When I write these little missives I wonder sometimes where I will begin. I am flooded with sensory perceptions, inundated with beliefs, memories and acquired impressions from my past. These floods, torrents of experiences can act as starting points and each leads to a different conclusion. I am influenced by marketing, films, music, the moon cycle etc. Pushed and pulled chemically by what I eat and drink. My posture can also mediate my behaviour. If I stand tall within three minutes I am flooded with testosterone and I feel confident, If I am feeling dejected and as a result carry myself in a hunched, self effacing manner I flood myself with a bucket full of hormones that cause me to be hyper alert, agitated, even restless, anxious and eventually exhausted.
I am interested in balance, in neutrality. I am interested in coming into each moment without reacting. Viktor Frankl wrote that, “Between stimuli and response there is a space.” With reflexive reactions there is no space. That space that sense of inner peace or balance is your access point to the sense of you, as you truly are.
You are not your reactions, though they may compel you, if left unquestioned and unchallenged. That space is where your freedom resides. The development of that sense of space is your freedom to choose, it is the cultivation of free will. That freedom to choose comes with a price. If you to have a chemically neutral blood and cell pH, the healthy equilibrium where your cells are most balanced, you need to eat a healthy mix of foods and drink lots of water. If you eat healthily you will have a well nourished brain, hormone system and hydrated tissue. In that state you heal from injuries more easily and can make well balanced decisions. Chemicals, like alcohol, sugar, trans fatty acids don’t do your ability to choose, your free will, any favours. The price: to be free you need to be self regulating.
But I am not telling you anything you don’t already know. So why is it so difficult to put aside those things that derail your health, like snacks, addictive people, dramas etc.? The real question is not what to do but how to do it. The real answer lies at the heart of each of you and there is no generic answer but there are guidelines. Some of you will need more help to be balanced, some of you will flounder and remain like fish out of water flopping from one drama to another and some of you will find a little balance and then some more until you feel as if you are making progress.
In a beginners yoga class I rarely teach breathing techniques, but I suggest students modify and quieten their breaths in class as well as outside class. I don’t teach breathing exercises per se because often a beginner has enough trouble paying attention to their body and identifying what they feel as opposed to what they think and emote.
Think back to you as a teenager, your beginners mind if you like, and see yourself through time in the various stages of your life; progress, growth and insights, more or less.
Four things that help you be balanced
1. Quiet self time, for example warm baths, walks, swimming, early to bed
2. Lots of water
3. Herbs and minerals. For example, parsley tea for the bladder and urinary system, Saint Johns Wort for agitation and mild depression, Boswellia and Zinc for inflammation
4. Yoga and meditation