There is a difference between . . .

“To Balance” . . . and . . .  “In Balance”
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I’m not entirely certain when I talk about the balance of the body if it is clear it’s understood what I am talking about. Oh, you say, you sure don’t know what he’s talking about. That may be a true judging from how many times I’ve heard that said to me. But, my aim is to see that you know what I’m talking about. At least I know that I’m talking about it. Enough about my perspicacity.  

Professionally, I speak to the subject of the balance of the body. Being in balance. That would be — this is the key point — in gravity. Balance in respect to the dictates of gravity on the arrangement of the human body. Your body. 

Before we can even begin to discuss why the balance of the body is important — I would say necessary; but, hey, I’m in the business of balancing bodies so I have to acknowledge a preference in this matter — let’s be sure it’s clear what we’re talking about. 

Simply put, on one hand, there is the ability “to balance”. This ability to balance is a skill we all have, each to a greater or lesser degree. The most direct evidence of this basic ability is the plain fact that most of us can stand upright on our two feet. (Just who taught you to do that?) Then there are the refinements; like balancing on a skateboard, on ice skates, on a bike, on a high wire, on a flag pole. The head of a pin? You’re no angel! 

Being “in balance” is something altogether different. This will clarify the point. If you miss it you could be missing an opportunity that will make a significant difference in the quality of your life, the level of your physical performance, and the fullness of your creativity.  

I would like to especially make this point to parents who spare no effort and expense to see their children get the best education and opportunities. Yet, when it comes to suggesting their youngster might benefit from learning something about the balance of the body from a professional such as me . . . “Well, how dare you? There’s nothing wrong with my little darling!” If they didn’t hightail it away in such a hurry, I would clarify. I would agree; there might be nothing wrong, but we don’t send the kids to school because something is wrong, do we? Unless, of course, you consider that they don’t know nothing means there’s something wrong. A problem to be fixed. (I went to a parochial school, and the good Sisters there did sometimes appear to regard us kids as born devils in need of proper — and strict — instruction and discipline.) 

Learning the balance of the body is a life skill we all have on our plates to learn. Learning it consciously as a student isn’t on the curriculum of any school that I know of. Oh, there is the injunction to sit up straight. Hold your shoulders back, your chest up. Chin down. That is what passes for the usual standard instruction of proper posture. Still. When I ask my new clients to stand up straight, almost always you see this pattern demonstrated. It is wrong. If your idea of proper posture is to keep your shoulders cocked back and your back arched to lift your rib cage, you are living in default of a restrictive and inefficient pattern. A pattern that is a put on, superficial arrangement. It fails to get at the healthier possibility of having an engrained, tangible sense of bodily balance inculcated deep down within oneself. 

When I propose a course of Structural Integration for their children, some parents shrug it off like it’s not an issue. Nothing there to be fixed. It used to flummox me when this would happen. Then I realized that mostly people were taking it that I saw something wrong and I was suggesting a remedy. And, unless they themselves see something wrong, then there is no need. To me it’s as strange a response as if I were a riding instructor or a gymnastics coach and the parents would respond to an invitation as if it were an affront.   

Alright, here’s the scoop. Living in a balanced body is not a necessity. Most of humanity has gotten by this far without it. Most won’t see the value unless it’s written about in the New York Times. Or, we’re in the pinch of it and someone suggests that possibility. Or, we see it on Oprah. Oh, but it’s been on Oprah. She even said that it was something she wanted to do. Hey, Oprah! What are you waiting for? It’s about realizing sound good health. Staying healthy. It’s a quality of life issue. It’s like driving a fine tuned, well-crafted automobile. Enjoying an original Matisse or Picasso on your living room wall. Having fresh vegetables and fruits from your own garden. It’s about grace, power, and presence. Living well, in the best sense. Living a good life. You don’t really need that. You can have it from Ms. Martha Stewart, “Living the Good Life”. Her idea has mostly to do with what you have and to to show it; and, maybe, doing it with some derivative sense of stylishness. Why not show up strong, healthy, good looking, and effective in your own right? Enjoy living unstressed and effortlessly upright. It is easily within reach. But, it does take doing. (Do it!) 

Here’s the problem. Out of balance, gravity pulls you down. It eventually tears you apart. Slowly, but surely and inexorably. In balance gravity is a friendly force. In fact, it uplifts and energizes. Out of balance you have to work just to keep it together. In balance, maximum energy is available for the task at hand. You live and move free of unnecessary restrictions. 

I sometimes think that the plain fact that most of us stand on two feet is considered sufficient evidence of adequacy on the question of balance of the body. It may be sufficient in terms of being able to balance, but not necessarily on the point in question. 

If you look you will see that all but a rare few individuals are out of balance in respect to how their body parts fit together, and how it all adds up in terms of the dictates of gravity. That is, the balance of the body. Our bodies are like any structure on the earth. In the architecture of structures gravity necessitates the need to be organized plumb   and square at the core. Straight and true is another way of saying it. 

In terms of the human body we know scientifically the anatomical design calls for the main segments to be stacked up in a straight vertical line, one over the other. We also know that these parts should be level and symmetrical in order to function fully. This is also an arrangement we know to be correct in terms of the Laws of Physics.  

Balance of the body is not just about standing and moving about. How the parts of the body are arranged in space affects all physiological functions. For example, if you carry your head habitually in front of your body line, it takes effort/energy just to keep it from falling over (falling off?). The effort gets braced into the shoulders, the neck and the head. The legs and pelvis have to support that and thus need to adjust to make things hold together. The breath is restricted. The heart too. And there is extra pressure on the brain. And, don’t let me get started on the psychological correlates of this depressive stance.  

Now, just look. Who is living up to this potential for living in bodily balance? What we mainly see is a rough approximation of the kind of balance in the makeup of our bodies which we know is in the natural design.  

We have certain assumptions about how things are. The usual, however, is not necessarily the normal. Naturally, we all get bigger and stronger as we grow up. In terms of how our bodies become organized, however, we are mainly self-taught. Trial and error. We learn copying from adults around us. Our models themselves may not exhibit good body balance. We live, and accumulate experience. Accidents and traumas are factors. Bad habits set themselves. Our history is written in our flesh. Unresolved, we go on repeating the same patterns. Consequently, unless there is some intervention or conscious education, we arrive at adulthood with a random mix of imbalanced patterns set into the fabric of our tissues. No one notices this because it comes on us gradually. Those around us don’t notice because more often than not they are also living with their own imbalances. The usual is taken for normal. We are in a fix. Set in our ways. We have come to identify all this as just a part of who we are. Even maybe a little proud of our eccentricities. Turned them into money makers. Don’t mess with success.  

I could go on. Just to say again there is a difference between being able to balance and being in balance. I stand for both. I stand for more of the latter.

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