Modern Bioenergetics 2

Modern Bioenergetics Series: Part 2 of 3

The Polyvagal System

More recently, Modern Bioenergetics has been integrating how to work with the polyvagal system over the past several years. Based on the profound work of Dr. Stephen Porges[1], the polyvagal system explains the physiology of why many people can get stuck or immobilized in their bodies, unable to effectively follow through with the actions that their minds may prefer as healthier and more functional or positive choices. It helps to understand how mental illness, addictions, or more can happen. It also offers a significant amount of hope in healing the body-mind relationships at a core level, rather than being perpetually dependant on prescription medications to manage your symptoms by numbing your feeling responses.

The polyvagal system describes a new way of understanding how the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are deeply interconnected in the ANS (Autonomic Nervous System). Our emotions, senses, nervous system and social engagement system are all connected to the Vagus Nerves which originate at the base of our skull, on top of the neck area. In terms of our relationships, there is a hierarchy of function that helps to regulate our emotions with their corresponding physiological symptoms that helps us to keep safe when danger threatens us. This is the key to core healing, in how the body becomes interrupted or ‘dis-regulated’ to be able to feel calm and safe.

Vagus Nerve System

The highest level of this hierarchy is the myelinated branch of the Vagus Nerve, which is part of the parasympathetic system.  These cranial nerves run through our face, neck, lungs and heart areas and affects our social engagement system – that is our ability to be relational in positive healthy and nurturing relationships. This is expressed through the muscles in our face, around the eyes, mouth, the middle ear and in our hearts. Our facial expressions of a smile, or welcoming eyes or a ‘warm’ receiving heart are all affected by the upper Dorsal Vagus Nerve and Ventral Vagus branch.

The second part of the Vagus Nerve is called the Dorsal Vagus Nerve Branch and it goes down further to the digestive organs – the stomach, pancreas, liver, spleen, ascending and transverse colon (not the descending colon).

The next level of hierarchy is the sympathetic system which is part of the unmyelinated branch of the Vagus Nerve. It regulates our fight or flight response to danger or threats. It’s the ‘fall-back’ strategy when the social engagement system isn’t working. The ANS regulates the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems and they work in tandem with each other. The social engagement of the parasympathetic system works initially in response to a threat and when this isn’t working the next level of functioning is to engage the fight, flight or freeze direction in the sympathetic system. From a positive point of view, if there is a threat and we can fight it or run away from it, it tells our body to move.  Or, if there is severe pain from a shock trauma injury, or giving birth, it freezes by shutting down the receptors of how we register pain in our body.

The next article in this series will discuss the various common body symptoms that can occur with trauma and how it affects the polyvagal system.  In the meantime, you can click on this link for a Body Perception Questionnaire by Dr. Porges, that can help you to identify how your trauma may be affecting you within your own physiology:

Body Perception Questionnaire


[1] Porges, Dr. Stephen.   The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, Self-Regulation. W.W. Norton & Company:  New York, NY,  2011. []

Modern Bioenergetics 1

Bio book coverModern Bioenergetics: Part 1 of 3

Neuroscience, Relational Therapy, and Trauma

Understanding the relationships between the body and mind in current neuroscience theories teaches us that healing through the right brain and body awareness accesses healing on a deeper and more permanent core level[1] (Resneck-Sannes, 2002).  Bioenergetics has always known how to work with the energies of the emotions in the body. It has evolved into a highly developed sophistication of the integration of the body and mind since Wilhelm Reich originated this approach in the 1920’s and when Alexander Lower founded Bioenergetics in 1950’s. Over the last 20 to 30 years, Bioenergetics has evolved with a more relational approach, beyond Freud’s original theories, integrating Object Relations, Self Psychology models, Relational Attachment theories, the Polyvagal Trauma theory and more. Modern Bioenergetics has synthesized into a deeper and more holistic approach that includes gentle and sensitive energetic protocols in working with shock trauma (accident, war, hospitalization) or relational/developmental trauma (childhood abuse, neglect, disruptions, etc.).

