Practicing mindfulness of the body can happen in many ways. We practice when we move, eat, sleep, rest, and play. Moving the body mindfully is just one of the lens that we practice mindfulness and it enhances and improves our relationship to the body when we eat. Being aware of the body, in general, translates to your ability to be aware of your body when you practice mindful eating.
This is important, because the body is the best determiner of when to eat and when to stop eating, as well as for gathering information about the impact of the food we eat. If you have carefully cultivated a loving response to your body’s need for movement, then you are more likely to have a loving response to your body’s need for food—what it wants, how much it want, when it wants it.
When you think about moving the body, people often talk about “exercise.” For some people, exercise is a dirty word, however, some of you will absolutely adore it, and the rest of you fall along the middle somewhere. But, no matter which category you place yourself in, everyone moves their body if they are physically capable.
That’s why I like to talk about moving the body instead of exercising the body. It has less negative connotation and the ability to see movement in a fresh way. By setting aside your preconceived ideas about moving your body, there is a way to learn to appreciate and enjoy this very common activity—physical movement—through mindfulness.
When physical activity is seen as a chore, something that we have to do, and an activity associated with being “bad” from eating too much or to lose weight, then a natural resistance arises toward it. But, there is another way of approaching physical activity. By developing a loving partnership with your body, you learn to move it in a respectful manner that enhances wellbeing.
Just like you use mindfulness to eat with more pleasure, you can use mindfulness to move in ways that feel delicious. Here are just a few ideas:
1. Every movement counts. Be aware that all of your routine movements throughout the day (eg. making the bed, watering the yard, pulling weeds, sweeping the floor) can add up to more movement than any sports-like activity you might do in addition. Don’t be upset at doing chores. See them as opportunities!
2. Make it simple. Don’t want to run? Well, neither do I. Buy a pair of good sneakers and go for a walk around your neighborhood. Or join a friend and walk on a nearby trail. Walking outside in the fresh air is such good medicine.
3. Make it fun. Put on some music and dance! If you don’t believe me, read this amazing story about how dancing can fight off depression and watch the video that shows the transformation that takes place. Careful, I needed some tissue because it made me so happy.
4. Make it safe. There are lots of ways to engage in delicious movement inside at home (eg. dancing, yoga, weights). If you’re outside, it is important to be aware of social distancing. In addition, make it safe by paying attention to your body’s limits and not pushing to the point of pain. Remember.. do what feels delicious.
5. Do Yoga. So I may be biased, but I have found yoga to be available to everyone and one of the most loving things to do for my body. My motto is “if you’re breathing, you can do yoga.” And, you can go to my website and play my yoga videos. Need to sit in a chair? No problem. There are chair versions available. Or, you can join me live every Friday at 4:30 p.m. Central Time through the alleyCat yoga website.
If you want to learn more about delicious movement, join me in a webinar on Thursday, July 16, at 12:00 Central Time through The Center for Mindful Eating. No special clothes or shoes necessary. Just bring your body and an open mind. Can’t make it on Thursday? If you register, you will have access to the video after it is over.
Doing The Work: I’m attending an event called Learning Hour: Defund the Police-What It Means & What Must Be Done. Wednesday, July 22, at 8:00 p.m. Central Time. A consistent call coming out of current protests nationwide is to Defund the Police and Abolish the Police. What do these demands mean in practice? How can we transform our communities and end a policing institution born out of the system of chattel slavery and fueled by white supremacy? Join me for this timely webinar with scholar-activist Dr. Melina Abdullah, who was among the original group of organizers that convened to form Black Lives Matter and continues to serve as a leader of the Los Angeles chapter. She is also a Professor and former Chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles.
Can you join me? Click here for details and to RSVP: https://actionnetwork.org/events/learning-hour-defund-the-police?source=email&