The body is something that's ours, only for a short time. We all have one, yet how to manage it so it functions properly can feel like a mystery. Today we'll go over 2 ideas that will help you be a better manager of your body.
Schedule time for lesson 4 after doing this lesson.
How You Move
Can Change Your Mood
Physiology, on Your Side
“We are human first”
We are here on Earth to have a human experience- first, and to recall our spiritual makeup and nature, second.
That is, we have to learn how to do “this human thing” and part of “doing the human thing” is experiencing pain and pleasure, learning how to pay bills and work with money, and learning how to operate our human body!
Isn’t it weird to think about how we take driving lessons to prove we are capable of driving a car, but when it comes to “driving” and owning your body, there is absolutely NO User’s Manual!
When you buy an IKEA shelf you can follow instructions for putting it together… but we didn’t get a book about how even our own breathing can shift the way we think and feel?
We’re supposed to figure out the complex system of our body and minds through trial-and-error! So part of being human is to discover how to manage this vessel, and listen to our body’s messages so that the body can continue to contribute to our quality of life.
All living things are designed to thrive if given the basic requirements for Life. The human body is no different.
However, it can be all TOO-easy to forget about tending to our physical body in our busy, bustling culture.
Think about all the times you were diligent with your workouts or body practice routines, taking supplements, eating healthy, seeing a positive change in your composition… and then WHAM!- you’re thrown off your game….
The things that tend to take us away from our physical health are the biological and/or mental stressors that tend to come along with the holidays, career, family, taxes, changing jobs, moving, new relationships or a break up… LIFE happens, and before we know it we’re sick, tired and too busy to remember to even drink enough water!
To add to the issue, we’re a society of brains walking around on two legs- prioritizing mental function over the body’s wisdom. Most people don’t actually think of their body in an ongoing way in their day; we’re too busy thinking about social media posts, responding to emails, and catching up on to-dos.
Sadly, the Mental Center is more valued than the Body’s Center of Intelligence.
There are two parts to this lesson-
Part 1 will discuss the very practical ways to provide nourishment and structure for your physical wellness.
Part 2 will discuss ways you can use body posture along with visualization to change your emotional and mental state.
By doing the activities in this lesson you can establish a stronger, nurturing relationship to your body so that you can use your body as a tool for all-around better health.
So how do we provide basic nourishment to the body in a way that sets us up for a stable, confident, and peaceful inner-world?
Getting regular Sleep (science is proving that women tend to need more than 8 hours).
Eating regular, nutritionally dense meals.
Drinking appropriate amounts of water that is clean (half of your bodyweight in ounces is the golden standard).
Moving the body daily that restores and balances energy.
Being connected to Earth so the body’s energy is grounded and clear.
But often these practical, everyday foundations get neglected. And then we wonder why we're in a state of suffering; back pain, low motivation, chronic fatigue, critical of self or others, stomach aches and constipation, excessive weight gain, and so on.
When the body’s needs are not met our experience of life is a negative one.
The body’s needs are simple, but in order to see change or progress in healing or results in body composition you need consistency and time. In a world where instant gratification is the norm, people opt for quick, complex, sexy, “secrets” as solutions for change.
A serum for hair growth.
A supplement for lifted elastic skin.
A 3-week program to lose excess fat.
A pill that guarantees happiness (with potential side-effects of suicidal thoughts!)
But what if all of these desires could be fulfilled by your OWN tools?
What if you could unlock the secrets encoded into your body to change the way you think and feel at will?
Well, you can!
All you need are these two things:
A basic understanding of how your body affects your inner-world.
From here you can build up your physical practice in a way that will support you emotionally, energetically, and mentally.
Here’s what you need to know to lay a foundation of security and health for your body:
Get enough high-quality sleep. “Enough” can mean different things to different people but generally 7-9 hours of sleep is sufficient for most people.
What is your ideal sleep-time?
Not just what you’re used to, or what you can get by off of, but what amount of sleep leaves you feeling totally rejuvenated and thinking clearly for the next day?
“High-quality” means you have given your body the best chance of falling asleep, staying asleep, and waking up refreshed.
Here’s a simple sleep routine you can adopt, or use as a template to create your own evening routine:
dim your lights 2 hours before bedtime (candles and/or dimmers for the lights),
wear blue-blocking glasses,
do a “brain-dump” journal entry that helps you release any thoughts, to-dos, worries or ideas from the day onto a sheet of paper so that it’s not taking your energy by trying to remember it all, make a glass of chamomile tea
It’s generally recommended to choose unprocessed foods as much as possible in order to support overall health and well-being.
Unprocessed foods are often higher in nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and lower in added sugars, salt, and unhealthy fats. Choosing more natural foods that have not been altered in any way during preparation is a great way to broadly focus on nutrition. Some examples of unprocessed foods include:
Fresh fruits and vegetables
Whole grains (such as oats, quinoa, and brown rice)
Nuts and seeds
Legumes (such as beans, lentils, and chickpeas)
Lean proteins (such as chicken, fish, and tofu)
It’s a good idea to know what foods irritate your stomach, sinuses, and digestion, and avoid what your body is saying “no” to.
