Living in fear of the Tiger
Imagine you are living somewhere with a lot of tigers.
You may have been living there for a few years, a few decades, or your whole life.
Your parents and even grandparents may have always lived there too, perhaps back many generations.
You must always be aware of tigers, people in the community (you may or may not know personally) have been attacked or eaten by tigers.
Maybe you have had a tiger attack or chase you.
The awareness that tigers are there and are a danger drives both your thoughts and actions.
When eating you are always aware of the potential of a tiger attack.
You sleep lightly with a weapon close by.
You travel loudly in groups, with weapons.
You build your houses as tiger proof as you are able.
You are always on the lookout for tigers.
Tigers are a big talking point in the community.
Tigers affect everything.
Even if there is one tiger attack a year.
Even if there hasn’t been a tiger attack in the past 10 or 20 years.
Now replace the word tiger with the word “stress event” (this could be anything you find stressful) or fear (anything you are frightened of).
Have you been afraid of the possibility of a tiger attack?
Does it rule your life?
Does it rule your body?
Does this stop your body from functioning the way it is intended to?
Do you have digestive issues? Irregular toileting? Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you ageing faster than you’d like? Do you feel stressed and anxious?
The list goes on...
When you have been living in fear of tigers for a period of time it becomes your default 'normal' state. The brain is looking out for tigers – this is its primary task.
This is taxing for the body's energy reserves, because being in a state of high alert takes way more energy than being in a state of low or no alert.
After a while the body doesn’t have enough energy to run the high alert state and do everything it needs to do, so, to cut “costs” (to become more energy efficient) it reduces or switches off the systems that aren’t vital for survival now.
If a tiger is chasing you is it a good idea to sleep deeply (even though this is where repair happens)?
Is it a good idea to stop and have a relaxing meal?
Do you have the time to have a good poop?
Any system where the body can reduce energy expenditure will have reduced function.
And, the longer you maintain this state of fear or stress, the more systems are affected.
How do we get out of this state?
If you were a buffalo out grazing, doing what buffalos do, and a tiger started chasing you…
You would shut down any systems necessary to re-route all energy into the muscles to run.
When you escaped the tiger, after a period of rest, your systems would all come back “online” again and you would look for more grazing.
However, you are human.
What if instead of being chased by a tiger, you are chased by another human while coming home at night.
Your body shuts down any systems you don’t need to run and reroutes all energy possible to the muscles to run.
When you escape, do you go back to your life, walking home at night...
Or, after this experience, do you now feel unsafe?
No more walking anywhere at night?
No more walking alone?
More security at home?
Are you seeing and feeling danger everywhere?
Has one event changed everything for you?
Do you tell others of your experience? Call the police? How many times do you repeat the story?
How many people respond with similar stories from their own experience or others they have heard of? How many of the stories are worse? You were lucky this time.
Maybe buffalos innately understand that "tigers happen", and maybe acceptance of this is in their nature.
The buffalo isn’t going to live its life in fear, it’s going to deal with tigers when and if they happen.
The buffalo may not always win, but most of them will.
When the situation no longer requires you to be in a state of high alert but your fear and constant re-living of the story tell your body that it still need to be in this state, what can you do?
After a while it becomes habit, and habit begets more habit.
Even if you are finding it hard to control your mind and your fears, you can help your body calm down and return to better function using mechanisms that are hard wired into your physical body.
Did you know that when you lift your shoulder toward your ears for around 30 seconds that your body starts making stress hormone?
Did you know that when you laugh your body instantly releases endorphins (happy hormones)?
The body is controlled by the central nervous system (CNS).
The CNS has two primary pathways to accomplish all functions:
- The sympathetic nervous system – like an accelerator
- The parasympathetic nervous system – like a brake
For some functions (like running from tigers) we require the accelerator.
For other functions (like digesting and repairing) we require the brake.
If we have talked ourselves into believing that we are always in potential danger, even if we haven’t been in physical danger for a long time, we are constantly running with the accelerator on.
Without a brake our systems start running out of the energy needed to operate with good function.
Without a brake we can’t repair.
Eventually we will find a point where we can no longer do what we want to do in life, where limited function (pain, inflammation, bowel/gut issues, fatigue, autoimmune disorders, sickness) forces our body to stop us.
Imaging driving a car that only has an accelerator, no brake – imagine the consequences.
Now imagine we are unaware of this.
So, I’ve got a brain looking out for tigers, and not looking within for bodily or functional issues, because it believes that survival is currently more important than ideal function.
There are no physical threats, and most likely haven’t been for a while, however your body still acts as if there were.
How do we bring the brain and Central Nervous System (CNS) back to focus on the body and restoring function?
When we use Śama blocks in the correct positioning under the pelvis, we use them to torque/twist/offset the pelvis from its ideal placement.
The nerves of those major muscles call out the brain “we are twisted”.
The brain is too busy looking out for “tigers” so the nerves call out louder.
Until the brain has to “step on the brake” and look within.
This is an automated, hardwired CNS response.
Now you have the brake on, it’s time to catch up on some rest and repair.
Using Śama for 10 minutes before or even in bed at night will retrain your body out of its poor CNS “accelerator-all-the-time" habits.
Using Śama at night allows you to sleep and actually rebalance your systems, repairing whatever is needed.
If you wake during the night, use Śama again (some bodies have life experience that requires more retraining than others).
Once your body can start repairing, the body feels better and better, physically and emotionally.
You’re not throwing your energy away unnecessarily.
You are becoming more efficient.
You feel calmer, happier, clarity returns for a positive mental and emotional state.
Pain and inflammation are reduced.
The immune system can start to function correctly.
You are now allowing the body to be in a state where it can heal itself.
Welcome to a new way of living.