Heart Connection Practice
In this video, I guide you through a practice of tuning in and attuning to your heart by directing the thinking mind towards the nourishment of your heart - being curious about what nourishes your heart? When is your heart touched by life? From a Polyvagal perspective, your social engagement system is also called your face-heart connection system. When you pause to listen to the experience of your heart, noticing and recalling moments when you felt your heart light up, warm and feel a sense of joy or love, you gain valuable insight into what nourishes your heart. In this practice, you will be guided to connecting, listening and tending to your heart, to your connection system.
Boundary Practice & the Fawn Response
Your nervous system, through processing sensory information from the environment and from your viscera, evaluates threat and safety. This is called neuroception - the ability to distinguish whether situations are safe or life threatening.
When there is a felt sense of safety, your social engagement system is on and there is capacity for play, intimacy, trust building and connection. When there is a felt sense of being unsafe, your survival strategies turn on.
In this video, I explore the survival strategy of the fawn response and what is happening from a polyvagal perspective and then I guide you through a boundary exercise of turning your gaze back towards self, and developing the felt-sense of your container.
Mind-Body Reconnection: Sound Practice
In patriarchy/colonial culture, the mind is perceived and placed above the body. This creates a mind-body split. This dislocates you from your felt-sense, disconnecting you from the deep wisdom and intelligence within your body. In this practice,
I guide you to orient and direct the mind toward your body through a repetitive chant sound. This mind over body to mind with body reframe begins the relational repair process between your mind and body and to come back into a trusting, caring and loving relationship of acknowledging, listening, and being present with your somatic cues.
By engaging in sound, your mind begins to quiet, and the vibration can slowly stimulate and soothe you to come back into the felt-sense in a gentle way.
Somatic Movement & Rhythm: Freeze Response
The expression and experience of the outer seasons can offer a mirror for our inner felt-sense. For example, in this video I draw upon the wintery landscape and the inner experience of hyper-arousal or the freeze response of shutdown, exhaustion and fatigue.
Winter can evoke a felt sense of immobilization with fear and an immobilization without fear. Immobilization with fear activates our survival response of freeze, dissociation, numbness, etc and immobilization without fear activates a sense of stillness, silence and deep relaxation.
When there's a freeze response, I lean on the teachings of reptiles, who need warmth from the sun to begin to stimulate a felt sense of aliveness and the return towards reconnection. In this video, I will guide you through gentle movement to slowly warm the muscles and joints, coming back into sensation.
Deep Listening & Noticing
Earth is my greatest teacher and healer, and in this video I guide you to listen deeply to the teachings of earth by engaging your senses and noticing with your entire felt sense the pulse of earth in this present moment.
By slowing down, inviting the mind to pause and then directing it towards the body, allows you the space to relax and be present. This practice begins to create a new mind-body relationship, where I invite your mind to serve your body - to move its awareness toward your felt sense, rather than the mind disconnecting you and taking you away from your body. By deep listening and noticing, your mind is directed to serve your felt-experience of the present moment.
Interoceptive awareness is the ability to track and notice sensations, emotions, behaviors and the felt-sense. This ability to direct your awareness towards your body, your felt experience cultivates a greater sense of inner trust, intuition, agency and empowerment.
By engaging in your relationship to body with the earth body, you enhance your interoceptive awareness, nurturing intimacy and capacity for co-regulation with earth.
Ventral Vagal Practice: the Basic Exercise
In this video, I draw upon Stephen Porges work and Stanley Rosenberg to guide you through a practice that activates your social engagement system, also known as the face-heart connection.
This basic practice is directly from Stanley Rosenberg’s book, “Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve”. You’ll also learn about the survival hierarchy of response from a polyvagal lens through the three branches of your nervous system - dorsal vagal (immobilization with fear), sympathetic (mobilization with fear), and ventral vagal (social engagement). Within your autonomic nervous system, there are five main cranial nerves located in your brainstem that stimulates your social engagement system - ventral vagal branch. This basic exercise stretches and engages these cranial nerves connected to the ventral vagal branch.
In this video, I guide you through a practice that builds somatic awareness and cultivates nervous system regulation by oscillating your attention between the counter vortex and trauma vortex.
I draw upon Peter Levine’s work of Somatic Experiencing by pendulating between something that is slightly activating and something that is relaxing, calming, and more regulatory and then back and forth between the two. This wave-like motion from moving from trauma vortex to counter vortex and back again creates the healing vortex, exercising nervous system adaptability.