Studies show that daily movement and exercise can help to improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle strength and flexibility, and reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It can even improve energy levels, and sleep quality!
What type of movement can you do today? Whether it’s walking, joining a yoga class, or following a guided workout on YouTube, any type of movement and attention to your muscles is an action that so many people miss out on.
It wasn't until this year that I truly learned the importance of Vitamin D. It helps the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for healthy bones. Vitamin D also plays a role in immune function, and may help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and other chronic diseases.
There are a few ways to get vitamin D:
Sun exposure: The body can make vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Spending time outside, especially during the middle of the day, can help the body to produce vitamin D. If you have an idea how long it takes for your skin to burn, spend less time than that outside for your body to absorb natural Vitamin D from the sun (suggested: half the time it takes for your skin to burn, every day, or as often as you can in a week)
Food: Some foods are naturally high in vitamin D, including fatty fish (salmon and mackerel), eggs, and mushrooms.
Supplements: Vitamin D supplements are also available and can be a good option for people who do not get enough vitamin D from sun exposure and their diet (most people do not get enough sun exposure!). Getting too much vitamin D can be harmful so make sure you research or speak to your doctor before supplementing.
Did you know that 40% of people have a gene mutation called MTHFR? Having this gene affects your ability to absorb vitamins, and can cause symptoms of depression if gone untreated long enough, plus lead to other health issues… and treatment is VERY easy but VERY FEW people know they have the gene!
I’ll share my story with you about this gene because once I discovered I had it, it changed my life (for the better):
Part 1- Take Action:
Choose 1 of the 4 Physical domains of health, and plan one action to take TODAY that will support you in this area.
For example, from “Nutrition” go grocery shopping with a list of non-processed, whole foods to begin a new meal plan.
Or from “Movement” you might add a 30-minute window in your days this week for you to do a workout, run, or walk. And today you can start by doing the same!
*If you’re having trouble with this Activation, you can do the suggested steps below for improving “Sleep”-
Reverse engineer your sleeping routine:
What time do you need to be in bed tonight?
What activities from the list of ideas above will you incorporate into your “wind down” routine 1-2 hours before that time?
Plan a general meal for yourself (and family) tomorrow for AM, Noon, and PM.- get an idea of what you will eat for each time of day
Put the general time you will eat on your calendar so that your day-plan has these meals as a structure to your day
Take a walk outside - what time will you do this tomorrow?
Repeat the same schedule the next day, and the next, and make adjustments as the days go on so you can create a balanced life that feels nourishing on a particle and physical level.
Part 2- Activation:
For this next section you will want to read the paragraph, then close your eyes to bring the emotion back and feel the experience as if it’s currently happening.
Repeat this process for each paragraph.
Recall JOY: Recall a time in your life when you felt the most JOYFUL, excited, happy. You were smiling and felt totally at peace and thankful. Who were you with? What emotions did you feel? How do you breathe when you think of this amazingly wonderful memory?
Close your eyes and bring feelings, memories, and experiences of JOY to you now.
Recall CONFIDENCE: Continue to recall memories- this time, think back to a time when you felt SEXY, attractive, secure and on-top-of the world. What were you wearing? What were you doing that made you feel so hot and fine? How would you be standing or sitting if you felt these emotions again?
Close your eyes and bring feelings, memories, and experiences of CONFIDENCE to you now.
Recall HUMOR: Now for the final memory, go back to a time when you were laughing REALLY HARD - one of the hardest laughs you’ve ever laughed. Spend 2 minutes recalling these memories, and continue to feel and see in as much detail as possible, as if these memories were happening now. “Hey Siri, set a timer for 2 minutes” or set an alarm on your phone or watch because for 2 minutes you will recall all the humorous moments of your life!
Finally, Notice your BODY: Now that you’ve experienced JOY, CONFIDENCE, and HUMOR, take a moment to notice what your body is doing-
Are your breaths shallow or deep?
How are you holding your head?
Are your shoulders tense, or relaxed?
Are you standing or sitting up straighter than before?
When I do this type of exercise with a client, they begin to smile unconsciously. Their breathing deepens, their body straightens up and at the same time they feel relaxed.
This is to show you that our bodies and emotions are entwined- and that we can actually manipulate emotions, with our own body language and postures.
The physical body is a tool that we can use to create emotions and states of being that we want to have in our daily lives.
Next time you feel anxious, depressed, lonely, or chaotic in their thinking, remember that the body can serve as an anchor-point for creating emotions of calm, contentedness, love, and clear-thinking.
Taking slow, deep breaths can help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Inviting memories of joy, love, humor, excitement and confidence can help us remember how to stand, breathe, and change the expression on our face to optimize our current experience of life.
YES!- the body is a tool and channel for change.