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The Balancing Act: Body, Mind and Soul

Within our busy lives we try to seek calm amidst the chaos. It’s easier said than done in our ‘switched on’ society where we make ourselves so readily available. When it comes to the end of each day, you may wonder will you ever be fully in control of your life.

Being in control is about striking a balance between the body, mind and soul, according to experts. Woman This Month goes on a quest to find the key ideas and techniques on where to start and how to stay balanced.

Our expert: Corina Zanner-Entwistle, life and training consultant. Call 39 301-371 or email corina_ze@hotmail.co.uk.

Finding a balance between body, mind and soul is not some far-fetched ideal.

“It is possible to have a life balance but it’s something we need to work on and take time to achieve. It’s about planning and making sure you have time to do the things you enjoy. People who never do this are the ones who get out of balance. When we get out of balance we get stressed, easily overwhelmed, not to mention annoyed, with everyone and everything around us,” says the consultant.

Our bodies also become susceptible to illness. In fact, one of the leading causes of heart attacks is stress-related illness.

The aim
The ideal balanced life depends on the individual’s values and needs. Although diet and exercise are important parts of the equation, unlocking the power of the mind is vital.

“I try to teach my clients the power of their own mind, what they can achieve and that they are in control. Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? There is a lot of truth in the maxim,” says Corina.

No matter how bad the situation, the way you think about it and the way you frame it is very powerful. If you think you are in a hopeless situation, instead of saying I can’t do anything, a balanced person might say, what are my options and how can I make this situation better for me.   The power of the mind and how we handle ourselves can even turn a pessimist into an optimist. People think they are a certain way but they have the power to change if they want to. We need to learn to let go of stress, anger and start dealing with whatever we are avoiding. We need to become congruent or in harmony with ourselves or risk our health.

Never too late
Not everyone can cope easily with work and family issues or major life events such as a move, a new job or some traumatic event. A change of life like moving from childhood years to a teenager, midlife and the menopause also upset our balance. People respond differently to these changes. Some might find it easy while others are challenged.

“Some clients come to me because they simply need someone to talk to. They may have a hard time dealing with everyday problems and need someone non-judgemental like a therapist to give them a new perspective,” she explains.

Others gain balance by being with like-minded individuals in support groups. Even if you have trusted family or friends, not everyone wants to burden them. So, support groups are a good option for these individuals.

However, not everyone needs to see a therapist. Many people cope just fine by themselves. A day off, a bit of pampering or a chat with a friend might be all you need to reframe issues and get back in balance.

Ideally, we shouldn’t wait until we are faced with these stressful circumstances to figure out how to cope. We should be armed with the skills. It’s never too late.

Corina encourages her clients and is particularly keen to advise schools on the importance of emotional intelligence. There is so much pressure on children these days. Stress is part of our lives and we need to teach children to be self-aware and understand their feelings.

Our expert: Jayashree Sharma, teacher,  The Art of Living. Call 39 932-788 or
visit www.artofliving.org/bh-en

If finding a balance between body, mind and soul is indeed possible then why do we think it is so hard to achieve?

“We give everything else a priority and neglect ourselves,” says Jayashree Sharma, a teacher at The Art of Living Foundation’s centre in Zinj. “It’s like charging a phone every day; we also need to charge ourselves daily.”

The Art of Living helps people from all walks of life through stress management workshops, including breathing techniques, meditation and yoga. These programmes have helped millions around the world to overcome stress, depression, violent tendencies and find peace of mind. They also offer prison smart programmes, addiction programmes and are involved in many educational and service projects.

Most recently, the Bahrain chapter has adopted a labour camp to teach labourers a special stress-relieving breathing technique through its Breath Water Sound workshops which Jayashree says help them to feel empowered, relaxed and happier. Thousands have gone through the Art of Living centre in Bahrain, where the aim is to promote a stress-free and violence-free society.

“It is not always easy to explain Art of Living because besides the obvious external changes there are many subtle changes that one can only experience first-hand,” says Christal, a volunteer at the centre.

Under your nose
We might tell ourselves we are strong and can handle whatever life throws our way but stress is pretty hard to avoid. Finding an effective stress-buster would be terrific. Jayashree says that what we need is right under our nose.

Our expert: Somayah Liuzhen Xu, managing director, Bahrain Wellness Resort. Call 39 728-383 or visit www.bahrainwellnessresort.com.

In the quest to find a balance of body, mind and soul, it is good to know there are many approaches to help achieve harmony. In their tranquil setting beside the sea nearby, you might forget where you are.

