10 Questions Every Person Should Ask About Music Therapy

Music therapy has shown itself to be a powerful and effective treatment of a wide variety of chronic or acute physical, mental, and emotional disabilities, ailments, and conditions including anxiety, pain, muscle strengthening, and emotional, social, and behavioral health challenges.  If you are considering trying music therapy, here are ten important questions you must ask about before deciding whether music therapy is right for you.

1 . What is the History of Music Therapy?

The healing effects of music are cited in numerous texts throughout history, including the bible, the writings of Rumi, and Einstein. We know of the use of music both in secular and sacred settings. We can find references to music and healing eloquently expressed in many ancient texts such as Plato who wrote, “Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the Universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything.” However, the earliest medical citation of the use of music therapy appeared in 1789, in an article in Columbian Magazine titled “Music Physically” and the first recorded systematic experiments in music therapy occurred in the 1800’s.

” “I live my daydreams in music,
I see my life in terms of music.”
~Albert Einstein

2. Is There a Music Therapy Organization?

Several music therapy associations formed during the 1900’s, the first being the National Society of Musical Therapeutics, in 1903, followed by others such as the National Association for Music in Hospitals, the National Foundation of Music Therapy, the National Music Therapy Association, and the American Association for Music Therapy.  The National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT) and the American Association for Music Therapy (AATA) merged in 1998 to create the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), which is currently the largest music therapy association in the United States. It represents music therapists in over 30 countries in the United States and around the world.

3. Who is a Music Therapist?

Is there a difference between a sound therapist, a dance therapist, a musician, a music teacher, and a music therapist?

There are a number of different certified professionals working in the field of music. Is there a difference between a sound therapist, a dance therapist, a musician, a music teacher, and a music therapist? A music therapist shares qualities of all of the above. Most often these professionals work together, with the adjunctive arts therapies, however they may or may not share the same professional goals, purpose and intention. Registered Music Therapists, (RMT) Certified Music Therapists (CMT), and Board Certified music therapists (MT-BC) must complete years of studies, training, and certification.  A professional music therapist must have a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy from one of over 70 approved college and university programs from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).


These academic years of study are followed by an internship in music therapy at a certified facility. Past certification entitlements for music therapists were RMTs and CMTs, The current certification entitlement of music therapists is MT-BC, and is by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) created in 1983.

4. What Happens During a Music Therapy Session?

There are two basic types of music therapy sessions:  passive or receptive music therapy and active or expressive music therapy. Music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based use of music to accomplish specific physical, emotional, or social goals using music listening or performing.

Music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based use of music.


Music therapy can include:

  1. listening to music
  2. singing
  3. rapping
  4. playing musical instruments
  5. composing music
  6. lyric writing
  7. discussing lyrics
  8. tapping or patting out rhythm

5. Who Can Benefit From Music Therapy?

Music therapy can be beneficial to people of all ages, races and cultures, including

  1. infants
  2. children
  3. adolescents
  4. adults
  5. senior citizens

Music therapy has clinically demonstrated to be effective with those having physical, mental, emotional, social or developmental challenges.

It has clinically been shown to be effective with those having physical, mental, emotional, social or developmental challenges such as juvenile delinquents or prison inmates, diseases of the aging and elderly, those with developmental disabilities, attention deficit disorders, brain injuries and neurological disorders, depression, grief, and mental health challenges, substance abuse problems, physical disabilities, and acute or chronic physical pain. 

6. What Are the Fundamental Elements of Music?

Music consists of four fundamental elements. Each element has an influential effect on us.

The four elements of music are tempo, rhythm, melody, harmony and timbre. Each element has an influential effect on us.

  1. Tempo – The speed at which music is played or performed. Tempos are measured by beats per minute (BPM). Tempos range from larghissimo (the slowest tempo of about 19 BPM or less) or prestissimo (the fastest tempo of 178 BPM or more ) and many other tempo designations in between. Tempo changes can occur within the music with an accellerando (increase in tempo) or ritardando (descrease in tempo).
  2. Rhythm – The systematic arrangement and periodic stress of strong, regular, repeated sound patterns. Alternating note values and rests determine rhythm such as eighth, sixteenth, or quarter notes and rests.
  3. Melody – The sequential pattern of musical notes, arranged in a particular, and often repetitive, memorable, and pleasing manner.
  4. Harmony (or Disharmony/dissonance) – The simultaneous production of two or more combinations of musical notes to create chords (or intervals) resulting in pleasing or displeasing sounds.
  5. Timbre – The  unique characteristics of a distinct musical sound or voice, respectful of it’s particular instrument family (for example, the trumpet has a distinctive timbre in comparison to the drum or flute).

7. Why Does Music Affect Our Bodies?

Each of us is a rhythmic being. Music is innate to us. We have a heart beating inside of us and our lungs rise and fall, rhythmically with each breath. Scientific studies have shown our heart rate speeds up or slows down to match the pulse of the music. This is phenomenon is  called entrainment. 

