In our daily pursuits we often forget about our bodies. Mindlessly running on autopilot, we loose touch with the one thing that’s always there with us – our sacred body that has carried us forward ever since we were born.
Many of us do not seem to really inhabit our bodies. We lack awareness of our breathing, movement, posture, and felt sense. We focus on the power of the mind, often hating or discounting our bodies as ugly, useless, unimportant.
I know I did.
I grew up believing intellect was everything. I didn’t take good care of my physical self unaware of how that affected my mood, my relationships, my life. My body was a source of pain and shame, and I’d disconnect from it chronically believing in my mind’s supreme power over everything else.
I neglected my body and was not aware of its intelligence and the importance in living a well balanced life. I carried tension everywhere which together with my bad posture was a source of chronic back pain. I’d get headaches constantly. I neglected to care for myself in a way that respected my body and my desires. I didn’t pay attention to how I felt, moved, slept.
Everything was out of whack because I didn’t think my body was important and I kept dismissing it, along with the messages it was trying to send me.
Then I vowed to listen in…
Some of us are more disassociated from our bodies than others. Trauma, chronic pain, overwhelming or freighting events and feelings can all lead to us disconnecting from the world of physical sensations. But even if we go through life untouched by trauma and pain, modern living means chronic stress piled on top of hours of sitting at our desks, lacking movement and play. We constantly disconnect to make it through the day.
Yet our body is build for movement, touch, play. As children that’s exactly what we did, but somehow we lost this freedom of expression through our body along the way. Getting back in touch with our body means regaining the connection between our physical self and our mind. It means connecting body sensations with the world of feelings and emotions. It means integrating the physical and the emotional self to feel whole again.
Our body is intelligent, intuitive, and can guide us. Information travels to the brain from the body and from the body to the brain. If we only choose to tune in to the wisdom within our body, we can start living more harmonious, intuitive, and healthier lives.
4 Steps to Improving Mind-Body Connection
- De-stress on a physical level. Stress affects your mind but also your physical body. We accumulate stress throughout the day so it’s important to take breaks to check-in with yourself. Take a deep breath and scan your body for tension. Soften as you breathe in, let go of tension as you breathe out. Stretch and adjust your posture. The goal is to learn to listen to your body, recognize when it’s tense, contracted and overwhelmed, know your limits, offer nourishment and take care of your physical self to avoid burnout.
- Re-connect with your body through movement. One of the best ways to align your mind with your body is through yoga. It not only improves strength, stability, posture, flexibility, balance, breath control, and body awareness. It can also help release strong emotions locked inside your body, improve sleep, and even reduce anxiety and depression. Yoga gets your mind out of the way as you focus on holding poses, the breath, and feelings in your body. Some poses are particularly good for grounding, like child’s pose, tree pose, and warrior. Others, such as forward bends and inversions, tend to promote a quieter, more introspective state. When we talk about movement, we can’t discount dancing, running, swimming, playing and other similar activities that foster better mind-body connection and bring you back to the present moment and physical self. Incorporate those into your daily life.
- Take good care of your body. Give it nourishment and care. Explore it through touch, practice being still in your body (meditate), get a massage, walk barefoot, sleep naked, practice grounding and centering. Get to know it and love it like it deserves to be loved.
- Practice mindfulness mediation to improve your body awareness, breath awareness, and body sensations.
So what if we chose to listen to the messages from our body, especially our heart, and let those messages guide us in making choices that reflect our inner voice and align us with our true self?
There is deep wisdom within our very flesh, if we can only come to our senses and feel it. ~Elizabeth A. Behnk
You’re worthy of putting yourself first!
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