Thursday, November 17, 2011

Your Toe-Tappin', Time-Keepin' Heart

Image: Christian Ferrari
Blue Rodeo has been a favourite of mine ever since I first heard them in the eighties. I love them -  as a friend of ours would say - enthusiastically, unequivocally and wholeheartedly!

We had the pleasure of attending one of their yearly under-the-stars concerts in Malkin Bowl. Even the moon made a spectacular attendance on that warm September night in Stanley Park.

The playlist included all those Blue Rodeo tunes that have created a decades and generations long fan base. The songs are singable, danceable, memorable and memory-tickling; just hearing a song such as Five Days in May instantly transports me back to another time when I had fewer miles under my feet.

As I watched, sang, danced and swayed to all those Blue Rodeo favourites, I caught myself doing something that I don't usually do when I attend a concert.

Music
I was looking for entrainment, which is what occurs when organisms synchronize their rhythms to the rhythms that are produced by another organism. At times, Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor and Colin Cripps may have started out tapping opposite feet or either swaying left or right in time to the music. However, a few bars in, and their movements became synchronized, almost as if there had been a choreographer hiding off to the side, whispering get-it-together instructions.

Evidence of entrainment was found within the audience. You could see it occur during the songs, as row upon row of fans sang and swayed in time with the music, and with one another. Also, you could hear it at end of each song, when the applause changed from a disparate sound of clapping to a more unified and rhythmical sound.

Image: Doug Brown
History
During the seventeenth century, Christian Huygens, a Dutch scientist, made an important discovery about synchronization. He noticed that when set in motion, the pendulums of two clocks, suspended from a beam, would eventually synchronize and be heard at the same time. Even when the clocks were stopped and started again, they would soon resume the same rhythm.

Nature
Next time you take a walk through a farmer's field at dusk, listen for the synchronized crkcrkcrk sound - known as stridulation - that is made by crickets. Entrainment in nature.

Brain
Brainwaves have been classified into five categories based upon their electrical activity, which is measured in cycles per second (Hertz). Alpha, beta, delta, gamma and theta are identifiable by their frequencies. Your brain will shift through these states, dependent upon the task, much like you shift gears in a car with a manual transmission. Currently, there are a number of programs on the market which aim to entrain the brain, using auditory, and/or visual stimuli that will help the user balance the brain in order to achieve a more desirable state of being.

Women
As I was writing this post, I thought of another example of entrainment. In fact, you may be familiar with it if you share a household with a number of women. The menstrual cycles of women who live in close proximity (think university dorm) have a tendency to synchronize.

Stress
When you regularly undress your stress, entrainment occurs with many of your bodily systems. It can be equated to that regular tune-up you get for your car - afterwards, it runs better and more efficiently because all parts are working well together, as intended.

Heart, respiratory system, heart rate variability, blood pressure rhythms. What would it mean to your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health if you could synchronize these systems? Rather than "outsourcing", you can do some "insourcing" with a unique set of techniques and tools that empower you to live a better life.

In five one-hour sessions, learn how to address the cause of stress, simply by using that great "rhythm-master" - your heart!

4 comments:

  1. I think that I have mentioned earlier that I practice Vipassana meditation which in the West is called Insight meditation. This brings about the awareness of your mind body intellect complex working in harmony with each other and is very beneficial. I would still like to take those five one hour sessions to see what your technique is like. I hope that some day, I am able to.

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  2. Thanks for another great post.

    How interesting to learn about the synchronization that automatically occurs (or the entrainment).

    I had heard about the menstrual cycles of women who live in the same household or work together many hours a day ending up having the same cycle over time but never really got it until now...

    I love how you are tying this concept with the management of stress...and managing the rhythm of your heart (and how that in turn influences the rest of our body).

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  3. Ramana,
    How would you describe how you feel after you've done your Vipassana meditation session?

    I think we need to set up a time to Skype, don't you?

    Thanks, Dorlee,
    The same re. the menstrual cycles - I knew it occurred, but didn't know why. It dawned on me as I was writing this post.

    Going one further ... the heart influences those in our environment.

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  4. Refreshed, alive and aware.

    Yes. Let us.

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