Visualization, allows you to use your mind to alter your reality. In yoga you can use visualization to enhance your mind body connection. My, Yoga teacher, used to say, visualize, you’re cracking a walnut between your shoulder blades. Standing in, Mountain Pose, or, tree pose, you can use, visualization, to imagine you’re rooted down through your feet into the ground and bringing that energy back up through your legs and spreading it throughout your body. This is how you use, visualization, to enhance your, yoga practice.
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Back pain led me to yoga
Myrna: Were you attracted to, yoga, because of back pain?
Dianne: Yes, In my younger years, I was a little bit resistant to, yoga. I’ve always liked to work out as part of my, stress relief. A big part of my, stress relief, and I felt like you know, I had to be doing something a lot more intense than, Yoga. I hadn’t had as many experiences with, yoga, because there’s so many different types of, yoga, and so many ways to do it as you were describing one of many, so I was a little bit resistant.
Then yes, two things happened about simultaneously and one was, I started having, back pain, after the birth of my second child, and so I was looking for ways to manage that pain. There were periods of time when it would become more intense. So all I could do was either do walking or do, yoga, and I was kind of worried that I would start to gain weight and that I wouldn’t have that, stress relief, that I craved.
But I found out that you know that that wasn’t the case. I was keeping the weight off. And the, stress relief. There’s so many different kinds of, yoga, which I hadn’t realized in the past that it was working for me. And around that same time, the fitness center where I went had a new, yoga teacher, and everybody kept saying, you have to try her. She’s so good and everything and I probably still resisted for about six months, I would say I don’t know exactly how long but I did really connect with her.
Just the way that she approached it and was able to it was a little bit more of a, flow yoga, but she also teaches the breath practice because I hadn’t ever learned how to breathe even with all this exercising. I had never learned correct, breathing techniques, for exercise. Or for life for that matter. So those those two events actually really started me on, yoga, then as kind of my Friday treat.
Just feel good for the weekend, reward myself and then you know, have a good start to the weekend and then with having to manage the, back pain, and became you know, more of a maybe not a daily practice then but at least a few times a week.
Yoga allows connection to mind body spirit
Myrna: Yoga, Obviously one of the beautiful things about, yoga, is the breathing you know, combining, mind and body, and with the breath. I just started doing, morning yoga, last week, and we’re starting with some simple exercises. You’re right I mean, if it’s almost like if you’re an old person that’s sitting in a chair because we’re doing things with our hands. Right, regular stuff like raising up your shoulder and, you know, doing your neck, things like I would do at the beginning of a workout. The warm up exercise.
But guess what, everything that you do, you’re doing with the breath. I’m breathing with the, yoga, actions, it’s actually doing something for me, right. So, you know, Sadhguru would say, you know, there’s the mental thing about, yoga, and he’s talking about the geometry of your body when you go in certain poses that connects to different things and, and all that stuff. So what kind of, yoga, do you teach? I know we’re going to talk about, visualization, in a little bit, but set up your basic, yoga, that you that you teach.
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Dianne: So I’m not going to try to give it a name because probably a combination. There’s so many kinds and for me, probably if I did a little exercise, we’re matching the type of, yoga, with a definition I’m not sure how good I would do. But I my favorite, yoga, to teach and to do would be we call it 3030.
Where it’s about 30 minutes of, yoga, where it’s a little bit more active movement on the breath. A little bit more energetic and then 30 minutes of more relaxation and not necessarily the the 30 minutes first of the intense so you might do like, you know 10 or 15 minutes starting out with the stretches kind of like warm up like you were describing and then move into the flow or the physical aspects of it, and then wrap it up with you know, some more relaxation relaxing stretches.
That that that is just my personal preference. I have done all kinds of classes and there are some where you actually hold the poses for a long time and that’s just to work, you know more deeply into the muscles and then there’s, there’s some types of yoga that are basically it’s the same sequence each time and that’s so that you can you’re not thinking about the sequence but you’re thinking about the other aspects of, yoga.
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Yoga allows you to experience deeper meditation
Myrna: Okay, something that I ran across that I thought was really interesting is way back when I don’t want to say when, yoga, started, but they really started to do the poses so that people could sit in meditation longer. That was the whole purpose. It’s like, you think of a child, a small child you burn off their energy so that they can sit for longer and that was the original intent. Behind, yoga, was was not the poses that was a vehicle to get into a deeper level of consciousness.
Well, that’s the thing actually that you know, like I said, Sadhguru, was talking about, yoga, connects us with, higher consciousness. They connect with the, Yoga, and they’re saying that, yoga at home, is not all of it dispatches that, yoga at home, is about, the breath and connection and what you just said, you’re linking in the fact that maybe if you learn to hold your body in a certain way, then maybe you can sit and meditate for longer times.
Indians as you know, they incorporate, yoga, with, spirituality, and, higher consciousness, so that’s awesome. And it all has to do with your right the, Mind Body Spirit connection, you know, the mind. Maybe with the, meditation, aspect, the body with the poses, and with, spirituality.
