Eurythmy- Expressive Movement art that is beneficial for body and soul

Eurythmy- Expressive Movement art that is beneficial for body and soul

What is Eurythmy? 

You may have heard of the British band Eurhythmics who most likely have taken their name from this expressive movement art form. It is part art, part therapy, and claims to have therapeutic purposes.

The dancer moves in slow-moving, rhythmic movements. It helps the body and mind to relax and creates a trance-like rhythmic movement that helps you to feel centered. Some even describe it as an act of  ‘spiritual insight’.

The word ‘eurythmy’ comes from the Greek word for beautiful or harmonious and graceful rhythm.

In a world before ‘mindfulness’ (Eurythmics was created by Rudolf Steiner and his wife in the very early 20th century – around 1911), it engulfs the body, mind, and soul into one dancing entity.  Steiner described it as ‘the art of the soul’, meaning that one could lose oneself to the rhythm and feel at one with nature. 

Its origins are not entirely clear, but it may go back to Ancient Greek chants and dances of priests and priestesses, being part of nature and aligning the physical and the spiritual body. Similar dance forms are the dancing Dervishes or Classical Indian dance.

The first performances took place in the then newly-built Goeteanum in Dornach, Switzerland, where a small stage group offered weekly performances. It was mainly Steiner’s wife Marie Steiner-Von Sivers, a trained actress and speech artist, who took over this movement. The troupe even went on tour in 1919, performing in other European countries besides Switzerland.

Most people who have taken Eurythmy lessons claim it has helped them to deal with stress, lack of sleep, and neurotic tendencies. Others said it helps them to focus and feel more centered and content. Children with ADHD show good progress, learning to calm down and move to a very gentle, graceful, and slow pattern of movements.

These days this dance technique has moved on.  Watch this YouTube Video by clicking on the picture

 

Holistic Health 3.0

Holistic Health 3.0

holistic health

“Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind, and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.” B.K.S. Iyengar “

 What is holistic health?

The best way to describe holistic health is to show that the body, mind, and soul are intimately interconnected, and when one part suffers it has a direct impact on the rest of our wellbeing.  It is statistically proven that happy, emotionally balanced people that are spiritually and socially fulfilled, live healthier and longer lives. The conclusion has to be – anything that angers, stresses, and agitates you will ultimately take its toll on your health. My grandmother had a saying `’ If it does not matter in 5 years from now, it does not matter”. This can’t be taken 100% at face value, but the overriding principle is correct. Let’s not get angry and stressed about ‘little things that don’t actually matter a few months from now. 

One of the first doctors to recognize the interconnection between body, mind, and soul was the Ancient Greek Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC, Kos, Greece). His way of ‘whole body medicine’ was practiced up until the Middle Ages and beyond. But towards the end of the 19th century, medical specialism became the norm. Patients no longer sought the help of doctors who practiced an overall level of healthcare and relied heavily on natural remedies and the prevention of illness. 

The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and the cause and prevention of disease. Thomas A. Edison

The specialist is just concerned with a specific organ or cure, mostly disregarding the origin of the illness and its wider implication. This way of healthcare is great for infection control and acute health problems. It is also not very individual and prevention-led and  I refer to it for this purpose as healthcare 2.0

Holistic Healthcare 3.0

Quite recently doctors are reverting back to a more individualistic approach. With the official discovery of the microbiome  (Rudolf Steiner already knew about the connection between food grown in healthy soil and gut health over 100 years ago, but was ridiculed until this discovery) doctors have gone back to champion more individualistic therapies, the connection between food and health and the overall strategy of good health as the best prevention of disease. 

Smashing a glass and gluing it back together again, will never be as effective as taking care that it is not smashed in the first place.


We have to start taking responsibility for our own health by doing regular blood work, individual health tests, and following a healthy diet that is suited to our body type and temperament. This is healthcare 3.0. It takes the Hippocratic approach but is updated with modern health screening techniques to give us a unique health experience and cure. Because we are all different with different body types, blood groups, and resilience. 

Hippocrates and the start of holistic medicine

Hippocrates and the start of holistic medicine

Hippocrates

Most of you will be familiar with the ‘Hippocratic Oath’.  A practice where young doctors swear before to uphold an ethical code that won’t harm the patient and will keep all medical history confidential. But few know more about this Ancient Greek doctor. So let’s look at why Hippocrates’  work is still so influential almost 2400 years after his death?

Hippocrates of Kos (who lived around 460-370B.C.) is often referred to as the ‘Father of Modern Medicine.  He was the first physician to diagnose disease based on a medical condition rather than seeing it as a punishment from the Gods, separating biological medicine from religion for the first time. He was also the first doctor to make a valid link between health and adequate, healthy nutrition,  exercise, and environmental factors such as a good standard of hygiene and a balanced mental state. This was ground-breaking work in then effectively rural Ancient Greece.

