Move Your Body Change Your Life
When my content goddess Bijou asked me to write a blog post about Body Movement, I felt my body expand with excitement about sharing why I make it a priority to move my body every single day with some sort of exercise. Not only does moving my body release endorphins, the “feel good” chemical produced by my hypothalamus and pituitary glands but it can also enhance my cognitive, physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In short, I call it my daily brain drain and it has become a non-negotiable practice for me in my perpetual quest for happiness!
Not gonna lie, some days are easier than others. In yoga sometimes my teacher will say at the beginning of class that the hard part is over, "you made it to class and onto your mat”. If you have heard these words in a class before, you know what I speak of, and if you have not and are reading this and thinking that's bullshit because then you have to put in the work and DO the practice. Well, magically, it just doesn’t happen that way. Battling the internal dialogue about to go or not to go, especially on a day when you really don’t want to go, is maddening. That is the hard part! Once you arrive on the mat or in the studio, you’ve won the battle, and now it's just time to shake your booty, move your body and flood your nervous system with the happy chemical. Yes, please!
My body is a beautiful work of art that shows up for me each and every day and for this, I am eternally grateful. I haven't always revered her with such grace and admiration. There were years when I took my body for granted and fed her toxic foods, harmful drugs, over consumed alcohol, engaged with toxic people, and entertained toxic thoughts all the while not paying her one bit of attention, letting my mind control my actions and waging an unconscious war on my body. Wow, as I write those words I find myself needing to pause and take a long, slow, deep breath of forgiveness. Thankfully I have moved away from that state of unconsciousness and towards an enlightened state of awareness.
I would like to share with you some of the mindfulness tools I like to use when I am engaging in body movement.
1. Check-In: When I arrive in my class I take a moment to ground myself in the space. I close my eyes and do a body scan from head to toe. Maybe this involves a quiet stillness to check-in or maybe it calls for some syrupy cat-cows to try and move through some tightness or stuck energy. Whatever my intuition is nudging me to do I do it as a grounding ritual to notice where I am in my body on that day.
2. Listen: As I move through my practice, some days it’s Barre, somedays it’s Yoga, some days it’s a nice long walk with my dogs but whatever it is I make sure I am checking in to listen to my body and my mind as I move. My hips might be saying, "back off", my back might be saying "don’t forget to engage your core to support me", my mind might be saying, “hate this one” in which case I need to be present enough and listening so I can override that opponent’s voice and own the move with authority. And then there is the ever-important voice of experience reminding me that injury is more likely to occur when I don’t listen to my body, so listening is imperative.
3. Get Curious: Lately, I’ve gotten a lot more dance-y in my practices. I am getting curious about what it would feel like if I moved my body with more expression, more feeling, more soul! This practice requires complete annihilation of my ego who is trying so hard to butt in and say don’t risk looking like a fool. Hush ego-mind! My dance-y moves feel good in my body and so out they come in all their shameless glory! Some feel fluid and beautiful and others feel spastic and downright laughable but oh well.
4. Look for the Juicy Bits: This is one of my favorite things to do in all areas of my life! Looking for the juicy bits while I move my body might be a pose that feels really heart-opening or floods me with a feeling of empowerment. Juicy bits often show up in detoxifying twists that break open a hidden place of emotion that’s been begging to be released. Not even kidding that I have had such deep and soulful emotion well up inside of me that when I rise up from pigeon pose there are tears streaming down my face. Vulnerable juicy bits baby, oh God, give me more!
5. Be Grateful: Every morning when I wake up I do a big body stretch in my cozy bed and give thanks for the new day, all the blessings in my life, and for my healthy body. She takes me places in the world, she experiences movement and touch and smell and taste and turns me on to all life’s little pleasures like ice cream and yoga and orgasm. When I finish a class I imagine gold and white light radiating outwards from my center and I take that visualization as far and wide as I can at that moment, some days it wraps the circumference of the earth. And then I give thanks to my class, my teacher, and all the others that just shared their energy with me as we all moved our bodies a little closer to wellness, happiness, personal power, and the ultimate brain drain.
6. Your Breath is the Key to Your Bodies Potential: The breath is pure life force energy. With every inhalation, you are regenerating your body and with every exhalation, you are cleansing it. By using your breath and working with its rhythm during body movement you are able to move through any areas of tension or resistance. Your breath can also cool and calm you so don't forget to breathe!
I hope this post was inspiring and maybe you gained some new insight or have a new tool try out in your movement practice. The light and energy in me that likes to move my body sees and recognizes the light and energy in you that likes to move your body!! Namaste!