Sarah Maxwell explains how to get to know your own body in the first of a two-part exploration
Most of us have heard the phrase ‘listen to your body’, often following illness, injury or simply after over doing a physical activity. Below is a general overview of body awareness definitions that I’ve compiled to help you to understand why being in tune with your body is essential when it comes to maintaining your whole physical and emotional heath. Read on to find out how you can get started on this amazing journey, quickly and easily.
This is our ability to know where our limbs are and what they are doing (without actually physically seeing them). A good example of this is being automatically able to tell the difference between standing and sitting when you have your eyes closed.
This is the ability to understand the position of one’s body, navigate around objects and co-ordinate movements. This is something I have to practice regularly due to misjudging a door frame and hitting it with various body parts. Thankfully it doesn’t affect my driving ability (although a few might question that statement!).
This means your ability to recognise bodily sensations such as feeling hot, cold, itchy etc. Being alert and tuned into your body’s signals enables you to understand and cope with stress levels, thus making you aware when you’re fatigued and need rest.
Being interoceptive allows you to access your current emotional state to enable you to work through issues and self soothe.
Recent studies suggest that good body awareness can have a positive effect on pain management. Additionally other studies have shown that a lack of body awareness can possibly have effects on self esteem, acceptance of self and depressive symptoms.
Yoga, meditation, pilates and massage are renowned for greatly improving your body awareness, but you can do the quick and easy exercises below on your own without using anything other than yourself.
❤ Breathe (1-2 minutes).
❤ Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, shoulders back and down and chin tucked under, so you have your body in a good posture state.
❤ Place one hand on your chest and one on your belly. Close or lower your eyes to the ground and notice your breathing. Focusing on your breath draws in more oxygen and enables your body to function at an optimal level. It can greatly reduces stress levels (in a very short space of time). Concentrating on you and not outside distractions is a great first step in being body aware.
❤ While in the same position as before, try and stand on one leg. Balance (1 minute on each leg).
❤ At first keep your eyes open and observe your toes and heel – are they all applying the same pressure on the floor or do you feel more pressure on one area than another? Progress this exercise by lowering your eyes or closing them entirely (be aware, this is much more difficult that it sounds!).
This is a great way to relax before bed
Start by visualising each finger, your palm, wrist, forearm, elbow, shoulders, and neck. Work your way around your whole body and breathe normally.
I’m looking forward to sharing Part 2 of body awareness already! See you next month.
Sarah Maxwell is a multi award-winning weight loss, lifestyle and fitness coach. Find out more about her work…
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