Rhythm and Routine

Rhythm and routine is something that I think is at the very core of health, but can be misunderstood and have bad connotations for some people. I am talking here about daily rhythms and routines like meal times and bed times, but also the inherent rhythm in the movement of walking, swimming or cycling, as well as the routine of daily exercise or having a daily yoga or meditation practice.

Keeping to daily meal and bed times allows the body physiology to prepare all the necessary digestive juices and sleepy hormones that are essential for you to digest your food and do things like fall asleep. If you keep to these times the body will begin to produce the necessary ingredients in anticipation of the meal it is expecting to receive or the rest it is expecting to get. The effects of not having this daily rhythm is most dramatically seen in young children because they quite literally begin to fall apart at the seams, but even as adults we can often feel how much more at ease and well we feel in our own skin when we are able to keep to a good daily routine.

When people are out of sorts, stressed or suffering with some sort of disease; it sometimes affects their ability to hold a good rhythm when for example walking or cycling. A child that is either cycling full steam like a crazy person, or crashed out unable to move; their body finds it difficult to run on a steady gentle pace because of an internal imbalance in the fight, flight and fright part of the nervous system. In these situations having a strong daily rhythm (as discussed above) can be very helpful in normalising the activity in the nervous system and the adrenals. This combined with regular gentle rhythmic exercise often produces good results.

Finally having a daily exercise, yoga and/or meditation practice can also be very beneficial in different ways. The discipline and self determination involved in sticking to your daily practice is itself a good and helpful quality to develop. Added to that you have the benefit of practicing regularly; We are generating tension and turmoil on a daily basis, so unless you keep on top of it on a daily basis, things will inevitably build up.

Sometimes through laziness and indulgence, perhaps through negative connotations to things being imposed on us as children, or the sheer pace of our over stimulated modern lives, I don’t know; but people do sometimes have an aversion to what I think of as a good strong daily rhythm and routine. All I can say is that I definitely feel better in myself when I have that routine, and it is very clear to see in my children and some patients when it goes a mis.


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