This often happens with people and their bodies. We've heard that our bodies are magnificent and excellent machines. We've seen dancers and gymnasts perform feats that leave our mouths hanging open. And of course there's all the hype around sexual pleasure that many of us feel is for someone else.
Then we get into exercising and health. We begin to feel stamina, mental clarity; we feel good. One of the best things about teaching mat pilates classes is that I get to facilitate this discovery. I get to see people smile as they feel their body do something they thought they could never do. I get to hear someone share about fitting into their clothing or crawling through the tunnels with their grandson at McDonalds.
These human joys are the result of becoming more aware of the body they have had all these years and beginning to move it well. The body level they had plateaued at for so long has become new. It may even feel odd. They may have to adjust to feeling so good!
One of my pilates students had been learning to stabilize her blood sugar and said, "I still love going out for coffee but I don't need it so I'm trying new drinks."
I often refer to the international exhibit "The Body." This excellent exhibit helps us to see our physical selves as they are. We discover ourselves under each layer of skin, connective tissue and muscle. For many, this awareness even brings unexpected, strong emotion.
Dr. Gil Hedley encourages us to discover and pay attention to our bodies, "not because it is a world you want to get lost in, or an end in itself, but because it is a way to more fully live and be."
Unity of mind and body is at the heart of our identity. Our bodies are not the "it" part of ourselves, separate from our thinking and emotions. We have plenty of science to prove the mind and body are continuously working as one. Many of us need to begin to really pull those two together. This unified approach is the basis of how we consider and care for ourselves and those around us.
Where do I start? Here are a few suggestions:
- Try to really appreciating and be grateful for all the parts of your body.
- Pay attention to your body's needs and respond to them as a loving parent to a child.
- Make the effort to stay in the moment with your body while exercising.
- Tell yourself how beautiful or handsome or perfect you are. Feel sexy, lover or not.
- Avoid discussions of illness or injury unless they focus on getting better.