Finding The Balance

Finding the balance does wonders to body and mind.

Do you some times or often hear yourself saying: ”Here we go, I lost my balance again.”

 

Balance and rhythm are connected in body and mind. We know clearly when we lost our rhythm or when we are out of balance. The body will give us sooner or later clear feedback.

We lost our balance, for example when we feel lethargic, when its hard to get out of bed, when everything appears too much, when we dread the week ahead or when nothing tastes good or feels exciting in our personal or Professional life. We also lost the equilibrium when we feel grumpy and get easily angry or abrupt with the people around us, when our body aches or our mind is dull and dark.

What to do to get back to balance?

To identify what the rhythm and the ingredients are of a balanced life style, it is a matter of becoming very present. What aspects do we need to balance in order to look after ourselves and how do we do it?

The basic needs are a good starting point, enough rest, enough food, enough exercise

The next step is to identify the “deeper needs” that go beyond food, sleep and exercise.

Sometimes we have to upgrade our knowledge about our ‘true selves’ in order to cater for these needs. The balance is easily clarified through a simple diagram

Balancing stones

 

The human organism consists of Body, Mind, Emotions and Higher Consciousness.

These four aspects specifically define our humanness and at the same time define our relationship to self and our surroundings.

They are precious and need to be taken care of to find the balance day to day.

In many of the Eastern health systems, balance and connection equal health. An exercise addict, or workaholic for example spends most of his time to exercise or work long hours. His focus is on the physical. He will spend considerably less time to sit still and observe. Emotions and higher consciousness would have to become very loud in order to be perceived.

 

This person will eventually develop physical exhaustion as well as placing stress on to the nervous system. Adrenal depletion and with it a growing fatigue of the system are not uncommon in people that predominantly challenge there physical continuously.

Common stress symptoms are back and neck pain, shoulder tension, irritable bowel syndrome, fatigue and extreme mood swings as well as mild depression.

Too much rest and contemplation on the other hand lead a person into sluggish state with an overactive mind and an underactive body. If you made a list with a score from one to ten of how well represented the varied aspects of your life are:

How physical is your life including sport, touch and health?

How easy or difficult is it for you to feel your emotions and express them clearly express to your self and others?

How stimulated are you mentally?

Is there a link to something higher beyond your own existence? Are there ritual, purpose, creativity and expression in your life? Do you have enough quiet time?

Is there something you can do for the higher good? To have a sense of why we are on this planet, gives us direction and meaning to the obstacles in life we all have to overcome at varying times.

Naturally we also need to be in touch with our body, need to feed it appropriately, to move it and cherish it.

Time in nature and mental stimulation belong equally to a balanced life as social contacts, touch and creative expression. In dedicating more time to activities, where we can feel our feelings like ‘alone time’ or time in nature, we allow the feelings to come up to the surface and to be processed.

A rhythm of regular meditation and Yoga regular meditation or Yoga to their life it would serve to maximise the true potential. The old proverb of “everything in moderation” applies to health and life. In the average life in our western societies emotional and spiritual aspects are often undernourished. What does it mean, to connect to our higher consciousness? We do not have to be religious to be spiritual. Spiritual means simply to be connected to the deeper meaning of life and its purpose.

Ritual in daily life means to celebrate the sacred in life.

The enchanted, the’ little magic’ that simply occurs in life is only apparent to those who pay attention – to now. Balance after all is subtle and forever shifting and changing, but it relies on one core ingredient that is connection.

Balance thus is a form of communication between the subtle aspects of mind and consciousness and the more tangible aspects of body and emotions.

Stepping from one moment to the next and resting in the now with ease are the effects of learning to balance our life.

It is well worth it.

 

 

 

Frida Lezius ©

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How To Deal With Emotional Triggers

Everybody knows unforeseen, sudden shifts in their emotions. Something happens and from one moment to the other a sense of wellbeing can change to a lasting state of tension or stress.

There are things we do, words we say, sounds we hear, smells we breath in, tones of voice, experiences, places, THINGS that happen in our lives that are TRIGGERS for us to experience emotions.

The human brain attaches emotions to events and those emotions have the potential to stay with us the rest of our lives. This is all well and good if the emotions are positive but if they’re overwhelmingly negative and there are a lot of them, life can feel pretty heavy.

They affect our body equally as our mind and can have strong effects on to our nervous system and organs. More than sixty percent of all illnesses have their root cause in repetitive negative thought structures.

It doesn’t need to stay that way. In self- inquiry we can gain awareness of what triggers strong emotional reactions.

Experiencing ‘triggers’ is like pushing your finger into your own open wounds, ‘they will always hurt’. The neural pathways in the brain that cause the negative reaction are continually being fired off.

