Realigning Mind + Body
Human Garage Guest Post #1
This week, on the Halton Pardee blog, we have the first in a series of special guest posts by friends in our local communities — this time Human Garage gives us some great insights about wellness.
I wanted to take a minute to step back today to define what we mean by “mind/body repair and alignment” at Human Garage. It’s painted across our walls, it’s the hashtag we put on all of our Instagram posts, and it’s a part of our vocabulary in much of what we do.
A belief in the undeniable link between mind and body is at the core of our work as a company.
People often refer to us as “bodyworkers,” but I think this runs the risk of oversimplification. We are bodyworkers, yes, but it is because of the powerful connection to the brain and the mind’s powerful connection to the body that our realignment work takes root.
We go to the doctor to fix our bodies, we see a psychologist to fix our minds, and we connect and access our souls in churches, mosques, and temples (or whatever is your place of worship).
But, what if there was a place and a type of work that allowed you to connect to all of these?
Our Westernized society has essentially fragmented human beings into compartments. We’ve boiled yoga down in the West to a series of asanas (physical postures), often losing sight of the essence of these practices. We’ve boiled human suffering and healing down to an easy fix of talking via accessing the mind or operating on a table as cure-alls for most of our ills.
When we look for answers to “issues” life throws our way, we are shuttled around to a variety of places to meet our many needs, be them physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual.
All too often traumas that impact us occurred in the body to begin with. So wouldn’t it make sense that we have to engage the body, too, as a path to healing? Think about the traumatic car accident survivor or survivor of assault: their traumas are inherently body-based.
I just finished reading an incredibly insightful book: The Body Keeps the Score by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a psychiatrist who has treated countless trauma survivors, chronic pain sufferers, and many veterans in the VA (Veteran’s Administration). He shares a growing body of neuroscience research that backs up the idea of a powerful mind-body connection.
Some of the questions he asks: what about the chronic pain sufferer that has no memory of an actual injury causing their pain? What about the person in a traumatic car accident, who has no cognitive memory of their accident but their body remembers and they react in an instant with panic and fear while driving at the slightest noise?
He suggests we may be doing a disservice to clients when we treat just the body or only the mind.
Is it really possible to heal the mind while ignoring the other 97% of our physical existence? We don’t believe so.
After all, the mind (our brain) is housed in and lives within the body. If we ignore the body, we are ignoring the very vehicle from which we live our lives. It’s the mode of transportation that carries us through every interaction.
The body is our home. So why don’t we start treating it that way?
Working with both body and mind in my own healing process from years of injury as a competitive distance runner created a level of understanding that often lacked words. It was a level of understanding that came from deep within my body, not from the incessant chatter of my mind.
Our minds are part of the gift of being human. Yet our beautiful minds also get us into trouble when we ignore the place they live: the human body.
The wall for me of battling chronic pain in my hip and in my head didn’t start to come down until I had deep release work in my fascia and muscles where memories and trauma are stored. As my physical pain started to release, I began to have memories come to my mind. As the pain released, my emotions followed. They too had been wound up and stored for decades. My body was talkig and it was time for me to listen.
I could link to hundreds of articles highlighting the connection between body and mind. Ultimately though, we’ve found the most powerful teacher on the relationship between body and mind to be experience, deeply rooted in the body.
Have you stopped to ask your body what it wants and needs from you?
If experience is our greatest teacher, we invite you in to do just that: feel what it’s like when your body and mind begin to realign. Come feel what it feels like when all of you, not just part of you, comes into balance.
“Alignment is when all of the processes that define our human existence are working together.”
Garry Lineham, Co-Founder of Human Garage