Dianne: I did have back surgery that was moderately successful, so after that I used, yoga, to help me recover. I had to be under the care of a physical therapist, so after that, it became more about managing my, back pain. And now I’m at a very good place, but yes, there’s specific poses to benefit your back and your core, obviously, the opposite of your back is your core. So it’s important to have a strong core.
If you have a lot of, lower back pain. There are certain poses that you shouldn’t do or that you should modify. And the old me the younger me, especially in public would never have done that, but it was, yoga, has taught me it’s some acceptance that way. I know that that doesn’t feel good. And I’m not going to try to push it beyond or even sometimes doing, yoga, in the morning as opposed to at the end of the day.
Some, yoga poses, are not as accessible and I’ve learned to to accept that so a lot of, lower back pain, have learned us from the high tight hamstrings or sciatic nerve. And so there are specific, yoga poses, even sequences that focus on those specific specific muscle groups.
Benefits of visualization with yoga
Myrna: Let’s talk about the, visualization, piece now. What are the, benefits of visualization? And why is it beneficial to integrate, visualization with yoga?
Dianne: So, benefits of visualization. They are there’s a lot of them. And going back to what you said earlier about the brain and how it changes the brain. The brain responds to visual stimuli. And when you use, visualization, you can trick your brain into having the same physiological response. That you would have like let’s say, if you’re standing by a nice relaxing Lake, if you visualize that relaxing Lake, your body and your breath starts to show some of the same reactions you would have if you were actually standing right there by the lake or the relaxing waterfall.
So just an example of this real quick would be imagine that you have a lemon and you cut it in in four pieces. And you take the lemon and put it in your mouth and take a nice big bite down on it. So what happened when you did that?
Myrna: Saliva started coming out of my mouth and my saliva glands started to prickle.
Dianne: Yep, a lot of people will even start to pucker or make that sour face. So that just goes to show that even with that simple example, how you had that physiological response, and that was just a simple exercise. So that’s what builds those those kind of neural pathways and then as you do that, like if you do that, I don’t want to say the lemon, but let’s just go back to the relaxing lake or waterfall or something.
The more you do, visualization, you do build those neural pathways where it becomes like you can access that quicker and that therefore have the physiological response quicker and be able to take yourself there it also becomes more automatic. Oh, yeah, even like take a breath and it’s like oh, yeah, I have to slow might slow my breathing down or I’m getting too too ahead of myself here.
So it really does build those neural pathways and change your brain. It also just like exercise releases, serotonin, that feel good hormone. So it very much is like a form of exercise that way. What you mentioned about the memory, the more ways that you’re you can the more senses you can bring into something, then the easier. It is to remember that so, visualization, is an is another tool for that.
Benefits of yoga
Oh, there’s so many. Right now with our technological society. Anytime that you can unplug from technology, you’re actually allowing your brain to unclutter and to that which promotes creativity, and positive feelings. Just all of those, benefits of visualization, just just being away just having a quiet moment. That’s one thing that I always try to incorporate or give to people and that’s what my, yoga teacher, explained to me.
I just want them to have a moment, a moment of quiet so just again to oh one other thing that I learned was kind of new to me but increase your immunity. If you are less stressed, you sleep better, those are two big factors in boosting your immune system. So, visualization, can help you whether you do it while you’re falling asleep or whether you do it in your, yoga practice. It can help you actually boost your immunity which we all need that too.
Myrna: I love, visualization, and you know is actually good to mention that the brain doesn’t know the difference which is why we advise action is so powerful. Whether want to call it visualization or you to it imagination. The brain doesn’t know the difference between, visualization, and reality. So yeah, I mean, if you were, you know, laying in your bed and you were thinking that you’re in a beach and you’re listening to the waves, like you said, bringing in all the different elements, you know, feeling the breeze on your face, hearing the waves crashing, seeing the palm trees swaying in the wind, and you’re bringing in all those things, right? The brain doesn’t know whether you’re there or not.
So that’s the beautiful thing about, visualization. Right? But it can also work the opposite way like you’re laying in bed, and you’re visualizing that somebody is coming through your door to kill.
Dianne: Exactly. I was thinking as you were talking, if you don’t believe it, because some people are like, Oh, I don’t believe that, but if you think of the opposite, or how many times have you been worried about somebody driving or something and you’re like, Oh, they’ve been in a car accident. I just know it your mind makes up images, your heart starts to beat faster, I think we’ve all experienced that. So you can use it either way. Yes, exactly. And we talked about anxiety and that was part of the reason some of it that I started doing, yoga with visualization.
Benefits of Yoga
Dianne: Well, as you can tell, because we talked at the beginning about some of the, benefits of yoga, and then we just talked about some of the, benefits of visualization, and that is they overlap a lot but you know, the serotonin that benefits to your body, mind and soul and soul or spirit however you want to refer to it. So they really complement each other nicely. If you’ve done, yoga, you probably have done some, visualizations.
