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Mar 312013
 

Pondering the gay marriage coverage in the media this week, I was struck by how few people I know who are currently married, or whose marriages have stood the test of time and survived beyond a handful of years. We’re living in a time where a very large number of marriages are ending in divorce, often after a very short time – and while this might be a recent phenomenon, the problems surrounding long-term relationships have always been around. In fact, in the past it was only the difficulty or stigma surrounding divorce that kept many couples together at all! So if gay marriage can breathe new life into a near-irrelevant tradition and re-define what it means to be in a relationship, then why not!

For me, the recent marriage debate has led me to explore the the underlying reasons so many relationships break up – and I think the problem is rooted in the hormonal characteristics of our sex lives. Evolutionally, we’re hardwired to spread our genes widely, making us prone to meet someone, fall in love, mate to conceive a child, and after some time, repeat this pattern with someone new – and there’s an important combination of chemicals that prompts this cycle. The ‘cuddle’ hormone oxytocin bonds us, while dopamine provides the exciting peaks of pleasure during our early sexual encounters. Over time, however, the oxytocin glow fades, and with dopamine levels falling away after sex, longer-term couples can start to experience dopamine ‘lows’ as the body begins to become depleted after regular orgasm. These hormonal swings put a strain on relationships as we experience a kind of biological hangover, and we can begin to fall out of love. Often, people can turn to dopamine substitutes like drugs, food, illicit sex or gambling to redress the balance. Some couples may become more sexually adventurous, exploring more extreme forms of pleasure, or swapping partners to keep dopamine levels up. Others may lose interest in sex altogether and shift their focus to other common interests.

The other important contributing factor for our relationships is that as living organisms, each and every one of us are dynamic bio-energy systems. We each generate our own ‘life force’, often known as ‘prana’ or ‘chi’. It’s the heat or tingling sensation we sometimes feel in our bodies, and this energy circulates around our meridian system, contributing to our overall health, energy and sense of wellbeing. Our sexual organs and their associated ‘chakra’ generate the strongest flow of this energy, and problems can surface if our sex generators becomes weak or blocked, often leading to weakness, lack of vitality and disease. On the other hand, if we deplete our sexual chakra through overuse via ‘traditional’ orgasmic sex, we lose a large amount of bio-energy, again resulting in lower energy levels and a lack of vitality and ‘aliveness’, in addition to the other hormonal fluctuations.

So if we really want to ‘cheat’ our neurochemical conditioning, keep our relationships alive, and maintain our bio-energetic sex function, we need to maximise oxytocin production, avoid the dopamine rollercoaster and minimise the loss of energy through orgasm. And what’s the best way to do this? By indulging in non-orgasmic sex!

In next week’s blog I’ll be exploring this concept further – and I’ll also offer some practical and fun tools for non-orgasmic sex and experiencing all the benefits of this amazing practise.

And remember, if you can’t wait til next week, you can always book an energy-boosting, hormone-balancing session of bodywork with me in the meantime!

In love and light,

Taranga

Mar 232013
 

Bodies are an endless source of fascination for me – and in my line of work, that’s probably just as well! Each time someone enters my world and hops onto my massage table, I can barely wait to reveal them in all their naked glory. And whether they’re great or small, muscular or slight, curvaceous or twiggy, each and every person’s ‘vehicle for the soul’ has its own unique tale to tell.

It’s sometimes said that our bodies are a reflection of the lives we’ve led, that our physical selves are just as sculpted and formed by our experiences as our interior selves. From the shape of our feet to the bumps on our skull, there’s a whole school of theory that analyses our individual body parts and interprets their characteristics. It’s thought, for example, that the bigger and more pronounced the belly button, the more outgoing and ‘larger than life’ the personality. Overly rounded shoulders can mean a person is protecting their heart space and feeling anxious or fearful. And toes that curl under can indicate a person who’s stubborn and will always do things ‘their way’, even to their own detriment.

Even the facial features can often give away a lot about a person’s character. Interpretation of character from the study of a person’s face is called physiognomy, and this practice has been around for a very long time, being used as far back as 400BC by famous philosophers like Socrates. There’s a goldmine of interesting theories to be found in physiognomy. One example relates to the groove that connects the nose with the mouth (called the philtrum), which it’s said can indicate a person’s fertility levels. A long, broad and deep philtrum is a sign of good fertility, while a shallower, less pronounced one can suggest lower fertility levels. Meanwhile, deep set eyes imply a more introverted personality, a large nose can be a sign of a powerful person, and a deeply furrowed brow means a person might have a lot of pent-up anger or frustration.

Of course, these techniques are open to interpretation, and there’s no definitive ‘right’ or wrong’ to any of it – but there’s no denying that body reading is a fun and useful tool to play with. And one thing is for sure: our bodies are certainly affected and shaped by our interior lives, and vice versa.

Why not try this quick exercise to see how interconnected our bodies really are with our emotions:

Walk with your shoulders slumped, and your body bent forward. Drag your feet, look down, and don’t engage anyone. Walk slowly. Make your breathing shallow and weak. Now, without changing anything – try and feel happy. Notice how difficult that is. In fact it’s not fully possible.

