Over the years of receiving and giving bodywork, I have developed a keen sense of body awareness. I can feel when illness is coming on and I’ve since taught myself what I need to do to feel better when I feel these sensations beginning to develop. It seems there are two types of people, those who see body awareness as the most precious tool and those who are completely oblivious as to how body awareness can improve your life. It’s true that we’ve become very much distracted and overstimulated by many of the influences in our life. We bombard our nervous system with screens and social media and the glorification of being busy, at some point it almost becomes an addiction. When you remove the stimulation, how do you feel? Do you feel the need to distract yourself? Are you comfortable with just sitting? When you are constantly stimulating your nervous system, how can you expect to receive all of the signals your body is telling you? The more you spend NOT stimulating your body, the more your body learns how to interpret the signals going in and out of your body. Most of us know how spending a weekend in the woods can be rejuvenating because we get to unplug from over stimulation. If you think about it in terms of any other thing we do in life, it takes practice–not only to develop body awareness but to learn how to interpret you’re own body.
Since having my son in April 2014, I’ve become somewhat involved in the natural birth world here in St. Louis, MO. There is a rising number of mothers opting out of our current story that birth must be medicated and/or painful. We are starting to realize there are amazing benefits to experience the feeling of birth. Now before you start thinking I am crazy, stay with me here. Personally, I want to experience my child’s birth. I want to show up with 100% of myself for my baby. It only seems fair that if we (baby and mom) work together to bring baby into the world, we all have a fulfilling experience! That’s not to say that medical intervention isn’t necessary and as long as you have a good team of professionals, mama and baby should be fine. I was alert (and tired) when my son was born. Even now, 13 months later, the first moment of hearing his cry and seeing his face is fresh in my mind. When I’m exhausted and overwhelmed by my new role as business woman, caretaker, and mother, I return to this sweet moment in my mind and I’m forever grateful that he and I were both pure of any kind of outside stimulus.
How can such a valuable experience translate and carry on through the rest of my life? Being aware and sensitive to shifts in my mood, emotions, and stress level allow me to take the steps needed to bring me back to a balanced state (happy & joyful) more naturally. When stress approaches, I take a deep breath and move through it instead of bottling up or lashing out. What about in my physical body?
Let’s look at how not being aware works. This winter, when the sleet and ice began falling. I was talking on the phone and trying to run out to my car. Because I wasn’t paying attention to where the ice was, my feet slipped out from beneath me. I saw stress approaching, automatically, I slip into mindfulness. I remember my bum hitting the first step and then rolling to my left and bouncing down two steps to where I finally landed on my elbows in the grass. All while holding my phone in my hand, the lady on the phone heard nothing and in fact, proceeded to ask me how the weather in St. Louis was. Talk about irony. But if I would have been not overstimulating my nervous system, I don’t think I would have fallen.
One of the important byproducts of receiving massage on a regular basis is developing a more acute body awareness. When you actively relax on our table, you are slowly quieting your mind and paying closer attention to each fiber in your muscles. You may not be aware of that but somewhere in your mind, I hope you’re noticing and asking yourself why your body feels the way it does. Nikki and I are happy to facilitate this process and help you to grow a deeper sense of body awareness.