Your Body Aligned
Get Present with Your Body's Vital Energy
Now that we’ve set the framework in The 4 Pillars of Alignment post, lets begin to break each pillar into bite sized pieces. Taking time to dive into each of these four binding elements: Body, Mind, Spirit, and Environment will help you design specific behaviors for each.
Let's start with Body Alignment.This is the most straightforward place to start. We’re going to go through simple (not easy) steps you can begin developing today to guide you towards proper body alignment.
Why Body Alignment
Our bodies are incredible. The more in tune you become with your body the better you will be at noticing when things are off. The most obvious way is through pain, illness and fatigue.
In modern times we are taught to keep so busy that we often ignore the more subtle signs that we might be pushing ourselves too far. Being drained of energy all the time is a social norm. We practically worship coffee, and I’m a fan, but is it really fueling you properly? Or is that one of our “quick fixes”?
Often I begin to push myself a little too hard in my yoga class because I want to prove that I can do it, while ignoring the sting in my knee.
The problem is when these seemingly small things go unchecked they become the big things. And the big things lead up to huge medical problems.
What's that saying…
If you don’t take time for your wellness you will be forced to make time for your illness.
It’s so easy to excuse our aches and pains as a sign of our aging process or just the way things are in your family.
We do this because it's easy, and we are invincible. I still think I have the strength and resilience of a 22 year old inside of me. But at some point you’re going to have to look into the root cause of these issues. Most likely they have been developing in your body for a long time.
How to Support Your Body for Better Alignment
There are five basics to Body Alignment:
Food: Fuel for Vitality
What we consume on a daily basis is often overlooked, yet on some level most of us know we could be eating healthier.
The right diet is going to look different for everybody. The key here is to find a way that fuels you for optimal health, clarity of mind and energy.
I remember when my son James was 6. He ate a huge pancake at Hugo’s. It was as thick and the size of a dinner plate. I was amazed, but saw the look coming. When he was done he looked at me drowsily and said, "Mom, I just wanna put my head down on this other pancake and take a nap." His first experience in carb overload.
I’m a smoothie gal, but today I had a bagel. Immediately afterward I wanted a nap but had a client call. During the call I had trouble focusing (unusual for me) and was so sleepy and I had to pause and ask myself what is this?
My own form of carb overload.
When you begin to pay attention to how food feels not only while you are eating but also afterwards, you are on your way to body alignment.
This week I encourage you to pay attention to how it feels during and after you eat.
Does it give you energy? Or does it make you feel like napping?
Is your mind clear or foggy?
Were you really hungry?
Is eating fun, pleasurable, a chore?
What constructs do you have around eating?
Did you know that roughly 60% of your body is made of water? Drinking enough water is vital for healthy body function. Water delivers nutrients to cells, lubricates joints, keeps organs functioning optimally and affects mood and cognition (and so much more). You've probably heard, "drink 8 glasses of water a day" or that you should base your water intake on your weight.
How do you know if you're really dehydrated? Thirst is, of course, the obvious answer. But there's more:
dark or strong smelling urine
urinating very little or fewer than 4 times a day
dry mouth, lips, eyes
Those last two were game changers for me. It's not that I'm above a nap (I get my best sleep during them!) But knowing this and experimenting made me much more productive. Knowing that dehydration could actual come as a vague feeling of wanting to eat, one of my clients experimented with drinking a glass of water in between meal or when he felt like snacking. Turns out, he was dehydrated. He stopped snacking all together!
Lack of seep is probably the most common complaint I have from clients. Sleep is a fundamental part of proper body alignment and a pivotal piece to becoming more aligned.
Lack of sleep can trigger a healthy or poor eating cycle. It can determine if we get to the gym or skip class. And it most certainly affects brain chemistry.
Your outlook is better when you are well rested. Not having sleep makes you crabby and less resilient to stressors. Think of a parent up all night with a screaming child.
The right quantity and quality of sleep can affect all areas of your life. Consider these questions:
How are you sleeping?
Are you getting an adequate amount of sleep?
Are you sleeping too much?
How deeply are you sleeping?
Do you wake up refreshed and full of energy?
Many studies show the harm of sitting all the time and while you don't have to run a marathon, some form of daily movement can be helpful. I seem to recall a study that showed that even 20 minutes of moderate exercise was as effective at reducing depression as an antidepressant.
One client who was "movement resistant" agreed to do a Tiny Habit to get herself going. Her habit was: After I put my cup in the sink (in the morning), I will put on my walking shoes. By the end of the week she was walking for 30 minutes each morning. Even though she had been tired, she found she had more energy after her walk and was far more productive during the day.
Are you moving your body in a way that feels good to you?
Do your movements energize you
When you stand do you tend you lean into one hip?
Are your shoulders stiff from holding up your phone too long?
How are you sitting on the coach? Is it causing sciatica trouble?
This one is so hard for so many of us. It feels selfish. It is! And that’s not a bad thing, so get that excuse out of your head. I am terrible at listening to this advice, but I know I need to plan a vacation.
When we take time to get out of our normal routine and do something enjoyable just for the sake of doing something enjoyable it refuels us. Filling your cup so that you can pour that energy out onto others.
Self care also means doing the things you know you need to do. Get the proper health check ups that are aligned with what you feel is good for you. If you feel you need to go to the doctor for a yearly physical and haven't, make sure to do that. If you think a functional blood test could help you fine tune your health, get that done. If you like to take supplements and you haven't, start again. Not doing these things can have a draining effect on you and create stress in your body.
Body Alignment is kinda like walking on a balance beam. Where you place your weight is everything. It helps to call attention to every move you make.
The vital life force is within you. Begin today to pay attention and in no time at all you will see the shifts and changes towards positive growth all around and within you. Just by being aware of the facets of Body Alignment (Food, Hydration, Sleep Movement, Self Care) and asking yourself important questions you begin to align. Stop avoiding the big issues and the little quirks. Call them out! Bring them to light. Deal with them. Your body will thank you.