your spirit? Recognizing and nurturing these sources of vitality connects us with our authentic selves, unveiling the vibrant threads that weave the tapestry of our true essence. For me it’s the harmony and interconnectedness of being of service to others and in sync with nature. And also unexpected experiences that turn out to be magical!

Pivotal Turning Point in Your Life?

Life is a series of junctures that redefine our path. Reflecting on the pivotal moments that steered you in a new direction provides insight into your resilience and adaptability. This might be a career shift, a relationship milestone, personal revelation, or a dark period of your life. These turning points contribute to the intricate mosaic of your life story. Some of my pivotal moments have been marked by a loss or ending that caused me to rethink the path I was on—thus opening me up to new possibilities.

Acts of kindnessAn Act of Kindness You’ll Never Forget?

Kindness, a beacon of light in the human experience, leaves an indelible imprint on our hearts. Contemplate the acts of kindness that have touched your life—moments when compassion transcended barriers. These memories serve as a testament to the profound impact small gestures can have, fostering empathy and a sense of interconnectedness. There have been so very many in my life. One that comes to mind was when we had a celebration of my mother’s life after she had passed—and seeing all the people sharing memories of her as we sat in a circle.

One Thing On Your Bucket List?

A bucket list is a manifestation of our dreams and aspirations. What is that one thing you long to experience or achieve? Whether it’s an adventurous escapade, a skill to master, or a connection to forge, contemplating your bucket list instigates a sense of purpose, pushing you to embrace life’s possibilities. I consider myself a lifelong learner. At present I continue to learn and grow in my somatic and meditation teaching skills

One-line Message for the World?

If you had the chance to distill your wisdom into a single line for the world, what would it be? Crafting a concise message requires introspection into your values and beliefs. This exercise prompts a commitment to leaving a positive mark on the world, fostering a collective consciousness of empathy, understanding, and unity. My message is best captured in words I live by–Peace and Harmony.

Essence of a Meaningful Life

As we grapple with these questions, we embark on a journey of self-discovery, weaving together the threads of our passions, resilience, and kindness. In contemplating the essence of a meaningful life, we uncover the profound beauty that lies in the thoughtful exploration of our own existence.

Enjoy the journey!

Following is a recent guided meditation I recorded that may help you get started.

iRest Courses

 

Weaving a tapestry of peace, love, harmony

Weaving a Tapestry of Peace, Love and Harmony

In the midst of the  holiday season, weaving a tapestry of peace, love, and harmony can seem like an elusive dream. The constant demands of daily existence often leave us entangled in a web of stress and busyness, pulling us away from the serenity we crave. However, amidst the chaos, there exists a profound opportunity to craft a sanctuary of tranquility within ourselves.

Your inner tapestry

Envision your spirit as a resilient flame, flickering with the wisdom of experiences lived. Each challenge, triumph, and moment of stillness contributes to the vibrant hues of your inner tapestry. It is in these moments of reflection that we find the threads to weave a fabric that embodies the essence of peace, love, and harmony.

Let this become like a mantra echoing in the chambers of your soul, a harmonious reminder to relax into the present, restore your essence, and rejuvenate your spirit. This mantra acts as a guiding thread, leading you through the labyrinth of life towards a center of calm. In the midst of the holiday fervor, it serves as a compass, redirecting your focus to the beauty of the present moment.

Embrace the stillness as a gift to yourself, a moment of reprieve amid the festive frenzy. Amid twinkling lights and joyful celebrations, allow yourself the luxury of silence. In this quietude, rediscover the simplicity of being. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and let the world fade away as you immerse yourself in the tranquility within.

Peaceful embrace

May the mantra guide you to wholeness, where the light of your spirit dances gracefully into the peaceful embrace of the season’s end. As the year draws to a close, let your tapestry be a testament to the resilience of your spirit and the beauty that can be woven even in the most chaotic of times. In the stillness, find the power to create a space for peace, love, and harmony – a sanctuary that endures beyond the fleeting moments of the festive season.

