Bones, balance, muscle: research team demonstrates the power of yoga v osteoporosis

Bones, balance, muscle: research team demonstrates the power of yoga v osteoporosis

Building bone density is important for all of us, but it’s a fact four out of five people with osteoporosis are women. Hormone changes we experience as we move through menopause are one reason women are more at risk of developing osteoporosis. Having lighter bones is another.

But for everyone, family history, vitamin D levels and life style choices can contribute.

Doctors used to say our ability to build bone mass more or less stopped when we hit menopause, but that’s found to be incorrect.

The good news is you can build bone density at any age – it’s never too late to create change.

Because it’s weight-bearing, yoga has been identified as a great way to strengthen your bones. But it’s also a powerful way to strengthen muscles and improve balance, all of which will improve your wellbeing at any age.

Research published in 2015, which conducted trials with participants diagnosed with osteoporosis or its precursor osteopenia, discovered marked improvements in bone density in 80 per cent of the group.

The average age of those joining the study was 68. Over two years, the participants practiced 12 yoga postures daily, for just 12 minutes.

The research team included Dr Loren Fishman of Columbia University who specialises in rehabilitative medicine and who studied with BKS Iyengar.

Now researchers are keen to conduct more research, to discover whether osteopenia could be avoided in younger people practicing daily.

The 12 postures selected were specifically chosen to impact the spine, hip and femur bone regions. And they all came with modifications to make them highly accessible to trial participants. They were:

  • Tree posture (Vriksasana)
  • Triangle (Trikonasana)
  • Warrior II (Virabhadrasana)
  • Side angle pose (Parsvakonasana)
  • Twisted Triangle (Parivritta Trikonasana)
  • Locust (Salabhasana)
  • Bridge (Setu Bandhasana)
  • Supine hand to foot I (Supta Pandangusthasana I)
  • Supine hand to foot II (Supta Pandangusthasana II)
  • Straight-legged twist (Marichyasana II)
  • Bent knee twist (Matsyendrasana)
  • Corpse posture (Savasna).

‘The new research shows that yoga can outweigh the hormonal effects of age,’ Fishman told Yoga Journal.

An added yoga bonus is several of these postures also develop balance, giving practitioners better stability, as well as agility, should they slip or trip as they go about their daily lives off the mat.

In my next blogpost we’ll look at life style shifts and nutrition for healthy bones.

Making choices for your menopause

Making choices for your menopause

How’s your journey through menopause going to go? Have you given it a second thought?  Do you know what your choices are?

Or are you now ‘through the other side’ and perhaps missing the woman you thought you knew? Do you assume she’s ‘lost’ now, fading into the past?

All women move through menopause sooner or later and that transforming time varies greatly from woman to woman.

Around 13 million women are going through menopause in the UK today, according to the British Menopause Society, and three out of five women say the symptoms they experience seriously impact on their lives (Newson Clinic).

My journey through menopause was no easy ride. But at the time I would have shrugged and said everything was fine.

I hadn’t considered that the exhaustion and the anxiety were related to menopause and I certainly thought everything I felt was due to my ‘lack’.

Back then I thought menopause was just about hot flushes. Now I know that while they are a symptom, they’re one of many you may experience.

There were no leaflets handed out at my doctor’s surgery and it never came up in conversation. I thought I knew the facts, but I really didn’t.

And that is precisely why I am so passionate about Menopause Yoga which aims to empower women, offering pointers to up-to-date facts and knowledge that offers choices and practices that help us to help ourselves.

Because I didn’t have them. My choices were based on what turned out to be old science and assumptions that if menopause was one way for my mother it would be the same for me.

I’m also aware that the changes we go through during this time aren’t always physical; frequently they are emotional.

My menopause symptoms weren’t physically dramatic, but the changes that went on for me during that time were extraordinary.

Between 49 and 53 my life was tipping about so fast I could have been living in a snow globe.

  • I was diagnosed with stage three arthritis in my hip that required an immediate joint replacement
  • Overwhelm was a frequent visitor and PMT seemed to have moved into my life for good
  • I found it really hard to focus on fiddly tasks I would have found a breeze before.

Looking back, I can see my life would have been so much easier if I’d had more facts at my fingertips. But it doesn’t have to be like that for you.