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Intimate Relationship as a Spiritual Path

Intimate Relationship as a Spiritual Path

If you could consider a committed, intimate relationship as a Spiritual Path, you may find a new possibility for healing and joy that can bring a greater truth, vitality, and aliveness to your relationship.  For many people, an intimate relationship is about getting their needs met, feeling safe and loved by another.  This can often be a complicated arrangement that creates issues of misattunement with each other, such as feeling ignored, misunderstood, forgotten, criticized, shamed, betrayed, hurt, etc. Instead, consider viewing an intimate relationship as being a form of a spiritual quest or path for learning how to connect more deeply within yourself.

Falling in Love

In the first bloom of a romantic connection, you fall in love and it feels ecstatic!  This falling sensation is one of letting go of control (with little fear), of surrendering to a sense of yourself that is beyond you. It is akin to the ecstatic feeling of spiritual enlightenment.  As Marianne Williamson puts it;

“From a spiritual perspective, the original high of a romantic connection is thrilling …. For in a quick moment, a gift from the gods, we are likely to suspend our judgment of the other, not because we are temporarily insane, but because we are temporarily sane. We are having what you might call a mini-enlightenment experience. Enlightenment is not unreal; enlightenment—or pure love—is all that is real. Enlightenment is when we see not as through a glass darkly, but truly face-to-face.”  – Marianne Williamson

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Co-creating The New Emerging Masculine!

Masculine Feminie Soul - Drawing by Ingrid Cryns

Masculine Feminine Soul – Drawing by Ingrid Cryns

Awakening to mankind’s responsibility to heal the inner wound of our collective wounded masculine, also heals the wounded relationship with the feminine.  As we all learn how to relate differently in a way that is more inclusive, this paradoxically allows more individuality to co-exist.  With a commitment to our personal growth, together we are co-creating the new emerging masculine.

Like the need for bio-diversity to strengthen the resilience of inter-dependent micro systems on the planet, our collective need to learn how to operate in a way that includes an ability to respond and support all of our needs – men, women, children, elders, plants, animals, water and more!  We can ultimately also shift our profound and primary relationship with the Earth.

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The Powerful Old Masculine King is Dead!

The King

The Old Masculine King

Jungian Analyst and Author, Robert Bly, has stated in his work long ago that the archetypal image of the powerful, old masculine, King is dead – in our collective psyche!  An archetype is a way of describing our universal need of a particular aspect of within our psychological development of how we think, feel and behave.  The King archetype is one of power, strength and how to fight for our integrity and needs.

Sadly, for many of us, the positive King archetype was killed off in our early childhood from abandonment or abuse, dysfunctional or distorted men and narcissistic to psychopathic fathers. Our idea of what a strong powerful father should be, is actually one that is deeply wounded, weak or insecure, compensating in some form for a deep disconnection from within our psyches. The old masculine lacks a healthy integration with the feminine, an intuitive nature, an inclusive and supportive relationship with others and a way of being that is in harmonious balance with how we live together on this Earth.

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A New Masculine is Emerging: Is this in you?

© Mike301 | - Natural Man In The Tree For Photo

The New Emerging Masculine – A man who is heart-centred, more intuitive and deeply connected with Nature | Blog by Ingrid Cryns © June 2015

In celebration of Father’s Day this month as well as the sun energy of Summer Solstice yesterday, I have been thinking about the men in my life. It is a time to honour the healthy masculine in all of us. I have begun to notice a shift in the world and have caught glimpses of a new masculine emerging and growing amongst us.

For years, I have seen many distorted forms of the masculine. One form is through dysfunctional corporation structures that continue to operate in an increasing chaos that doesn’t make a lot of sense any more.  Organizations like FIFA world soccer is falling apart due to the financial greed of its leaders, or the Canadian Armed Forces, who are struggling with its internal sexual discrimination, harassment or abuse issues.

I’ve heard many stories in the news or from my clients of corporate organizations, school boards and police forces full of corruption, mismanagement or abuse within its power structures. The financial power structures of many countries seem to be falling apart as well. Let alone, all the men who have emotionally or physically abused their children, who are mentally ill-at-ease, or who have abandoned or neglected their spouses or kids. It’s really a mess out there and much of it is based on a controlling, competitive, male dominated power or hierarchical structure that is supposed to support its individual members, but actually doesn’t seem to at all.

