Written by Sue Fuller-Good (MSc Physio WITS) Physiotherapist with a special interest in the mind-body connection.
What is body wisdom? Body Wisdom is the innate intelligence of the body.
How do you connect with body wisdom? It takes tuning into the feedback of the body, listening to the responses of the body to connect to body wisdom.
How can you learn to connect to body wisdom? Learning to be the observer of body wisdom is the best route. Eat something and observe the way it makes you feel. Go to bed early and notice how you feel. Go later and see what changes. Exercise and sense how it feels in your body.
What is posture? It’s the position in which you hold your body in whatever position you are holding it. Eg standing or sitting.
How can you change your posture? Awareness is key. Once you identify how you are holding yourself and what needs to change then focus on it is required. Often you need your physiotherapist to help you identify what needs to change.
What are your stabilizer muscles? They are the muscles which work all day to hold you upright and keep you standing or sitting under the force of gravity. The stabilizer muscles are a system of muscles which all work together to provide the strength required for you to be upright.
How can you strengthen your stabilizer muscles? You can change your posture and conversely by changing your posture you will strengthen these muscles. Balance training, yoga and pilates are very good ways to strengthen these muscles. All movements will help to keep these muscles strong, so the more you move the better.
Do you ever think about the incredible wisdom of your body?
Do you know what an amazing organism your body is? It knows exactly what it needs at all times. Think about it, you know when you are hungry, too full, thirsty, tired and need to rest or sleep. On a less conscious level, you know when you need to move, because you have been sitting for too long, when you need to turn over in bed because you will cut off blood supply to the tissues in your skin if you lie still for too long, and when you need to blink to lubricate your eyes. The human body has all the information at its disposal about how to keep itself in perfect working order, and the whole process is automatic. If you are in touch with your body and your body’s needs then you should be able to do almost everything that is necessary to keep your body in magnificent condition almost all of the time the way nature intended you to.
Some people will always choose to look to books and magazine articles for the answers on how to live healthily. Many people will use diet products and supplements, but possibly some people might trust their own bodies to tell them how much to eat and in what quantity, making diets and supplements unnecessary.
Is it possible for people to learn to reconnect with their bodies? Devoting some time to listening to and trusting in, the infinite wisdom that you have been created with will be a valuable exercise. There is place for dieticians, nutritionists and pharmacists, but most people should be able to keep themselves beautifully in shape and very healthy with maximum energy if they concentrate on being in tune with the language of their body. A pre-constructed diet is not as effective as your own immaculate computer which can read how many calories you have burnt each day and can compute and take into consideration for example, that you are fighting a bug and therefore need more protein in the next few hours than normal or that yesterday you didn’t meet your calorie requirements and so you need more today. An outsider would not know, for example that today you are concentrating very hard in a very cold room under very stressful conditions and that your sugar needs are therefore higher than normal, but your body would. Following preordained eating programs may disable your body and undermine its infinite wisdom, by over-riding its signals. Dieticians and nutrition experts know what is good for the average body, but no-one can ever know as well as you do what is perfect for your particular body.
Taking excessive amounts of supplements may simply waste your hard-earned money and overload your body’s excretory system. Taking in more protein than is needed may create work for the kidneys and other organs, interfere with the balance of the body and the harmony of health. Maybe the effect of taking vast amounts of expensive supplements is that your urine becomes more valuable, but do you really want to have valuable urine?
Health is about finding balance and harmony, flow of energy. Why not try concentrating your energy on finding that balance for yourself and allowing yourself to trust the information your body provides? The suggestion is that when your body is treated with respect, it is able to find the perfect weight and shape, ask for the exact amount of sleep it needs and also provide a mirror for the internal environment… the emotional centre or the mind. This is an invaluable barometer. It may also be able to heal itself from pain or disease once it has conveyed any message it needs to convey.
Did you ever consider that your body can talk to you?
The human body can provide so much valuable information and yet many people never ‘hear’ the message. Is it because they are too busy to take time to ‘read’ the signs? Or too afraid of what may be revealed to them if they really looked? Or is it that most people never see a connection between their body and their internal environment? Your body is a mirror, can you try to see the message that your image carries when you look in the mirror?
Look at your posture and see if there are any messages in how you stand and how you carry yourself. Remember if you are weighed down and overloaded it will eventually show. If you are free and full of explosive joy, it will be visible in your body. So what can you read about you from the way that you stand or carry yourself?
We have a system of muscles called our stabilizer muscles, they are the ones that hold us up against gravity. They are the ones that would disappear at a frightening rate if you went up to space and did not have the resistance of gravity to fight. These are also the muscles which weaken when you have bad posture. Imagine if you could change your posture just by changing your attitude and sense of self-worth. Imagine that you could strengthen these stabilizer muscles by centering yourself and taking away your need to be defensive. Of course you would need to exercise as well!
Perhaps as you read this you may say I don’t know how on earth to go about changing my mindset. It is true that the one thing in life that you have control over is your mindset, and the way you see things. We can choose the attitude we have. We manifest in the world what we are and what we fear. If you are angry, you will see anger and infuriating things all around you. It is not difficult to imagine what effect this would have on your body, nor on your physical appearance.
So next time you look in the mirror and see that you have ‘bad’ posture ask what it may have say to you about you and ask what you can do about it. Remember the mind and body is inextricably linked.
The body is programmed to ensure your survival and so is your mind, anything perceived to be threatening to your survival demands a strong and decisive instinctive and uncontrollable response. This is why some things just ‘push your buttons’. The only way to alter the process is to unravel the thinking that made something seem threatening to survival. Apply your conscious mind to it, so the response isn’t automatic anymore. You have the power to do this, but it requires stopping to consider and think, and it also requires bringing the choices that you make into your conscious brain, in other words making the choices you make, consciously.
Why not try it?
If you need some help, reach out!