Welcome to Week Three
Co-regulation - How Our Nervous System was Shaped
(To listen to the audio recording of this introduction click here.)
For most of us, one of the most tender things applying Polyvagal Theory, is taking to heart the research that our species really depends on feeling safely connected. Our culture prizes pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. Acknowledging that our nervous system relies on safe connection is a really different message.
Each of us is unique in how we meet our needs for connection. Some of us need more regular contact and others need less. Some of us get connected through playing sports or making music. Others might feel connection by being quiet in nature, spending time with a friend or pet that we care about.
Our nervous system was shaped in relationship to whomever was in the role of our primary caregiver/s. Even if we didn’t get our needs met in that primary relationship, we still have this need for social connection. We might want to avoid it, ignore it, or override it but it’s part of us.
Our very survival depended on this relationship.
These early experiences of how we were shaped continue to influence us in the background, below the level of our conscious awareness, until we take an active role in reshaping our nervous system, by:
Becoming aware of our nervous system states and responses.
Extending self-care and prioritizing becoming self-aware, even when it’s uncomfortable and not familiar. It often feels like being in very new ground.
Reshaping our nervous system. Extending kindness to ourselves in the places where we need it. Having a clear intention in our yoga and awareness practices to prioritize self-awareness, self-caring and self-kindness.
As you start understanding your own nervous system and needs more, you gradually get more attuned to the states of others - the folks you care about, interact with and serve.
This really is a lifelong journey of bringing attention, care and kindness to yourself and your relationships.
In this week’s materials read reflections about how my system was shaped. Explore practices of gesture, sound, breath, meditation, and adaptive yoga to turn toward yourself with kindness.
Sculpt your manequin, into expressions of your nervous system states.
Spend time mapping your nervous system states, going back to the exercise from Week Two.
Dip your toes into the stream of co-regulation and experience how your nervous system was shaped.