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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

The Healing Magic of the Body/Mind: Bestselling author Lynn Andrews discusses practicing healing energy work from a shamanic perspective

Apr 30, 2014 10:11AM ● By Lynn Andrews

Shamanism is the oldest form of healing on Earth. The term "shaman" is used by anthropologists to refer to the medicine people of any indigenous culture that are both spiritual leaders and healers and use a mystical connection with sacred wisdom to facilitate healing.

Shaman is also a designation used by the public to include anyone that combines spiritual principles and energy work to facilitate deep personal healing and spiritual well-being with a direct connection to the divine. People have the opportunity to apprentice with indigenous shamans and learn the ancient ways to bring back to our traditional cultures.

When we practice healing energy work from a shamanic perspective, we learn how to go into a state of introspection to connect with the body/mind, that place at the center of your being where we are one with the sacred energies of existence. Introspection is a form of meditation and conscious dreaming with the specific focus and intent of accessing our body/mind to establish an inner dialogue regarding what we seek to heal.

Our body/mind is intimately connected with intuition, that quick and ready insight that comes to us in the present moment. Intuition is the direct perception of knowledge and wisdom without the distractions and filters of the ego mind. Learning how to connect with and honor our intuition is one of the key elements of shamanic healing.

From the place of intuition and our body/mind, we examine our health and well-being in any situation to see where we are harboring the stress of the situation in our body, our mind, our emotions and our spirit. Integrative practitioners especially recognize the mind/body/spirit connection and the role that attitudes, beliefs and emotions play in our personal health and well-being.

There is no longer any doubt that stress is one of the leading causes of disease in the world. The body has a great ability to heal itself, but when we are filled with stress, even the most advanced medical technologies are impaired in their ability to facilitate an internal healing environment.

Learning how to go into a state of deep personal introspection in which we observe and examine our mental and emotional state in the present moment is a major step toward creating a healing environment within the body. From there, we go into a state of meditation and conscious dreaming to access and dialogue with the body/mind. There are many ways to arrive at a state of introspection and meditation, from yoga to sitting in silence while we practice focused breathing.

A shaman knows that conscious breathing is a vital aspect of personal well-being. With stress and anxiety we tend to hold our bodies rigid, which results in shallow breathing instead of breathing from the belly, which we do automatically when we are born. As we begin to become conscious of our breathing and practice deep breathing on a regular basis, a better supply of oxygen reaches our cells and organs, especially the brain, healing many of the imbalances in our life.

This is a simple and beautiful practice of breathwork called the Breath of Compassion: Sit under a tree against the bark, close your eyes and begin simply breathing slowly and rhythmically. As you inhale, say, "I love myself." As you exhale, say, "I love others." Do this for at least three or four breaths as you go deeply into the silence.

Then begin to imagine the sap as it goes up the tree to the very top branches. Feel yourself merging quietly with the sap and experience its slow, quiet flow all the way up and back down into the roots of the tree, which grounds you. Feel the roots going all the way down into the earth, where it is very kind and peaceful. Continue breathing slowly and rhythmically.

Then bring the energy back up and into your body, filling and surrounding it with golden white light. This sounds very simplistic, but sometimes the simplest things are the most powerful.

Lynn Andrews is the bestselling author of the Medicine Woman series of books. She is holding a four-day workshop June 12-15, in Sedona. Learn more at


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