The Gift of Opportunity and Authenticity

A Catalyst to Potential Health and Wellbeing – By Polestar Pilates Mentor Vikki Harris

So what supports a catalyst for personal transformation?
Sometimes a massive wake up call for existence shows up in the form of a disease or pathology. Currently, our environmental climate is in crisis and there is an absolute need for rebellion to call for action now, not in the future, to prevent both human extinction and our planet’s destruction. Are we listening and acting on the call? What about our own individual environmental climate? Are we inflamed, stressed, under-resourced physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and potentially ignoring it? What will it take to be heard and listened to? If we tune in and observe ourselves what may we discover? When we’ve been conditioned to say “yes,” and forgotten how to say “no,” for example, our bodies may end up saying it for us in some form.

Gabor Mate writes in his book When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress, “It’s about input, output, and understanding “flow”, the bio-psycho-social model where many processes form together in the creation of disease or health. Healing is finding a balance of flow and harmony.” 

The negative effects of stress on health are well-documented. There are many definitions of stress from both eastern and western philosophies and academic disciplines, including psychology and physiology. The paradigm of research is shifting toward a holistic approach in which the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The healthcare provider considers the whole person by addressing their symptoms as well as the underlying causes including the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual components of wellbeing. 

The Pilates studio is an environment where awareness of the whole individual can be supported through an integrative and experiential approach. With intention and autonomy, the “self” can be heard and directed by the client’s experience rather than by the teacher. My teaching and presence change as I look within myself and find integrity beyond the connectivity of body parts and systems, to where there is a wealth of potential learning and health. 

The focus in research on stress-disease models appears to be divided into the following areas:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Energy medicine
  • Subtle energy anatomy

There has been an intuitive association with stress and disease for centuries but scientists from several disciplines have come together in the last decade to form a field of study called psycho-neuro-immunology.

Stressors have been characterized into three groups:

  • The bio-ecological influences of external influences, some of which are outside of our awareness, including sunlight, gravitational pull, solar flares, and electromagnetic fields that affect our biological rhythms.
  • The psycho-intrapersonal influences of perceptions of stimuli through our own interpretations, thoughts, values, beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and our identity or ego.
  • The social influences where individuals are unable to cope with their given environment, overcrowding, boundaries, and major life changes.

If we view the mind and body as two separate things, dividing that which is inseparable, we attempt to understand the body in isolation from the mind, describing human beings as if they function in isolation from their environment where they develop and learn. The unexamined assumptions both determine and limit what we will discover. If we become specialized in parts, theories, or knowledge, we become interested in only those parts and not on the whole where the parts reside, taking on a dualist binary approach. 

“Our present state of scientific knowledge suggests we can solidly affirm that kindness and compassion to the brain are what breath is to life.”  

Daniel Siegel

Presence, attunement, and resonance with yourself and your client create an environment that supports an open, non-judgmental potential of awareness. The attuned approach is where the gold lies. The guiding pole star helps us with a map, yet the territory and landscapes need to be explored, felt, and acknowledged to bring color, depth, individuality, and perspective that embody the true spirit of “aliveness” of our human existence. 

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