Here are three things you can do to empower your menopause:

  • Attend a MY workshop or retreat where you can explore postures, breath works and meditations that can help you manage menopause symptoms and find out lots more info.
  • Learn from experts before you talk to anyone – the UK has excellent resources, many of them free. Dr Louise Newson’s website and podcasts are just two.
  • Talk with your friends and share your knowledge and experience; or find an online community where you can meet women facing similar issues who understand.

Whichever route you choose, talk to your health professionals from a place of informed ideas about what you want. Your research will help you get clarity on what’s right for you.

And don’t be afraid to write down bullet points when you have conversations with a doctor or alternative health practitioner.

Brain fog moments love to strike when we need to focus and we’re talking about deeply personal issues.

And if you’d like to join me at a Menopause Yoga workshop my next one is Sunday 18 October 2020 at Yoga Life Studio, The Stables, in Eastbourne on World Menopause Day. There are 10 places available.

Second Spring Wonderland

Second Spring Wonderland

How do you see life as a post-menopause woman?

Close your eyes. Let your imagination show you what it sees, hears and feels about this time.

If you’re already way past your last period, then you’ll know, physically, change is going on and that may be hard for you, or perhaps manageable or even very easy.

Your physical symptoms may have been mild. But as you travel through post menopause world you’ll notice changes. Certainly in your skin. Maybe in your hair. Possibly in the type of irritating infections you’re prone to.

All that aside, for our minds and our emotions there are big changes going on too. And if you’re interested in yoga then you’ll know the mind, body, emotional experience – it is all very much connected.

What’s the picture for you?


Or more… this?

Other cultures are much better at handling ageing than ours.

In Menopause Yoga the post-menopause space is the second Spring. The time when we have more freedom. More space. More time to consider the real work we want to bring into our lives. Where we of service to the people who matter to us most.

In Menopause Yoga we see childhood as Spring. Summer as the mother-becoming years. Autumn is the perimenopause space and then Winter is pretty short. The ahh… big changes happening. Pause. Consider and then move on… to the second Spring.

In Japan the post menopause years is the wisdom time. Elders are respected and revered. And Japan is not alone. Native American-Mexican Spanish heritage writer and analyst, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, writes extensively in this area, quoting the South and Central American traditions and stories.

And of course in yoga and Ayurveda there is this tradition too. It’s just that in our gym culture, western interpretation of yoga it’s dominated by the asana-driven elements of an extraordinarily wide-ranging and rich potential experience.

Yes, in the West we are seeing change. The pro-ageing, post 50 years movement is gather pace and connecting and championing each others’ rights to be seen and valued.

But how do we grow in this space with powerful confidence? Here’s three powerful steps:

  1. Spend time considering what your big work will be for this time.
    Do you want to be an environmental crusader like the designer Vivienne Westwood? Do you want to write a book? Do you want to work on that invention you put to one side in your Thirties when the kids came along and it felt silly or self-indulgent.
    If you don’t know yet, try this;
  2. Reconnect with a hobby you loved as a child. Writing, drawing, riding your bike, making clay pots… whatever it is see if it still gives you joy. And if it does, is that a clue?
  3. Spend time recalling what you were instinctively drawn to as a small kid. Recall how you spent your time before you got caught up in the external world. What was your inner world connected to?

I offer .3. because that’s a path towards your inner guide. Your intuitive ‘yes, this is me’ teacher. Before you felt judged. Before you felt victimised. Before you experienced shame. Before you started pleasing others and thinking their praise was enough.

Letting go of judgement and victim personas are routes to self-love and embracing post menopause has to be the only way – because unless you’re planning on getting off the bus, your life journey is taking you there.

And whether it’s Spring while you are there. Or eternal Winter. That is up to you.

What do you think? Are you ready for Spring? Are you skipping through puddles and dancing through the cherry blossom? Let me know your thoughts and feelings on this one. I’d love to know.

Total relaxation for stressful times: Yoga Nidra

Total relaxation for stressful times: Yoga Nidra
Total relaxation for stressful times: Yoga Nidra

Yoga has amazing tools for soothing our mind, body and nervous systems during stressful times.

