Monday, February 26, 2007

Remembering Dr. Emile Coue (26th Feb)

Dr. Émile Coué


I have often wondered why our thoughts, if left to their own devices, drifting without conscious control or steering, tend to be self-destructive. In Freud's words, between the life-impulse - Eros - and the death-impulse - Thanatos -, we tend to naturally gravitate towards the latter. It needs the perceptive mind of an Emile Coue to extend the work of people such as Liebault and Abbe Faria and introduce to the general public, the power of the conscious mind in steering the thoughts back to the Eros and towards self-development.

Dr. Emile Coue. The man who introduced the concept of self-application of auto-suggestion. The man who told us that almost all our ailments stem from a base of distorted or mistaken thinking, and that if the distortions and mistakes are rectified, the ailments would automatically vanish. The man who told us that imagination is more powerful than will-power, and when one develops the capacity to imagine, and imagine continuously and consistently, willpower automatically follows. And when the willpower and the imagination and the thoughts are in perfect alignment with each other, miracles happen.

Amazon Book

Dr. Emile Coue. The man who gave us the mantra: "Everyday, in every way, I am getting better and better." (Tous les jours a tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux).

It is his sesquicentennial birth anniversary today - February 26th. This blog salutes the man. An entire self-development industry bases its principles on the teachings of Dr. Emile Coue.

Dr. Émile Coué

[For information on how auto-suggestions work, surf to "The Power Of Auto-Suggestions".]

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Men, Depression, And Possible Solutions

pic by Richard S, stock.Xchng

Depression: The Wide-Spread Malady
It is not the ordinary guy in the next cubicle who might be suffering from Depression. The rich, the famous and the mighty too have faced this malady. Whether it was impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh...

Vincent van Gogh

... Or the Nobel Laureate Sir Winston Churchill...

Winston Churchill

... they have all gone through the dark swings in their moods at some time or the other in their life, in some cases ending it due to depression.

They Are From Mars, You See
Men are supposed to be the strong, silent types - who can endure whatever stress and strain come their way. They tend to align their personality with this image of manhood in society, and put on camouflages that hide the stress and the strain gnawing at their innards. The final manifestation? Depression.

Sadly, this depression manifests itself not as depression, but in the form of one or the other defense mechanisms, such as compensation (displaying some other behavior because they are not supposed to let their true reality be revealed: alcoholism, wife-abuse, continuous irritability, and the like), or substitution, or even denial. And when the depression becomes chronic enough, it somatizes into diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.

Pic by Mario Gonzaga, stock.Xchng

After a person is diagnosed as depressive, one from a range of solutions may be administered to him: stress-chemical blockers, De-Hydro-Epi-Andro-sterone (DHEA) hormone therapy, stimulating the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) with the help of electrodes, and the like.

One solution that offers a lot of promise is the psychotherapy technique of self-hypnosis. The way a self-hypnosis session works is as follows:

1. For the first five to fifteen minutes, the subject is made to relax his body and mind with the help of some soothing background music. A soft voice takes his attention to the different parts of his body, from the toes to the head, progressively relaxing them.

2. This progressive relaxation makes the body go limp. The mind too relaxes, and becomes receptive to further suggestions from the recorded voice.

3. The suggestions form the meat of the session. It is these suggestions that address the core issues that a depressive person faces: emotions bottled up, with no valve to release; negative thought patterns, ingrained deep in the psyche, with no respite or let; and frustrations, which keep eating into his sense of well-being and happiness. The suggestions are positive in nature, and help the person in releasing the emotions, create new and positive thought patterns, and dissolve away the frustrations.

4. At the end of the session, the person is brought back to the "physical world", by regaining alertness about his body and his surroundings.


One such Self-Hypnosis CD that works on depression is available here: Costs USD 12.95 for a download.

pic by Shuné Gameeldien, stock.Xchng
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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Benefits Of Yoga In Self-Development

Yoga Is Not Physical Exercise!

That the West has seriously embraced Yoga in a big way can be gauged from the fact that every month a new Yoga Center / Studio opens up in the middle of commercial centers, whether in London, Los Angeles, Beverley Hills or Egypt. Every now and then, there is some or the other conference, workshop or seminar being conducted by this Guru or that, events which are well-attended by a crowd that was hitherto fore considered to be too-hip and too-steeped-in-instant-nirvana to appreciate the subtleties of this ancient science.

And subtle this science very much is. Unlike aerobics or plain-vanilla physical exercises that are carried out with rigor and speed in gyms, Yoga has to be done a lot more slowly. Every movement has to be made with a full awareness of its impact on the body's psychic points (known as "Nadis" in ancient text). It may be borne in mind that the end goal of Yoga is not good physical health at all; it is just an en route station that you pass by, on the way to ultimate self-realization.

