Before we begin, let us ask ourselves a question.
Do we ever notice our body unless it is in pain or discomfort ?
Can we spend more time noticing what feels great and enjoying the feeling of those discoveries?
This article is about realising that we can make change. We can liberate our bodies and transform them.
During a typical day we don’t notice much about our physical selves and everything about the thoughts we are having. The body is brought along for the ride. Thoughts become things. Thoughts drive the body into action here, there and everywhere. Conversely, prolonged rumination may cause inaction and therefore, stiffness.
Our bodies begin to complain. When they alert us to problems, we often ignore them. Over time, we become more and more fatigued. Have we factored in the time to rest, to reflect?
The good news is that we can reconnect with ourselves at any time we choose! We can lie or sit comfortably on the floor, breathe and come in to land.
Using our awareness allows the process to unfold. Spending time in the company of your body, in all its intricacy and colour can be a world of wonder. Let us stop to notice…
The spine. This incredible structure is a feat of engineering. Comprised of 33 bones, arranged in an undulating curve, it dances with an array of loads and forces throughout our life span. Do we ever stop to recognise and appreciate how it serves us? And, how can we maintain its strength and suppleness?
There is so much you can do to reconnect with your spine. The solutions are often much simpler than you think:
Heed its signals and recognise when it is feeling unhappy.
Notice if you are in the habit of carrying uneven heavy loads or a heavy bag on one shoulder. This can cause the spine to habitually struggle with loads in one plane of movement.
Make a change. Buy a bag that shares the load across the larger surface area of both shoulders. Then, notice the difference this makes.
Remember that your body needs a variety of movement nutrition. Notice the habits that do not serve your spine and learn new ones that do.
Whatever issues your spine may have, whether it is ageing, movement habits that cause it to grumble or if there are disorders such as Osteoporosis or Arthritis present, you can intervene and improve your spine health. The key is to notice and then make a positive change. This can be a dietary change or simply knowing when to rest when exercising and then to resume when you feel ready. Trust yourself to know what is right for you. The more you take the initiative, the more you will notice how much happier the spine is.
Using our breath.
When we are anxious our breathing can become shallow. Over time, if not addressed, this can lead to feeling brittle, under resourced, overwhelmed.
But, our body has the answer: we can breathe more deeply. We can breathe into any part of the body and find some spaciousness and identify the relief that this brings.
When applied to the spinal column, our breath when used with intention, allows it to expand and relax. From the inside, we can reach into its natural curves, feeling the elastic possibility of the spine and then with the out breath allow them to ping back to their natural shape. This influences all the structures and soft tissues surrounding the spine itself, promoting softness and much needed release of tensions contained in ligaments, tendons, muscles. We know that an extended exhalation induces a relaxed state, relieving excess muscle tension and mental activity, bringing us into the Parasympathetic Nervous System. This system regulates our body, bringing it into balance, or homeostasis.
This is why meditation and relaxation practices are so very effective. It is recognised that these practices can have a profound effect on the nervous system, whether practised with regularity or not.
If we can make time for reflective practices and stillness the benefits are very rich indeed. We know when we are disconnected from ourselves. We feel separate in some way and not aware of our relationship with our own body. There is an answer and it is in self agency. All you need is your awareness, some time, a floor to lie on and a curious sense of exploration…
Claire-Louise Carter –