And were there ever more stressful times, globally?

Here in the UK we’ve spent years watching other cultures around the world having their lives disrupted. By war. By famine. By civil unrest. What we’re experiencing is so small compared to what we’ve seen others’ endure. And yet the very fabric of our lives feels unsteady. Ungrounded. Unsure.

I’ve thought about what I can give to help you.

I’ll be creating a series of audios which aim to give small oases of peace in disruptive times. This one is a Yoga Nidra. It lasts for 30 minutes. Its goal is to help you relax mentally, physically and emotionally. And all you need to do is lie down. Or listen, sitting on a chair.

Its name, Yoga Nidra, means ‘union at one pointed awareness’ and ‘sleep’. That may sound a bit contradictory but it is very like meditation, or being in a state of self hypnosis. You are somewhere between wakefulness and sleep.

It’s also meant to be energising – a 1:4 ratio equivalent of normal sleep. So if you’re not sleeping well – 30 minutes yoga nidra is like a two-hour sleep. Sound good? Give it a go! Yoga Nidra is very traditional. You may find the concepts a little strange, if you’ve never been to a yoga class and enjoyed a relaxation at the end of the session. it’s an extended version of one of those.

I’ll make some short relaxation recordings in the coming few weeks, but in the true Blue Peter fashion, here’s one I prepared earlier… (those of you from outside the UK, Blue Peter was a kids’ TV programme where we learned how to make things like dolls houses from cardboard boxes, loo roll centres and double-sided tape).

All thoughts and feedback gratefully received in the comments below.

Yoga Nidra: narrated by Deana Morris

Hypnosis: the ultimate natural painkiller

Hypnosis: the ultimate natural painkiller

Did you know learning the art of self hypnosis can help you reduce chronic pain?

I wish I had known this when I was was struggling with arthritis in my left hip.

Frustrated by my reliance on prescription pain-reducing drugs which really only offset the discomfort, I was still experiencing pain in all waking hours.

The operation changed my life and living pain-free lifted a cloud of physical and mental tension and oppression I hadn’t realised was so pervasive until it was gone.

So when I knew Dr John Butler at Hypnotherapy Training International offered a Medical Hypnotherapy course, based on Gil Boyne and David Elman’s teaching and expertise, I couldn’t wait to learn these skills. And they’ve never disappointed.

Empowering clients to develop the skills that allow them to turn down their experience of pain is deeply satisfying for both of us. Because we are our own rescue in life. Therapists light the way, but it is the client that has the ‘a-ha’ moments that enable them to see and feel differently, emotionally and, where appropriate, physically.

Below is Georgie’s story. We worked together via Zoom (like Skype) – face-to-face, in-person isn’t necessary. She tells the story better than I can do, so if you’re interested in how hypnotherapy techniques can help you control chronic pain… read on.

‘I was fortunate enough to meet Deana over Christmas and that one meeting changed the way I am now able to live my life. I’m almost entirely pain free, have lost the reliance on painkillers and best of all I’m in control. My health has improved, I’m sleeping through every night and generally much more positive and happier. I would recommend hypnotherapy to anyone who lives with pain and battles on thinking there isn’t another option. There most definitely is! 

‘Deana and I met for work and I happened to mention that I suffered with chronic pain in my knee. After having a knee replacement at the age of 14, 30 years later, 2 children, lots of sport (running and skiing) had meant the wear and tear on my knee had really taken its toll. I suffered daily with pain and managed this with multiple painkillers. The pain was always worse in winter and the cold really did increase levels of suffering. I’d tried physio, acupuncture, reflexology, but nothing offered much more than a temporary respite.

‘I have always enjoyed exercise but latterly tended to opt for more low impact classes like pilates and yoga. I know that in the long-term I need another operation, but simply don’t have the time currently for recovery. Two young children who need ferrying here there and everywhere and no family support mean that I’m too heavily relied upon to take time out.

‘Deana said that as well as being a magazine editor and yoga teacher that she is also a hypnotherapist and could treat me and help me find a way to ease the pain without painkillers. I was intrigued. I had a lot of friends who swore by hypnobirthing and while I flicked through a few books while pregnant never committed.