Entrainment is the synchronization of organisms to an external perceived rhythm. Every human being experiences this.


As we listen to the music, and match the sound of the music, every unique musical element has a different psychological, sociological and physiological effect on our bodies. Entrainment is a biomusicological experience. It is the synchronization of organisms to an external perceived rhythm. It occurs exclusively in  human music and dance. Humans are the only species in which every member of its species experiences entrainment. Other living organisms (yet not ALL in one species) have been known to demonstrate the biomusicological entrainment, although it is rare within any other species.

8. How is Music Effective as Therapy?

Music will bring about physical, psychological, behavioral, and emotional changes such as

  1. increasing or decreasing blood flow
  2. raising or lowering the heart rate or pulse
  3. improving sleep
  4. stimulating one to do physical exercise, such as running or dancing
  5. reducing pain
  6. elevating the mood
  7. boosting motivation
  8. reducing stress
  9. inducing relaxed muscle tension
  10. decreasing abnormalities or impairments in the regulation of metabolic, physiological, or psychological processes
  11. stimulating every area of the brain
  12. improving cognitive skills
  13. developing motor skills
  14. increasing spatial-temporal learning
  15. increasing neurogenesis (the production of neurons in the brain).

9. Can Music Have a Negative Affect?

Research shows that listening to lyrics that involve guns, violence and descriptive acts of aggression can have a negative influence on our emotional and mental health.

Yes, studies have shown that listening to lyrics that involve guns, violence and descriptive acts of aggression can have a negative influence on our emotional and mental health. A study published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” (2003), showed that aggressive and violent lyrics increased aggressive thoughts and feelings in adolescents.

Music therapists sometimes choose lyrics to help evoke an emotional response. However, this decision must carefully align with each person’s unique, individualized goal. Music doesn’t necessarily need to have lyrics to evoke a negative response. Music without lyrics, but with a rapid tempo, can raise the heart rate or pulse, overly stimulating or exciting someone who needs to relax.  A hyperactive child, a person having a panic attack, or someone with generalized anxiety disorder, for example, shouldn’t be saturated with overly stimulating music, when the goal is to relax or calm the person.

Doctor and patient

10. How Do I Find a Music Therapist?

If you are interested in locating a music therapist you can discuss this with your trusted doctor or healthcare professional. It would be wise to ask a music therapist to show you their credentials and registrations, degrees, and certifications. You can check with the American Music Therapy Association to contact local or regional chapters. Music therapists can be discovered through online searches and sometimes music therapists conduct therapy sessions online (such as on TalkSpace). 

________________________

Jean E. Dart

Jean Dart, is a published author, speaker, and life coach, and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist (RMT), Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder, and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, a 501(c)3 health education nonprofit organization. To find out more about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance visit www.montereybayholistic.com

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products, and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

The Myth of Estrogen: Balancing Hormones and Our Divine Feminine

There is a myth that if we don’t use estrogen as a drug, our bodies will wither and die with brittle bones, lost libidos and broken hearts. Every woman, whether she is young or old, can find support from understanding her unique hormonal journey. Hormones support our well-being, giving us the flow of creative juices to live more fully.
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Channeling: What is Conscious Channeling of a High-Level Guide?

How do you channel the wisdom from a spiritual guide and be certain that it’s not just you? What is a “high-level guide”? How do you translate light impulses from the higher realms into words? Why channel in the first place? I have been studying spirituality and exploring these questions for most of my life.

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Reimaging – Awakening You to Your Highest Potential

Would you like to start attracting more prosperity and abundance into your life? Are you having relationship challenges or, do you want love? Do have chronic health issues, stress, tension, chronic pain, or are overweight? Do fears, worries, the blues, or anger ruin the precious moments of your life? Do you feel blocked from success or feel stuck in some areas of your life? Would you like to clear old negative reactions, so that you respond differently to others? If you have answered yes to any of the above questions you may be subconsciously and firmly standing in your own way.

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Pranic Healing – Energizing and Maintaining Optimum Health

sunset-473754_960_720What is Pranic Healing?
Pranic Healing is a revolutionary and comprehensive system of natural healing techniques that utilizes prana to treat various illnesses. Prana is a Sanskrit word literally meaning “life-force”, the invisible bio-energy or vital energy that keeps the body alive and maintains a state of good health. Continue reading

The Essentials of Essential Oils

Lavender Essential OilIf you’ve chosen to live a more holistically healthy life, chances are high that you’ve encountered essential oils in some way. Today, they are available in many stores and mass marketed through many companies. Perhaps you’ve wondered about the sudden popularity of essential oils. Is this a passing craze or has an ancient holistic healing wonder been introduced to modern individuals in a new and effective way? Can essential oils help others live a more happy, healthy, productive life or is this just wishful thinking? Continue reading

Balancing the Chakras – A Healing of Your Energy Centers

chakras Chakras are Subtle Energy Centers. 

