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Adrenaline's partner Acetyl-Choline

January 20, 2017

 

Balance and Biodanza

by Mike Skilbeck, Director of the Dorset School of Biodanza

 

I'm also reading a book on ayurveda, and I'm struck by the oft repeated message of returning to balance, to harmony within oneself, and with the external world. If we can do that then healing and health will naturally flow as a matter of course, because all of us are INCREDIBLE LIVING SELF-HEALING MACHINES.In fact, all of life is. No life form has survived this long without all its systems being geared towards health and wellness, but these can only operate under conditions of balance.

 

Biodanza attempts to return us to a more balanced state. Recall your last class, whenever that was. There's a period of action and activity at the beginning, some vital, creative dances and music, activating the sympathetic nervous system, the one responsible for fight/flight/freeze, and for producing adrenaline. We've all heard of adrenaline, right? It's the celebrity neurotransmitter, famous far and wide, and it reflects our culture; go, go, go, do, do do.

 

But who has heard of acetyl-choline, the mirror chemical to adrenaline? They are like kids on a see-saw, inextricably linked. When one goes up, the other must go down. But such is our state of imbalance we have a fascination with adrenaline, while acetyl-choline is virtually unknown, and yet it is the master switch for relaxation. Adrenaline governs our daytime activities, acetyl-choline the night. But artificial light has destroyed our connection with the natural BALANCED rhythm of day and night that all other creatures live by. We are the only ones dropping asleep at 1 or 2 in the morning with their laptops on their chests (at least I am, or WAS. I'm changing that pattern in the light of my ayurveda studies)

 

So back to the Biodanza class. About halfway through you will recall a change of direction, of emphasis, of pace, of mood. The music and exercises begin to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, the one responsible for rest, recuperation and restoration. An hour of melodic music, slowing down and coming together as a group is the blissful, restful, nurturing experience all who know and love Biodanza recall with great fondness. For this hour is quality time for the body, emotions and spirit. It is what is lacking the most in daily, weekly, monthly life and as such is precious indeed. It may be only an hour, but it is pointing towards a more balanced lifestyle and reminds us just how good that feels when we get it.

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