“If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”
This quote is simple, but profound. It’s an essential truth that too many of us easily forget. In today’s world, it’s easy to become divorced from our body. After all, most of us are hunched over computers throughout our workday, and we continue this practice even when we come home from the office. Much of our social interaction happens online, and our entertainment consists of browsing Facebook feeds and watching amusing You Tube videos. We live in a cyber world where we are out of touch with our present, physical body.
This kind of life, however, is detrimental to the body’s health. It’s a sedentary existence, and it results in weak muscles, poor posture, shallow breathing, and a myriad of other potential problems. For example, computer posture, which consists of rounded shoulders and a forward head, is becoming the norm. And lower back pain, which is often the result of weak core muscles, is epidemic. Yet most people are unaware of their bodies—they don’t notice how they sit or stand, how they breathe, or why they may feel pain in a particular area of their body.
This lack of awareness is why mind-body practices like Pilates and yoga have become such powerful experiences for many people—they make us intensely aware of how we feel in our bodies. After going through twelve hours of the day as disconnected from our body, we get on the mat, begin breathing deeply, and start to consciously move through the exercises as mind and body become linked. Suddenly, we find ourselves moving into awareness. We experience our strong and weaker parts, our tight and flexible areas; we have moments where we move with ease and grace, and moments of struggle and restriction. Ultimately, here on the mat, we come to know our bodies, and thus come to know the place in which we live—the house of the mind, heart, and soul.
At this point, we cannot help but love and take care of our body. It is after all, our home.