The word chakra is a Sanskrit word, and it means “wheel”. Today we will explore the 7 major chakras, which are connected to the body through the Nervous System. Because the chakras contain organs, emotions, thoughts, and consciousness, if they are out of  balance, it effects our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. Each chakra is a generator and reservoir of energy.  When our chakras are balanced and working, playing together, our energy can flow freely, and we enjoy life more.

First Chakra: Earth element, dark red. Also called the Root Chakra, it is located at the base of your spine, buttocks and tailbone. It’s qualities are security, support, grounding, foundation, survival, stability, final manifestation, field of completion. The emotions connected to the First Chakra are fear, courage, trust.

 Chakra purposesSecond Chakra: Water element, deep dark orange. It is located at your belly, hips, pelvis, and low back. It’s qualities are intuition, creativity, receptivity, nurturing, sexuality, sensuality, family, generation-seed, unconscious emotions. Emotions: Attachment, lust, ‘holding on’, letting go, flowing, moderation, joy.

Third Chakra: Fire element, golden yellow. It is located at your stomach, solar plexus, and mid-back areas. Qualities: Will-power, name, fame, authority, motivation, vitality, inspiration, self-esteem, drive, control, impulse behind movement, action. Emotions: Anger, resentment, forgiveness, letting go.

Fourth Chakra: Air Element, emerald green, pink. Also called the Heart Chakra, it is located at your chest and upper back. The physical heart is to the left, the emotional heart is in the middle of your chest, inbetween your breasts, and the spiritual heart is a bit higher, between your breasts and your throat, where the Thymus Gland is. Qualities: Unconditional love, trust, devotion, conscious emotions, compassion, heart-felt feelings, breath. Emotions: Desire, greed, aversion, desirelessness, sadness, grief, charity, compassion.

Fifth Chakra: Ether element, light blue, turqoise. Also called the Throat Chakra, it is located at your throat and neck. Qualities: Creativity, intuition, spaciousness, will, communication, speaking your truth, self-expression, faith. Emotions: Pride, humility.

Sixth Chakra: Ether element (Light), dark blue, dark purple. Also called the Third Eye, it is located in the middle of your forehead, goes all the way through your brain to the back of your head, where your neck and skull meet. Qualities: Intuition, perception, insight, realization, intelligence, spirituality, vision. Emotions: Dreaming, clarity.

Seventh Chakra: Ether element (Consciousness), brilliant white and gold.  Also called the Crown Chakra, it is located at the top of your head, and goes a bit out of your head like a cone. Qualities: Union, connection to the divine, understanding, compassion. Emotions: Bliss.

SILENCE IN NATURE STEP 7Manifesting Journey: Take a few deep breaths. Imagine something you would like to have new year. Feel your vision in your Crown Chakra, surrounded by brilliant white and gold, connected to all of you. Your vision is coming down to your Third Eye, becoming a true desire. You can see your desire having come true. How is your life different now? Dark purple and blue have joined the white and gold, carrying your desire down to your Throat Chakra. Say to yourself outloud: “I am creating space in my life for….” Allow light blue and turqoise to join the other colors, carrying your desire to your Heart Chakra. Feel your self-love joining your heart’s desire. “I love myself enough to know that I deserve to have my desire become reality.” Emerald green and pink have joined the other colors, taking your desire down to the Third Chakra, into your stomach. Your will-power has now joined your desire, “This is my life. I have a right to have my desire be manifested.” What is the next action you can take in this process? See yourself taking it. Imagine that golden yellow has now joined the other colors, carrying your desire to the Second Chakra in your pelvis and low back. Feel that your desire is flowing into your life in a way that nurtures you. “I am allowing myself to receive this desire in an easy and joyful way.” Dark orange has now joined the other colors, creating a rainbow while taking your desire down to the  dark red Root Chakra – final manifestation.

See, feel, sense your desire as a full reality in your life, letting yourself relax deeply into it. YES!

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Rabia ErdumanThis article was written by Rabia Erduman, Health and Wellness Educator for the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  Rabia was born in Istanbul, Turkey and later spent ten years in Germany before arriving in the United States in 1983.  Rabia utilizes Psychology, Transpersonal Hypnotherapy, Craniosacral Therapy, Polarity Therapy, Reiki,  and Trauma Release to assist clients in their process of self-discovery. Rabia also teaches tantric and spiritually-oriented workshops.  Rabia is the author of Veils of Separation – Finding the Face of Oneness, and has four Guided Imagery CDs: Relaxation, Meditation, Chakra Meditation, and Inner Guides. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com

 

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

How to Overcome Barriers to Forgiveness

What Barriers Stand in the Way to Forgiveness?

