Creating Balance: Homeostasis

by Frank Baptiste on January 30, 2016

I was able to begin learning the concept of a holistic life perspective when I began meditation practices learning the vipassana meditation technique.   The technique’s name specifically means to observe the mind/body connection “as it is”.  The practitioner scans the body and observes the sensations that arise and fall moment-to-moment and the interaction that occurs on or within the mind/body .

This moment-to-moment focus of awareness on sensations is difficult, initially, as the mind needs time and patience to learn how to properly focus and not become distracted by wandering thoughts and moods.  It is within these wanderings that the practitioner begins to see and learn more about this mind/body connection.   Over time one becomes more proficient at not diminishing the amount of mental chatter, wandering and wavering between thoughts and sensations but, rather, at being able to remain attentively and alertly aware.    It is through this awareness that a clearer picture of life begins to emerge: how subconscious mental and emotional patterns interact with the physical.

Homeostasis – Balance between All Things

Homeostasis is a process normally defined as being a tendency toward the relative stability of equilibrium between interdependent elements or processes and, with a little imagination, it is possible to see how the term can be applied broadly, across many spectrums.  Our bodies are a great example and representation of the multi-level expression of homeostasis that pervades between all things.

Cellularly, the cell works to keep pH and pressure balanced internally between the cell wall and its external environment.  Through special processes, the cell communicates with the external world and regulates this balance to ensure survival and harmony.   Even finer, molecules form by sharing  electrons, creating enough of a balance to stick together.   Our bodies, our cells, are constantly interacting with the environment to ensure that we are in a relatively balanced state so that we might thrive.  Any sort of prolonged imbalance will likely push us into a state of sickness and disease, allowing foreign substances and invaders to thrive in place of our own healthy integrity.  So, physiologically, it is important that we maintain healthy patterns of behavior to support our internal systems attempts at balance, homeostasis.

What about levels of operation, or being, that are beyond the confines of cellular processes?  As an organism, the body transports us through time/space and within that we are met with daily interactions between our peers, society, family, plants and animals etc etc.  We have to navigate a world and our bodies have to regulate all the while.

So would it be too far fetched to assume that our perception and subsequent interaction with the world would affect our internal states and point of homeostatic balance?  I think not, as our limbic and endocrine systems prove the hormonal and emotional interactions prove albeit subconsciously, and vipassana proves it through actual observational experience to the practitioner.

Stuck in the dark far too long…

For far too long have we simply operated within the confines of a dull and dilute awareness of ourselves and the world around us.  Fortunately we are now being exposed to more and more light being shed on the full spectrum of conscious awareness, and its influence of directed attention, with the emergent research being done by neuroscientists and modern meditation practitioners (see theGarrison Institute, IONS, or Himalayan Institute for examples) we are learning that the powers of human conscious awareness extend beyond the limits of physical ability.

Our bodies are naturally attuned to the environments around them, assessing and responding as needed to balance and maintain health.  Why should we not be as equally vigilant regarding our environments? Our mental and emotional states?  Our relationships and place in the world?

Vipassana meditation practice allows for us to learn the intimate interactions between our mentals/emotional states and our bodies.   Practicing any meditation technique will uncover, over time, these interactions.  It is with the insights gained through meditative awareness on ourselves that we gain access to a deeper understanding of how we are constantly interacting within our body, minds and souls with the world around us.

With practice, we can learn how to cultivate homeostatic balances within all aspects of our lives, taking a formerly unconscious cellular process and turning it into a conscious tool used to enliven and enrich our lives both inside and out.

Written by Kyle Dondero – Project Manager / Yoga Instructor

FranklyFitness is a holistic fitness and lifestyle company.  Our team is available for business or 1-on-1 consultation to help improve your relationship with healthy living.


Beyond the Mat and Studio – Modern Day Yoga

by Frank Baptiste on January 10, 2016

Yoga – Meditation – Mindfulness …

keywords and buzzwords that are finding their way into almost all aspects of our lives.

Why is it?

It is my opinion that us humans are looking to increase the value of each experience we have (whether it be at work, home, with friends or family) to satisfy the subconscious drive and desire to answer one of the oldest questions of life: WHY am I here? WHAT is the purpose of life?  Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness training allow us to peer into lifestyles that innately expose value and inner meaning.

Without allowing ourselves to fall prey to the “paralysis of analysis” by pondering too deep into these questions of “why” or “what”, let us take a moment to explore one of the 4 paths (according to the yogis) that we can cultivate meaning within our lives.

Raja Yoga – the way of the Scientist of Life

Yoga beyond the mat and studio is quite simply structured.

