Today’s guest-post is written by the lovely Anastasiya Goers of Balance In Me. Anastasiya is a fellow Pilates instructor and promoter of balance. Her site provides practical, informative and helpful tips on creating a life with more balance and value. I love what she has to share with you today. Take it away Anastasiya…
5 Simple Ways To Create A Mindful Body
Did you ever hear this piece of advice: Listen to your body and do what’s best for you.
I’ve heard this tip plenty of times and most importantly, have given the same advice to many friends and clients.
However, how do you learn to listen to your body?
How do you know what’s best for you?
We can read every article in the world about healthy lifestyle and fitness and get completely confused with the advice and ideas shared in them.
Eat meat. Don’t eat meat. Exercise every day. Exercise every other day. Yoga or Pilates? Running vs. walking. Carbs. No carbs. Drink wine. Don’t drink wine. Soy – no soy. Arhhh!
Doesn’t this information overload drive you crazy sometimes?
Every week there is a new study or a new article in defense or in opposition of a well-known fact. You can find “scientific” support for any crazy idea nowadays which makes finding the right health path very frustrating and intimidating.
Listening to your body gets even more important if you want to avoid injuries.
Did you ever push yourself in a workout so much that next day you ended up with an injury? I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve done that plenty of times… Until I discovered how to be mindful of my body.
Take a look at these 5 steps that will give you ultimate mind and body connection:
1. Show your body some love. Can you be mindful and happy with your body if every time that you look in the mirror you say “Ahhh, I hate those thighs (stomach, calves, nose etc)”? No way!
You need to stop that thinking and start loving what you’ve got. That constant inner hatred will block any signals that your body is trying to send you, and it will cause you to miss important injury warning signs, eat unhealthy comfort foods, skip workouts and complain about the lack of time.
Today take some time to think of why you love your body. Be grateful for what you have and what you can do.
2. Discover your body. Did you ever pay attention to how your body feels at different times of the day? What parts of your body are stronger than others? What are your postural habits?
Start paying attention to the small signs that your body is giving you. When do you notice those little aches and pains in your body? What cravings do you have at different times of the day? How mindful are you of your movements, your posture and your eating?
Then dig out some pictures from different years of your life. What changes can you notice? Do you see any patterns?
And finally pay attention to what others are saying about you but don’t get offended at their critique.
Our perception of how we look is often very different from the reality if we are disconnected from our bodies. Getting to know ourselves will help us find a way to improve and be more mindful of our bodies in the future.
3. Engage in a mindful exercise program. Any workout can be a mindfulness practice if we choose to. However, fast paced and group workouts are often too distracting to give us time to find our inner center.
Pilates (of course!) is the ultimate method of discovering your body and learning to work with it rather than against it. Yoga is another example of a mindful workout. If you get a chance to work in a private setting then pay attention to the corrections that your instructor is giving you and try to use them in your everyday life.
If you are taking group classes or using videos then you need to be extra mindful of the cues and how your body is feeling in different positions.
4. Start a journal. Fitness journals are not a novelty but I encourage you to start a mindfulness journal. After each workout write down how your body felt and what moves were most exciting (challenging, pleasant, painful.) Also write down how your body felt after a workout.
Do the same for your food and your daily habits.
Write down every strange or pleasant feeling that you have, every discovery in your body and every new taste that you acquire.
Commit to writing down at least one new discovery about your body a day. In just a couple of weeks you will create a habit of noticing any changes in your body and knowing what exactly your body needs at this moment.
5. Be a student of your body. One thing that any Pilates student will learn is to be constantly curious about their bodies. This curiosity is the driving force of body awareness and mindfulness. Once you get a taste of it you can never go back to being disconnected from your body again.
How do YOU connect with your body? Can you always hear what your body is telling you?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips!
Anastasiya Goers is the founder of Balance In Me – the Life Balance Portal where she helps people find their personal life balance with practical tips, genuine support and everyday inspiration. She is also a Balanced Body certified Pilates instructor who teaches virtual (Skype) Pilates classes that focus on body awareness, personal fitness goals and mind/body connection.