Holding HandsIt’s hard to let go of the suffering caused by someone else’s wrongdoing. What barriers stand in the way of forgiveness, and how can we overcome them? We all know how painful it feels to suffer hurts, betrayals, or abuse-and to have this pain harden into lasting grudges or resentments.


Forgiveness is essential, even when there is good reason to resist.

Indeed, study after study has suggested that being unable to forgive past wrongs can wreak havoc on our mental and physical health. Forgiveness is the practice of letting go of the suffering caused by someone else’s wrongdoing (or even our own). It does not mean excusing, overlooking, forgetting, condoning, or trivializing the harm or jumping to a premature or superficial reconciliation; it doesn’t necessarily require reconciliation at all. Instead, it involves changing our relationship to an offense through understanding, compassion, and release.

Two decades of social psychology research have repeatedly demonstrated the psychological, physical, and social benefits of forgiveness. True forgiveness repairs relationships and restores inner well-being.  Yet we often find it hard to let go, forgive, and move on. According to research, even when we can feel compassion and empathy for the person who harmed us, we can remain stuck in fear or hostility for days, months, even years.


Why is something so good for us so hard to do?

Friends huggingThat’s the questions Williamson at New Mexico Highlands University and Marti Gonzales at the University of Minnesota have explored through research on the psychological impediments to forgiveness. In a recent study published in the journal, Motivation and Emotion, Williamson, Gonzales, and colleagues identify three broad categories of “forgiveness aversion.” Traditionally, ideas for helping one person to forgive another have implied either expanding one’s empathy or compassion for the offender or “distancing,” not taking things so personally. But their research on forgiveness aversion suggests another approach: Forgiveness comes not necessarily by appealing to kindness or compassion but by addressing the victim’s fears and concerns. Williamson and Gonzales’ research suggests how to work with perceived risks to forgiveness and to move toward forgiveness in a safe and genuine way. Below is a brief tour of the three barriers to forgiveness, along with ways to overcome them, drawing on clinical research and clinical experience with hundreds of couples and individuals.

Understanding these barriers to forgiveness can be very useful to anyone who has ever struggled to forgive-in other words, most of us.

 

Barrier #1: Unreadiness

woman and man fightingThe first block is “unreadiness,” which Williamson and Gonzales define as an inner state of unresolved emotional turmoil that can delay or derail forgiveness. People can feel stuck in a victim loop, ruminating on the wrongs done to them by another person or by life, and be unable to shift their perspective to a larger view, to find the meaning, purpose, lessons, and possibilities for change from the events.

  • Who is most likely to experience unreadiness?

Williamson and Gonzales found that people’s tendencies to be anxious and ruminate on the severity of the offending behavior reliably predicted an unreadiness to forgive. People showed more reluctance to move toward forgiveness especially when they held a fear that the offense would be repeated,

  • How can we overcome the barrier of unreadiness?

Williamson and Gonzales’ research validates the folk wisdom that “time heals all wounds” and establishes the importance of not rushing the process, not coming to forgiveness too quickly. Certainly the passage of time is an important factor in helping people get some distance from the initial pain, confusion, and anger; it helps the offender establish a track record of new trustworthy behavior and helps the victim reframe the severity of the injury in the larger context of the entire relationship.

  • Tips to Overcome Unreadiness

1. Recall the moment of wrongdoing you are struggling to forgive. “Light up the networks” of this memory by evoking a visual image, noticing emotions that arise as your recall this memory, notice where you feel those emotions in your body as contraction, heaviness, churning. Notice your thoughts about yourself and the other person now as you evoke this memory. Let this moment settle in your awareness.

2. Begin to reflect on what the lessons of this moment might be: what could you have done differently? What could the other person have done differently? What would you differently from now on? When we can turn a regrettable moment into a teachable moment, when we can even find the gift in the mistake, we can open our perspectives again to the possibilities of change, and forgiveness.


Barrier #2: Self-Protection

Sibling RivalryThe second block to forgiveness is “self-protection”-a fear, very often legitimate, that forgiveness will backfire and leave the person offering forgiveness vulnerable to further harm, aggression, violation of boundaries, exploitation, or abuse.

  • Who is most likely to experience self-protection?

People who have experienced repeatedly harmful behavior, and lack of remorse or apology for that behavior, are most likely to resist forgiving the offending party, according to the research by Williamson and Gonzales. In fact, they found that even the strongest motivation to forgive-to maintain a close relationship-can be mitigated by the perceived severity of the offense and/or by a perceived lack of sincere apology or remorse. Refusing to forgive is an attempt to re-calibrate the power or control in the relationship.