‘Almost a month ago I undertook my first hypnosis session with Deana. We did it via Zoom video conferencing. I was initially sceptical, but her soothing voice and clear instructions took me to a different place where I was able to ‘turn off the pain’. The whole process took around 20 minutes and after an initial feeling of calm, felt invigorated and energised, but more crucially had minimal pain in my knee. Yes, it was still there, but the effects were the same as taking pain relieving medication. Interestingly I got on with my day and it wasn’t until the evening that I realised that I hadn’t even thought about pain relief. This was the turning point for me and I realised that I had with Deana achieved something remarkable and if I could control the pain I was experiencing then I could live differently, be more active and less miserable and grumpy (something my family most definitely are thanking her for).

‘Deana sent me through a recording to take me through the process when I was alone. This initially I found hard. Trying to get uninterrupted quiet time with two bouncy boys and a puppy was challenging. I found my mind wondering and getting distracted. I persevered and by the end of the first week had cracked it. I was able to turn off the pain to almost nothing. I was sleeping well and no stomach issues through overuse of codeine. I haven’t felt so well and up-beat for years. My family and friends began noticing a difference and people were really interested in the process and how it had worked. 

‘I’m now a month in and not only have I been able to run short distances but have just completed a fitness weekend doing 14 classes including squats, weight-bearing exercises, jumping – utterly unimaginable only 4 weeks ago.

‘While I know hypnosis isn’t a cure it has transformed the quality of my life. I have even had success with a hangover headache, the control we have over the pain we feel is something I still struggle to fully comprehend, but it works. I’m not totally sure how, but I love the fact it’s natural and wherever I am in the world I can get instant relief without panicking there is no chemist nearby. Thank you Deana the impact you have had on my life is immense. I feel as if anything is achievable and without the constant pain feel liberated, optimistic and focused on the future.

‘I cannot recommend Deana highly enough. She has a wealth of experience and will help guide you through every step. Above all you will be amazed as to how quickly you start to see results and that will give you the impetus to prioritise the sessions and stick with them for a longer-term gain.’

Georgina Darby, 
Windsor Berkshire

Menopause Yoga – YES!

Menopause Yoga – YES!

There’s a new, first of its kind UK yoga teacher training course specifically designed to support women during peri-menopause, menopause and post menopause times in their lives.

Developed by London-based teacher Petra Coveney, Menopause Yoga is accredited by the British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) and is supported by Dr Louise Newson, a leading UK menopause specialist and campaigner for menopause women’s rights.

I’m thrilled to be able to announce I’ve been accepted onto this course and my training takes place next month, February 2020.

I’ll be delivering group and 1-2-1 classes, workshops and day retreats in the South East of England and beyond, just as soon as I can.

When I heard Petra had developed this programme I immediately applied. This CPD course builds on the rigorous yoga teacher training programme I completed with BWY several years ago.

As many of us are fully aware, menopause is a transformative time in a woman’s life. The loss of the hormone oestrogen can cause physical, emotional and mental symptoms that can destabilise our health, work, relationships and sense of self. 

An estimated 13 million women in the UK aged 45-60 are currently going through one of the stages of menopause (peri-menopause to post-menopause), and 1 in 4 are experiencing severe symptoms that negatively impact their lives, work and relationships. 

There are more than 20 symptoms which can include: hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, low mood, irritability, depression, midriff weight gain, headaches. There is a growing demand for yoga teachers to support these women.

Specialising in working with midlife women who want to live their best lives, what better way to add to the ways I serve my clients?

What is Menopause Yoga?

Menopause Yoga (MY) includes both a positive approach to menopause and a toolkit of techniques to support you on your menopause journey.

The MY method educates, by providing a trusted information in a supportive and confidential space, plus a tool kit of techniques to take home and use, according to individual needs. 

The toolkit includes specially adapted yoga, breathing, CBT and meditation techniques. MY women are also given information about nutrition, natural remedies, supplements and other lifestyle changes you can make to ‘nurture and nourish’ your way through menopause.

While some of the yoga sequences are restorative, others are energy boosting or focus specifically on symptoms such as hot flushes and anxiety.

What is Menopause?