My, Yoga teacher, used to say, visualize, you’re cracking a walnut between your shoulder blades and that helps to, visualize, the, yoga pose, if you can’t get the right. Even standing in Mountain Pose or, tree pose, use, visualization, to imagine you’re rooted down through your feet and you bring that energy up through your legs and you’re spreading it throughout your body and your shoulders.
So, I would say that you’ve probably experienced it a little bit that way. Sometimes in Chaturanga they’ll say imagine you’re pushing away from the floor or you’re pushing the floor away from from you. So there are those kinds of cues that are used in many, yoga classes. Also, a lot of times, they’ll start with you know what is your intention, they’ll either maybe give you an intention, like concentrate on being here now or you want to concentrate on peace.
So that was really when I started teaching, yoga, that I looked for a resource like the book that I wrote, and I couldn’t find one. I begged borrowed and stole little bits of pieces from, meditations. I wanted a resource like the one I wrote and I couldn’t find one.
Myrna: Okay. All right your book have 20, visualizations, to enhance a, yoga practice, right?
Dianne: Okay, so yes, in the book, there are five chapters. There’s self acceptance, awareness or confidence, gratitude, letting go or relaxation and focus and engagement. I’m going to walk you through just using a little bit of from one the mountain, the majestic mountain, if you will, and each, visualization, has specific parts and the first part is the setting the stage.
Starting with the breath and then having them with visualization. So I’m just gonna read like a short little snippet from what I wrote and then I’ll move on to the next section.
Visualization with Yoga: The mountain pose
So at the base of your mountain, I’ve already gotten them into, Mountain Pose, are the waves of the ocean. Feel the coolness of the water and hear the lapping sounds. At times the waves are gentle and relaxing, barely touching your base. On other occasions, they’re more turbulent hitting against you with more force, yet you remain strong. Sometimes the waves rise ferociously to your shins, your waist, and even your chest, but they don’t knock you over.
Eventually, the turbulent waters pass and the gentle waves again lap at your base. There may be changes to the mountain surfaces, but not to the core. It’s similar with yourself. Turbulence might cause changes, but you’re strong and steady.
If you purchase the book, you get a journal entries with it, if you download them and so part of one of those for this particular, mountain pose, visualization, you would journal what are those turbulent things. What are the unchanging parts of you, because we all you know, have to change as we go through more experiences and, and challenges but you know, what’s at your core that you’re not, you’re not going to let go of, so just get started that way.
The core of the, mountain pose, or the core of yourself and then exhale, things that get in the way of that. But then there’s also like some specific poses, that I’ll give some cueing for, just to give some examples of how the cueing or how it could go with a specific pose. And this one actually has warrior and tree pose.
If you’re using, visualization, with the, tree pose, there’s water lapping at you and threatening to knock you over, but you’re gonna remain focused, because that’s a big aspect with three poses. You have to look somewhere in front of you and maintain your focus. You’re not going to let those things distract you from your goals or get in the way of your goals.
But you’re going and like before you go into the relaxation and you come back to again, like the mountain so what’s changed about yourself throughout this practice, like do you notice changes in your breath? What about your thought patterns? What about you know? How do How does your body feel?
And then the very last section is the affirmation which I call the booster and it just says, While I may be faced with turbulence, my core remains unwavering. So it’s just something for them and sometimes I’ve printed them off and handed them to people as they walk out the door. Other times, it’s just something you know, keep this in mind as you go forth through your day and kind of wraps it up that way. I do want to throw in that. If you if you didn’t do, yoga, and you weren’t interested in doing, yoga, you can still use the book as a, guided meditation.
20 visualizations to enhance your yoga practice
Myrna: Tell us about your book “Pathways to Peace: 20 Visualizations to Enhance Your Yoga Practice” What do you want the readers to walk away with after reading the book?
Dianne: Well, I want them to have a tool for self care. So, as we’ve talked about it, we’re so busy, our lives are so cluttered and can be at times, very stressful. I think that is on the back cover on my book Life is stressful that not many people would argue that fat, but please, you know, take take a minute or however you don’t take care of your body. Take care of your mind, take care of your spirit or your soul and you will be a better spouse, you’ll be a better employee, you’ll be a better parent, a better child. It everybody matters. And I want and it matters that you take care of yourself and I want this to be a tool for for helping you for helping you do that.
Visualization, is a tool for the, mind body spirit connection. So that is what, yoga, promises, and then when you incorporate the, visualization, into it, it makes it a very powerful tool.
Myrna: So, alright, so tell us how listeners can get a copy of your book. Tell us about your website, your social media handles and how people can connect with you. And I think you mentioned that you have an email address that you wanted anybody to, you know, contact you maybe regarding yoga and yoga practices or things like that. So go ahead and share that with us.
Dianne: Okay, so my book, Pathways to Peace is available on Amazon and it’s a paperback or ebook. In the book, there is a free gift and that would be some of the journal pages that I have referred to. And then I have a Facebook group called pathways to peace. If you have questions or comments email me @email@example.com.