Observing various stages of illness, he came up with a systematic categorization of diseases and founded the Hippocratic School of Medicine. Although the human anatomy was then not well-researched (in fact we know now that some methods described were clearly wrong), many observations survived and are still a valid part of modern medicine. What made Hippocrates’ approach so appealing is the fact that he was the first doctor to have a ‘whole-body approach’ to medicine. Once a disease is diagnosed it is of course priority to deal with the acute illness.  But Hippocrates believed that prevention and keeping an overall balanced state of health before and after an acute illness is the ultimate goal. A concept that we are slowly losing in our current medical system.

 How is this relevant to the LWTM Lifestyle?

We believe that keeping a healthy body-mind-soul balance is key to a happy and healthy life. Hippocrates borrowed some concepts from the Babylonians (check out this article about their calendar system) who linked body regions with positions in the sky. This meant that within 28 days all the organs/body parts are highlighted for at least 2-3 days at each time.  This may be an outdated concept medically speaking, but it is a great way of working on your body in an equilibrant way within a whole moon cycle. We have therefore added the body symbols to the LWTM lifestyle calendar and called this series ‘ Keep Fit and Healthy From Head to Toe’. 

Astroman 

keep fit and healthy from head to toe

 Here is Astroman, a depiction of how surgeons operated until the 19th century. Today we of course aim for the best surgical procedure when diagnosed with an acute illness. This could even mean robots operating and other high-end technical procedures, regardless of what the stars are doing. But working on each body area for 2-3 days each month will make sure that you pay equal attention to the whole body.  The aim is to prevent diseases from forming in the first place. If you have certain problem areas, then of course spend more time treating that specific body region. 

 

Illnesses do not come upon us out of the blue. They are developed from small daily sins against nature. When enough sins have accumulated, illnesses will suddenly appear

Hippocrates

 Keep fit and healthy from top to toe 

With this program, we hope that you can do your fair share to prevent disease and correct ‘these little sins against nature’ as and when they occur. Look after your overall health by: 

  • Keeping a well-nourished body and a healthy weight
  • Having an optimistic, can-do outlook and being kind to others
  • Keep well-balanced mind
  • Look after your environment (your home and nature) 

Remember – you alone are the master of your own destiny. Have a look at the LWTM lifestyle calendar by clicking the link below and check out the recommended suggestions and tips. 

Have a look at the LWTM Lifestyle Calendar.  What body part is highlighted today?

 

 An Introduction to LWTM

Here is a link where you can download all our free resources to start building your new holistic life 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep fit and healthy from head to toe

Keep fit and healthy from head to toe

Welcome to the new series –  Keep fit and healthy from head to toe

Over the coming months, I will add more information about this topic. I have even created symbols that show the featured body regions and will add them to the LWTM lifestyle calendar 

But first, let me introduce you to how it all started. The Babylonians were the first civilization that started to connect the patterns in the sky with practical applications. This blueprint, called Astroman, served as a surgical map well into the 19th century. Nowadays medicine has moved on when it comes to intervention and operation techniques. But the concept of looking at an all-body approach is still as valid as when it was first mentioned by Hippocrates, now called the Father of Modern Medicine (Find out more about him and the start of holistic medicine). 

          keep fit and healthy from head to toe

    “Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind, and spirit.”           

B.K.S. Iyengar

Keep fit and healthy from top to toe:

When you look at the LWTM lifestyle calendar you will see 12 different symbols with yellow background, showing a specific body region. These change on an almost daily basis. When you click on each symbol description, you will find more information for each body region.

Which body region is highlighted today? 

 

For more information about LWTM and holistic lifestyle planning please download our freebies 

 An Introduction to LWTM

The importance of resting

The importance of resting

    The best cure for the body is a quiet mind
Napoleon Bonaparte

Everybody would accept that after a long run you need to sit down and rest your leg muscles. But when it comes to the brain – the hardest working muscle in the body – we never consider resting. Our poor brains are always ‘on’. Remembering, learning, sorting, controlling all processes of the body. Even during the night, our brain is sorting through experiences of the last waking period, sorting and filing problems and memories away. That is why we often have such weird dreams.

 

 

 Lack of sleep  

With all these activities, it is no wonder that on average the brain consumes around a fifth of our daily calorie intake.

During sleep, the brain instructs the organs to get rid of toxins that have built up during the day.  However, a lack of sleep means that some toxins will remain trapped in the organs and over time this can cause harm. 

