Body Memory: How to reconnect with our body and attain health

Our body: The imprint of us

Most human beings today waste some 25 to 30 years of their lives before they break through the actual and conventional lies which surround them. – Isadora Duncan

Have you ever considered your body as a collection of memory?

Our body records and memorizes every moment of our life, through the sensory motor process, through movement and experiences, whether this has been passed to us through our genes, our cultural environment, or all the living experiences since birth.

This not only shapes our body, it also goes deeper as it impacts and shapes our behaviors, learnt habits, tastes, and personality. In this sense, our body can be seen not only as a physical shape but also as a representation of our ‘Unconscious’.

These learning experiences imprint us as individuals, they leave a multi-sensorial body memory or “cell memory “.

How we lost contact with ourselves, our sensations and our natural ability to balance.

People don’t live nowadays: they get about ten percent out of life. – Isadora Duncan

In our modern fast moving world we tend to be clueless when connecting to our body. On the one hand we often demand peak performance from our body and mind, but on the other hand we often are unable to listen to the very same body, especially when we experience pain and discomfort.

This is when pain becomes a foe and we fear pain, adding so much worry and tension on it. We are trying to avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, rather than listening to it and learn from it.

We push through life by pushing the body and the mind, not listening to ourselves and getting more disconnected as a result. This can lead to more imbalance, anxiety, chronic tension or autoimmune diseases.

However, it is our nature and of utmost importance for us to reconnect to our natural ability to balance and stay healthy. This re-connection to ourselves can be helped through proper rest, diet, exercise and breathing. Proper means that each person is unique about why the imbalance exists, so while there can be guidelines for everyone, there is no magical recipe!

Re-connecting and listening to what our own body is telling us is greatly empowering; essentially it’s our own personal “balance medicine” that already exists within ourselves. When we find ourselves out of balance, our body still holds the keys to finding that balance again.

How to begin to own your life and yourself fully, starting with our own body one step at a time

What if we start seeing our body discomforts, pains and tensions from the perspective of an informative friend? Not to mention that it always is working on your side: do you have to think and work hard to breathe, digest? Experience the gift of your tensions. Listen to what they tell you and see them as the road back to balance.

I encourage people I work with to find their grounding, listen to what their own body tells them and empower them to find their own healthy balance. In a city like Hong Kong that is so fast-paced, overflowing with activity and information, it is crucial to know your grounding and centering. Come “home to the body”, knowing what it remembers like to be in balance, rather than seeing your body only as a peak performance tool.

There are many ways back to a solid grounding, and integrated flow of life. The more we practice, the easier it gets as we use what mindfulness Masters and modern neuroscience agree on: our brain is neuro-plastic and can be shaped. Our mind and physiology are closely related and can be used to bring us to balance.

Have you ever noticed that after a few slow deep breaths, easing your thoughts and resting your body, you can hear your belly “talking”? These noises are the first small yet deep steps to re-connect.

I encourage starting a practice of looking at places of comfort and pleasure, and notice the sensation so you begin to learn and remember what it is to “feel right for you, just now” AND in the process, to notice that your body is constantly working for you and looking to move toward balance, self-regulation and integration.

A ritual for you to take home:

What one has not experienced, one will never understand in print. – Isadora Duncan

Gently tense and release your fists, go to the resistance point and then gently release.

Repeat, clenching your fist, notice where the tension goes.

Feel your strength as you go to the point of tension and then gently come back. Track the sensations of release as you let go.

Notice what happens as you release your fingers along the muscle chain. Maybe the release spreads to your arms and shoulders.  After a few repetitions, notice what happens to your breath and neck. Maybe your body feels lighter and having more space. Maybe your jaws feels lighter too.

If you feel like you need to do the reverse experiment and open wide your hands and arms, follow your flow…

Inspired by Somatic Experiencing and Body-Mind Movement Education and Therapy. Enjoy your body fullness !

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