Following is a recording of one of my live Rest meditations to help you cultivate “Peace, Love, and Harmony” as a part of your everyday life—and as a pathway for being fully human.

https://www.harmoniouspathways.com/irest-courses/

Cultivating Gratitude and Pronoia

Cultivating Gratitude: Zen Master Lessons and Wisdom of Pronoia

In a world often rife with suffering, illness, and heartbreak, finding solace may seem elusive. However, Zen Master Zono, a beacon of wisdom for those navigating life’s challenges, offers a simple yet profound practice: cultivating gratitude. In the face of adversity, she advises, “Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.” This powerful mantra, uttered every morning and evening, and in response to life’s twists and turns, embodies a transformative approach to living.

The essence of Zono’s teaching lies in embracing gratitude as a daily ritual. It’s a mindset that transcends circumstances, reminding us to appreciate both the joys and tribulations that shape our journey. By expressing gratitude, we shift our focus from what is lacking to what is present, fostering a sense of contentment even in the midst of trials.

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”
—Henry David Thoreau

Wisdom of Pronoia

Integral to this practice is the concept of pronoia, the antithesis of paranoia. Pronoia is the belief that the universe conspires for our well-being, orchestrating events in our favor. When we trust that the universe has our back, gratitude becomes a natural response to every person and situation in our lives. Even challenges take on new meaning, seen as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles.

In embracing pronoia, we acknowledge that everything works together for our good. This belief empowers us to navigate the complexities of life with grace and resilience. Gratitude becomes a force that transcends circumstances, a guiding light in both the darkest and brightest moments.

As we adopt Zono’s practice and cultivate pronoia, we discover that gratitude is not merely a reaction to favorable circumstances but a way of life. It becomes a source of strength, resilience, and inner peace. In the words of Zen Master Zono, “Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.” It may be a tall order to embrace this mantra. However, much like the concept of forgiveness, this may help us better experience harmony and peace.  In this simple expression lies the transformative power to reshape our relationship with life itself.

Following is a recording of one of my live Rest meditations to help you cultivate “gratitude” as a part of your everyday life—and as a pathway for being fully human.
(Click on image)


iRest Courses

 

Soaking in Being: Nurturing Well-being

In our fast-paced world, where busyness is often mistaken for productivity, the concept of “soaking in being” has emerged as a powerful antidote. It encapsulates the essence of nurturing well-being and cultivating a heightened state of awareness. This practice invites us to pause, reflect, and connect with our inner self, which in turn promotes a deeper sense of fulfillment and purpose in life.Continue reading

New Study: Unique Way to Relieve Chronic Pain

New Study: Unique Way to Relieve Chronic Pain

Many people experience chronic back and neck pain at some point in their lives and it can be debilitating.  If you aren’t one of these people, I’m sure you know people who are. A new study published in September 2022 demonstrates the efficacy of using pandiculation with Hanna Somatic Education (HSE) to relieve chronic back and neck pain. This unique self-care method releases chronic muscle tension by retraining the nervous system. I personally am a testament to HSE for relieving my own chronic muscle pain since I’ve been training and teaching this powerful practice.Continue reading

I am enough

I Am Enough

Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW wrote in “Rising Strong,” “To embrace and love who we are we have to reclaim and reconnect with the parts of ourselves we’ve orphaned over the years.” Those orphaned parts are stored in the library of our false beliefs of lack and limitation, feeling separate. Judging and comparing ourselves, our bodies and the lives we live to others all have the common root of “I’m not good enough.”

In this meditation we will select books from this library of not enoughness and open to deep inquiry and the opportunity for integration into the authentic being and wholeness of “I am enough.”Continue reading

Sleep better, Sleep deeper

Sleep Better—Sleep Deeper

Sleep is essential for all aspects of health, according to neuroscientist Mathew Walker, author of NYT best seller Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. Sleep is vital for maintaining immune system, cardiovascular and reproductive function. It helps improve memory, psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative decline and prevent cancer. Yet, according to a National Sleep Foundation survey (in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and Japan) at least 50% of people don’t get sufficient sleep (7 hours or more) on weekdays. If you routinely get 5 to 6 hours of sleep your body, mind and well-being are paying the price. Sleeping longer on weekends doesn’t replenish your sleep deficit.Continue reading