Listen to our bodies, they have a lot to say.
Our bodies speak to us in so many ways but when we’re pushing ourselves, we form a pattern whereby we can no longer hear their messages. Habituation sets in and the messages our body sends to us become dull to the senses. The pain we feel as we sit at our desk for too many hours becomes muted, the discomfort we feel through bad posture becomes diminished to our sense over time, the exhaustion we feel from a busy life becomes buried under our compulsion to gain a sense of control and achievement in our life through sticking doggedly to our movement goals. This sets up a vicious cycle whereby the longer we ignore our bodies, the more loudly they speak to us.
This is where mindfulness can be so powerful in helping you to form a trusting relationship with your body, showing it care and attention without pushing it beyond its natural limits. You can practice this approach of mindfully tuning into your body right now. Simply close your eyes and notice any sensations within your body. What is your breathing like, is it easy and deep or is it tight and labored? Where are the tensions in your body and are there any aches and pains you should be conscious of. What are your energy levels like? Are they buoyant and vital or are they depleted and at a low ebb?
Now practice asking yourself, if you were to choose a way to move in this moment, what would that movement look like for you?
Consider these questions as a guide:
How does my body feel?
What would feel best today?
How energetic do I want my movement to be?
How long will I move for?
What would be an enjoyable form of movement?
Do I want to exercise on my own or with others?
Do I want to be planned or spontaneous about how I move?
Do I want to move indoors or outdoors?
Be sure to put your pre-conceived ideas out of your mind and instead, listen with an open curiosity, even if the answer doesn’t align with what you had in mind.
Maybe your body is seeking sweat and that wonderful feeling of endorphin-fuelled energy pumping through its veins. Or maybe it’s just a long walk in the sunshine it’s seeking. Or perhaps your body just wants to veg out and relax today and that’s perfectly OK too.
Once you’ve established a mindful link with your body and tuned into its sensations which, in actual fact are your body’s own language, you’ll become aware of what type of movement serves you best. Then the world becomes your oyster in terms of what form your movement will take.
There is so much joy and health-giving delight that can be born of a mindful approach to listening to and moving your body. Your body holds so much wisdom and can guide you out of the well-worn rut that you find yourself in in terms of movement, the rut that you find yourself guiltily resisting, a rut that often doesn’t meet your body’s needs. Mindful movement will ensure that you cultivate a sustainable and life-long approach to movement that nourishes your body and your soul.