Adjustments, Reminders, and Cosmic Shifts

I'm on a boat! Correction, I'm on a horse!
I used to help my friend Erin muck stalls at the stables where she used to board her horses.  As a "reward" for a day of hard work, I'd get to ride her horse (man, if only I got to ride the stable owner's beautiful Friesian named Kye).  I'm only good for a walk or a gallop (as a trot hurts my back). Either way, she was constantly yelling at me (in a nice way), "KEEP YOUR HEELS DOWN."

It's not so important when you ride once every few years or so, but it is when you ride every day. It's also important for the horse, because that's what it's been trained to respond to.

I was reminded of horseback riding this morning when I realized that while my left foot automatically points forward (from years of rehabbing sprained ankles) my right foot does not. While I might think it is pointing straight, it is not, and I need to turn my heel out a bit.  It has helped ease the strain on my knee and prevents my toes from tingling. Every 5 minutes I'd have to remind myself to keep my heel out.

This past week while I was with Emily, she kindly showed me some exercises that I could do to help tone my arms and to work on my core.  While doing tricep extensions, she constantly told me to keep my elbows tucked in towards my head.  In other words -- not like the woman on the right.  She told me it was okay to go slower or to do it one arm at a time (using my other arm to keep the working arm's elbow pointed toward my nose) if I did them correctly.  Not doing an exercise correctly pretty much negates any positive effect.

While doing plank exercises, she also kept on reminding me to keep my hips/butt tucked in and core engaged (versus piking them) and adjusting me into the correct position. Another reminder I'll have to keep in my head when exercising.  While messing around with the Tree Pose, she showed me that my hips were way out of line and I was over rotating. She suggested I might fare better with a modified tree pose and build up my strength/flexibility to a more recognizable form.

The point of all of this is that for as much as wellness is a physical practice, it is a mental practice as well.  Our minds must be engaged while we are moving as to avoid injury, as to practice proper form, and to allow our mind and body to connect in a meaningful way.

So too our minds must be engaged while eating -- even if it's just to say "It's okay that I'm eating this cookie" or "I'm craving lasagna for dinner." Our mind is our most useful tool in changing the way we eat and what we eat.  Sure we might have some lingering issues here and there, but for the most part they are external. Junk food is no longer the assailaint from within. Overeating is no longer suffocating our body's natural mechanisms of feeling full.  Our mind, with its adjustments and reminders, is there there to assuage our fears that "OMG this is the last ice cream I'll ever get to eat and thus I must eat it all!" (There will be more ice cream, it is not going extinct), or that "OMG eating a whole pizza will fix my unhappiness" (If you're able to identify you're eating because you're unhappy, that's half the battle).

That brings me to the cosmic shift portion of the post:  the Epiphany.

I've often mentioned the Epiphany in passing, both on the blog and on twitter, as well as with friends.  The Epiphany goes something like this (with permission to amend as needed):
Until someone realizes the importance of their own health and well-being, no one else can force them to care. Until someone realizes that how they treat their body (food, exercise, care, kindness and forgiveness) is a practice of love and a statement to the world about how they feel about their own value, they will continue to see diet and exercise as a cycle of deprivation or guilt followed by punishment.  They will feel any sense of self-worth to be misguided, selfish, or entirely absent.
The Epiphany is that it is not about deprivation, guilt, or punishment.  The Epiphany is a deep and abiding sense of self worth, of value, of presence.  The Epiphany is the sonic boom or the quiet whisper simply of "I matter."  The Epiphany can be broken down into various "I matter" phrases -- such as "my feelings matter" or "my health matters."  When your heart/mind/soul beings to stick up for yourself, it is only natural that your body does as well, as they are all interrelated.
The Epiphany makes other things seem silly -- like whether I've shaved or not, or whether I'm wearing the trendy workout clothing.  The bottom line, no matter what is that I owe it to myself to listen to my body and mind and pay attention to what it needs.  I know it's not easy for everyone (especially those of you whose lives resemble three-ring circuses) but once the Epiphany happens, it doesn't have to be some song and dance or a big parade every time.  Sometimes all you need to do to honor yourself and your needs is simply admit to yourself that you matter. Your existence in this world matters. What you put in your body matters. How you allow people to treat you matters.

It's not license to be a bull in a china shop. But it is license to have time every day (even if it's just 5 minutes) where your focus is on nourishing your heart/mind/body/soul. You're worth it. Believe me, you are.

10 comments

Tree pose is my favorite! Sometimes I have trouble with balance poses. I found Leeann Carey has a free yoga video that breaks down tree pose and it’s really helpful. Thought your readers would like it: http://planetyoga.com/yoga-blogs/index.php/free-yoga-video-balance-in-tree-pose/

Reply

I don't know about my readers -- they can speak for themselves -- but I like the video. Thanks for the share!

Reply

*snif* *sob* I love that.

Reply

I hope you know I was thinking of you when I said "three ring circus."

Reply

Ah the Epiphany. That is exactly it. When you "get it", the nonsense that gets in your way, gets out of your way. That totally does not make sense, but it does. Sometimes tho, you have to remind yourself about the Epiphany. We can forget quick!

Reply

FGCR -- isn't isn't such a gift to have such a clear mind and purpose about it? I think before the Epiphany happens, there's some muddled idea of how you feel about yourself, or what you want of life. The Epiphany happens and it's like "Whammo! I get it."

You're plugged into the current of all other people that get it. They're your herd now.

Reply

So happy to help! If youse gonna do it, youse better do it right! :)
<3

Reply

Yep you said it girl Epiphany so true. I liked hearing your tips for the workout. I think I need a mirror in my workout room.

Reply

We need mirrors! WE need to look at ourselves, to notice form... but also to notice ourselves.

Reply

I've finally had that Epiphany in the last few years. All the things that my parents/sisters have said to me the past few years finally make sense. I know that it's important to treat myself and my body well.

Reply

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment.
I'll do my very best to respond to it in a timely manner!
<3 Robby