Balance and health

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony” (1)

Our body is a complex organism comprised of a combination of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual elements, which ideally work in unison creating harmony and well-being but can react against each other creating disturbance.

Thus, mental stress can manifest in tense muscles, overwork might mean a person takes little exercise, lack of spiritual nurture – whatever that means for an individual – can lead to emotional unease – a vicious circle of ‘disturbance’.

According to the Gaia hypothesis all living things have a regulatory effect on the Earth’s environment that promotes balance in order for the planet to work effectively. The controversial global warming crisis appears to be about man’s intervention in that natural balance.

Similarly our activities or non-activities may affect our own body’s homeostatis (2) and tip it ‘off balance’. Possibly the most frequent occurrence of imbalance that I see in clients is how we use our muscles – always carrying things in our dominant hand, sitting or standing ‘lop-sided’, playing a sport which has a one-sided emphasis. By contrast, Yoga, for example, includes balanced exercises to ensure equal practice for left and right sides.
All muscles have a natural elasticity or ability to stretch and contract. If we have complete control of a muscle, we can achieve a muscle tonicity of zero – complete relaxation. But if we lose our voluntary control of a muscle its resting tonicity can increase up to 40%. We may think our muscles are relaxed when not in use, but in reality we may hold our muscles in a chronically contracted state even during sleep.

Exercise, relaxation and massage help us become more aware of our body and work towards maintaining a harmonious balance.

(1) Thomas Merton, French clergyman – 1915-1968
(2) The maintenance of physiological conditions required to maintain the life of the organism

‘Southwell Life’ – May 2007

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