A few weeks ago I hurt me knee. It was the same knee I injured badly 10 years ago. I went to the doctor, rested, did some physio and took a break from my martial arts classes.
This week was testing for me in karate. And although it felt better, I was scared that my knee would give out and I would injure it again. But I decided to just trust it. I know my limitations and avoided things I knew risky. But what I did do, I did full out. I did it with confidence and the belief that my knee was there for me.
We all have this tendency to knock our bodies: “I’m too fat, too thin, have a bum knee, bum shoulder, bad back, am not flexible enough…” What if we switched out that mental talk and began to see the good in our physical forms? Focused on our strengths and maybe even saw the good things that come out of our limitations. (My knee injury is what brought me to yoga in the first place!)
One of the greatest gifts of yoga is that it puts us in touch with our bodies. We become aware of how we move and place ourselves in our world. We find our edges. We push beyond them. We learn to trust our bodies to support us even when we stress them.
How can you begin to trust your body more? To feel connected to its wisdom and strength? Here are some ideas to get you started. I’ve included a mantra and yoga pose you might try.
1. Turn the negative into positive.
When feelings of hatred or disgust come up, acknowledge the feelings. Then replace the criticisms with something more gentle and loving. Be non judgmental. It will take time. But the more your fuel your thoughts with love, the more you will appreciate the gift that is your body.
Mantra: “My body is beautiful and strong. It takes me on amazing adventures.”
Yoga pose: Cat Cow
2. Get Moving
Yoga, biking, a walk in the woods. Feel the life and energy in your body by getting your heart pumping. Get outside and into nature and this will help you connect to you body. Get physical. You will notice how your breath flows and appreciate how your heart rate changes. Use all of your senses to take in what is happening and feel the vibrancy.
Mantra: “My body holds wisdom. I honour it by moving it and nourishing it.”
Yoga pose: Half sun salutation / Sun breath (see video here)
3. Follow your gut.
Trust the innate wisdom of your body. If you have a tough decision to make, focus on it. Then be mindful of what you feel in your body. Do you feel at ease or tense? Trust that feeling and give yourself the space to act on it.
“Everything you need to know is within you. Listen. Feel. Trust the body’s wisdom.” ~Dan Millman
Mantra: “I know what is best for me and I trust my intuition”
Yoga pose: Tree (Vrksasana)
4. Practice gratitude.
Be thankful for your body and all it allows you to do. It makes it possible for you to walk, breath, think, laugh, experience, live.
Mantra: “I am grateful that my body allows me to experience all the joys in life.”
Yoga pose: Pyramid (Parsvottanasana)
5. Believe it’s possible.
Before you can actually trust you body you need to believe that it is possible to do so. You need to tell yourself that not only is it possible but it’s ok to love your body. Believe that it can take you where you want to go and support you in all you want to do.
Mantra: “I believe my body deserves my full trust.”
Yoga Pose: Reclined Butterfly (Supta Baddha Konasana)
“It’s also helpful to realize that this very body that we have, that’s sitting right here right now…with its aches and its pleasures…is exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, fully alive.” ~Pema Chodron
This week I trusted my knee would support me in my karate test. I believed that I could go full out. Yet I also remained open to my body’s intuition should it tell me to back off. And it felt great.
Your body is pretty amazing. Give it the utmost love and respect. That is exactly what you deserve.
Is there a time when you have felt especially in tune with your body? Just leave a comment to share your thoughts.
Image courtesy of Rubén Darío Bedoya Cortés