For the first time in history, man is able to scientifically prove what the ancient disciplines taught in their sacred books about improving concentration and decreasing stress. The key to overall physical and mental health lies with the spine!
You may not have even realized that your chiropractic adjustments and yoga practice may be the 2 most important things you do for the health of your body and mind.
As Yoga Sutra 1.2 says, “Yoga is the mastery of the activities of the mind-field” or yoga is about controlling the fluctuations of the mind.” But how do we go about this?
Phenomenal research by Dr. Jeremy Schmahmann, PhD., has shown how healing movement disciplines, such as chiropractic and yoga, are vital for those striving to achieve total health. His work has shown that movement of the spine stimulates a part of the brain, the cerebellum, responsible for coordinating full body movement, thought, feelings, emotions and organ/ immune function.
Specialized receptors located in the joints of the spine, called proprioceptors, get fired when you move the spine, sending a message to the brain.
So what is a proprioceptor? It is a nerve cell found in muscles, tendons and joint capsules which gives information concerning movements, position and alignment of the body. The highest concentration of proprioceptors in the body is in the spine, with the greatest amount being clustered in the upper cervical spine.
When a joint moves, the brain wants to know if the movement was healthy or not. This is huge when you realize that healthy movement of the spine is like ROCKET FUEL for your brain. All those sun salutations are doing just as much for your mind as they’re doing for your body!
Now, when joints slam or jam into each other, proprioceptors don’t fire. Rather, noiceiceptors, or noxious stimulation receptors, get activated and the stress response is triggered. Your fight or flight response is not triggered by a wooly mammoth or saber-toothed tiger, but by a stuck, jammed, or misaligned joint.
Believe it or not your jammed joints create the same physiological response as being put into a fight or flight situation. Your heart rate quickens, your cardiac output increases, there’s a flood of adrenaline, cortisol, and insulin and a laundry list of other negative responses. That’s all from a headstand or upward facing dog gone badly or hours slouched over a computer. Who knew?
Removing irritation or noxious stimulation from your spine with a dose of smooth, slow and steady movements will decrease your stress response and allow for a positive integration of your thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Yoga evolved from being a secluded meditative practice in which the yogi’s asana arsenal consisted of a comfortable sitting pose, to a complicated system of movement and breath. The yogi’s of old knew that if they could minimize the noxious/ noiciceptive input into and within the brain they would be able to decrease the stress response and go deeper into their meditative states. They somehow figured this out without expensive MRI’s!
Healthy movement can exponentially improve your physiology and psychology just like Patanjali said. That’s why yoga is supreme when it comes to exercising your muscles and your mind. It provides the brain with the most essential nutrient for survival….MOVEMENT OF THE SPINE!
With a peaceful mind and strong body, we are able to enjoy life to the fullest and evolve to greater heights.
If we can continue to evolve mentally, physically and spiritually, then maybe we can usher in a new revolution….THE WELLNESS REVOLUTION! A revolution based on attaining maximum health, healing and wholeness.