Connecting With Yourself (Part II): Enhance Your Body Awareness

by - April 30, 2018

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The power to connect with yourself comes in different shapes and forms. Last time in this series we talked about the importance of tuning into your senses and offered a range of practices you could try. While broadening your senses is a great way to connect with yourself, regularly tuning into your body has its benefits too. We spend a substantial amount of time working, standing during a commute and waiting in lines, sitting behind a desk and afterwards on the couch, walking and then some exercise. While being active is healthy for our overall physical and mental well-being, how much of this time do you spend fully aware of your body and the way it feels? Our bodies are helping us every day in accomplishing so many things, experiencing life and of course, in simply being. Acknowledging your body's hard work and enhancing your awareness of it goes beyond the diligent weekly workout and meals with leafy greens. It starts within and expands beyond the exterior.

Enhancing your bodily awareness is best done when moving. Spending a great deal of time in repetitive movements (e.g. sleeping, driving/commuting, sitting, working and repeat) makes us lose touch with the way we physically feel. When we overfill our day with rushing between one thing and the other, we don't have the space to tune into our bodies, acknowledge and become aware of how it feels and ultimately how we feel. Not only do we end up wondering how we got those persistent neck pains, but we then believe that the only solution is to run down the gym, amp up the volume on our headphones and not leave until we've run out of breath. While there's nothing wrong with working out, the way it makes you the happiest version of yourself, you can take a moment being mindful of the movements you make. Forget about the speed at which you're going and ignore the time and distance digits displayed in front of you. Just experience the movement and the quiet within you. Thank your body and find joy in the moment.

Yoga is well-known for flexibility and strength, and for connecting your body with your inner being. Pilates is also great for accentuating the body and mind's awareness and developing core strength, improving your well-being. Going for a run can ease your mind so you can be more attentive to your body's movements and sensations. It doesn't require special equipment or specific training, you can practice it outside or on the treadmill. And for those of you who love being immersed in water, but haven't yet tried taking up swimming as a workout, perhaps you should consider it more seriously if you find a convenient pool nearby and feel more revitalized when you're moving in "your element".

Another way you can become more aware of your body is to focus on how you breathe. Place one hand on your chest, over your heart and one on your stomach, close your eyes and take three deep and slow breaths. Keep any thoughts at bay and just gently concentrate on your calm breathing and the way your body feels with every inhale and exhale. What's best in using breathing to enhance your body awareness is that it's absolutely simple and allows you to slow down and also to let go. You don't have to do anything taxing and there are no outer distractions in the way, just breathe and feel. It will bring you more peace and help you feel more whole and connected.

If you are up for something different that might not be part of your routine yet, you can book a massage session or even try acupuncture. They are very body-oriented practices and will certainly bring an awareness of your body that differs from traditional physical exercises or sports as movement won't be in the centre of it.

Besides the options outlined above, you can incorporate other approaches for enhancing your bodily awareness such as going on a hike, climbing, gymnastics and why not dancing? When you move your body without an intention and simply for fun along to the rhythm you can not only bring awareness to it, but also enjoyment!

Don't be afraid to sample out different techniques and have fun trying. There are plenty of opportunities, it's all about discovering what works best for you!

Wellness is the place where you can join us on our journey to test some of those lifestyle tools and techniques the world has given us in its attempt to help us relax. Working out, breathing, foods to avoid or cling to, journaling, and so on. We will share with you what worked, what didn't, and what surprised us most. And of course, encourage you to try your own!

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