The concept of the body being the vehicle for the body/mind/emotion/spirit reached the west with the Greek concept of "Sound Mind, Sound Body." There are records of the ancient Chinese and Mongolian people using body-oriented therapies for achieving physical and psychological well-being.
In 1949, Moshe Feldenkrais published a classical description of the body/mind in his book "Body and Mature Behavior," in terms of learned posture and the effect of gravity, anxiety, and effecting change in the body-mind. He saw the uniqueness of learning the growth process of the brain and nervous system.
Don Johnson, a student of Ida Rolf, in his book, "The Protean Body," (protean meaning: able to change into many different forms or able to do many different things) saw two major factors in the development of the body structure: "protection and appearance." We protect ourselves from physical and emotional pain. Freud understood that we use a vast amount of energy not to experience the "pain" of a past event. Wilhelm Reich, a student of Freud, discovered that the experienced event literally freezes in our body causing the event not to be fully expressed. We keep unconsciously (subconsciously) reliving the event mechanically again and again sabotaging ourselves. By the time we are adults, we have lost our capacity to respond to what is going on here and now--we are responding to the past.
Body Psychology is an approach to your body/mind's unconscious (subconscious) attitudes and uncovers the causes for self-destructive behavior. We often sabotage ourselves when we want to accomplish something--losing weight, exercising, desiring a new life style. This self-sabotage comes from the subconscious mind, leaving us with feelings of not being good enough; feeling stuck. It's true, we are "stuck" -- stuck with what we were taught to think of ourselves.
The way this process can be interrupted is by changing the body's neuromuscular system to its orientation to gravity. This is done by any deep-tissue massage or pattern release to loosen the muscles and cellular memory, which will create more flexibility leading to feelings of empowerment.
A way to experience your subconscious in action is to have someone watching and listening to you as stand up and lean on your left side, both feet on the ground, and talk (say anything). Listen to the quality of your voice. Now lean on your right side and continue talking. How much of a difference from left to right is your voice? Is it soft on one side more than the other? Can you hear the difference? Now try this: lean on your left side again, but this time don't talk. Just stand and pay attention to how you are feeling. This is important.
Depending on the input from each parent is how you are acting out. My book, "Interpreting Body Psychology," talks about the relationship we had with each parent. It shows the different body splits and what they mean. If you are more comfortable leaning on your right, you were more comfortable with dad; you most likely also leaned on him for support. You might be more comfortable with mom and leaned on her for support, then you would most likely be leaning on your left side. As you lean and talk from one side to the other your voice changes. It is because you are "plugged in" to all the input you heard as a child (subconsciously acting that out) -- you can hear it in your voice when leaning from one side to the other.
A way to free your subconscious mind is by standing in a "rooting" stance. Standing with your feet parallel, shoulder-width apart, and flat on the ground, bend your knees enough to be able to see the tips of your toes, pulling your knees outward to the side. Lean your upper back towards your heels, bending your elbows with palms facing outward away from each other and the thumbs facing towards the belly button. The rooting stance realigns the muscles in the body, allowing the structure to come to the center of balance and learn a new way to support itself: the right way. It allows the chi energy to free the body of locked-in muscles and subconscious patterns we keep repeating. It quiets the mind and keeps your body/mind present. Build up to 15 minutes a day. As you stand this way, breathe. When you breathe in, your stomach goes out; when you exhale, it goes in, pushing the breath out. Have your exhale just as long as your inhale. One minute after standing this way you feel more present, your eyesight clearer; when you walk, you can feel each step you take; you are more in control of your body/mind.
It is important to breathe correctly. If you breathe opposite--meaning as you breathe in so does your stomach go in--you will feel your world is a struggle; your brain is not getting enough oxygen and you feel tired. Your body is struggling because you have defeated the purpose of breathing. Yoga teaches us how and when to breathe.
Alexander Lowen's work in bio-energenics offers another exercise called "streaming." This allows the muscles of the spine to relax and realign. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing toward each other, slightly bending your knees. With arms hanging in front of you, bend your body over towards your feet. Stretch your hands out about 12 inches in front of your toes. Your head should freely hang down, allowing your neck to stretch out. Stay in this hanging position for approximately three minutes daily.
The body needs exercises: ways of opening up the blocked energy. Practicing these daily exercises encourages the muscles to realign with gravity. When these are practiced daily, you will find yourself more in control of your subconscious.
As the former owner of The Institute of Psycho-Structural Balancing in Beverly Hills, and the owner of Healing Touch Massage Therapy in Fountain Hills, Arizona, Cris Cotone is a master in integrating a variety of healing systems which best serve the needs of people in making physical changes in their bodies and lives. Cotone has become an expert in the areas of body psychology, pattern release. "Interpreting Body Psychology" is her first published book.
"Interpreting Body Psychology: How to Interpret and Change Your Body"
By Cris Cotone