Next, walk with your head raised, your chin up. Straighten your back, and keep your shoulders back. Breathe deeply. Walk firmly and plant your feet. Engage in eye contact with others if you wish. Now, without changing any of that, try and feel depressed. Once again, notice how difficult that is.

Having experienced the mind-body connection, imagine how you can influence your moods and change your outlook just by making a few changes to the way you carry your body. And over time, you can even start to observe the physical effects on your body, as your mind and emotions begin to shift.

Of course, regular sessions of bodywork with someone like myself can also work wonders in positively influencing both mind and body!

In love and light,

Taranga

Mar 102013
 

Have you ever had one of those moments where, when you’re feeling really good, happy or joyful inside, you notice how people start relating to you differently? You don’t need to be wearing a Cheshire grin from ear to ear, or do cartwheels down the street to get noticed. Sometimes, just feeling a certain way on the inside can seem to affect everything around you differently on the outside.

I was reminded of this fact the other day when a friend was telling me a story about getting lost on the way to a nightclub on the wrong side of the tracks, in a rough part of New York. Walking along a dark, silent street late at night, two large, threatening-looking men suddenly approached from a derelict building and started walking towards him. In an instant, he decided not to cross the street or run. Instead he bounded up to them excitedly, telling them how happy he was to run into them and find someone he could ask directions from. The two guys looked at each other incredulously, and taken aback by his approach (not to mention his Aussie accent), they decided to help him, rather than mug him. Safely escorted out of trouble and pointed in the right direction, my friend found the club and joined the end of the (very long) line to get in, while feeling quietly amazed and elated over what had just happened. At that moment, the nightclub bouncer, observing my friend from the front doors, walked over, plucked him out of the line and whisked him past everyone and on inside the club!

What’s clear from this story, is how our emotions can not only influence our interior lives (things like our physical health and our state of mind) – they can also influence our external world and change how others respond to us.

Science is actually researching this phenomenon, and has discovered that when we’re feeling positive emotions, such as love or joy or excitement, the heart beats out a very different message via the rhythmic electromagnetic field it generates. Amazingly, emotional information is encoded within this field, and it’s this ‘signal’ that can be subconsciously picked up, ‘felt’ and interpreted by those around us.

So whenever you’re having one of those ‘what’s the point’ moments, or feeling that the world’s problems are too immense and overwhelming to make any kind of difference on any level, remember this. We are all fundamentally and deeply interconnected with each other – and what we do individually can make a difference in the lives of every single person we meet. So whether we’re praying for direction or paying for coffee, don’t forget that our heart ‘vibration’ can be sensed by whoever we come in contact with, influencing them to greater vibrational heights of their own.

In love and light,

Taranga

Mar 022013
 

Having lunch in my local cafe the other day, I overheard a slightly frazzled and grumpy-looking woman complaining to her friend about how infuriating her partner is. “Every time I ask him not to stack to wine glasses upside-down on the cupboard shelf, and he STILL does it”, she exclaimed indignantly.
 
It set me thinking about how much of our lives are consumed by trivialities, and how we often let the ‘little things’ escalate into big deals, for no good reason. ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’, goes the saying, and it’s something we could all do with remembering from time to time!
 
Often, there’s no such thing as the ‘right way’ to do something – there’s only your interpretation of it. We’re all probably just as annoying as everyone else, and the more intolerable you are of someone else’s habits, the more intolerable you probably are to them! What’s key here is acceptance, and it’s a habit worth practicing. So here are a few simple methods to play with:
 
Watch your thoughts: Sometimes we slip into judgement without even realising we’re doing it. So pay closer attention to your thoughts, and try to direct them to a less judgemental, more accepting place whenever you realise you’re judging someone’s behaviour, getting irritated or annoyed, or feeling like your expectations are not being met.
 
Avoid ‘right’ and ‘wrong’: The world is not always black and white. It’s often many shades of grey. The more we label things as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ the more we suffer.  Find a new perspective and try to see the situation from a different angle.
 
Stop judging yourself: Often, over-judgement of others comes from an inability to accept yourself. When we put pressure on ourselves to be perfect, we often pass that on to others and have unrealistic expectations of them. Accept yourself warts and all, and look for the beauty in imperfection!
 
Put yourself in their shoes: When you’re feeling frustrated by someone’s behaviour, ask yourself how you’d feel if the situation was reversed. The woman in the cafe could have considered how her partner may have viewed her way as the ‘wrong’ way – but instead just chose to overlook it.
 
Communicate: Good communication goes a long way to defusing tension – but staying silent only leads to passive aggression or overreaction. Perhaps if the woman chose to talk sensibly to her partner, they could have agreed to both stack their glasses the ‘wrong’ way now and again to show flexibility and compromise, leaving more space to focus on the important stuff in their relationship!
 
We all have the power to choose either judgement or acceptance. Acceptance means allowing feelings to be there as they are, then letting them go without resistance, judgement, or making them bigger than they need to be. Whenever you’re challenged in this area, travel the path of acceptance and start enjoying greater peace and joy in your life.
 
In love and light, Taranga