Replenishing the Hope Reserves

Calming image of a tree in a field of yellow.

The musical equivalency of a hug

While walking through Ravenna Park this week, I listened to the NPR podcast Here & Now and felt comforted by a collection of music compiled by WSHU music director Kate Remington.

One piece in particular, The Rain, from "Blanc" by Angèle Dubeau, really welled me up. Composed by Joe Hisaishi, it was the theme song from Princess Mononoke.

Another, Mozart's Clarinet Adagio Concerto performed by John Manasse, I could listen to again and again. Kate referred to it as "the musical equivalency of a hug" and I couldn't agree more. 

Music replenishes hope.

Blanc by Quebec violinist Angèle Dubeau was dedicated to her fellow survivors of serious illness with the intent "luminous music that can bring interior peace through its strength and powerful evocation." 

Here is the NPR Here & Now podcast and the entire playlist: DJ Sessions: Classical Music For Troubled Times. 

May it bring you peace.

Quieting the nerves 

Right now, any small steps we can do to ease the “fight or flight” stress response will help to regulate our stress hormone levels. 

Nourishment. Breath. Mindset. Movement. Staying loose and limber so we’re able to feel and stay well, healthy, and hopeful...with grace and tenderness and compassion.

Listening and attending to our bodies fuels our faith that things will work out—it helps us to remain in the field of possibility. And the more hopeful we stay, the more we’ll be there for our families, friends, coworkers, and community. 

A tool for the wellness toolkit

Gentle-inversion calms the nervous system and creates balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, the “rest, digest, calm-down-and-heal system” to quiet the nerves.

Gravity impacts how hard the heart has to work to meet the brain’s demand for blood. A reclined position towards the head reflexively causes the heart rate to slow down. With this, the parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated, the heart relaxes, and the nervous system calms down.

Additionally, the low, safe angle allows the release of muscle guarding. The body is fully supported in this position and more able to let go and relax. 

Try this for yourself at home 

Try this modified Legs-Up-The-Wall pose—Lie back on the floor by your couch, prop your legs up on the couch with your hips elevated on a bolster or firm pillow. 

Ideally, your posture would be: your feet above the level of your hips and your hips above level of your heart - in a straight line position. This positioning elongates the hip flexors and takes us out of the L shape we sit in so often. But, for now, do what you can with what you have.

Outstretch your arms, close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly, and let go of any tension.

Try it with your hand on your heart.

Begin with 5 or so minutes as often as feels good and increase the time slowly to around 15 minutes a day or more depending upon your experience.

With love, and hope,

Aimée and the InclineRx family

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