Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Feeling Unbalanced? How to Balance Mind, Body, and Spirit!

We feel a sense of imbalance in many ways.  Physically, we might suffer from insomnia, energy slumps throughout the day, and health issues.  Mentally, we get forgetful, lose our concentration, get impatient with loved ones. Spiritually, there is a lack of joy, meaning, and connection in life.  There are many, many causes - too many to explore.  However, we can bring balance through a few relatively simple practices. 
It makes no matter if the imbalance is mental, physical or spiritual in origin. The work is the same.  Focus on what needs to be strengthened.  Focus on getting centered and pull the imbalance inward to create more balance.  Be aware of the problem.  And, make time for all aspects of Self - mind, body, and spirit.
1)  Breathe:  Sama Vritti – equalization breath. Breathe in naturally and count how long the breath is.  Then, exhale the exact same length.  Continue for multiple rounds, keeping the lengths of the inhales and exhales the same.  If you want to change the count to something longer or shorter, go ahead.  This helps us focus on the breath and brings us into center, helping balance all aspects of mind and body.

2)  Meditate:   Lying down, concentrate on the body from head to toe.  Notice your face and jaw.  Does it feel balanced?  Move down to the shoulders.  Are they balanced?  Then, through the rib cage to the pelvis.  Balanced?  And finally, the legs and feet.  Feeling a sense of balance in the body, shift your focus to the mind.  Try to be aware only of the right hemisphere of your brain for a while, then shift over to the left.  Do this a few times, then focus on the brow chakra or 3rd eye position.  Bring your mind and your eyes (closed) to that space.  Stay focused here.  Every time your mind wanders elsewhere, as it does, just come back to the 3rd eye. Let yourself sink into the wisdom of the 3rd eye focus.  This is your connection to your spirit.  Stay with this focus and the feeling it creates as long as you like.  You can practice here with audio guidance.

3)  Relaxation:   Balanced relaxation:  Lie flat as in savasana – shoulder blades  tucked under and flat, arms at your sides as in the photo.  Start with one side of the body, relaxing down from the face, to the shoulder, arm, hand and fingers.  Relax the torso and pelvis on that side and then down to the leg, and finally the foot.  Feel that side of the body as heavier and more relaxed than the other.  Then, do the same on the opposite side, bringing balance as you move down that side of the body.  Relax into feeling the body balanced from head to foot.
4)  Cognitive Behavior Therapy:  Set 3 small goals this week.  Small means these are goals that can be implemented successfully right away and can be sustained for 7 days.  Don’t think beyond that.  One goal is for the mind – can be emotional, intellectual, or mental.  Examples include, journaling gratitude for 5 minutes each day, telling 1 person each day that you love him/her, reading an educational book, blog, or magazine article daily.  The second goal is for, you guessed it, the body.  Could be to go to sleep nightly at a certain time, to eat a healthy breakfast, or to walk for 15 minutes every day. Final goal is to find a way to connect to spirit daily.  What brings spirit into your day?  Prayer? Nature? Meditation?  A daily inspirational reading?  Find a way for spirit to be part of each day this week.  Post your goals somewhere.  Make time for them daily.
5) Power Pose:  The benefits of balance poses are not just physical.  Yes, they increase strength, body awareness, flexibility, even proprioception (your awareness of your body in space and relative to gravity).  But also, a big part of balance poses is what you do with your mind.  In yoga we call the focus point, the drishti. The drishti is a point of focus where the gaze rests during a pose--gazing outward while bringing awareness inward. It can be helpful not just in yoga poses, but in life as well.  What we focus on, we get better at attending to.  Are you focused on the annoying habits of your partner?  Are you more focused on what you dislike about your job? Are you more focused on your weaknesses than your strengths?  Our focus drives our lives as well as our ability to hold a balance pose! 

Warrior 3 (I call it Brave Warrior):  Choose a version of the pose pictured below.  Choose the version you can hold for a while - say 5 breaths. Quiet the mind, focus on a spot on the floor, keep your mind there as you come into the pose.  

6) Chant:  Find a bell, a singing bowl, something that makes a sustained sound.  Even a recording of a bell or singing bowl can work.  As you make the tone, ring the bell, say out loud, "I am centered, calm, and balanced."  Repeat 3 or more times.  Here is a site on which you can play with the sounds that feel therapeutic:  http://mynoise.net/NoiseMachines/singingBowlsDroneGenerator.php 

The only way to change the patterns in which your mind and body are functioning is to practice - every day!  Contact me with comments or questions:  tammysytsma@circleofstoneswellness.com  OR check out my services on my website - there might be something there perfect for your needs!  circleofstoneswellness.com

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