According to their study, one of the hardest decisions people ever face about forgiveness is: Can I get my core needs met in this relationship? Or do I need to give up this relationship to meet my core needs, including needs for safety and trust? The ongoing behavior of the offender is key here. If the hurtful behavior continues, if any sense of wrongdoing is denied, if the impact of the behavior is minimized, if the recipient’s sense of self continues to be diminished by another, or trust continues to be broken, or the victim continues to be blamed for the offender’s behavior-if someone experiences any or all of these factors, then forgiveness can start to feel like an impossible, if not a stupid, thing to do.

  • How can we overcome the barrier of self-protection?

“Victims may be legitimately concerned that forgiveness opens them up to further victimization,” write the researchers. “Intriguingly, when people perceive themselves to be more powerful in their relationship, they are more likely to forgive, perhaps because they have fewer self-protection concerns in their relationships with their offenders.”  

In other words, people sometimes have understandable fears that offering forgiveness will be (mis)interpreted by the offender as evidence that they can get away with the same behavior again. People very often need to learn they have the right to set and enforce legitimate boundaries in a relationship. Forgiveness can also involve not being in a relationship with the offender any longer or changing the rules and power dynamics for continuing the relationship.

 

  • How to Set Limits

Older man and woman hugging1. Identify one boundary you’ve been reluctant to set with the person you are struggling to forgive.

2. Clarify in your own mind how setting this limit reflects and serves your own values, needs, and desires. Reflect on your understanding of the values and desires of the other person. Notice any common ground between the two of you; notice the differences.

3. Initiate the conversation about limits with the other person. Begin by expressing your appreciation for him or her listening to you. State the topic; state your understanding of your own needs and of theirs.

4. State the terms of your limit, simply, clearly, unequivocally. You’ve already stated the values, needs and desires behind the limit; you do not have to justify, explain or defend your position. State the consequences for the relationship if this limit is not respected.

5. Negotiate with the other person what behaviors they can do, by when, to demonstrate that they understand your limit, the need for it, the benefit of it.

6. At the end of the specified “test” period, discuss with your person the changes in the relationship if the limit was respected, or the next step in consequences if the limit is not respected in the next test period. You may have to repeat this exercise many times to shift the dynamics in your relationship.

 

Barrier #3: “Face” Concerns

Forgiveness - Daughter and motherThe third block is “face” concerns  – what we might call the need to save face in front of other people and protect one’s own public reputation, as well as avoid threats to one’s own self-concept-i.e, feeling that “I’m a pushover” or “I’m a doormat.”

As social beings, we’re primed to not want to appear weak or vulnerable or pathetic in front of other people. We will protect ourselves from feeling inner shame in many ways, which may include a reluctance to forgive. Researchers have also found that hanging on to a grudge can give people a sense of control in their relationships; they may fear that forgiveness will cause them to lose this “social power.” If our concerns about saving face foster a desire to retaliate or seek vengeance rather than forgive, we may need to re-strengthen our inner sense of self-worth and self-respect before forgiveness can be an option.

  • Who is most likely to experience face concerns?

People who feel their self-worth has been diminished by the offense, or who experience a threat to their sense of control, belonging, or social reputation, or even feel a need for revenge, are more likely to experience the face concerns that could block forgiveness. “To the extent that victims fear that they may appear weak by forgiving, and are concerned with projecting an image of power and interpersonal control, they should feel more averse to the prospect of forgiving,” write the researchers.

  • How can we overcome the barrier of face concerns?

Very often people who have been hurt by another need to recover their own sense of self-respect and self-worth to create the mental space where forgiveness looks like a real option. We need to develop and maintain an inner subjective reality-a sense of self-that is independent of other people’s negative opinions and expectations of us. Good friends, trusted family members, therapists, or clergy can be very helpful in functioning as a True Other to someone’s True Self-they’re figures who can help generate a more positive sense of self.

Forgiveness is not easy. It takes sincere intention and diligent practice over time. But overcoming reluctance, even refusal, to forgive can be facilitated by understanding these specific aversions to forgiveness, and by implementing strategies to address these barriers skillfully.

  • How to See Yourself

How to See Yourself1. Sit comfortably, allowing your eyes to gently close. Focus your attention on your breathing.

2. When you’re ready, bring to mind someone in your life in whose presence you feel safe. This person could be a dear friend, a therapist, a teacher, a spiritual figure, your own wiser self.

3. Imagine yourself sitting with this person face-to-face. Visualize the person looking at you with acceptance and tenderness, appreciation and delight. Feel yourself taking in his or her love and acceptance of you.

4. Now imagine yourself being the other person, looking at yourself through his or her eyes. Feel that person’s love and openness being directed toward you. See in yourself the goodness the other person sees in you. Savor this awareness of your own goodness.

Happy elderly couple kissing5. Now come back to being yourself. You are in your own body again, experiencing the other person looking at you again, with so much love and acceptance. Notice how and where you feel that love and acceptance in your body – as a smile, as a warmth in your heart – and savor it.

