Human Spiritual Structure: Body Clearing
Notes in progress © 1998-2002 Alan McAllister  

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The body is the physical expression of the mind. When we are feeling an emotion, we tend to hold our bodies in a way that expresses that for us, be it fear, or sadness, or joy, or love. Over time this may become habitual, developing a feedback loop, in which being in a certain emotion we hold our body in a particular way, and holding our body (out of habit) in that way induces the same emotion. This is the basis of many ways of working with the body to access and release not only physical, but also mental and emotional patterns and energy.

When we store tension or emotional pain, anger, etc. in our body, or slowly contract it defensively, we also alter our breathing to avoid those areas of our body. The breath is the link between the mind and the body, as we can readily see when thinking about the changes in breathing that accompany various emotions. It is also a vehicle for the conscious mind, carrying the mind's attention with it into the body. Thus in many of the techniques that work with the body to bring release or relaxation the breath is also a key ingredient. Studies have shown that a combination of conscious breathing and muscle relaxation techniques is more effective than either alone in controlling tension in the body [citation in YP.2].

With these various types of body work, although there can be emotional changes, unless there is a full release, with the mind being able and ready to give up the patterns which led to the tension, or to forgive and let go people and events, the body is likely to slip back into its old posture and habits. Therefore the most successful work will combine physcial clearing and realignment with other practices that aim at addressing the mental and emotional components as well.

The ability of physical techniques to relax the body (annamaya kosa), along with any direct emotional release provides a firm foundation for more subtle internal work, either psychic, or spiritual. The calming of the gross body tensions, pains and aches, allows the mind to become aware of the subtler signals and vibrations. To the extent that these technics also release emotional stress and begin to balance and bring the emotions under control, they are smoothing the next layer as well (kamamaya kosa).

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Created November, 1998.
Last updated February 6, 2000.
© Alan McAllister

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