Pic by Ginaro Molina, LA Times

It has been demonstrated scientifically that Yoga is a powerful add-on treatment for Asthma, hypertension, depression, and the like. The key is to understand:

1. What the underlying causes of a particular ailment are,
2. What specific life-style changes need to be carried out,
3. What specific yogic "asanas", "bandhs" and "mudras" are applicable for the particular ailment, keeping in mind the general condition of the individual. At what time of the day these activities need to be carried out, for how much duration, and for how long.

Once the above information is collected, then yoga may be taken up, consistently and without let. Initially, the personal supervision of a Yoga instructor is a must, if only to understand the subtleties involved in the process.

Pic by Francine Orr, LA Times

Unfortunately, like the other alternative therapies available in the market, yoga too is being mass-packaged and "sold over the counter". The result is that people sign up for yoga classes and find themselves amongst a motley crowd - ranging from a ten-year-old kid, to a seventy-year-old senior citizen with multiple sclerosis, to an ante-natal woman - all going through the same set of yogic "exercises" (sic) and "asanas". In actual fact, every individual requires a customized prescription of yoga that they need to follow, and there are very few basic activities that may be common for all.

Pic by Ricardo DeAratanha, LA Times

For example, "Paschimottanasana" is a yoga asana in which the practitioner sits with their feet stretched before them, with the inside-ankles touching each other. The key element is for them to bend forward - slowly! - hands stretched, so that the fingers touch the respective toes. One invariably finds almost every individual who joins a Yoga studio / center struggling to bend forward and perform this asana. The asana is quite good for toning up the abdominal region and the organs it holds (kidneys, liver, pancreas, spleen, stomach), stretches and thus strengthens the muscles of the back, and increase hip-joint flexibility. (This is the en route station.) This also stimulates the "Manipur" chakra in the navel. (This is the ultimate goal.) However, this particular asana is forbidden for sciatica, slipped-disk, asthma and pregnancy cases.

Yoga Teacher Frank White, Pic by Lori Shepler, LA Times

Similarly, quite a few yogic postures require kneeling. Enthusiastic first-timers, in their zeal to overcome some or the other health problem, spend a lot of time in the kneeling posture, and this can damage the peroneal nerve that is responsible for coordinating movement and providing sensation to the lower legs, feet and toes. The result of this damage could even be paralysis.

Pic by Anne Cusack, LA Times

A strongly suggested routine before beginning the yogasanas for the day is:

1. Perform some fast-paced but light exercises to warm up the body.
2. Relax for about five minutes.
3. Start your asanas. Relax between each asana.
4. End the session with the very last asana - "Shavasana". This literally means "lying down in a position akin to death". (Note that I haven't mentioned "bandhas" and "mudras" at all. These do not require the above routine.)

In this position, you may listen to some relaxation CDs that calm you down further. Here is a link where they may be found:

Pic by Myung J. Chun, LA Times
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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Learn A Good Habit - The 'Motivator' Way!

Powerful Software That Keeps Reminding You Of Your Goal! And It's Free ... :)

It was Matt's email and his post on the Self-Development Forum that brought me to the site:

The young boy jumping with joy on the landing page, the lush Windows-Xp-esque grasslands in the background, and the byline - "Break free of limiting habits!" ... Matt's claim of "free" seemed too good to be true ... you know, how these marketing guys are ... so while reading through the copy, I kept searching for that small footprint, that small hook that tells you: wink, wink ... the basic version is free, or it works for a limited number of days, and then you got to pay this much in order to activate it ... but nein, there is no such statement to be found anywhere. The product is free, through and through.

Pick by Cavell Blood, stock.Xchng

What is this product about? Here's how you use it:

1. Decide on one single (and good) habit that you wish to inculcate in yourself. It could be as plain-vanilla (plain-vanilla?) as "not slouching while you are sitting", or as profound as "think positive thoughts about yourself all the time".

2. Now prepare a list of five, six messages around the particular theme that you have worked out in step 1. They have to be crisp, short, positive, and to the point.

3. Feed this list in the software.

4. Set the configuration to make the messages pop up, say once every hour. There are actually quite cool settings in there. In the "Advanced" tab, I set the "effects" to "Fade" for both "show" and "hide". In the window background, I selected "Gradient" with different start and end colors, so that I got a vignette effect.

Now, every 30 minutes, a silent message slowly forms on the right-hand bottom of this screen, and fades away slowly. It is like an angel who just asks me to take a pause from my work, makes me take a look at what it has to say, and then fades away.

Pic by Greg Olsen, stock.Xchng

By repeatedly sending out the messages to you, the software works on a simple premise about human nature: what you keep thinking on, becomes a habit. The fading in and fading out doesn't really hamper my work, but it gives me a moment to pause, reaffirm my conscious decision to imbibe a good habit, and move on. That is what this product is all about.

Worth using it, eh? And worth distributing it to one's friends, too! Here it is, again:

Pic by joseph valentine, stock.Xchng
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