“Your body is your best guide.
It constantly tells you,
in the form of pain or sensations,
what’s working for you and what’s not.”
― Hina Hashmi
I have spent a lot of time getting to know, understand, and work with my body. And there are always new levels of learning available. Our body is a true partner of ours. And learning how to listen to it can change your life for the better.
In this time of Covid, you may be looking for connection. After all, I suggest that the cure for loneliness is connection. And it’s been my experience that working from the inside, out provides a long lasting and deeper form of connection than starting from the outside only. As a refresher, here’s what I mean:
- Inside: relationship with your emotions, self talk, divine connection, your “inner” life. Your self image.
- Underneath: relationship with your physical body and what’s underneath your clothes. Your body image.
- Outside: relationship with those around you, your work in the world, how you present yourself to the world, your “outer” life. Your public image.
In Part 1 of this series we focused on Inside, and getting connected with emotions, thoughts, feelings, and even divine power. Now it’s time to move slightly outward and focus on what’s underneath.
Because our body is a partner of ours, it can communicate in many ways. It can really tell us what we may need in order to feel better, feel happy, and feel connected. Your body knows what you need. That might mean rest, or movement. It may mean less of some food or more of another. It may mean dancing or punching a pillow. But you’ll never know what your body (and you) needs if you don’t practice listening.
We are, generally speaking, unpracticed at listening to our bodies because we have spent years telling them what to look like, how to function, or what to feel. We have dismissed their subtle whisperings, such as a headache or tingle, and then gotten angry with them when they yelled for attention, such as a sickness, or physical symptoms of anxiety. If your relationship isn’t what you’d hoped, or you are feeling unpracticed at listening to your body, you are not alone. Just like repairing any relationship it starts with good communication, and listening. And it doesn’t have to be complex.
You can start learning how to connect with your body through a simple 5 minute listening practice. At first it may feel uncomfortable (physically, of course, and emotionally too!). So breathe through this and give it a try several times. Try it out at the beginning of each day, or before you go to sleep. Make it a ritual like brushing your teeth or making the bed.
What you may find is that your body has both simple, physical needs (like more water, a bit of rest or movement). And it may be able to help you shine your attention on some inner needs, such as tight shoulders revealing an opportunity to find a new way to release stress. Connect and work with your body during these strange and intense times, and give it more of what it needs.
How to Connect UNDERNEATH
One of the best places to start is with my UNDERNEATH resources page on this very website! At the top of the page are some of the most powerful resources to try, and below that are blog posts categorized by what you may need right now. Take a look at the top six here, and explore further when you’re ready. Which one calls to you now for some underneath connection?
- Find Your Bra Size Starting Points
- Guide To Tell If Your Bra Fits
- How to Use Sister Sizing
- How to Care for Bras & More
- Why 9 Bra Sizes Can Fit
- How to Be BFFs with Your Body
Additionally, you may find this underneath exploration helpful. This blog is all about creating a self love ritual with lingerie. Here is a exciting opportunity to update this daily routine and your life in the process.
A 5 Minute Body Connection Practice
If you want a simple place to start, this is a 5 min practice that can help you connect to your body. Read through the steps and then put it into practice right away! Just 5 minutes of connecting with your body can bring up beautiful learning.
Step 1: Breathe. Set a timer for 5 minutes. You may also want to use some meditation music in the background to set the mood, or light a candle. This is totally optional and just you and your body are required for this practice. Start to breathe in and out. Use the breath in deep, slow ins and outs to slow down your mind and your heart rate. If it helps, slowly count to 4 for each in and out breath. After about 4 or 5 cycles, move on to step 2.
Step 2: Release. Use about 6 slow in and out breath cycles to scan your body from head to toe. Start at the top of the head and work your way down. With your eyes closed you can imagine each part of your body as receiving breath. Without forcing the body to do anything, invite it to release any tension or tightness that you may find as you scan from head to toe. You may also wish to imagine releasing any judgements you have about your body and how it should look or function as you scan it, or simply observe without judgment.
Step 3: Gratitude. Starting at your feet and working your way back up for 6 in and out breath cycles, quickly (but with intention) practice saying gratitude for your body. This part of the practice may bring up some “stuff”, so be compassionate and loving with yourself here. Drop any judgment of how you wish your body looked or functioned, or what level of gratitude you should have. It may help to start with simple functions like “I’m grateful for my feet which help me walk through this world”, or go deeper, “I’m thankful for my hands which help me touch myself in loving ways, and my arms which I use to hug myself when I’m physically distant from others right now”.
Step 4: Honor. After saying thank you to your body, drop in this simple and profound question. Listen to the answer without judgement, and practice treating your body like a best friend. Listen carefully, and with compassion. Ask: “Body, what do you need?” Then, “Body, what do you want?” Then, “Body, how do you feel?” Without feeling like you need to act on this right away or at all, simply listen and observe. Place a hand on your heart or somewhere on your body and thank it for its wisdom and move on to step 5.
Step 5: Act. Here you can come up out of the practice and open your eyes. This is your opportunity to jot down anything that came up, and to use the information to decide what (if any) steps you want to take to honor your body’s needs, desires, and feelings.
Your Turn: What does your body need right now? How can you take a moment to serve it best? How can you use this time to explore different ways to support your body? Did you try any of these practices? Let us know which ones worked for you and why on my Instagram!
Credits: Photos were taken by the lovely Becky Yee. These photos were taken in Puerto Rico on a Hurray Vacay trip. I am wearing fabulous products by Peach. No airbrushing my face or body, ever. Hurray!