Not only is the masculine aspect in men only, it exists as well in the inner psyche of women too.  Our left brain and right side of the body holds our masculine qualities.  These qualities can appear in our psyche as distinct aspects such as:

doing, linear/hierarchical logical thinking, giving, organizing sequentially, swift decisive action, passionate, protection, freedom, discipline, direction, dominant, aggression, hard, strong, competitive and independent.

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Transforming the Negative Mother into the Divine and Earth Mothers

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Transforming the Negative Mother into the Divine and Earth Mothers heals not only our inner world, but also heals the planet at the same time! When you can learn and integrate the many positive Mother archetypes through a new bonding relationship with a therapist, you can begin to develop fresh neural network pathways of consistent, loving connections.  As you learn how to grow a consistent loving connection within yourself, you develop a capacity to unconditionally love yourself – no matter what happens.  This is what slowly heals and transforms the negative mother within. It also changes how you will relate to others and as we all heal and transform our primary relationship with our inner mothers, the earth’s balance will also change and heal.

Practicing meditative prayers to more spiritual, positive mother archetypes can also begin to replace the negative mother imprint within you.

Positive Mother Archetypes, are the loving nurturer, the caregiver, the wise grandmother, or the mother martyr.  They are found also in the positive side of Isis from Egypt, the Madonna , Mother Mary of Christianity, Kwan Yin from China, Lakshmi from China, and of course, Mother Earth or Gaia, as some call her.

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Healing A Negative Mother Wound Inside Of You

Negative Mother

Healing a Negative Mother Wound

Healing a negative mother wound inside of you is inter-related to the healing that our entire planet needs! Our earth is calling us now, to come back and listen to her needs; which is also all of our needs, collectively.  Our survival is deeply inter-connected as a species to Her. She is out of balance and is shifting with enormous physical changes and more erratic weather patterns.  She is asking us to change ourselves in how we relate to her. Are we able to change and respond in time as a collective community?

In the western world, many women were told by Dr Spock in the 60’s to not pick up their child when s/he was crying.  This created a society of adults who learned to shut down their feelings and not respond with love to their own personal needs.  We have evolved collectively as a culture with schizoid tendencies to ignore the body’s needs and feelings and to be highly narcissistic. Many of us have learned to not respond in true empathy to another’s needs.  Large corporations, in fact, essentially operate with this model and it appears that many country governments do as well!

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The Negative Mother Archetype

Copyright Mimi66 _ - Hag With Tomcat Photo

The Negative Mother archetype is represented in our culture often as the archetypes of the Hag, the Witch, the Evil Sorceress, the Seductress, the Black Madonna, the Prostitute and the Raging Bitch! 

An archetype is defined as a form of consciousness that is understood as a more collective aspect of awareness. Often these darker feminine archetypal forms include an awareness of the intuitive side of the feminine as well – that was feared and often attacked in the past –for example, witches were burned for their deeper wisdom.  Or Christian religions tried to blame Eve for the first Sin in seducing Adam, and sexuality was denigrated as a negative desire – and the Prostitute was born.  Or Islamic religions hid women’s faces and bodies, because men could not be blamed for their sexual desire to want women, so women have to hide their sensual feminine nature.  The Hag is seen as old, harshly critical and cranky, split off from the power of her deeper wisdom, no longer being valued.

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The Negative Mother, Divine Mother or Earth Mother? - Face Lines Photo

Are you more connected to the negativity of your mother, then your undying love for her?  Do you resent her or feel guilty all the time about her? Do you try to not to be hurt by her critical comments about you – or do you just plain try to avoid her? Maybe you’ve moved to another city or country, to unconsciously place a geographic distance away from her?

These are some of the components of the Negative Mother that you may wonder, how can you change this – because you can’t change your mother! The Negative or Dark Mother can evolve, with awareness and a bit of work into a more satisfying and deeply fulfilling relationship, You can learn how to transmute your needs to the Divine Mother and the Earth Mother.  These two archetypes, spiritual or more earthly entities, have a great bountiful abundance of love and gifts to offer that can heal you and re-organize how you experience yourself and create your chosen reality.  If you are open to changing yourself, the possibilities of deeper connections with the positive, healing forms of Mothers are endless.

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