Blog courtesy of Joanne Dowds (clinical specialist physiotherapist, yoga teacher and whiskey enthusiast)

This week, the last full week in September, marks the autumn equinox, when night and day are balanced in perfectly equal length. This means it is definitely by any definition of it, autumn. Autumn the season for pulling in, for lighting fires, swinging back into the routines of work or school or college. Work has definitely kicked back in at full speed, for me anyways and with equinox, where balance is present in the sky, balance in life is on my mind. What does balance mean? Technically balance is defined as the ability to hold yourself within your base of support, being able to stay standing despite all the forces working/ conspiring against you.  It is a question for each of us, what are those pushes and pulls on your time. What is it that supports you and what is it that is making you work harder to stay upright.balance

Balancing light and dark, sun and moon, male and female, good and bad, the chaos of political turmoil and the energy in school age environmental campaigners. There is a quote about the world  arcing towards good but sometimes when I’m am scrolling through twitter while watching the parliament channel I feel the pervasive heaviness of the events of the day. Morphing into a news addict/my dad isn’t good for me, there is a difference in  being informed and being made anxious.  There are lots of things I do to manage, no social media apps on my phone, exercise, food choices and sometimes just a few extra hours in bed. In the last week I wasn’t the last one  home from a friends dinner which is so unusual that my mates thought I into my health!  I just wanted a few more hours in bed- that is a sign of aging! I was being more mindful of what I wanted to have energy for the following day.

It is interesting that a state of mind can  affect your physical balance. These last few weeks I have been hectic and my phone has borne the brunt.It has been misplaced, dropped, crackled, dipped and nearly through a washing machine cycle. It is still functioning but it carries the scars of my busy mind.  Balance is a system you can train. Gradual stepwise challenges can strengthen it, just as too much too soon can result in,injury.  Exposure to gradually increasing difficult poses make works against you but it
challenges you. What is the sweet spot of stress but not distress? Balancing yoga poses focus the attention bring you into the present  Balance is so important as we age that is  recommend in physical activity guidelines but hey why wait. Balance in body, balance in mind.

What can I/we do to be more balanced, because no one is one thing all the time. People are complex just because you run doesn’t mean you cant love an evening on the couch. Just because you attend yoga classes doesn’t make you a vegan…I love a steak as a very lapsed vegetarian.

Balance for me is a monitoring of my energy levels, an understanding that Saturday bedtime can be 10pm or 3am and I’m lucky that I get to choose. Balance is choices that take care. Rest and activity. Wine and water. Sleep and  shape throwing. Brolly and sun cream. Trump and Greta.

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I qualified with an Honours degree in Physiotherapy from Trinity College Dublin in 2004. Since graduating I have worked in St. James Hospital Dublin and have worked in all the areas of speciality within the hospital including cardiorespiratory, orthopaedics, rheumatology, care of the elderly, neurology, burns and plastic surgery among others . I have also completed a post graduate certificate in acupuncture in UCD 2009. The Physiotherapy Department in SJH has strong links with Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and I have supervised undergraduate and postgraduate physiotherapy students on practice placements and also delivered lectures on the undergraduate academic programme in TCD. I have a keen interest in all sports and currently plays with Cill Dara RFC 1st team squad, and Milltown GAA. I have previously worked as Physiotherapist to Co. Carlow Senior GAA Team, Milltown GAA, Leinster Junior Rugby Team and Cill Dara RFC. I am an experienced runner and competed in the Dublin City Marathon in 2002. I continue to participate in running events and multisport disciplines such as Gaelforce West, Gaelforce North and the Motivate Challenge. I have a particular interest in strength and conditioning. I utilise this knowledge of resistance training in the treatment of his clients. I am committed to continuous learning and development in order to ensure the optimal level of care is offered to my clients, and with this in mind I am currently undertaking a certification in Strength and Conditioning (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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