6. Take a moment to reflect on your experience. You are recovering a positive view of your own self again. Set the intention to remember this feeling when you need to.

 

 

Reference
Williamson I, Gonzales M, Fernandez S, Williams A, Forgiveness aversion; developing a motivational state measure of perceived forgiveness risks,Motivation and Emotion, June 2014, Volume 38, Issue 3, p 378-400, SpringerLink, Retrieved: 6/29/2014

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Linda GrahamLinda Graham  has submitted this article as a Health and Wellness Educator volunteer writer for the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. This article first appeared on the Greater Good Science Center website on May 13, 2014.   Linda is a psychotherapist in full-time private practice in Corte Madera, CA and a long-time practitioner of vipassana meditation. She integrates modern neuroscience, mindfulness practices, and relational psychology in her nationwide trainings and in her local Deepening Joy groups. She is the author of Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, which won the 2013 Better Books for a Better Life award and the 2014 Better Books for a Better Worlds award. Linda publishes a monthly e-newsletter, Healing and Awakening into Aliveness and Wholeness, and weekly Resources for Recovering Resilience, archived at www.lindagraham-mft.net.   The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

 

 

Top 30 Yoga Benefits

What are the benefits of yoga? How does the daily discipline of yoga affect the body, mind and spirit?

Yoga Benefits

30 Yoga Benefits

What is the History of Yoga?
Yoga is a holistic health and wellness activity that both relaxes and energizes the body. Yoga is a Sanskrit word meaning “union with God.” The common belief that Yoga derives from Hinduism is a misconception. Yoga actually predates Hinduism by many centuries. Ancient archeological finds discovered the Indus Valley provided unquestionable evidence that Yoga was practiced earlier than 3,000 B.C.E. and the classical techniques of Yoga may date back  to more than 5,000 years. The word Yoga means “to join or yoke together,” and it brings the body and mind together in harmony with one another. The whole system of Yoga is built on three main structures: exercise, breathing, and meditation. One of the earliest texts on Yoga  is believed to have been compiled by a scholar named Patanjali. This book contains Yoga theories and practices and is entitled Yoga Sutras (“Yoga Aphorisms”) and is thought to have been written as early as the 1st or 2nd century B.C. or as late as the 5th century A.D. This system is known as “Ashtanga Yoga.”  This is the eight limbs of Yoga, and referred to today as Classical Yoga. Most all forms of yoga include a variation of Patanjali’s original ancient yoga system.

 

What are the Different Types of Yoga?
There are over a hundred different schools of Yoga. There are many Yoga poses or postures within each of the different schools of Yoga.

Yoga PosesSome of the most well known schools of Yoga are as follows:

  1. Hatha Yoga  Hatha Yoga  is the most widely practiced form of yoga in the United States. It is the branch of yoga which concentrates on physical health and mental well-being using exercises and breathing control.  “Ha” can be translated to mean “sun” and “tha” to mean “moon” meaning to balance the opposite forces.
  2. Raja Yoga – Raja Yoga means the “King” of Yoga, or the royal path. It is a form of Hindu yoga intended to achieve control over the mind and emotions.
  3. Jnana Yoga – Jñāna yoga or “path of knowledge” is one of the types of yoga mentioned in Hindu philosophies. Jñāna is a Sanskrit word translated to mean “knowledge”.
  4. Bhakti Yoga  – Bhakti yoga is a spiritual path described in Hindu philosophy as focused on love of, faith in, and surrender to God. It is a means to awaken to God consciousness. It is a selfless devotion of reaching Brahman (God) in loving service.
  5. Karma Yoga – Karma Yoga is selfless action to reach perfection. “Karma” is a Sanskrit term meaning “action” or deed, either physical or mental. What makes a Karma Yogi is first the experience of union with God, and then selfless action.
  6. Tantra Yoga – Tantra yoga is a type of yoga designed to awaken the kundalini energy in the body and addressing relationships and sexuality. In Hinduism, the word Tantra means: 1) weaving and 2) the sacred scriptures of Hinduism, presented as a dialogue between Shiva and Shakti
  7. Kashmir Shaivism Yoga – Kashmir Shaivism is a transformative non-dual, yogic philosophy that originated in Kashmir in the ninth century. The goal of Kashmir Shaivism is to merge in Shiva or Universal Consciousness, or realize one’s already existing identity with Shiva, by means of wisdom, yoga and grace.

yoga older manWhat Does Research Tell Us About the Effectiveness of Yoga?
Sudarshan Kriya Yoga was concluded to be a potentially effective treatment in reducing or eliminating depression in a study by Janakiramaiah N and others (2000) and a review of clinical studies of the effectiveness of Hatha Yoga on depression by Uebelacker et al  (2010).

