By Jo Cooper
Our signature mind-body medicine technique is something Founder and Director James Gordon, MD calls “Soft Belly”, by way of encouraging each of us to relax — which few of us instinctively do these days.
We sit quietly, breathing in through our nose and out through our mouth, which both calms the sympathetic nervous system and awakens the parasympathetic nervous system, creating a feeling of relaxation in the mind and body. Dr. Gordon suggests we think “soft” as we breathe in and “belly” as we breathe out, reminding ourselves to relax our belly so we can take in full, healing breaths rather than shallow, tense ones.
And as our staff members prepare to greet attendees at our annual Mind-Body Medicine Professional Training Program beginning day after tomorrow, we are remembering the thousands of health professionals who have learned this technique at our trainings and workshops all over the world — in Kosovo, Israel, Gaza, post 9/11 NYC, post-Katrina New Orleans, Haiti, Virginia, South Carolina, California, Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Texas, Post-Sandy New Jersey and Newtown, CT — and the many thousands of people who have learned Soft Belly breathing from the health professionals whom the Center has trained. Veterans, people in urban hospitals, medical schools, inner-city clinics and living on Native American Reservations. People with cancer, pain and depression. Children with Downs Syndrome, school children, and mothers pre- and post-natal. Teenagers, firefighters and emergency responders, and caregivers. People who’ve lost their homes, their loved ones, their hope. We’re grateful for the chance to help relieve stress and suffering and revive hope for so many.
Do some good for you! Try this audio recording of Soft Belly Breathing. Using this simple technique for just a few minutes several times a day can do a world of good to recalibrate your mind-body to cope with stress and to be ready to deal with whatever life brings on.