Look at what words you say and think of things you see in everyday life that trigger strong emotions. For example: In your head you might say ‘I am fat and ugly, I don’t know why he stays with me’ every time you look in the mirror, or maybe you are saying: ‘I am just not capable at doing something’. These self- affirmations cause every time a specific emotional resonance.

Here is a simple method of how to identify your triggers:

  1. Remember that it is you, who has the power to control your emotional responses.
  2. List the Trigger events/words/smells/sounds/voices/
  3. Think back when you first in your life experienced something similar. (Often it began in early childhood.)
  4. Now write down the emotions that arise i.e. feeling insignificant, anxious, angry etc.
  5. Make a decision whether you want to continue feeling always the same strong emotion by this trigger.
  1. Once you made up your mind write the trigger and the emotion down, sign and date it.
  2. Lay down and finish with a short relaxation, progressively relaxing all muscles in your body.

In going through these seven steps you are taking charge of overwhelming emotions caused by trigger situations.

Now treat yourself to something nice to reward your effort.

©Body Nature

 

 

 

Stretching your Limits

Who would not want to increase their energy levels, if there was a recipe ?

Recently I have been traveling the world studying peoples postures and their relationship to their physical fitness.

I found it remarkable for example, that on Mainland Greece peoples posture was noticably worse than in other parts of Europe.

Is there a relationship between posture and personal and/or collective growth? Does the economical collapse have a reflection in the individuals drive to succeed?

Would that, mean that if we got a collective population to train their bodies and eat better that their economy would be effected. Or would it be the other way round, that an economically efficient society would influence its individuals to maintain their bodies in good state.

The famous pantomime and commedian Samy Molcho, wrote a whole book about the silent language of body posture in which he relates that pride and self-confidence are directly related to the way we ‘stand in life’.
(Body Language Of Success, 2005, Samy Molcho)

What is it that brings people to stretch their limits and why does that feel so exhilarating?

People who are active, normally have more energy and know how to maintain it.

Energy is defined in physics as the power derived from the utilisation of physical or chemical resources. Energy comes from four main wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit.

In each, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing specific rituals—behaviours that are intentionally practiced and precisely scheduled, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible.

People that do extraordinary things to explore their own personal limits tend to have more energy. Why so?

People that do extraordinary things to explore their own personal limits tend to have more energy.  Why so?

The German magazine Geo, deliverd a whole feature about individuals topping their peers in extreme sports such as rock climbing, slack rope walking at extreme hight, caving etc. When interviewed the athletes spoke in varying ways about how the desire to experience a certain extreme alifeness would motivate them to keep going.

Bringing body and mind to the edge and ultimately bringing body and mind together. The state of being highly concentrated on one activity is naturally enhanced by the element danger. Adrenaline and (???? Feramons/Seratonin) generate a sense of “high”.

‘Breaking out of the norm’ is part of the enlivening effect that exceptional performance produces in the human body.

Human beings have socially three core needs in order to thrive:
stability, rhythm and diversity.

The deep desire for diversity pushes certain people to explore the edge. A certain driveness is required to go beyond the threshhold of the ordinary. Our survival instinct draws additional forces to go for a high set goal, thus we experience increase of energy with this form of positive stress and additional clarity and speed of thought processes. Clear and original thinking normally happens, when we slow our frequency of thoughts to that extend that we predominantly concentrate on one activity. The famous “genius moments” happen in that brain frequency (Alpha frequency). Original thought, out of the box originates in high performance.

How does this relate now to the ‘average’ person. Physiologically the body needs to be brought to its edge. The cardio- vascular capacity for example improves noticibly, when the person challenges it at least once daily. Muscles need challenge and resistance to grow. Especially with older age the body goes backwards if it doesn’t go forward.

The recipy is simple, whether you walk, surf, run, practise Yoga or lift weights, “always strive for more” and never settle for this is good enough.

Aim to achieve your personal edge and regularily try something different to challenge body and mind a little more.

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Being in the “here and now” with meditation

-Have you tried to sit quietly with yourself and found it really hard?
-Have you witnessed your own mind playing tricks and doing summersaults?
-Have you witnessed your mind transporting you into all kinds of scenes and scenarios?

If your answer to any of these is yes, meditation will be useful to you.

When the mind is in “busy mode”, it continuously attaches to thoughts that take you into present or past.

The power of decision- making we only have in the ‘here and now.’ It is distracted by pondering past events, or events that never come.

Meditation involves an internal effort to control the movements of the mind. Meditation is also effective to clear the mind and ease health issues, such depression, fatigue, anxiety and high blood pressure.

You can meditate seated, standing, walking or moving.

Meditation generally refers to the state of empty mind itself, as well as to practices or techniques employed to achieve this state.

Meditation techniques have a calming effect and direct our awareness inward until pure awareness is achieved.