The prac­tice of yoga has been shown to be therapeutically useful in bron­chial asthmaNagarathna R, Nagendra HR (1985) concluded that “There was a significantly greater improvement in the group who practised yoga in the weekly number of attacks of asthma, scores for drug treatment, and peak flow rate.”  However, a 2011 systematic review of clinical studies suggests that there is no sound evidence that yoga improves asthma.

back pain personMultiple studies  have found yoga to be a helpful treatment in low back pain such as Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Wellman RD, et al (2011) and Tilbrook HE, Cox H, Hewitt CE, et al. (2011).   Other studies have shown yoga to be potentially helpful treatment for cardiovascular disease, such as Raub (2002), type II diabetes mellitus (Innes and Vincent, 2007),  stress and hypertension (Kiecolt-Glaser JK, and others, 2010) as well as other conditions. The practice of yoga can also play a role in the rehabilitation of those who have physical and mental challenges (Uma, et al, 2008).  Many other benefits are inherit in the practice of yoga as described below.

What Are the 30 Benefits of Yoga?

  1. Relieves Stress
  2. Improves Breathing
  3. Eases Pain
  4. Improves Circulation
  5. Increases Strength
  6. Increases Endurance
  7. Lowers Heart Rate
  8. Develops Inner Peace
  9. Lengthens Muscles
  10. Increases Flexibilityyoga mats
  11. Reduces Cortisol Level
  12. Improves Concentration
  13. Increases Range of Motion
  14. Dissolves Ego
  15. Develops Compassion
  16. Enhances Energy
  17. Heals Ailments
  18. Fosters Joy
  19. Lowers Weight
  20. Lubricates Joints
  21. Detoxes the Body
    yoga man
  22. Strengthens Abdomen
  23. Improves Memory
  24. Delays Wrinkles and Aging
  25. Burns Fat
  26. Improves Posture
  27. Improves Metabolism
  28. Builds Immune System
  29. Improves Balance
  30. Brings Harmony

Have you tried yoga? If so, how has it helped YOU?  Best wishes for a yoga-riffic day!!

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References
Bower JE, Woolery A, Sternlieb B, et al. Yoga for cancer patients and survivors. Cancer Control. 2005;12(3):165–171.

Innes, KE, Vincent HK, The Influence of Yoga-Based Programs on Risk Profiles in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., Dec 2007; 4(4): 469–486.
Jain SC, Talukdar B. Bronchial asthma and Yoga. Singapore Med J 1993;34:306-308

Janakiramaiah N. , Gangadhar B.N. , Naga Venkatesha Murthy P.J. , Harish M.G., Subbakrishna, D.K., Vedamurthachar A.  Antidepressant efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) in melancholia: a randomized comparison with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and imipramine Volume 57, Issue 1 , Pages 255-259, January 2000

Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Christian L, Preston H, et al. Stress, inflammation, and yoga practice. Psychosomatic Medicine. 2010;72(2):113–121.

Monro R, Power J, Coumar A, Nagarathna R, Dandona P. Original research yoga therapy for NIDDM; A controlled trial. Complem Med J 1992;6:66-68.

Nagarathna R, Nagendra HR. Yoga for bronchial asthma; A controlled study. Br Med J 1985;291:1077-1079.

Ramesh L. Bijlani, Rama P. Vempati, Raj K. Yadav, Rooma Basu Ray, Vani Gupta, Ratna Sharma, Nalin Mehta, and Sushil C. Mahapatra.  A Brief but Comprehensive Lifestyle Education Program Based on Yoga Reduces Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes Mellitus The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. April 2005, 11(2): 267-274. doi:10.1089/acm.2005.11.267.

Raub, JA. Psychophysiologic effects of hatha yoga on musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary function: a literature review. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2002;8(6):797–812.

Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Wellman RD, et al. A randomized trial comparing yoga, stretching, and a self-care book for chronic low back pain. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2011;171(22):2019–2026.

Telles S, Naveen K V. Yoga for rehabilitation : An overview, Vivekananda Kendra Yoga Research Foundation, No. 19, K.G. Nagar, Bangalore-560 019., India,  Indian J Med Sci 1997;51:123-7Monro R, Power J, Coumar A, Nagarathna R, Dandona P. Original research yoga therapy for NIDDM; A controlled trial. Complem Med J 1992;6:66-68.

Tilbrook HE, Cox H, Hewitt CE, et al. Yoga for chronic low back pain: a randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2011;155(9):569–578.

Uebelacker LA, Epstein-Lubow G, Gaudiano BA, et al. Hatha yoga for depression: a critical review of the evidence for efficacy, plausible mechanisms of action, and directions for future research. Journal of Psychiatric Practice. 2010; 16(1):22–33.

