I get so excited when I learn how science backs up ancient yoga techniques. Dr. Joe Dispenza’s book, Becoming Supernatural, does just that! I just discovered Dr. Joe and have instantly become a big fan! He uses epigenetics, molecular biology, neurocardiology and quantum physics to explain how our brains work and how various meditation and breathing practices can dramatically enhance our health, happiness and much more!
As I have often shared, I’ve experienced many positive benefits from meditating and breathing techniques. But when I read this book and learned how these practices physically affect my brain, it inspired and motivated me to practice it even more. I had to share Dr. Joe’s book with you because I think it will inspire you too!
Meditation and breathing exercises aren’t new, the 8 Limbs of Yoga---which I love and practice---contain these practices and they were written around 250 BCE. Hieroglyphics of people meditating were found as early as 3500 BCE and written evidence was found in the Vedas around 1500 BCE. But we are still catching up with the science behind these practices. According to PositivePhyscology.com the first piece of scientific research on meditation occurred in 1936, and in 1955 the first study using an electroencephalogram (EEG) was conducted. As our scientific knowledge has evolved, the studies on mediation have improved dramatically, but many scholars feel that there is still much more to learn on this subject.
What was really fascinating to me was that Dr. Joe recommended one meditation technique that I learned from my yoga teacher years ago and practice regularly. I call it “labeling thoughts” and it is one of my go-to meditation techniques because it really helps my mind from wandering (too much) and stay in the present moment.
Dr. Joe uses different language when instructing how to do the meditation, but the meaning is the same. Furthermore, he explains what is happening to your brain during that particular technique.
Here’s how you do the “labeling thoughts” meditation:
- Take a comfortable seat in a location that you won’t be interrupted;
- Ensure your spine is elongated and you’re positioned so that you won’t experience any pain during your practice. For example, I prefer sitting in a chair with my feet on the floor. This prevents my legs from falling asleep and alleviates any knee or back pain. Do what works for you.
- Set your timer for 15 minutes to 30 minutes.
- Focus on your breath. Just breathe normally in and out of your nose.
- As thoughts arise, place them into one of two categories: thoughts of planning or remembering. That is generally what our thoughts are doing. Label the thought silently to yourself two times. Saying it twice helps to stop the thought from continuing onward so you are able to let it go and return your focus to your breath. Keep repeating this throughout your meditation.
In Dr. Joe’s book he uses this same style of meditation and explains what is happening to your brain during this meditation. He prefaces this technique by stating “where you place your attention is where you place your energy.” Similar to the “labeling thoughts” mediation, Dr. Joe suggests you are either placing your thoughts (and energy) on the past or on the future. Plus, most of these thoughts probably have a negative tone to them. For example, I’m so frustrated that I didn’t complete that project today. Or, I have so many things I need to get done today I don’t have time to sit here and meditate. Dr. Joe explains that our brains have a “neurological network” assigned to each situation, person, place or thing. When we keep directing our thoughts and energy to those past experiences (aka samskaras) or on the future (projected out based on past experiences) the stronger those neural circuits become. The stronger they become the harder they are to break. As you can image, this makes it difficult to create something new in your life because, as Dr. Joe says, “you are continuously keeping your life the same because you are keeping your attention and your energy the same.”
The meditation practice of labeling your thoughts trains your mind (over time) to refocus back to the present moment which, as Dr. Joe explains, will actually help to weaken the neural circuits, “breaking the energetic bonds with your familiar known reality.” So, it’s the present moment where all the magic happens! This is where change can occur. When we are more mindful in the present moment, we can respond more skillfully instead of reacting (based on past experiences) to life as it unfolds. Meditation helps us to cultivate the patience and the curiosity to be more mindful of our actions---and our actions do matter.
The practices Dr. Joe provides in his book are surprisingly simple---it’s mainly meditation and breath work! He also provides several case studies that are so inspirational and motivational! I highly recommend you pick up a copy of your own---click here to get your copy!
Please know that I do not receive any compensation for promoting this book. I just want to share any good ideas and resources I have found to help you live your best life!