How to get there?

There are three fundamental approaches to reach the state of meditation.

The classical meditation poses suggest an open, stable body with an extended spine and easy flowing breath.

All meditations guide our mind to focus.

1. “Focus attention techniques”

Vipassana (breath observation) is taught all through the western and Eastern world.It involves observing closely the movements of the breath from the exterior to the interior of the body.

Zazen “The precise meaning and method of Zazen varies from school to school, but in general it can be regarded as a means of insight into the nature of existence. Most of the Japanese techniques originate from Chinese Buddhism.

Zazen is usually associated with the study of koans. Koans are unanswerable questions such as:

”What is the sound of one hand clapping?”

The meditation practitioner was traditionally given one question to meditate upon.Until the master would asses the answer as satisfying the adept had to ponder it. The Sōtō School of Japan, on the other hand, only rarely incorporates oans into Zazen practices. They prefer an approach, where the mind has no object at all (Shikantaza).”

Guided meditations some times use stories or images to gradually calm body and mind to a state that for moments or longer periods creates a meditative state. The sense of inner vision is the vehicle, where as excluding the outer senses, will allow to drop into the deeper layers of the mind.

2. “Open Monitoring”

Mindfulness meditations observe the rise and fall on the surface of the mind.

This technique can be performed in guided meditation or self motivated meditation. It requires the effort to concentrate solely on what is in front of us.

In the simple practice of this approach the practitioner can reach a stillness of the mind equally leading to meditation.

3. “Transcendental Meditation”

Transcends thought via specific Mantra (sound word with no direct meaning), entering progressively the deeper and increasingly calmer layers of the mind.

Active day to day doing mode takes place in a fast mind frequency, called “beta frequency” in meditation the mind descends to the slower and more restorative “alpha frequency”.

All three approaches to meditation have the same goal in mind, to create an empty mirror in our mind, so that truth and true reality can be reflected back to us.

©Frida Lezius, Body Nature
www.bodynature.org

 

 

 

Posture is physical attitude

Posture evolved over millions of years to the upright walking Homo sapiens. All cultures depict in their art examples of “ideal posture ”eg “The Vitruvian Man “ by Leonardo da Vinci or the Greek antique statue of Adonis.

What is good posture and how do we get it? In ideal posture we align centre cranium with spine and inner ankles. In the tradition of Yoga a “sattvic”(=balanced in Sanskrit) person had this ideal alignment, which would equally affect mental and physical balance.

In today’s society, the “what’s next posture” is very common, where the body weight is on the forefoot and the person is literally leading with their eyes, almost tipping forward. The body compensates this weight shift in locking the knees and curving the thoracic spine (ordosis) and overextending head and neck forward.

The “Not too fast” posture is also very common. The person shifts the weight to both heels. This posture gradually causes the spine to flatten, loosing simultaneously the supportive muscle tone in buttocks and back.

Posture is a physically expressed attitude. Already small postural changes can have a large long lasting effect to the nervous system and thus influence mental and emotional balance.

Here is a short posture trainng:

  • Stand with your heels and body against a wall with your feet hip width apart and parallel.
  • -Straighten up and bring as much of your spine, head and neck into the wall as you can.
  • Take a few deep breaths to take in your new posture.
  • Step away from the wall and try to find the same chest opening and uprightness without wall.
  • Repeat this process 2-3 times each time.

© Frida Lezius, Body Nature

Breathing and Stress

“In experiencing breath and body simultaneously in complete awareness, the mind moves towards the ‘real Self’ (Atman)- at this juncture a state of equanimity of the mind, the intellect and the self (Samahita Citta) is achieved.”

(B.K.S. Iyengar)

The diaphragm, as the primary muscle of respiration is attached to the inside of the ribcage.

The ribcage needs to be is in an aligned position so that it can contract and relax naturally with each breath.

The Diaphragm and easeful breathing are directly related.

When breathing from the support of an aligned skeleton, the breath rises and falls from deep within, softly filling the back and the sides of the torso as well as the front.

Try the following three exercises to see how misalignment restricts diaphragmatic movement and thus cause difficulty to breath.

  1. – Sit down. Let your self completely collapse into a slouched heap.

Notice that your pelvis is tucked under (sad dog position) and your back is rounded and collapsed. Feel your ribcage sinking into your abdomen.

– Chances are your chin is out in front of you and the back of your neck is compressed. This is what it feels like for millions of people.

-Draw in three deep, slow breaths and notice what this feels like.

Are you able to sense the movement of your diaphragm? Where in your torso do you feel your breath?

-Lift your chest as high as you can, pull your shoulders way back.

Do you notice your back arching? Where else do you notice tension? Do you notice your neck tensing up?

-Now draw in three slow, deep breaths and notice how this feels.

