Connections: Balance is Essential for Your Brain, Not Just Your Body

If you practise yoga or any kind of exercise that involves balance, you’ll notice that sometimes it’s harder than others.

There are loads of reasons of course and some may not be as obvious as others. It is fair to say though, that when we have lots on our mind or are not in a great head space generally, our balance may suffer. This is not surprising really, because how we feel and process our thoughts on an emotional level has so much to do with nervous system activity. Andcertainly, on a more serious level, we totally understand and accept that nervous system conditions will affect how particular messages are sent to the physical body and result in loss of balance and coordination among other things. In this regard, lack of balance is also a symptom of ageing and why the elderly are so vulnerable to dangerous falls.

When our nervous system is healthy and the messages are getting through, the physical body immediately reacts when we do certain things; for one example, try standing up straight and bringing the weight forward to your toes. Immediately, you will find your toes grip the floor to stop you falling without you even having to think about it! it’s also the case that if you trip over something while walking you may pull a muscle, but the fact that you didn’t actually hit the floor and break something is your healthy nervous system reacting by shortening a muscle to prevent you from hitting the deck and seriously injuring yourself.

It’s also the case that balance is related to hormone levels. That is, most women will find it harder to balance when they are pre-menstrual or menopausal.

No matter how hard balance is though, no matter how challenging, we should never give up trying. In fact, it is something we need to do every, single day. Apart from the fact it’s a great meditation – hard to think of much else while trying to balance – it’s important to keep our communication pathways healthy and active. Learning new dance routines, yoga routines and other more challenging movement stuff, isn’t just about being fit, strong and flexible; it’s about working out the nervous system, engaging in mindful movements that keep the body/mind healthy, fresh and strong too.