In ballet class, while doing bar work, we memorized routines set to music. The music was divided into four parts, and each part was divided into four as well. A responsible routine allowed the leg to use its muscles in each of the four directions of the body. We had four chances to warm up and strengthen the muscles in just the right way. Sometimes, when the muscle was ready, we used these four chances to elevate the challenge, by elevating the leg for example.
Is ballet creative or anal-retentive? Ballet allows the dancer to be creative within very rigid rules. There are strict rules for angles of the body. And the music sets its own limits, even as it opens opportunities. Within these rigid boundaries, the dancer finds a huge amount of variety. The traditional, classical ballet dancer cannot make up positions and routines that are not logical. I would frown on a routine that didn’t balance the muscles of the right side with the muscles of the left, for example. That’s what I call illogical. The body needs symmetry for health reasons. However, the dancer can find quite a large amount of variation of routines that are logical. And there is still a satisfying amount of charm and creativity within these variations.
Satisfying to whom? How much variation does the individual need to feel satisfied? Variation (right brain stimulation) needs to be balanced with logic (left brain stimulation.) Am I comfortable and satisfied with the amount of balance because I’ve been trained by ballet since I was young, or was I satisfied by it from the very beginning and stuck with it because of that? I am going to guess the common sense response–that a healthy lifestyle can only exist when the two brain hemispheres are in balance.
I recommend that all people find the stimuli in their lives, categorize them by whether they stimulate their right brain or their left, and then make sure they balance their activities accordingly.
Suggestions for a healthy lifestyle in which the right and left brain find balance:
1. Alternate your activities. If you spend a lot of time writing, take breaks and cook or enjoy nature. Give your right brain a break from your left, and vice versa!
2. When you exercise, which of course you must do, choose your activity according to your hemisphere’s needs: if you’ve done a lot of tedious work all day, do a creative fitness program. Or if you’ve spent too much time thinking and you just want to stop thinking, get on a redundant cardio machine and stare at the videos or read. You can read silly magazines, children’s novels, or do fun puzzles like Heart Mandalas! If you spent your whole day drawing, try taking a ballet class, jazz, or any class that requires that you memorize routines.
3. Observe the order and creativity within all that you do. When you cook, do you follow a recipe? If so, you are using the left hemisphere. Do you change the recipe? Do you present the food in a beautiful arrangement? If so, then you are using your right hemisphere. How about when you go out for a walk. Do you use the same route as always, or do you look for alternative routes? Do you change your routine, or the music that you listen to? Any change to make it more creative is a change that helps balance out the order controlled by the left brain. It’s good to balance out both sides. Go for it!
4. Acknowledge your brain hemispheres. Give each hemisphere kudos. Each hemisphere wants to be acknowledged, given its rights and freedoms of expression, and respected. If your right hemisphere begs that you change the recipe–do it! If your left brain needs control, then tell your left brain that it is very good and logical to give your right brain its freedom at the moment, and if the recipe doesn’t work, you will still have benefitted.