Menopause is a transformative time in a woman’s life. The loss of the hormone oestrogen can cause physical, emotional and mental symptoms that destabilise her health, work, relationships and sense of self. 

An estimated 13 million women in the UK aged 45-60 are currently going through one of the stages of menopause (perimenopause to post menopause), and 1 in 4 experiencing severe symptoms that negatively impact their lives, work and relationships. There are more than 20 symptoms which can include: hot flushes, night sweats, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, low mood, irritability, depression, midriff weight gain, headaches. There is a growing demand for yoga teachers to support these women.

While HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) is now prescribed by doctors in the UK and can help with many of the symptoms, this is contra-indicated for many women who have a history of breast cancer or coronary heart disease in their families. Many women prefer to use alternative therapies, and even those taking HRT say they still experience symptoms. Studies undertaken by the British Menopause Society have shown that yoga, breathing techniques, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Meditation are helpful for women in menopause, but until now they have not been drawn together in an easily accessible teacher training.

I’ll tell you much more about what I learn in coming weeks – stand by!

Talking menopause? Yes, please!

Talking menopause? Yes, please!

You go into the book store, there’s the cut-out of Dr. Phil, and then the dreaded women’s health section where every book, instead of the menopause book with the fanged Medusa head on the cover that might be more pertinent, you always see a flower and a poppy and a daisy and a stethoscope.

Sandra Tsing Loh, writer and actor

They say women don’t talk about menopause.

I think that is changing. And thank f*%k, I say.

On Saturday, while shopping in the lovely East Sussex town of Lewes, I ended up in a conversation with the shop owner and her friend about menopause and some of the symptoms. Yes, I know, just like that. It all began with a ‘do you think this shirt is pulling?’ comment from Friend, who had tried on a very lovely silk blouse and was pointing at her cleavage.

Bigger boobs were discussed as a midlife body change, and not necessarily an unwelcome one either.

But the lethargy, and what was described as ‘bleughness’, were a definite ‘OMG so true’. ‘Where’s my energy gone?’ asked Shop Owner Woman, ‘I’m just so tired all the time’.

In menopause and peri-menopause (the time before menopause) plummeting oestrogen can be one reason. This hormone is woven into the fabric of our mind and bodies, as we well know from the mensuration cycle. It impacts on our moods, how our body ‘feels’ how our skin behaves… I could go on.

Along with tiredness, there’s also an anxiety that can set in around menopause and there’s plenty of other symptoms, including the ‘Am I hot? Am I cold?’ dance at night. Duvet on, duvet off. Leg in, leg out.

Yes, I remember the way I could pull off all-nighters in my Twenties; whether at work or play, and still bounce through a full day on just a couple of hours sleep. But now I’m in my mid-Fifties; not so much. Not at all, frankly. If I don’t get my eight hours I know it, the next day. Don’t you?

And given I’ve not seen a period for two years, I think we can safely say I’m on the other side. In that strange hinterland, where tumbleweed blows and men stop calling you ‘miss’ and start calling you ‘madam’, I find ‘the other side’ is a very interesting place.

But if you think the menopause song and dance symptoms suddenly shuffle off into the midnight, leaving you in a state of blissful serene calm…. Well, it’s not been like that for me.

Everyone’s menopause is different. Mine well remembers night sweats, I can tell you. Because they still periodically mess with my love of good sleep.

But one of my advantages as a hypnotherapist and yoga teacher is I can take control of my own menopause symptoms when they ripple back. 

HRT is a powerful choice for women, but it’s not for everyone.

Learning self-hypnosis techniques and then practicing daily has been, for me, the way to ease symptoms. With practice, the technique becomes as automatic as tying a shoelace and it’s as relaxing as meditation; very similar if you ask me, so why wouldn’t you want to practice?

You can learn self hypnosis from a book, or book a session, either face to face or online, with a professional like me.

We can show you how to use hypnosis to calm your mind and body and take in positive messages about change, using the power of your imagination to impact on how your body feels and responds to symptoms.

There’s research to show that hypnosis works in alleviating symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes. The British Medical Journal published a review of various alternative practices last year and recommended hypnosis and CBT as the only two practices it could recommend as reducing vasomotor symptoms – medical speak for hot flushes.

