We all have body rhythms, the question is; how in sync is our lifestyle with these rhythms?  Are you an early riser or do you fight yourself to get up in time to meet your responsibilities?

In a perfect world our responsibilities would revolve around our body rhythms, not the other way around.photo-3

I used to give a lecture called, “Do Exercise and Relaxation go Together?  You Bet!”  I cited Irving Dardik, a surgeon who developed a controversial SuperWave theory to treat his patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.  Keep in mind that he developed these treatments when we as a culture were not as aware of the relationship between our habits and behavior and our wellness.

In 2002 diabetes and heart disease were not viewed as “lifestyle” diseases the way they are today.  Exercise and relaxation are recognized as means to stave off these diseases.  Irving noticed that in cultures closer to the equator, where life revolved around a more natural cycle, the populations didn’t have these diseases.  In our culture we get up to an alarm, we eat on the run, i.e. we can be in a constant state of stress.  This he felt wears us down because our natural rhythms are like a wave.  With this chronic stress, we flatten that wave which he proposed, caused disease.   Instead of following our natural rhythms we have become an “always on” culture.

He went on to develop an exercise protocol re-named the “cyclic exercise protocol” that increased heart rate variability so that instead of steady state exercise (warming up for 10 minutes and exercising at a steady pace for 20-30 minutes and then cooling down) one would exercise very intensely and then sit down, stop exercising. I remember thinking this was too extreme at that time.  Dardik ‘s premise was that one’s heart rate variability is a predictor of health.

Today, heart rate variability is a popular way of accessing health and optimal performance days.  Heart Math, founded over 19 years ago, has created products that access HRV and guide one into what they term “coherence”.  Optimum coherence is measured as 0.10 hertz, cycles per second which equates an optimal relationship between our heart and our brain.  Their programs/products teach meditation/breathing techniques showing graphs of HRV and of one’s autonomic nervous system.  Other companies produce similar devices for elite athletes to measure their performance readiness.

Fast forward to Douglas Rushkoff who’s book, Present Shock, explores how the digital age may be changing our lives in ways we never considered before.  He maintains that we thought the digital age would give us more free time and we would be able to create less stressful lives.  The opposite has occurred, we have more information and messages to ingest.  It is not uncommon to see couples sitting at the table texting someone who is not in the room and ignoring the present company/moment.   What are we missing?  There is a 24/7 stream of information coming at us.  A synopsis of his book is another blog.

What I found interesting in terms of rhythms was Rushkoff’s mention of working with brain chemistry in a 28-day cycle with each week being governed by a different neurotransmitter.   “The first week is acetylcholine, the second week is serotonin, the third week is dopamine, and the last week is norepinephrine.”  According to Rushkoff, Acetylcholine is associated with “good energy, they are going to be peppy and a great time to introduce them to new ideas”.   During a Serotonin week “everyone is going to be very productive”.  Forget a Dopamine week, “you are not going to get anything done, that’s when you are going to go ski and party and go nuts.”   The final week in the cycle:  “Norepinephrine, that’s the fight-or-flight neurotransmitter, so that’s putting everybody in a very sort-of analytic, structural…organize the calendar” week.

Joseph Alonzo, in a blog entitled: Lunar Cycles and Neurotransmitters written June 18 and posted on “Great Place to Work” wrote:

“Our current workplace systems are not designed to support working on tasks that align with the dominating neurotransmitter, but what if they did?  Admittedly, this is a challenging concept to consider given the reality of deadlines and the collaborative nature of many workplaces; however, when dreaming up the future it is important to consider the value of an idea before immediately finding its inconveniences.”   See more

I think it is important for us as individuals to understand our own rhythms so that we can live in harmony with these rhythms.  Balance is always the key!

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

real face.2

“In this moment I can sink into my heart and breathe deeply.”

“In this moment I am self-aware.”