The 4 “Seasons” in your Body.
Chronobiology is all about biorhythms and their relation to the planetary environment. The circadian rhythm is discussed in great detail with chronobiology, but one of the most important biorhythms of your body rarely gets any mention, and that would be the autonomic alternation of sympathetic and parasympathetic activity.
The autonomic nervous system has two main branches: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is called the “fight or flight” system, while the parasympathetic nervous system is called the “rest and digest” system. In most cases, these systems have “opposite” actions where one system activates a physiological response and the other inhibits it.
These two systems are not mutually exclusive. Sympathetic activity doesn’t “turn off” completely when parasympathetic activity begins, and vice versa. Sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions typically function in opposition to each other, but this opposition is more complementary in nature than it is antagonistic. In general, these two systems are permanently modulating vital bodily functions to achieve homeostasis, or a better term would be homeodynamics.
You have three main body biorhythms: heart rate, breathing and swara, defined as the alternation of autonomic activity. All three biorhythms consist of complementary, alternating physiological states. Heart rate consists of systole followed by diastole. Breathing consists of exhalation followed by inhalation. Swara consists of sympathetic activity followed by parasympathetic activity.
These personal, animal biorhythms (heart beat, breath and swara) have correspondences in the planetary, photosynthetic biorhythms (solar day, lunar month and seasonal year) of plants. Heart beat corresponds to the solar day. Breath corresponds to the lunar month. Swara corresponds to the seasonal year which has 4 seasons. The 4 elemental personal activities (Sleep, Eat, Move & Think) that MONAD records are equivalent to the 4 seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall) of a seasonal year. The 4 seasons progress in a steady, regular fashion. Swara does not necessarily proceed in a steady, regular fashion.
It’s easy to detect and measure your heart rate and your breathing rate, but what about your swara? How can you detect and measure your autonomic alternation? The MONAD app in Health Event Mode provides a method. Certain activities that you engage in (Move & Think) are associated with sympathetic innervation and other activities (Sleep & Eat) are associated with parasympathetic innervation. It’s not black and white, meaning that just because you are Moving around, being physically active, doesn’t mean that you can’t also be Eating and digesting. You could eat constantly (parasympathetic activity) throughout the day and you will still have some sympathetic activity taking place in your body. And some people’s lives are a constant fight or flight scenario (sympathetic activity) yet they still have to deal with digestion and the need for sleep.
Analyzing Your Day Charts.
Ideally you want to have a regular swara (autonomic alternation) which is efficient and not working one system against the other. You want to give your body time to digest and relax with each meal, and then avoid eating between meals to keep your sympathetic activity pure and undiluted. A heavy meal will require a longer period of digestion and relaxation than a lighter meal will require. A fight or flight reaction brought about by the release of adrenaline from the adrenal glands can last long enough to interfere with your next meal and digestive period, so after any unusual stress it may be a good idea to insert a period of meditation or yoga before the meal to help reduce the elevated sympathetic response.
Keeping a Daily Chronobiological Health Journal, recording your color-coded activities which represent the swara, allows you to regulate and improve your swara, so that your physiology operates more efficiently. There is no perfect rhythm suitable for all people. Your social environment and other requirements of having a job and family will have an impact on the organization of your activities. You have to fit your activities into your life and habits. But you can also optimize your swara and the progression of activities. You can set up your life so you have 3 – 5 main sympathetic periods separated by meals and sleep. Keeping a Chronobiological Health Journal is a way to learn how to maximize your energy and physiological efficiency, which is at the heart of health.
When the subcategory functions have been added (See: Health Event Mode), it will be possible to quickly and easily record all of the events of your day in such a way that you don’t leave any “blank spots” on your day charts. As long as you record the beginning and ending of your Sleep period and any naps or other rest periods, along with your Eating periods, the rest of your day is by default Move or Think. The more detail you want to add the better, but a perfectly adequate picture of your swara will emerge with very little effort on your part. Just the act of creating this Chronobiological Health Journal will change your life. A “healthy day chart” is beautiful and exhibits an aesthetically pleasing rhythm and symmetry. The feedback you gain by creating these day charts will have a notable impact on your subjective sense of health.