Befriending My Body Through Yoga and Meditation
Anyone living with pain (whether physical or emotional) can tell you that the pain infiltrates your whole life. You become isolated to some degree or another from everything and everyone, including your own body. Having a strong relationship with your body is important because it is the gateway to awareness, and it is from awareness that change can begin.
“Hey, body! You wanna hang out?”
This week, I welcome you to explore the question, “ What kind of relationship do I have with my body?”
In the past, I didn’t have a very good relationship with my body. My life at the time was all about mountain biking and snowboarding, and I could not have given a rat’s behind about what my body had to say regarding my lifestyle choices. If my knees hurt, I would tape them. If my back hurt, I’d pop a few pills. Basically, anytime my body screamed, I would plug my ears and sing “La La La.”
Then, one day, my body said, with a decade load of pain: “Stop! Listen, missy! I won’t let you do anything you love until you pay attention!” And so the riding stopped, my heart slowed down and I began to listen (reluctantly still, to be fully honest). For the first time I wondered, “What does my body need? What do I need?” And that’s when yoga showed up at my front door and took me on my crazy inner-journey.
“The most profound pilgrimage I can ever make is within my own body.” – Saraha
Yoga has taught me to honor my body just as it is, in the moment. It showed me that, if I really take the time to listen and be curious, all I need to know about my body and my self is available to me. While my mind shoots out an insane amount of unrealistic advice, my body has simple and practical solutions for me to apply in my daily life. By listening to it, I stay present and open not only to what’s happening for me physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well.
“Though at times we look for outside sources to guide us, somewhere deep inside we know that we must slow down, reconnect with ourselves and listen to our own inner voice.” – Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy
Today my body and I are like old friends. We know each other very intimately, we piss each other off periodically and we love each other regardless. Thank you old body, old friend. You’ve brought me joy and wisdom in the most unexpected ways.
What has been my most significant lesson through all these years of practice? Less is more and consistency is the key. A short, simple practice every day with the intention of getting acquainted with my body has helped me feel so much more anchored in my life. My mindfulness practice has been yoga and meditation, but for you it might be walking your dog or gardening. Whatever keeps you present in your body, the present moment and, most of all, yourself.
Here’s my favorite way to “befriend my body.” I invite you to try it out and see what happens:
Conscious bubble bathing!
Ease yourself into the full tub.
Sit and allow yourself to breathe. Nothing to do, nowhere to go…
Enjoy the bath and be present to it. (10 minutes or longer.)
I leave you with my favorite reading to take with you as you soak in the tub:
“My old friend. My dear faithful body. How you’ve stood by me my whole life! Supporting my movements and strength, providing a solid structure with which I walk the earth. You have been with me through heaven and hell, ceaselessly serving me well. My dear old friend. My body. How may I now serve you?” – Source unknown
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Thinkstock photo via Purestock.