The importance of Physical, Mental and Emotional balance - Part One
If you read my previous blog, you may remember I had written about how my body had to “scream” dizziness, tinnitus and vertigo and stop me on my fast track before I took notice. I would like to share here some physical indicators that can suggest an out of balance state in the body. If we notice and deal with them, they do not have to become chronic!
There may be a slight irritation or pain on one side of the body, including the neck, joints, hips or feet. When looking in the mirror, you might notice you are slightly hunched over, or perhaps your pelvis is tilting, either noticeably forward or backward as you look at yourself from a side view. (As I got deeper into my yoga practice, I began to notice that my physical injuries were mostly on the left side of my body and therefore the right side of my body was compensating; this check-in with the mirror helped me pinpoint my physical stress points). It is common that we may not even feel parts of the body, or we may go for long periods of time ignoring them, frequently the feet or the back of the body.
Our relationship with both food and sleep
If we are under stress, we may eat mindlessly at certain periods in our life, not just for fuel and giving the body what it needs. We may eat not only when we are hungry, but for comfort as well. We may ingest food and substances that we know do not agree with us by the way we feel afterward. We may eat too much, or too little, either pay too much attention to food or not enough. Food may become too much a focus in our lives.
Let’s take a minute here to think about our sleep patterns. We may sleep but not rest - tossing and turning and seldom reaching that REM state, or have bad dreams. Our mind may be racing instead of resting. Are you sleepy during the day and wide awake and restless at night?
As a result of this combination of food and sleep imbalances, we may start feeling fatigued and low in energy, perhaps anxious as well.This is where the “vicious” cycle comes in, and we may resort to food and substances (over-the-counter medication, coffee, tobacco, alcohol among others) as well as ignoring our feelings. These behaviours may well lead to anxiety and depression. Add to this that we often judge ourselves for being weak and we further contribute to a downward spiral. However, do not despair because we can begin with a number of simple actions to restore balance.
Let’s return to utilizing the mirror for further stocktaking of our physical situation; a more thorough look this time, either unclothed or wearing comfortable or form-fitting clothes. This is not about judging our body; it is about observing with curiosity, a very positive and empowering beginning.
Is my head tilted?
Is one of my shoulders higher/lower than the other one?
Am I leaning to one side?
Is my pelvis tilted forward or backward?
Am I putting more weight on one foot/ hip than the other?
Where do I feel pain?
Can I feel every part of my body?
Very gently allow your body to correct itself by slowly and mindfully following the suggestions below. Keep your breath slow and even, making sure there is never any physical resistance or pain and if you do, stop at once.
Center your head between your shoulders; it may feel unnatural to start with; correct the tilt every time you see yourself in a mirror and eventually, you will notice it internally and it will correct itself.
Hunch both shoulders towards your ears and then release; do it a number of times gently and slowly and observe without judgement.
Standing, watch your pelvis from the side, exaggerate the tilt forward and backward (remember again, gently, no pain). Close your eyes and allow it to centre itself. Open your eyes and observe again; repeat until it feels more balanced.
Standing, close your eyes and put all your weight on your feet; let go and observe - which foot feels heavier. Close your eyes again and put equal weight on both feet; observe again. If you are not getting a clear sense, stand on a mat that will take the the imprint of the feet. You will notice which foot left a deeper one. Move to another part of the mat and imprint again until they are more similar.
Lying on the floor on your back with eyes closed, do an internal body scan from your feet all the way up to your scalp. Focus on every toe, joint, group of muscles, especially in the upper part of the body. Focus on the muscles around your mouth, eyes, cheekbones. If you feel them all, give yourself a smile. If not, take some deep breaths whenever you cannot feel anything and then, gently again with no judgment, ask yourself if you can feel the part you were focussing on. Repeat and stay the course. Please remember to open your eyes slowly, take a few deep breaths and then gently sit up before slowly and gently standing up.
Blessings for health and well being,