greetings sweet yogis,
this past week we’ve been house sitting for our dear friends who live on the other side of town… while at the same time entertaining out-of-town guests staying in our home. all this home switching has involved more planning than usual – mostly around making sure we had the right food, clothes and whatnot at the right house on the right day. my regular morning practices, commute time and general familiarity are all up for grabs this week. it reminded me how glad i am that my real home is in my body…like my favorite bumper sticker says:
“if you lived in your body, you’d be home by now”
what does it mean to live in your body? of course, as long as we are alive, we have no choice but to be walking around in the skin that we are in. but many of us have checked out of our body and are spend much of our lives residing in our heads. when are body talks, we tend to either ignore it or take pills or food to shut it up, hoping that our vital functions will continue operating automatically. our bodies sometimes feel like the enemy – causing us pain, carrying extra weight, aging, etc.
so – this week, my assignment for you is to start building a better relationship with your body. here a few practical tools to begin this process:
1. LISTEN TO THE WHISPERS: your body is consistently speaking to you. at first it whispers, and then, if you ignore it, it will continue to speak louder and louder – resorting to screaming if necessary. when your body speaks to you this week, either thru tension, headaches, tiredness, poor digestion, etc… rather than just “fixing” it – look as what you did that day… this week… this year… that might have led to the discomfort and find small ways to begin to change.
2. CHECK IN AND BREATHE: throughout your day, take moments to stop, (with your eyes closed and your hands on your belly if possible) and breathe. take at least a few slow, deep breaths and just notice the sensations in your body. don’t judge. don’t fix. just listen and acknowledge (perhaps even out loud) what you feel.
3. FUEL YOUR BODY WITH PREMIUM GRADE: for some strange reason many of us have a better understanding of how to fuel our cars than how to fuel our bodies. our bodies are smart and gracious and do the best with what we give them. but if you continually fill your tank with caffeine, processed food-like substances and white sugar, don’t be surprised if a less than efficient response comes out. junk in – junk out. try a week of eating only REAL food (nothing from a box or a can or with more than three ingredients) and drinking mostly water and notice how different you feel. (of course, if this is a new way of eating for you, expect a short period of detox for all the years of crap to make its way out… but once it’s gone you will feel better than ever!)
4. DON’T OVERFILL YOUR TANK: staying on this fuel analogy, do your best not to give your belly too much to deal with. eat when you are hungry (not just when it’s meal time) and mindfully (not while watching tv or doing anything else) and slowly. if you burp – stop – that’s one good way our body tells us it’s full. also – often when we think we are hungry, we are actually thirsty, tired or stressed. if you’ve already nourished yourself well that day, try a big glass of water, restorative yoga (nap), and/or a deep breathing first.
5. REST: believe your yawns. i can’t say it enough. one of the very best things you can do for your body is to get a full night of rest and then, at least once during each day take 10-20 minutes of restorative yoga (either laying flat on the ground or with your legs up the wall are the best). this alone, will make the ‘home’ of your body a much happier place to reside in.
6. TRUST THE RESIDUE: rather than believing me, the latest diet craze, your yoga teacher, your doctor, or your mother – trust yourself. you are your best teacher. experiment with what others suggest, and see how it feels in your body, in the long run. of course eating chocolate cake often feels better, in the moment, than say riding your bike up a hill…. but an hour later how do you feel? trust that.
7. PRACTICE GRATITUDE: each night, before going to sleep, tell your body thank you for something it did for you that day. we ask SO much of these vessels of ours – take a moment to specifically acknowledge that.