“We only have one body, one temple for our soul, one vehicle to journey through this life with”
Our bodies are these wonderful things that have been ingeniously designed to carry us through our lives. Evolution has given us so many gifts but so often we take our body’s abilities for granted.
Why is it that we keep doing a certain exercise even though it hurts? Why do we continue to eat (or not eat for that matter) certain foods even though they make us sick? Why do we ignore an injury and continue to push our bodies to breaking point?
After much thought, I still find it hard to answer these questions but I do think that one big reason is because over time, we have become completely disconnected from our bodies. So many of us are focusing so much on what is happening on the outside that we have lost that vital mind-body-soul connection. We have become numb on the inside.
This could be due to a number of reasons. Trauma, body dysmorphic disorder, technology, societal pressure and the big one I’m still trying to work out ~ our ego.
But whatever the reason, the simple fact is, is that if we don’t respect our body’s needs and limits, then eventually our body will begin to fail us. Sad but true.
Wow, I’m sounding like a bit of a downer right now, aren’t I? Ok, let me try and put it a different way.
The word limit is not a negative word. It’s actually quite positive because limits can be explored and challenged and through regular practice, patience and kindness with ourselves, limits can be extended and increased.
In a way, to have a goal is to explore and challenge and increase a personal limit, to work towards something and once you have achieved it, it becomes a personal best.
However, if we choose to ignore the signals our body is sending us, whether they be fatigue or pain or stress, then our personal best will only take longer to achieve or we may not be able to achieve it at all.
I came across a beautiful excerpt in the book ~ Chakras Made Easy by Anodea Judith ~ which makes so much sense and is so relevant to this subject.
“Our body is the vehicle we’ve been given to take the journey through life. We only get one per lifetime, so it is important to care for it well. It’s the only thing we know we will have for the rest of our life. Far from being a place where we are trapped in physicality, it is the most exquisite vehicle – one that can take us anywhere we want to go with full sensory involvement. The mind may rationalise and believe things that aren’t true but the body never lies. It contains a grain of truth that is undeniable.”
This is a such a wonderful reminder that we only have one body, one temple for our soul, one vehicle to journey through this life with. It is probably the most important possession that we have and it is the only thing that we can be certain that we will have for our entire lives. From beginning to end. We so often overlook the needs of our body, the sheer fragility but overwhelming complexity of the machine that helps to make us who we are. Our body literally contains everything that keeps us alive and it’s really quite magical.
This is definitely something that is worth getting to know!!
But how do we do that exactly?
How to begin to reconnect with our physical body?
Well, I am certainly no expert on this subject as I am still in the process of reconnecting with my own physical body but here are a few tips to get you on your way.
Get on your mat. Begin to move. It doesn’t have to be any fancy yoga asanas or specific exercises, just movement. Standing, sitting, rolling around on the ground. Just get moving. And as you move, begin to feel into the parts that connect with the ground. Notice the differences you feel in different parts of your body, comparing your big toe to your elbow for example.
Slow down and become present in your body. The slower you move, the more you will notice different sensations. Start to scan your body from the ground up and bring awareness into your muscles, your joints and even your bones. Begin to breathe deeper as you move and feel your breath permeate throughout your whole body. Notice yourself becoming lighter with every breath.
Introduce your senses into the mix. So far we’ve been feeling and connecting with the ground but let’s also begin to touch parts of our body together, hand to hand, hand to foot, arm to arm and so on and so forth. Begin to listen to your breath and to the inner workings of your body, smell, taste and see yourself.
Move between engagement and rest. Again work from the ground up, tighten and tense your muscles for a few seconds and then rest and relax for a few seconds, starting at your toes all the way to your head. Notice the differences you feel between tensing your muscles and then when you let go and rest.
And if all of this feels like a bit of crazy hoopala, then use this as an opportunity to ask yourself why this feels silly or unnatural. What is blocking you from allowing yourself to feel into your body? What walls have you built between your physical body and your mind and soul? Be patient and kind with yourself, sometimes these questions are hard to answer and can take time. Give yourself that time. This is also an exercise in connecting with yourself.
Have fun with this and take your time. Everyday is different, some days we may smash it during our physical practice and other days we may not even be able to get out of child’s pose (I’m talking about me here!) but this is where we can really begin to listen to what our body is trying to tell us. There is no point in trying to make our body do something that will make it uncomfortable or cause pain, this will only get our nervous system into a tizzy (or at the worst, cause injury) and set us back on our journey of personal growth.
You are amazing and you are worth getting to know. You are worth your own love and kindness. Enjoy your body and this wonderful life.
Love Kat xx