“Our bodies know they belong – it’s our minds that make us so homeless” John O’Donahue
In last week’s vlog, we talked about why we humans are so quick to disconnect from our bodies, why habitual disconnection is a slippery slope and how staying connected to your body is the key to all the good things. (Catch up here if you missed it!) This week, we’re kicking off a two part series sharing 10 of our favourite rapid-fire resets that will instantly reignite your mind + body connection.
This list is, in essence, a rundown of what works for us. When it comes to the mind + body disconnect, we know of what we speak. In the past, we’ve been serial self-averters, guilty of inflicting some impressive atrocities on our bodies. This post is as much a devotional reminder for ourselves as it is a guide or friendly nudge to others. When we feel the impulse to run, escape, disconnect, disassociate or distract ourselves, when our actions have an anxious undertone, these are our go tos for reset, renewal and reconnection.
Being connected with your body is the art of staying. Staying present, staying embodied. It’s an art that’s worth devoting yourself to. Bonus: It’s fun. It feels good. And the more you do it, the easier it becomes to STAY RIGHT HERE. So without further ado, here are 5 of our favourite ways to reconnect to our bodies.
1. SKINNY DIPPIN’
First on the list is the good old skinny dip. There’s something in all of us that yearns to be boundlessly free and wild. It’s ironic that something as natural as being in the buff gives us a rush. But hey, another symptom of how contained, socialised, educated and sophisticated we’ve become. Why is swimming in your birthday suit so effective? For one, you become hyper-aware of your body, there’s no material block between skin and sensation (soft breeze butterfly kisses and amniotic liquid salt). The vivid physical sensations call us back to our body, where we feel most alive. And if you can do your skinny dipping in the ocean, you’ll get more bang for your buck. Why? The ocean is a home-coming. Our mothers’ wombs contain almost the exact same salinity as the ocean. Being naked in the big blue therefore, is a way of recreating pre-birth conditions. It’s the last thing on our mind when we strip off and run, squealing into the whitewash, but when you stop and consider the subconscious nostalgia, its easy to see why so many associate the ocean with a sense of peace, aliveness and cell-to-soul nourishment.
2. BE SOLE-FUL
Afraid of being accosted for indecent exposure? Fair enough. Simply slip out of the confines of your shoes. That alone is liberating. We train most of our clients naked from the ankles down. Why do we encourage this? It feels good. It’s also good for you. Every day your body absorbs positive electrons (free radicals). It soaks them up via exposure to EMFs, wi-fi, our phones, cars, the list goes on. Shedding your shoes for a spell gives you a restorative dose of negative electrons from the ground. In other words, plugging in to the charge of the Earth reduces your body voltage. It’s grounding – literally and figuratively – and has nice flow on effects such as better sleep, healthy adrenal function as well as less stress, anxiety and depression. Incentive enough to unlace every day? We think so.
3. ALL ABOUT THAT BASE
Your base or root chakra (also known as Muladhara), represents your foundation and is responsible for your sense of safety and security. Those moments when you’ve felt really grounded and at home within yourself? Yeah, you were vibing with your first chakra. If there’s a deficiency in this chakra, you’ll likely feel thrown off balance, unsteady, or unable to “find your feet” and settle. By activating your base chakra, you’re connecting with your physical and energetic bodies on the most fundamental level. Located at the very base of spine, pelvic floor and first three vertebrae, this chakra responds well to contracting the pelvic floor (working those wee-stopping muscles), as well as gentle jolting of impact exercise. Try doing a series of squats, focusing on pulling up the pelvic floor as your rise up. Or sit cross legged with your palms pressing into the earth, lifting the hips up and then dropping them down to the floor. Alternately, try the rockin’ butterfly. Bring the soles of your feet together and butterfly the knees. Holding the feet with your hands, rock forward and backward.
4. SCAN ARTIST
The basic body scan is not to be underestimated. Start by closing your eyes, shutting down your connection with the outside world, letting your focus shift inward. Rest your awareness at the crown of your head and begin to scan your body, all the way down to the tips of your toes. Simply take your time, pay attention, be aware and observe the dance of sensation in your body.
A few moments of mindful body scanning radically reduces your your heart rate and takes you out of the pulse-pounding, adrenaline-injecting, fight or flight mode. Which translates to feeling safe and secure and enables us to make decisions that are in line with our highest good. Plus, where attention goes, energy (and blood) flows. Dynamic energy flow translates to an overall feeling of wellbeing, and enhances circulation throughout the body, increasing the oxygenation of cells and flushing cellular waste out of the system.
5. FREEZE FRAME
Try this: Hang out in a gentle yoga pose like a simple seated forward fold, pigeon pose or even a wide-leg child’s pose for 3-5 mins. Why? Whilst rapidly flowing through a sequence of movements can be energising, dynamic and fun, remaining in a pose for extended period allows you to touch down in a deeper way. Sinking slowly into a pose gives you time to acclimate and attune to your interior world. It becomes an opportunity for surrender and deep release. It may be surprising how confronting and provocative such a simple stretch can be. After a few seconds, you’ll feel resistance, you’ll feel impatient or uncomfortable. You’ll probably want to come out of the pose. Instead, resolve to be still and observe the sensations in your body without labelling them as good or bad. Take an approach of innocence and curiosity. This kind of Yin stretching can create a deep physical and emotional opening and also retrains the mind to tune in and listen to the signals of the body without judgement. Simple, but profound. So find a stretchy shape and marinate for 5. Tune in to the inner scenery of sensation and somatic sound and see what happens.
Which one of these calls out to you? Any you’re keen to try? Pick one this week, give it a shot and report back. We’d love to know what unfolds for you, so leave us a comment below!
Next week we’re sharing 5 more ways to connect to your body. Make sure your name is on the list so we can send ’em straight to your inbox.