At the Bahrain Wellness Resort, east meets east in the complimentary offerings of ancient Chinese medicine and time-tested Indian Ayurveda, aimed at preventing and treating ailments from stress, fatigue to more serious medical issues.

Both are holistic approaches with Chinese therapies working to restore the yin/yang balance by targeting energy channels throughout the body. The essence of this energy comes from five elements of fire, water, metal, wood and earth.

“If someone came to us with a bad temper, the doctor might say that the patient has too much fire so water is needed to put out the fire. The doctor might suggest a therapy to increase the kidney function,” explains Somayah.

Cupping or acupuncture would then be used to balance the individual. Ayurveda is also based on the same five elements. Therapies, such as the Shirodhara treatment where oil is poured on the forehead, are used to treat various conditions and to restore balance.

 Depend on yourself
Somayah says that people go to the resort to be healthy and to prevent illness.

“We don’t focus enough on prevention, particularly in young people who think there is no need to find a balance in body, mind and soul at their age,” she says.

It is never too late to start therapies. The more responsibility for family or work we have, the more stressed we get.

“A doctor or therapist can help but most of the time, you need to depend on you. There are 24 hours in the day and a treatment may take a couple of hours. It is only you for the rest of the time,” explains Somayah.

Taking a break and escaping to the resort for the weekend to recharge your batteries might give you the boost you need to be more confident and positive.

One of the most popular treatments is massage therapy where clients can de-stress and regain balance.

Other therapies such as acupuncture, cupping and scraping are used to treat many ailments, help calm emotions and improve the body function. You will go back to daily life having more balance in body and mind.

You should do sessions from time to time to maintain the balance. Exercise is also encouraged with classes offered in the Chinese version of yoga called Taiji Qi Gong, which is effective for cooling emotions and making the body more flexible.

“You can’t tell your mind not to get stressed. But you can do this through breathing. If you learn to control your breath, you will control your mind and achieve a positive state of mind. We come out as light and free as a new flower,” she says.

A fundamental teaching at the Art of Living is a breathing technique called the Sudarshan Kriya. This technique is a very powerful and unique rhythmic breathing uniting body, mind and soul.

“At the very deep cellular level, this technique release the body’s toxins, stress or whatever the body doesn’t require,” explains Jayashree. “Your mind comes to the present and the body is totally relaxed with no thoughts in your mind.”   The Art of Living also teaches a gentle form of yoga that follows and compliments the Sudarshan Kriya. Together, the two techniques provide the individual with the ability to be in the present, calm, controlled and able to face life’s challenges.   Trying to achieve this balance doesn’t depend on what you have done in the past. The experts also agree that what really matters is the present. As a result, you can reverse your problems by practicing certain techniques.

The Art of Living offers courses in the Sudarshan Kriya, yoga and other forms of deep mediation such as silence courses, where participants are taken to deeper state of rest to connect with inner harmony. It is such an experiential course and you need to share the energy.   Courses also help businesses looking for team building to families wanting other ways to connect. There are also special courses for children, teens and youth to raise self-awareness and help to be the best they can be.

Art of Living will hold courses at the Royal Golf Club from April 13-18, and at the centre in Zinj from April 23-27.

Getting started
These techniques briefly described are used to treat everything from allergies, anxiety, phobias, stress, depression, smoking, weight management, motivation, self-esteem and goal setting. You should first seek the guidance of a professional to properly learn these techniques and to find out what works best for you.

Stop technique: Breathing is essential to restoring balance. In this quick and effective technique, you stop what you are doing and take several deep breaths. The more you practice the more balanced you become.

Circle of excellence: Imagine a circle on the floor and as you step into that circle you activate your past and positive experiences related to what you are about to do. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the actual experience as the mind cannot differentiate between a real and imagined experience.

Mediation/self-hypnosis: Take 10-15 minutes in the morning, find a quiet place and clear your mind. There are different approaches to meditation with some people concentrating on an object such as a candle while others use a mantra. You should feel re-energised and ready to take on your day.

Self-talk: Our minds are filled with negative messages such as “I can’t do this” all the time. Take a deep breath and say you know you can do it! This technique is good for everyone particularly children and teens.

Hypnosis: Forget what you see on TV, hypnosis is nothing more than a state of deep relaxation helping you to become more balanced and self-aware. You are always conscious during therapy; nobody can tell you what to do. The key is tapping into the powerful area of the subconscious to help you achieve your goals.

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