But whether you decide to do that or not, here’s one great way to quickly ease anxiety. You can practice anytime. No one will notice! It’s a basic breathing technique I teach my yoga students and hypnotherapy clients alike, because it’s so effective.

Square breathing
We think if breathing as linear… breath in, breath out. But it actually has four sides:

Breath in – pause – breath out – pause. 

You might not notice the pause until you look for it, but it’s there. See?

Step 1.
Focus your mid on making your breath cycle into a square.

Breathe in for the count of 4
Pause for the count of 4
Breathe out for the count of 4
Pause for the count of 4.

Step 2.
Make your square a little bigger. Expand your square until you’re taking a nice deep breath in and out and everything in the square feels comfortable.

Step 3.
E.g. Breathe in for 4. Hold for 4. Breathe out for 8. Pause for 8.

Be mindful not to stress your breath. This isn’t a competition. Lungs are delicate organs. Treat them kindly.

Slowing down the out-breath is a key to shutting off the stress response. That can stop a hot flush episode before it’s got underway.

If you’d like to know more about hypnosis for menopause, get in touch. And if you try the square breathing technique, do let me know how you get on with it. I find it useful at night, and pretty relaxing in supermarket queue too!


BMJ: Non Hormonal Treatments for Menopause Symptoms: November 2017

Say Good Night to your insomnia

Say Good Night to your insomnia

From the outside looking in, Andrew’s career was dazzling.

Many of his friends envied the lifestyle they saw through the lens of social media.

Briefing teams for an internationally renowned organisation, he regularly flew around the world with work. His holiday locations were exotic and equally far-flung.

And yet, Andrew was nearing the end of his tether. 

Glamorous jobs come with unglamorous pressures and responsibilities. Never mind anything going on back at home.

Gruelling hours travelling, driving down dark, unfamiliar foreign roads. Throwing open a laptop in a hotel room, working long into the night. The kind of pressures that were keeping Andrew awake at night just kept mounting up. His insomnia was, as he put it, ‘relentless’.

‘If I don’t get some sleep, I don’t know…’ his voice tailed off.

Wendy was waiting for an operation.

She was due to have a hip replacement, the operation date was set, but the chronic discomfort was draining her physically and emotionally as, night after night, she struggled to get comfortable in bed. 

‘I just feel all the work I’ve done to prepare for this operation is being drained.’

I could hear the emotion cracking her voice.

Both Andrew and Wendy have different roots to their insomnia, but just one hypnotherapy session has helped them both.

Within a couple of weeks, Andrew reported getting better quality sleep, although he was still waking up in the night. 

‘I’m happy,’ he reported.

I want more for him, but this is a great start. When he does awaken, he’s getting back to sleep faster with the mind relaxation techniques I’ve taught him.

Wendy was astonished how much longer she was sleeping after our session. Her arthritic hip had been robbing her of much needed rest. She said:

‘To have immediate “memory” of how it feels to be deeply relaxed and pain-free was incredibly powerful.’

Sleep is not optional. Daytime irritability, depression, anxiety and trouble concentrating are all symptoms of insomnia. And if you’re interested in performing at your best, it’s essential. Waking up in the night is normal, but being unable to get back to sleep is not.

Reportedly, Roger Federer sleeps 10 hours a night and Usain Bolt; nine.

How well do you sleep? If you could improve your sleep in one session, would you take that step?

Want to hear something funny?

Want to hear something funny?

‘I could never “do” hypnosis, I wouldn’t be in control,’ said a friend, when I told her how I help people.

‘Hmm… I said. ‘I see. But how are you in control now?’

She looked at me, confusion flicking across her face.

‘If you can’t hand over what you see as control to someone else, how can you be control?’

That’s the funny thing about ‘control’ isn’t it. It controls you. Think about it. How can you have control, if you need control? Control has control. You don’t.

And let’s not even take into account that you are always in the driving seat in trance, should you choose hypnotherapy as the route to freeing yourself from what’s holding you back.

You tell your therapist what you’re ready to disclose. We go at your pace. You can even lie to your therapist if you want to (although don’t advise it, it’s not going to help). It’s not a truth serum, though. You are certainly never in a position where you’re revealing information involuntarily.

