Listen to yourself. Lie on your back on a mat. Keep your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Close your eyes to the images outside and open them to watch what’s happening inside you. Are you comfortable? How do you feel on the ground and in your body? How do you breathe? Quick and short like the breath of a flying bird? Or is it deep and relax like a sleeping baby? Where does your breath fluctuate? Just be aware of it. How are you feeling right now? Check if you feel any kind of pain in your body? Bring your awareness to your weight on the floor. Is it distributed equally or shifted more to one side. Now put your body in the middle of your mind. Just listen. Don’t judge.
This is a body awareness exercise. It’s simple and effective. Everyone can practise it at any time. Take a look at where, how and how much space your bodily needs take up in your mind in the New Year. Be aware what your body talks to you about and in what tone. You may ask, does the body speak? Yes, even a tree will talk to you if you can listen. So, what happens when you learn to listen to your body and you start talking to it?
Some people discover this healing mode of communication with the body earlier, some people later. Others, unfortunately, live without communicating with their bodies throughout their lives. But when you learn to truly listen and understand your body and control it with your mind, new doors will open in front of you. You will feel filled with a sweet light that illuminates your body and a fresh air that refreshes your mind.
The body is so intelligent and open to new information, as long as a determined and motivated power in the mind guides it. Over the years, I’ve heard complaints like ‘I’m working hard and I don’t have time for myself’. If you have such an opinion as well, now I want you to look at it with a magnifying glass. Could this conscious or subconscious thought you create, actually, be a way of putting obstacles in front of what you want to do? Perhaps the fear of leaving the safe zone? At first, people may be afraid and hesitant to enter the forests they do not know. This is so normal. But walking in the same forest every day will not improve you either. Having different experiences in different forests, different routes, enriches your body, soul and mind.
At this point, I would like to talk about a famous TED talk by neuroscientist Professor Wendy Suzuki called “Brain-altering benefits of exercise.” “Now, if I tell you that one thing has positive effects on mood and attention in the brain, and this thing will protect you against diseases like depression, Alzheimer’s and dementia for a very long time, would you do it?” And she continues: ‘What can you do today to change and transform your brain? -Exercise.’
At a time when Wendy is stuck in her profession, she decides to start her fitness classes. She goes to non-stop fitness classes for 1.5 years with great pleasure. In the same period of time, she realizes that the research she has been doing in her lab is going much better. She realizes that the reason for this is that she can concentrate on a subject for a longer period of time and her long-term memory is also developed. Thus, Wendy started to study this subject scientifically. She found out that doing exercise is increasing brain functions. She concludes that it positively affects the emotional state, energizes, increases memory and attention. She states that a routine exercise plan for a long time increases the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline in the brain. In addition, among Wendy’s findings, the improvement in the ability to change attention and focus after exercise can take at least 2 hours to longer.
Stating that regular exercise can positively change brain anatomy, physiology and function, Wendy also shares the formula for this. “Fitness and cardio exercises done 3-4 times a week for at least 30 minutes have a protective effect on the brain”. If you would like to listen the whole speech and see the fun exercise “I am a very strong woman” that Wendy teached to the audience, check the link at the end of my blog. *
Perhaps you can “create time to invest in your body”. An experience that connects you to yourself and brings excitement to your life. Pilates, which increases happiness and excitement hormones, will make you feel good in a spiritual sense. I am talking about a state of personal development that is a remedy for your chronic pain and moments that you see what your body can do. Does this sound closer to you?
What do you have time for first, look at it in practice. For example; Let’s say you have two hours in total for shopping on the internet, watching television and social media. Can you reduce this to an hour and invest your remaining hour by doing Pilates lessons? The time you will spare for your body is an investment for a long-lasting, healthy life that does not need a doctor. And you are worth this investment.
I hope the New Year will be a wonderful year in which you make investments full of awareness to experience integrity of sustainable body, soul and mind.
Deniz van Gennip