How to Gain Body Awareness and Discover Body Wisdom. (part 2)
How to Practice Body Awareness.
You don’t need to do any physical exercise to have this skill. Your body is with you all the time. So you can pay attention to it at any time. Your body is your image.
The main principle of body awareness training is the ability to keep your body in a stable (balanced) and comfortable state, even when you are experiencing soreness or pain. You can adjust and gently relax any areas of tension. You can also train the mind to relax under that stressful state.
Learn about the benefits of body awareness (Link to the first article)
Here are some tips.
1.Standing – let the weight of your body fall in the middle between your feet. If you are not sure, check your balance by rocking to the right side, then comparing the pressure on the soles of the feet. Then rock to the left, feeling the pressure on the feet. Then return back to the center of your body, noticing when the weight is centered. This way you may feel your spine straighten.
– If your spine is not straight, simply adjust it. Straightening your spine helps your balance.
– Opening your chest also helps your upper back and shoulders stay straight. Simply relax your shoulders. Adjust your neck into a position that feel normal. Look straight ahead.
– If you have to stand for a long period of time, resting one leg can be done as long as you keep your spine straight. Don’t bend your waist and don’t let your body stay in the same position too long.
2.Walking – keep your spine straight, allow your hands to move freely beside your body, open your chest and relax your shoulders. With each step, make sure that the foot that goes first is firmly laid down before taking the next step.
3.Sitting – maintain a straight spine and relax your shoulders. It would be helpful If you can find something to support your lower back like a cushion or pillow. Let the soles of your feet rest gently on the floor. Make sure that you can feel your full body weight on the tailbone.
-For someone who has to sit all day long, keep reminding yourself to change to other postures from time to time. If you can, always make your body balanced, stable, and comfortable and keep relaxing your spine, shoulders, and neck.
4.Lying down – be aware of your back, make sure you don’t let any part of your spine be tense, especially the shoulders. Savasana or dying posture is a great position to prepare the body for relaxation.
-If you are dealing with high or low blood pressure, heart disease, vertigo or any symptom that can affect the ability to balance the nervous system then use care when getting up. To prevent dizziness or a heart attack, turn to lie on the right side first, then lift your head and support it by bending your right arm vertically and resting your head in your hand for five breaths. Then slowly and gradually raise your body to allow the pressure and blood flow to adjust to your movements.
5.Lifting and reaching out – always be careful when bending your back, straightening up or twisting your body to reach out for things. If you have to lift something heavy, bend your knees instead of your spine. Use the power from your belly for lifting. Be careful of your back, shoulders, and neck when reaching for anything that’s far away from your body. An awareness of your body’s current level of flexibility is helpful. Avoid accidents and injury by using a piece of equipment to assist with lifting or try to adjust the body rather than force your movement.
6.Whenever you adjust your body posture or relax tightened muscles, include breathing deeply. Be sure to expand your diaphragm and let your chest move up when you breathe in, hold your breath for a count of 3-5, then gently breath out until your abdomen sinks completely, relaxing your whole body.
7.To reduce body tension in a particular area, take a deep breath, expand your diaphragm and chest up, hold your breath for a count of 3-5, then make a long exhale, gently relaxing your breath, relaxing your body, especially the area of tension. Repeat this sequence 5-10 times until you feel calm and peaceful.
8.Adjust and change any behavior or postures that may cause negative emotions in yourself or those around you. For instance:
-A person who is overconfident, who doesn’t like to listen to others, may speak loudly or harshly and may often stand with their closed hands on their hips. This body language may frighten people around them. If you become aware of using this body language yourself, change your tone of voice, adjust your standing position and let your arms relax near your body.
-A person who lacks self-confidence often hunches their shoulders, closes their chest, speaks in a low voice, and does not make eye contact. When standing, they might hold their arms in front of their body with hands clasped at the groin. They may speak quickly, without interruption. If you notice these behaviors in yourself, stand with a straight back, open your chest and practice eye contact from time to time.
9. Whenever emotions arise — whether positive or negative — like cheerfulness, excitement, gratitude, peace, relaxation, stress, sadness, frustration, anger, fear, anxiety, etc., pay attention fully to body sensations and body movement. Make a note and practice staying with that feeling. If there is discomfort or pain in your body, rest and relax into it. Then adjust your body to healthy movement and behavior. ( Learn more from this article “Dealing with Discomfort”, https://www.yosuda.com/blog/2019/04/03/dealing-with-discomfort-the-short-course/..)
Body awareness practice is a great way of taking care of yourself. It helps you believe that you are the master of your health. You will have more freedom from unpleasant or undesirable states of mind or situations and a healthy lifestyle will unfold for you.
Make a commitment to a healthy you by finding a skillful Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher who is also experienced in a holistic way of body practice like Yoga, Tai-chi, etc. to help you learn to develop body awareness.
I offer one on one and group practice customized for you.
Author: Kessuda Boonngamanong
“Highly-skilled and experienced in practicing mindfulness and body awareness for more than 20 years. Author of “Yoga Awareness”.
Life Coach, Mindfulness, MBSR ( Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction), Yoga and Enneagram instructor.
Certified MBSR and Enneagram Professional Coach, teaching Mindfulness and Yoga for more than 20 years.
Designer of a Mindfulness program for an International Mindfulness Recovery Center in Thailand and the founder of Yosuda: Awakening Space.