But do you want to hear something even funnier? You’re in and out of trances all the time. Whether you’re aware of it or not.

Ever wondered how you can drive home and not remember half the journey? You can be in a trance with your eyes open.

When you watch a film. When you watch TV. When you watch advertisements. Oh yes, advertisements. Mass hypnosis.

Ever wondered why you buy the brands you buy? Advertisers are masters of the craft of persuasion. Although whether they use their influence skills for the greater good is questionable.

Maybe because mass media trance is so frequent and so pervasive, you don’t notice you’re making choices that aren’t really your choices.

But of course, you’re in control.

I know. 


Honouring the Greats: Rules of the Mind – Part Two

Honouring the Greats: Rules of the Mind – Part Two

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

Albert Einstein, physicist and ‘most famous scientist in history’

Change. We all want the power to change ourselves for the better, but why is that change so elusive? Lasting change needs our thinking mind and emotional mind working together. Our emotional mind lives in the subconscious and drives all our cravings and fears. We may want to let go of a few extra inches, but we may also be aware that we ‘love’ crisps and chocolate and when we’ve had a hard day, chocolate calls us like a siren. 

This is where the role of the hypnotherapist is to work with the client to achieve whole mind desire for change, so the emotional mind and thinking mind work together.

It can be argued that in this quote above, Einstein acknowledges intelligence is about just this process, that true intelligence is about much more than academic ability. It requires whole mind power.

This is the second of two blogs exploring master hypnotherapist Gil Boyne’s eight Rules of the Mind and how understanding them gives greater insight into mastering how we can change. The first four rules can be found here.

The founder of Transforming Therapy, Gil Boyne, knew much about change from both sides of the therapist’s chair. 

As a practitioner he had an extraordinary career, with many achievement milestones marked along the way. As a man he took himself from teenager tearaway to the hypnotherapist sought out by Hollywood stars, including Sylvester Stallone, created his training institute, many novel techniques and whose honours include Man of the Century, by the International Hypnosis Hall of Fame, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in 2000

Here are his Rules of the Mind: five to eight

Once an idea has been accepted by the subconscious mind, it remains until it has been replaced by another idea. And the longer the idea remains, the more opposition there will be to replacing it with a new idea.
Thoughts drive our actions so it follows changing our thoughts changes our actions, says Gil Boyne. Not all our thoughts may be correct, but we hang on to them. Can chocolate really make us happy? Can a drink really steady our nerves? Can a cigarette really help us in any way? Looking at the cold facts; no, but for anyone who has been telling themselves that sugar, alcohol or nicotine has an essential wellbeing benefit, that’s an emotionalised response and a fixed idea that can be changed. Facts are facts – the sun does set in the west and rise in the east, but ideas, like ‘smoking calms my nerves’ can be changed.

An emotionally induced symptom tends to cause organic change, if persisted in long enough.
According to Boyne, many reputable medical men believe more than 70 per cent of human ailments are functional rather than organic. Diseases caused by germs, parasites and viruses have their place, but so do conditions caused by self-medicating with drugs, legal or otherwise, as well ailments with an emotional root – stress, for instance, is regularly cited in physical conditions.

Each suggestion acted on creates less opposition to the successive suggestions.
This is why your therapist will take you through responsiveness exercises as you begin your therapy sessions and use a variety of induction techniques as your trance depth is developed. As your subconscious mind accepts that you feel more relaxed, that your eyes have remained shut even though you tested them, so it will accept more complicated suggestions.

When dealing with the subconscious mind and its functions, the greater the conscious effort, the less the subconscious response.
If you’ve ever struggled with sleep you’ll know the harder you try to get to sleep, the harder it is to get to sleep. And that, in itself, is one key to enjoying great sleep – sleep comes to you, it drifts over you like a soft blanket and wraps you in its gentle warmth (feeling sleepy yet?!) – in short, you float into it. So it is with the subconscious; you can’t force it. Develop an expectancy that change is coming and ‘let it happen’, the subconscious mind will follow.

Which of the eight rules has been most enlightening for you? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.

Gil Boyne, biography, Wikipedia.
Gil Boyne, press cuttings.
Gil Boyne Hypnotism Training Manual, Westwood Publishing