EmbodiedPosted: April 7, 2016
I was under the weather the past few days and didn’t really budge. I dragged my computer into my bed to work, and yesterday I even took a nap, which never happens. But though it was clear to me that I needed to rest and not do much in order to feel better, the lack of real movement was frustrating.
Yoga this morning helped me move back into my physical self again. And I really can’t wait to run tomorrow morning.
I’ve come to understand that there’s just about nothing more important than movement. As it turns out, your physical state it affects everything else, and quite thoroughly, too. Mental state, emotional state, how you perceive yourself, how you perceive everyone else, how you look at life. How you look at your life. In a pretty profound and astounding way.
I know, duh. We all know this. But as is the case with most important things, one day it hits you differently. You can hear about something, read about it, witness it or even do it, and you think you know it. But then one day it moves from your head to somewhere deeper, and you can’t believe you wandered through years thinking you appreciated the weight and significance of a thing, or a place, or an experience, or a person, when really, you had no idea. And then, when you do get it, it becomes vital and critical in a way you couldn’t have foreseen.
Moving through the various crises of life, I’ve realized that if I’m not in touch with my physical self, nothing else really works right. I’m not someone who’s ever had a real problem accessing her feelings, but accessing them though the physical feels easier, smoother, even softer.
There are some spiritual practices that teach the world is an illusion — a delusion — and that our bodies are gross (both meanings apply) vehicles we’re stuck with to get through this life. One of the things that drew me to the yoga studio where I practice is an embrace of the idea of being embodied. If you consider life as a gift, embodiment is the pinnacle of that gift. If you think of it that way, taking care of your physical self doesn’t seem like such a drag anymore. It’s more like an offering that you’d leave before an icon at a temple.
If that’s too highfalutin, the sensation of having moved is just so good. When I’m feeling hesitant to drag myself out of bed to go to yoga or kickboxing, or to run, I think about the fact that in an hour I will feel amazing: strong, connected, aware. More balanced and focused. More connected to myself. Because that’s what physical exertion and paying attention to your breath do. And who doesn’t want to experience those endorphins, that runner’s high?
Another huge benefit — being in the moment. When I’m moving my body, and especially if it’s a challenge, I can’t help but be right there. Even on the worst day, I can manage to be present. Running does this in an especially powerful way for me (you can read about that here).
I am grateful that the way my life is set up, I’m able to focus on physical things in the mornings (but not too early) and then do my errands, work, and other things later in the day. I schedule it in like any other appointment, because I know it’s crucial to helping me stay on track and feel — there’s really not a better word — whole.