The way he treats his body, you’d think he was renting.
Do you own your body? I don’t mean, can you force yourself to workout and eat better whether you feel like it or not. I certainly don’t mean, can you chug six beers or finish the whole sleeve of cookies. To own your body is to be aware of how it responds to the choices you make each moment. This means taking responsibility for how you nourish your body with food, whether or not you exercise enough (or too much), the quality of your rest and even what you choose to think. So, how do you own your body? Be quiet and listen…
Begin with your breath. A good way to begin tuning into the messages your body is communicating to you is to give yourself a moment to sit still (don’t worry, this won’t take long J). Sit comfortably in a chair with both your feet in contact with the ground. Feel free to close your eyes as you take a deep, five-second breath in, hold it for a moment and then breathe out through your mouth for a full five seconds. Repeat these deep breathes a minimum of three times or until you feel a sense of ease.
Ask and ye shall…Now you should be feeling a little more zen. This is a good opportunity to take inventory of your body in the present moment. Begin with your feet and work up to your head by mentally scanning yourself. It may help to ask questions as simple as “How do my feet feel?” “Are my calves relaxed?” “Do I feel my lower back?” “Are my shoulders free of tension?” Use any variation of the questions or the body scan you feel most comfortable with in order to reconnect with your body.
Listen. What’s the first thought that pops into your head? Even if it only lasts for a moment before the noise of the day overpowers it, the first thing which comes to you is the message you need to hear. You may have noticed tension in your neck, so you realize you need to take a break from your desk. Maybe you realized you aren’t hungry, but eating out of boredom and decide to take a walk instead. Don’t be surprised if you think of someone you love and decide to call them.
Awareness without judgment is the point of this practice. You don’t need to act on what you “hear”, but now you are aware of what you (body/mind/spirit) are feeling. On a practical level, this is an excellent way to check in when you are about to act in a way which doesn’t help you toward your goals. If you want to lose weight, but find yourself standing over the kitchen sink ready to eat another piece of cake ask, “Does this action help me lose weight?” Then dig deeper: “Am I eating because I am lonely?” or “Am I upset with my spouse because he ignored me tonight?”
Remember, the point of getting quiet and listening is to become aware of the feelings behind your actions. This is not about judging yourself or anyone around you as good or bad. All you need to do is observe the way you feel in your body while you take another deep breath. Now you can decide how to move forward with this awareness.