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“Are you going to make me bark like a dog, or quack like a duck?”
As a hypnotherapist, I hear comments like this all the time. It wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve already jumped to a conclusion about hypnosis yourself. Perhaps you’re convinced it’s woo-hoo, voodoo, and a bunch of hoopla wrapped together to entertain crowds at the county fair.
Technically, you wouldn’t be wrong…people have used the skill of hypnosis to entertain crowds. Mainstream media loves to drive our imagination wild with outrageous storylines. Have you seen the movie, Get Out? Makes you think twice about drinking tea with anyone. These exaggerated fiction tales make us leery. It’s no wonder most people stay away from hypnosis. Plus it’s our brain’s job to keep us away from the unknown and otherwise seemingly dangerous. We don’t like things we don’t understand. But, it’s also a part of human nature to question what seems invalid. It’s good to question, research, investigate, and come to your own educated decision.
The thing is, hypnosis has been studied and researched extensively for decades. Award-winning doctor Dr. David Siegel, was exposed to hypnotherapy by his father—a psychiatrist and trained Freudian analyst who first experienced hypnosis in World War II to provide aid to soldiers and offer an alternative to anesthesia. The golden child of hypnosis research, Dr. Spiegel is the Associate Chair of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Director of the Center on Stress and Health, and the Medical Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. He’s legit. He’s even talked with the Dalai Lama about how hypnosis relieves pain and depression in cancer patients and how “feelings lead to healing. ”Hypnosis has also been studied and utilized by well-known psychologists like Carl Jung.
Hypnosis is more than just some weird county-fairground trick. I often describe hypnosis as meditation with a goal while harnessing the power of a mind-body connection.
Hypnosis is the act of guiding someone into a state of trance to bring the mind and body into absolute agreement. Although each hypnotherapist may describe trance differently, they can agree on a few key qualities. Trance includes a deep state of relaxation, hyper-focus or intentional concentration, and openness or increased suggestibility.
A stage hypnotist makes suggestions to evoke an external response from the hypnotized volunteers, to entertain the crowd. A hypnotherapist’s suggestions are intended to create internal changes within the client. The stage bunch is open to performing simple tasks (laughing until you cry, dancing like nobody's watching, etc.) that they otherwise would allow themselves to do in their normal day to day life. They are open to it, the hypnotist suggests it, and in a deeply relaxed state, they react accordingly. “They are not thinking about themselves doing it, they’re just doing it.” It truly is that simple.
If it sounds too simple, it’s because it is. The truth is, most of us go in and out of trance every day, multiple times a day. It happens when you’re very relaxed or very focused and can feel similar to a daydream like state. Have you ever completely zoned out on your way to work and couldn’t recall how you got there? Could you, without a doubt, retrace every red light, stop sign, or right turn you made? No? It’s because you were in trance.
The only difference between hypnosis and these everyday trance states is that in hypnosis, someone induces the trance state for a specific reason or goal: healing, pain relief, stress relief, fear of public speaking, or increasing self-esteem, to name a few. The definition of hypnotherapy is clear from the word itself. Hypnotherapy is the practice of hypnosis for therapeutic purposes.
Hypnotherapy allows us to communicate directly with the subconscious mind, while letting you be in the driver's seat. The subconscious mind is the part of the brain that is on autopilot, running in the background, a reservoir that holds your ideas, beliefs, and perceptions. The interesting thing is that ninety-five percent of the time, we’re totally unaware of what’s running in the subconscious mind.
Imagine your mind is like an iPod. When you first get it, there are no programs to run or songs to play; you have to download them first. The mind at birth is like a brand new iPod, ready to download. From birth to about eight years old, your brain is in a theta brain wave, simply recording or downloading.
Theta is the brain wave we experience during trance and the same brain wave we desire in hypnotherapy. During these first eight years of life, each person is recording the world around him or her and loading the “programs” that we use for the rest of our lives—downloaded and stored in the subconscious mind. These programs are downloaded into our subconscious mind and run in the back of our mind forever. Just like an iPod, we can skip the song or program altogether, but it’s only a matter of time before it comes up again.
The purpose of hypnotherapy is to rewrite those old songs (or programs) you’re tired of and want to skip. When you’re deeply relaxed, open to suggestion, and truly desire that specific goal or outcome in your life, you allow that program to be overwritten. Hypnotherapy can reduce stress, anxiety, or aid you in reaching your specifically desired goals to enhance your life.
If you’re new to hypnotherapy, curious, or want to want to try it out for yourself, download this free deep hypno-meditation.
The intentions we set in our daily lives are often methods for healing wounds, whether they’re self-inflicted or have been passed down to us by others. Developing a conscious practice to get rid of negative thoughts or feelings we’re holding onto can help us move in a more positive direction toward letting go, healing, and being present.
Moving intentionally within our bodies allows us to fully notice how they feel so we can acknowledge and target the right areas. Some days we struggle to work hard enough while others, we push ourselves too hard! We do this both in class and in other areas of our life. It's important to remember to understand our bodies’ rhythms or fatigue while making space for our humanness, feelings, or need to be vulnerable.
Here are a few simple guidelines for following intentions during your workout:
Remember that just like in life, taking a moment to pause and build the appropriate foundation will undoubtedly support you to be 100% successful on your journey. At The Dailey Method, we refer to this kind of mindful exercise as a “meditation in movement” and begin our practice with intentions. During the warmup, instructors encourage students to set an intention for their workout, even if it’s just a focus on breath, and then revisit it during their final resting pose. Often, we associate these goals with our Word of the Month, a specific theme to help guide our practice each month. But there are so many intentions to choose from—moving with your breath, moving with grace, forgiving yourself, shining your light out, the options are limitless, and you can alter them each day depending on where you are right here and right now.
“Personally, I am so grateful for this process being part of my Dailey practice,” says Jill Dailey, founder of The Dailey Method. “It is a built-in opportunity for me to stay in the present, and when I wander (because of course I do!) a tool to guide my presence back to the here and now.”
When the workout gets challenging or you feel like giving up at any point during class, set an intention to pause and remember the fact that we are all on this same path, doing this exercise together. You have all the tools you need to be successful—even if it means taking a quick rest or resetting your alignment! Don’t compare yourself to others; just focus on yourself and your goals for the workout. Remember why you’re there.
As you leave class, move with deliberation and show up at your next appointment, event, family gathering, or grocery shopping excursion as the greatest version of you. You just rocked your class and brought effort, strength, perseverance, and commitment. Acknowledge that and bring it with you. Don't forget about the intentions you set during class; figure out how you can apply them to other areas of your life!
Make moving with intention part of your next workout by taking a class at The Dailey Method near you today!