Our bodies usually show us signs of stress before we consciously recognize that we are stressed. Past injuries, your occupation, sleep position and repetitive activities (sports, commute or the way you stand or sit) influence the holding patterns in your body. These holding patterns often lead to pain and discomfort, which are your body’s ways of requesting change. Listening to your body and being more aware of your body will reward you.
What is Body Awareness?
We have 5 senses: touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing – but we also have balance and awareness/proprioception. Body awareness is the sense that we have our own body as well as an internal understanding of where our body is in space. It is a recognition of where our body parts are, how they feel and how they work. Being mindful and in tune with your body helps you take better care of your body.
Tips for Improving Awareness:
- Watch yourself in a mirror (especially when doing a workout) to recognize poor form or posture that needs to be adjusted. Observe yourself to become aware of what needs to shift. If you need help, attend a class or private lesson with a qualified professional that can provide cues to promote better awareness.
- Slow your pace to become more aware. We often accomplish our activities of daily life too quickly. Gardening, walking or working out can be performed at a slower pace to allow the body to properly and efficiently recruit our muscles.
- Learning to breathe more slowly and deeply will help your body in many ways. Lie down and place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Close your eyes and notice your breath. When you calm your breath, you will notice that you can fill your lungs and belly with air.
- Doing a Body Scan is another option to learn about your body. Close your eyes and think of each individual part of your body. Start at your head and move down your body. Stop wherever there is an area of tension or discomfort. Ask yourself, “Why does this area feel that way? What is it telling me?” Then, relax or move each area that seems stressed.
Developing a good sense of how you move your body is important for preventing injury and reducing overall muscle tension. Being aware of body mechanics, movement patterns, posture and position can help you to recognize stress before it leads to more serious health issues.
– Jenna, RMT & Reiki Master