If you suffer from sleep deprivation for a few days or even weeks, the body is able to compensate. But if you consistently deprive yourself of well-needed sleep it can come to health problems. Think of the brain as it was a  big computer. Without rest, the brain gets clogged up and static, sometimes it is just time ‘to pull the plug’ and let the brain reset itself.

Here is an article of what happens if the brain does not get enough sleep

Your body clock is the deciding factor if you are a night owl or an early riser and how much sleep you need. In essence, it does not matter when you get up or go to sleep, as long as you keep to a steady rhythm. Everybody has their own personal sleep target. 

When you don’t get enough sleep your brain will find it harder to retain memory and handle information. In severe cases, the brain can even restrict the way the body functions. Over a long time, this can lead to illness. Until not so long ago sleep torture was a common way to ‘break spies’ and enemies of the state.

But in most cases, slight sleep deprivation will lead to crankiness, irrational emotional responses (like misinterpreting social situations), and lack of concentration.

A few weeks of rest per year is essential. The traditional times always used to be after the harvest season (late autumn and winter) and a short spell in early August, waiting for the right weather, state of ripeness for the harvest to start. Looking at most school years in the Northern hemisphere,  these dates of rest have stood the test of time and are still adhered to. 

Is rest and sleep the same?

No, there is a difference – rest means being idle, but not asleep. If you had a bad night, small periods of resting can help to compensate for some sleep deficit, but effectively rest and sleep are like apples and pears- you can’t substitute one with the other.

Sleep is vital to reset the body – like clean out toxins and build memory. Rest is also vital, but more complementary. Over time the right amount of rest can provide ample health benefits like helping with hypertension, relaxing muscle tension and increased creativity.

How did people rest in the past?

Only 100 years ago one of the most commonly prescribed ‘medicine’ was bed rest. We don’t hear of this prescription anymore,  but sometimes this is exactly what the patient would need. But with every employee being squeezed for more and more productivity, the world has become faster and faster and often it would be unthinkable that an employee just rests for a few days. But the increasing amount of ‘sick day’ shows that people still need this rest.

But why prescribe rest – that surely is what the holidays are for! But are we really resting in the few weeks of holiday or free time most of us have? And if you are free-lance – when do you rest then?

I would argue not many people really rest these days,  – at least not in the old-fashioned sense of the word. Usually, during our holidays we go on a  foreign trip with lots of added stress, or a staycation with kids off from school and don’t forget what are you doing in your downtime, holiday or not. Self-checkout at the supermarket, self-service in the restaurant, booking your flight online and wasting hours doing so, etc. This does not count as rest!  This is stress!

In earlier centuries a successful person was somebody who had ample time to ponder about life, art, and philosophy.  The poor had no such luxury as they had to work all day, often seven days per week. The only exception was Sunday prayer.

These days the trend almost seems to have reversed. Being busy has become a badge of honor. Just look at modern-day celebrities. They attend every event going, have perfect children and a perfect house. And of course, have highflying careers on top of all that, not to mention the work for charity, teach/partake in a course/TV show, run a marathon and the list goes on and on.

Social media promotes an ever-acute sense of permanently missing out. I am not anti-social media, it has its uses. But we must accept that we can’t be superhuman and have to make choices. Therefore we should put quality way above quantity. I know, easier said than done.

In 2016 the university of Durham, UK, did a survey about ‘resting’ – guess what the top 5 resting activities are – I list them here.

  • Reading (58 per cent)
  • Being in the natural environment (53.1 per cent)
  • Being on their own (52.1 per cent)
  • Listening to music (40.6 per cent)
  • Doing nothing in particular (40 per cent)

What all these resting activities show is that people crave occasionally solitude. We need to get away from the world around us. No interactions with others, no stress, no communication, not thinking about others’ problems, wants and needs – just being in and enjoying the moment, daydreaming and no care in the world. This is rest – without guilt!

The good news is that ‘resting’ can be learned. There is no use of spending days in bed without any conscious benefits – that is not resting, this is lazying around.  Resting only works when you are otherwise busy. The main objectives are to ease muscle tension and to lower your heart rate. Take a deep breath, exhale and think calming, pleasant thoughts and relax. 

How do you successfully ‘rest’?

People who have mastered the art form of ‘resting’  can do this in ‘micro resting breaks’. Here is an example. You are driving through town, it is a stressful morning, everybody is in a rush, beeping horns, etc. At the next red traffic lights, relax your hands holding the steering wheel.  Roll your shoulders back a few times and take a few really deep breaths and exhale long and hard.  Make sure you pay attention to relax all the muscles in your body and release all angry thoughts from your brain.

These are all little exercises, but over a day they can have a big impact –  as they get rid of rising tensions as it happens. So there is never a big build-up and you will stay in a good mood (at least most days!)

