Over the last week, I spent six days learning and practicing how to be kind to my body and to create more health and wellness. I attended a 6-day yoga immersion training. I loved it! The course taught us about the structure and importance of the soft tissues (fascia) in the body. And we learned how small, gentle, and repetitive movements bring tremendous health benefits to these tissues. As a result, many of us ended the week with less stiffness and more mobility in our bodies. In essence, we were learning how to be kinder to our bodies.
Here are three things that I learned about practicing kindness toward the body.
Slow down – your body will be better for it
Don’t always go strong and hard. Take time to slow down and enjoy the quieter, mindful side of fitness.
Recommended: The Mindful Side of Fitness
Even the most elite athletes take time to recover and to focus on the quality of movement in their bodies. This is the benefit of what I call the quieter and more mindful side of fitness. With slow and gentle movements (common in gentle yoga classes or in mobility work), we have a chance to tune into the body and experience how it is moving and feeling. When we are going slow, we can heal the body and promote recovery. We can also access new movements and new sensations that help us be healthier and more confident in our fitness journey.
Recommended: My Favorite Activities to Keep My Body & Mind Moving
Eat to nourish your tissues and joints
Food is more than fuel for our bodies. Food contributes to our health and the wellness of our tissues and joints – key to enhancing our body’s mobility. The health and resiliency of our fascia (soft tissue in our body), which greatly governs how freely and pain-free we move, is highly dependent upon our nutrition. A poor or nutritionally deficient diet can lead to feeling tight and sore. Without proper nutrition, our joints can also become painful. Healthy nutrition helps ensure supple and pliable tissues and joints, bringing ease to our body’s movement. The next time you eat, think about this necessary nourishment. Take a look at your food, and think about how its consumption will help (or hinder) the health of your tissues and joints.
Think positive health and fitness
Our bodies hear everything we think and say. Negative thoughts, fear of failure, and low self esteem all get carried in our tissues and in our systems. Worry, guilt, and stress tighten our muscles and joints. Too much stress triggers elevated heart rates, increased blood pressure, and stimulates the flow of adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones in the body). While these are natural reactions to stress, too much of these physiological functions work contrary to optimal health and fitness. Positive thoughts and beliefs trigger relaxation and calm, which make up a more conducive environment for the health and fitness of your body.
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