-Are you able to sense the movement of your diaphragm, where in your torso do you feel your breath?

3.

-Now locate your sit bone and press them gently into your seat. Ground your feet. On the next exhalation relax your chest downwards and feel your back growing wide. Drop your chin slightly so that the back of the neck is long.

-Now draw in three slow, deep breaths and notice how this feels.

-Are you able to sense the movement of your diaphragm, where in your torso do you feel your breath?

Do you feel the breath filling the torso in a different way than in step 1 and 2?

Skeletal alignment plays a significant role in certain respiratory disorders. It is important that the diaphragmatic muscle fibers are in their natural configuration.

Collapsing the chest or artificially lifting it upward are unnatural conditions that distort the fibers of the diaphragm and disrupt its ability to gently rise and fall with each relaxed breath. In extreme cases distortion of the diaphragm and thoracic cavity can contribute to such stress-related disorders as chronic hyperventilation syndrome, anxiety and panic attacks.

It is not uncommon for these stress conditions to mimic symptoms of chest pain and heart attack that sometimes clear up quickly when natural, relaxed breathing is restored.

Stress is one of the prime causes of premature illness and death. Stress triggers sympathetic nervous system dominance that interferes with the immune systems ability to ward off infections and diseases.

Deep natural breathing on the other hand strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system, which encourages the immune system to work.

From a purely scientific point of view, skeletal alignment is not yet recognized as playing a significant role in promoting stress. But this is about to change since there is presently more research being done on the effects of posture and body alignment determining the healthy functioning of all body systems and therefore over all health.

Frida Lezius- Body Nature
www.bodynature.org
Mob: 0421352701
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Relaxation is going with the flow

Relaxed people take the state of relaxation for granted whereas tense or stressed human beings often wonder how to let go and ease into their day.

People pay for sedatives and anti–depressants, drink themselves to oblivion, they undertake meditation courses and retreats all to learn to relax. They diet for  relaxation purpose and attend courses to learn band -aid techniques.

In order to find out what prevents us from relaxing we need to investigate more into what relaxation actually means for mind and body.

“Relaxation stands quite generally for a release of tension, a return to equilibrium.

Relaxation technique is an activity that helps a person to relax.

Relaxed in Flow (psychology), a state of arousal, flow, over-learned self-control and relaxation. Relaxation (psychology) is the emotional state of low tension.”(Wikipedia)

Many of my Yoga students and therapy clients experience the same phenomena, that in spite of better knowing they just cannot stop the speed of their thoughts and the direction of their thinking.

Most thinking revolves around past or future events. There are very few ‘authentic’ thoughts, which revolve in the ‘here and now’ that people in our western societies think. The art of slowing down our thoughts is vastly underrated, indeed there is often the stigma of laziness being projected onto cultures where people simply sit and gaze or do nothing.

Most stresses come from fear, asking my clients about fear often results in them not being consciously aware of being fearful. Especially men in average appear not to admit to themselves easily their fears. The conditioning of society often teaches to pretend that we are ok, fit and strong, rather than to admit to what really is.

“I don’t want to be dwelling in negative thoughts” Martin, a fifty four year old therapy client expressed in the beginning when we first met. He came to me with serious muscular tension that began to affect his heart functions and prevent him to work in his panel beating business. It took him by surprise when I pointed out to him that there is no physical stress without mental stress. Throughout the treatments we identified some deep fears, which had been pushed away, but not really processed. The unconscious part of Martins brain was continuously worried about a failing marriage and his fears around bypassing life. In a combination of deep tissue body -work, a regular short Yoga practice and an ongoing self- inquiry process Martin got gradually hold of his stress and began to relax more frequently. The more he understood that it was only human to feel trapped, angry, sad etc. the more he began to embrace what he needed to do to create a life that would leave him feel relaxed in his day to day.

Being honest, being real “Sattva”(truth in Sanskrit) is one of the core philosophical principles of Yoga and of many other philosophies.

 

A state that Professor Csikszentmihalyi researched was, that what he called the ‘autotelic personality’. The autotelic personality is one in which a person performs acts because they are intrinsically rewarding, rather than to achieve external goals. He describes the autotelic personality as a trait possessed by individuals who can learn to enjoy situations that most other people would find miserable. Research has shown that aspects associated with the autotelic personality include curiosity, persistence, and humility.

This combination we can also find in children, which are still in their “natural” state unassuming, open and curious.

So how can we get back there?

As usual there are many ways that lead to the same destination. Honesty and openness to change, gaining the awareness of what to change and the courage to undertake the necessary actions appear to be principal prerequisites for a life with more moments in a relaxed, flowing state.

To take these steps one actually needs to pause at times and admit to ‘what really is’, thus taking time is a profound part of relaxation.