Whenever you have the chance to a 5minute ‘shut-down phase’ please take it! Sit still with your eyes closed and banish every thought. You can call it meditation, mindfulness or else.  There are now many apps available to guide you. But you could just close your eyes and simply have a rest.

Think Hercule Poirot before he solves another complex case – he rests and lets his mind unfold. With all these benefits I would not be surprised if employers finally see the light and offer resting booths for hard pushed employees – to offer small power windows to boost their health, happiness and ultimately their productivity with much less sick days!

Understand your body clock

Understand your body clock

25% of the population are early risers and 25% of the population are night owls, the rest lie somewhere in-between.

Section Brain, Eyes and Head

We are all different and we all have our unique body clocks. Some of us function better in the morning, while others peak late at night. That in itself is no problem. It only becomes one if we are out of sync with what society tells us to do or if our partners have different sleep patterns which means waking each other up.

What happens during a normal day?

The typical day

How does the body clock work?

The center of our body clock lies deep inside our brains, in the hypothalamus to be precise. This is a small region located near the base of the brain and is crucial for releasing hormones and regulating our body’s temperature. It is here that a release of hormones makes us wake up and go to sleep.
In controlled experiments, where contestants were kept in a darkened room with no fluctuation in temperature, the body would make up its own rhythmic clock which follows a roughly 24-hour day. But as we live in an environment that is regulated by day and night, our body clock resets each day to stay in sync with the path of the sun and the moon.

Our eyes filter the intensity of the surrounding sunlight and tell the brain if it is day or night. Bright blue light mimics daylight and orange/yellow candlelight sends us to sleep.

What happens on a daily basis?

A gene called ‘period’ is responsible for our waking and sleeping process. Inside the nucleus copies of this gene’s protein are made and transported to the outer cell. There they swivel around and we are awake. Later in the day, a second protein is produced which has the sole function to bring the first protein back into the cell again. Once the concentration of the 2nd protein has reached a certain level it shuts down the copying process of the first protein. As a consequence, we start to feel tired and both proteins break fully down.

Then we go to sleep and the next morning it happens all over again. As mentioned before this copying and breaking down process keeps roughly to a 24-hour rhythm.

But nobody is the same. It all depends on the individual’s efficiency of this copying and breaking down process. This means some people need more sleep than others. Also, the timing of these ‘protein clocks’ is not the same but varies from person to person.

When it comes to optimum concentration, reaction, and physical peak times, we all act as individuals. It actually does not matter when your peak performance is, as long as you keep to a steady rhythm. The problem arises when you keep on shifting your circadian rhythm (as your inner body clock is better known).

Latest scientific tests have shown that shift workers who permanently change their sleep patterns have an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

Sometimes you can’t help these changes, for example when the clocks go forward or backward or you travel to another time zone.

However, there are tips that you can employ to improve your health should you be forced to change your rhythm on an occasional basis.

Social jet lag:

This usually affects night owls. They go to bed later than the rest of the population, but due to work commitments, they have to rise much earlier than their body clock is ready for.
It gets worse when their partner is a normal sleeper or even an early riser, as both spouses will naturally disrupt each other’s sleep pattern.

If this happens to you, here are some solutions:
1) Separate bedrooms
2) Ear plugs and eye masks for each person, so that sleep is not interrupted by the other person’s sleep pattern. Additionally, each person should change to a job that suits their own personal rhythm. Like free-lance work or even evening work for night owls, early shifts for early risers.
3) Change your sleep pattern. If you are a night owl, expose yourself to a lot of daylight during the morning and stay off tablets and phones (blue light) during the evening. If you still need to work on the computer or use your tablet/phone make sure you have a ‘night mode’ option switched on.
If you are an early riser, seek more daylight during the afternoon, and working on the computer in the evening won’t be a problem for you, in fact, it will keep you awake longer.

Traveling:

Here are some tips to combat jetlag.
If you travel east expose yourself to more sunlight in the morning which will shift your body clock to the earlier timezone.
Go west and do the opposite. If you only go on a short business trip try to stay as much as you can within your ‘own time zone’.

Night shifts:

If you need to work shifts then try to opt for work that keeps to a similar pattern. If you work continually nights, then try to keep to that pattern and crucially do not change the habit when you are off work. If you come home and it is already daylight, wear special glasses that mimic evening light to block out the blue daylight, and when you go to sleep wear an eye mask that blocks out the blue daylight.

I hope that in the not-too-distant future employers will be made aware of how damaging varying shift patterns are for their workforce and once fully understood will change work arrangements to suit individual’s rhythm. This would make for a more productive and happy workforce.

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