First, we must have a desire to understand and, furthermore, be open and receptive to new knowledge, with flexibility in allowing our belief systems to grow and change.   Rigidity only causes us to break.

Second, we embark on the experiment of life by adhering to 10 guidelines that will allow us to operate with our peers and society without causing us mental or emotional injury and also structure from which to grow.  Structure is within all aspects of life, from molecules to societies.

The following 10 guidelines should be slowly applied to your everyday life.  These teachings are not strictly for yogis that practice on a mat in a studio but rather are accessible to all people of all walks of life.  In this way of slowly practicing, we become mindful of ourselves and our environments, cultivating a type of meditative awareness that, with constant practice, will echo within all aspects of our lives.

1 Harmlessness

Non-violence – towards ourselves and others.  Reflect on what negatively affects your life, look at what supports and benefits you.  By understanding the basics of what harms us and what supports us, we can then relate to the common thread of positive support for all life.  Remove harmful thoughts and emotions; remove harmful foods and habits; remove harmful relationships and situations.  Cultivate a sense of loving-kindness.

2 Truthfulness

When we lie to ourselves or to others, we are setting up a situation in which pain can result.  Cultivating an honest relationship with ourselves is the first step towards living an honest life.  Brutal honesty should be avoided, as discretion and awareness of the emotional needs of others is increased.

3 Non-stealing

By knowing what is harmful to us, and having started communicating and living more honestly, we ultimately understand that stealing is harmful to ourselves and others.  Instead of taking what is not rightfully our own we instead create our own opportunities for successful and prosperous living.

4 Conservation

Self-awareness leads to the uncovering of many truths about our being, one of which the delicate balance of energy.  Our minds, bodies, and spirits need adequate rest and nourishment.  Spend time watching and observing the various aspects of your being: the body, mind, and soul (or emotional self).  Notice how food, physical activity / exercise, and sleep are needed; how our minds need stimulation and rest; how our soul needs expression and incubation.  Listen to the rhythm of each part of you and find the balance that supports the conservation of all your energies.  Equally, think about the energetic balance in the external world.  Conserve water, electricity, and natural resources.

5 Absence of Greed

When we can understand more about the internal equilibrium of our energies, we then can understand that having more of something can upset our balance.  Greed stems from a sense of inadequacy or insufficiency.  By balancing out our energies we learn to control more of, or put ourselves in better position to receive, the positive outcomes of actions, finding satisfaction within ourselves and being able to provide for ourselves.

6 Cleanliness/ Purity

The sanctity of our bodies and the spaces we surround ourselves with only contributes to the positive expression of ourselves.  How many times have we been frustrated by an unkept desk or room, looking for vital paperwork or keys which may lay hidden in cluttered debris?   Working to keep our bodies and spaces clean ultimately keeps our minds and emotions clean as well.  We show ourselves and those around us that we have respect and integrity.

7 Equanimity

Life is described in the polarized language of dualism.  Things are either good or bad, left or right, up or down.  Recognizing the spectrum of (+) positive and (-) negative descriptive language and our (+/-) value association with life’s situations and circumstances prepares us to live in the present moment, rather than in anticipation or fear of the future.  Watch your mental and emotional states.  Notice the language of the inner self dialogue.  See the ebb and flow from between the spectrum of life.  Live peacefully knowing that life is constantly changing.

8 Passion and Devotion

What makes you enthusiastic?  If you are feeling complacent or lethargic, stir up your motivation by recalling what inspires your life.  If you are not sure, take some time to review people, places or things that provide the motivation to be the best you can be.  During our childhood we spent countless hours playing within our imagination, being inspired by magical possibilities.  Growing up, we were inspired to choose careers and fields of study that remained open with new discoveries to be had.  Continue to be inspired daily by cultivating an inner flame of devotion and passion to live life to its fullest.

9 Self-study and Learning

Passion and devotion lead us to new discoveries.  The world is full of information that we do not know yet and we, ourselves, are full of skills and strengths still to be developed.  Be inspired to learn throughout life.

10 Surrender

Knowing of the ebb and flow of life, recognizing the ups and downs, by practicing through trial and error, we learn the most useful skill of all: patient determination.

A gardener can put seeds into ripe and fertile soil, can provide nutrients, water and sunlight.  However, the plant will grow and ripen at its own speed and according to its own capacities.  Similarly in life, we can provide all the necessary and appropriate actions, yet at some point we must let life’s processes unfold naturally.

If we cannot cultivate this patience then we must return to practice 1-9 more deeply.


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