Uma K, Nagendra HR, Nagarathna R., Vaidehi S, and Seethalakshmi R., The integrated approach of yoga: a therapeutic tool for mentally retarded children: a one-year controlled study, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, Vol 33, Issue 5, 28 JUN 2008, DOI: 10.1111/ j.1365-2788.1989.tb01496


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Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart, M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University. Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.” She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer:
The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

The Healing Power of Buddha Light in Tibetan Qigong

Padmasambhava

Padmasambhava is considered the founder of Tibetan Buddhism

Often considered mythical by western skeptics, numerous masters of Tibetan yogic practices of the past and present have demonstrated the ability to control the elements of their own health and longevity. Additionally, many have exhibited paranormal abilities such as: clairvoyance, clairsentience, the ability to travel through matter or to transform into radiant light. As these accomplishments are revealed, a spark of possibility ignites within us as a desire to cultivate the same profound radiance and unimagined ability, to free ourselves from suffering and invoke peace throughout the world. To most of us, this still seems more like the science of miracles rather than the science unveiling our true nature.

Khenpo Munsel Rinpoche

Khenpo Munsel Rinpoche

One such adept was Khenpo Munsel Rinpoche, one of the twentieth century’s greatest Dzogchen masters and Nyingma lineage holder from Padmasambhava (founder of Tibetan Buddhism, renowned for many enlightened activities). It is well known that while interned for eighteen months in a Chinese camp, he chose to maintain his practice instead of working and subsequently was given no food and water.

Entering into meditation by day, he gathered the highest form of nutrition from the universe; and at night, provided empowerment and teachings to lamas. In the early 1950’s, through meditation, Khenpo Munsel beckoned a young Chinese qigong student and Buddhist Zi Sheng Wang for training in Buddhist GungFu. Following the call, the young master traveled to Tibet and became the first non-Tibetan disciple and heart disciple of Khenpo Munsel.

Master Zi Sheng Wang

Master Zi Sheng Wang demonstrates using the healing power of Buddha Light.

Among China’s preeminent Tibetan Qigong healers, Master Zi Sheng Wang offers Healing Energy Sessions, combining powerful healing mantras from Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism with ancient Chinese cosmology, culture and needle-free acupuncture. Through destiny, Master Wang has acquired the ability to unify these great aspects of Chinese and Tibetan healing modalities for incomparable benefit. In 1994, Khenpo Musnsel gave him the task of bridging East and West, ancient and current times by bringing these teachings to the west in order to serve all with power & compassion.

WHAT ARE THE FOUNDATION PRACTICES?
Looking through the eye of modern physics, bio-physiology, and science of the mind, the Tibetan Qigong Foundation Practices develop and maintain physical and emotional health, using movement and visualization. These basic practices are:

  1. Five Element Stake
  2. One Finger Zen – Dynamic and Still Forms
  3. Face Massage
  4. Patting the Meridians

The movements of the four basic practices are easy to learn, gentle and well suited for people with varying degrees of strength & stamina. A good foundation is recommended to prepare for advanced training.

Tibetan Buddhist Qigong – Three Palms Together (video credit: Kay Luthi, qigong teacher, black belt martial artist, and student of Vajrayana Master and Tibetan Qigong Master Zi Sheng Wang. Website: kayluthi-tibetanqigong.com)

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TIBETAN QIGONG?

Benefits to the Physical Body

  1. Adjusts & balances the immune system
  2. Clears meridians
  3. Circulates and balances nutrients and minerals
  4. Purifies and expels toxins
  5. Increases strength and flexibility
  6. Corrects metabolism
  7. Improves blood circulation and heart function
  8. Prolongs life
  9. Restores youthful vitality
  10. Boosts energy levels and stamina
  11. Balances blood pressure
  12. Adjusts and improves the functioning of all organ, systems

 

 

Peace of Mind Meditation

Peace of mind, elevated conscious awareness and spirituality

Benefits to the Mind

  1. Promotes relaxation to reduce stress
  2. Enhances intellectual power and concentration
  3. Increases creativity
  4. Diminishes disturbing emotions
  5. Achieves and maintains inner peace
  6. Improves meditation
  7. Strengthens self-discipline
  8. Promotes happiness & a positive outlook on life
  9. Awakens compassion
  10. Opens the mind to higher realms of consciousness and wisdom
  11. Elevates and strengthens the quality of one’s virtue
  12. Brings out unexpressed potential & supernormal abilities
  13. Elevates spirituality

Buddha Light

Healing properties of Tibetan Qigong Buddha Light

Practicing Tibetan Qigong cultivates positive change in body, mind and spirit. Regular practice of qigong induces strong, healing energy from the universe into the body, leading to a more vibrant, radiant life.

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This article was written by students of the International Tibetan Qigong Association for the 
Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance (MBHA), with permission from the Tibetan Qigong Association for the MBHA to reprint the article and the photos. Students of the Tibetan Qigong Association are members of the MBHA and wish to remain anonymous to honor their teacher, Master Zi Sheng Wang. The MBHA is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

Disclaimer: The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.