Body awareness doesn’t always come with a positive connotation. It can bring to mind that uncomfortable, overly sensitive feeling of a bloated belly or calves that we swear have inflated to four times their normal size in the past two minutes. (They haven’t, by the way.) But body awareness doesn’t necessarily mean we’re hyper aware of our appearance; it can just mean we’re listening to how we currently feel and approaching those feelings with curiosity rather than accusation.
Because some times those days, when we’re hyper critical of our bodies, have nothing to do with our physical body. Our bodies are easy targets because they’re, you know, right there, tangible. But what we’re really dealing with is an inconsiderate comment or unsolved argument. We stuff the emotions down. But those emotions bubble up and manifest themselves physically because they’re begging to be resolved and noticed.
I’m not being hippy dippy, promise.
You know what I mean if…
- you’ve ever felt your stomach knot or chest tighten when you’re anxious.
- you’ve ever felt your body tense and burn when you’re really angry.
- you’ve ever overeaten or restricted food to feel like you’re in control, when your emotions feel so out of control.
Body awareness can help us dig up those deep rooted emotions, and when we bring them to the surface, they can be resolved or at least acknowledged, which in turn can reduce the nitpicking at little spots of cellulite and tummy rolls or turning to or away from food to numb how we feel.
These movements aren’t not a magic cure. I wish they could be. However, they can act as one of the tools we use to sort through our emotions, listen, and open up. Another way could be find someone you trust and talk it out, journal, or pray.
deep belly breath.
Lay on your back with your toes pointed forward so your hips are comfortable. You also can bend your knees and keep the soles of your feet on the ground. Put both hands on your tummy and breath into your belly. Let your hands rise and fall. Rest there for 5-10 breaths.
So often we feel the need to stuck in our bellies and engage our core. Heaven forbid we show the belly “pooch” that e v e r y o n e has. Believe me, everyone has a pooch. And I don’t mean a pup. Even that Instagram gym model has a pooch. Breath deeply into your belly and enjoy the release of taking in all the air you can, filling up your lungs and belly and letting it go.
open shoulders + back.
Sitting with your legs extended, clasp your hands in front and round your back. I hold a lot of tension in my shoulders, probably from looking down at my phone too often (oops) and being rigid in my back and neck, and this feels yummy.
take up space.
Roll yourself into a little ball. Hug in your knees and squeeze everything in tight. Then let everything go, and stretch your legs and arms in opposite directions. Repeat a few times. Squeeze in, release. Squeeze in, release.
massage neck + shoulders.
Give yourself a neck massage.
Feel the muscles and tendons in your neck and shoulders and work out the tension and knots. They support your head. Some times it helps me to remember the functionality of our muscles and bones. They’re not there for show. They each have a specific purpose to help us move and live and breathe.
energize from toes to fingertips.
Stand with your feet rooted into the ground and reach your fingers to the sky (or ceiling). Feel all the energy (or lack of energy) in your feet, legs, belly, chest, arms, and fingers. Reach and stretch.
Everyone was created for a purpose. No one is a mistake. Enjoy your piece of the universe that has been given to you. Life is too precious to spend tuned out of the important things and tuned into the not important things. Embrace those emotions, even the scary ones, or grab a friend to face them with you.
P.S. I realize these are yoga-esque moves. I’m not a certified yoga instructor. Move with caution and don’t push if something doesn’t feel right.
So tell me…
How do you practice body awareness?
Do you ever experience emotions physically?