Over the past month our family all came down with a variety of colds, the flu, and even pneumonia. When you don’t feel well, you’re reminded what a gift it is to feel good and be healthy. I was also reminded how important it is to rest and get enough sleep. Sometimes I can get into the rhythm of go, go, go and forget to slow down. If I ignore taking care of myself physically too long, my body begins to speak louder in ways that I’ll hear.
Recently I went to a yoga class with my wife. I quickly realized I’m not very flexible. People that practice yoga consistently were able to bend and stretch in ways I did not realize possible. I had a hard time doing the basics. But it was a rewarding experience. I actually had to pay attention to my physical self and listen. I heard things like: “That’s enough, stretch any further and something will break.” What I noticed at the end was a feeling of relaxation and exhaustion that felt good. My body was saying, “Thank you paying attention to me.”
Have you listened to your body lately? Give it a try.
In the book A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, there is a “Body Scan” exercise which is a great way to get in touch with your body and mind. Some of the ideas on what to focus on for the body scan are the following:
• Take a few moments and be still. Congratulate yourself for taking this time for meditation practice. Do a mindfulness check-in, feeling into your body and mind and simply allowing any waves of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations to just be.
• Perhaps it’s been a busy day and this is the first time you’re stopping. As you begin to enter the world of being rather than doing, you may notice the trajectory of feelings you’ve been carrying within you.
• When you feel ready, gently shift the focus to the breath. Now become aware of breathing.
The Body Scan exercise continues where there are a number steps to pay attention and become aware of many parts of the body.
Why not give it a try? I’m going to give it a try myself as I learn to be more present with my body and mind.
If you’d like support in your journey towards health, please reach out to us at 615-591-5262 as we have many counselors equipped to walk with you to navigate life’s challenges.
Blog written by The Refuge Center Masters Level Counseling Intern Kevin Virden.