Yoga teachers love to use that phrase, "honor your body", quite often during classes. It can mean a variety of things, usually the teacher will say it after they've taught several levels of a posture and it is a gesture toward taking the level that you are best suited for instead of pushing yourself toward injury or pain. I've been struggling with how to write this post because, in all honesty, I struggle with honoring my body in so many ways. During teacher training, I somehow lost my way and did pretty much the opposite of any honoring. I got competitive with my classmates, my teachers and most of all myself and quit listening to the signals of pain. I thought if I tried a little harder, folded over a little deeper, that somehow I'd heal myself. Instead of backing off when things were painful, I pushed myself further into some pretty painful injuries that have affected the entire backside of my body (and into the front side of my right hip) since July. It took me way too long to ask for help or listen to my internal signals. But despite that it's been a hard lesson to learn, it's been valuable. It makes me a better and more understanding teacher; it has taught me to slooooooow down in many ways; it's given me the opportunity to get back into my running more than I probably would have; I've learned to appreciate my healthy body so much more. I've always been a big race crier but now it means even more to me since I had a brief experience of being limited in what I could do with my body. I'm thankful to have this vessel that does almost everything I ask of it and I have to learn to treat it even better.
I've been getting better about exercising after not doing much during chiropractic treatments. That part has always come more easily for me. Once I get going, the feeling of movement and the yoga buzz or runner's high is alluring and it's not that hard for me to get with the program. I've completely modified the way that I practice yoga to be more gentle to my entire body, but most especially my back. But the area in which I always struggle is my food consumption. I do not honor my body by paying attention to what I fuel it with or listening to my body's signals that it's full. I bought a huge bag of gummy bears this week and ate a bowl of them yesterday. I constantly battle with food and I've been spending too much time at the grocery store while hungry (see the above gummy bear purchase). I have to quit making excuses and stop pretending that a steady diet of cheese, bread, candy and beer will help me get further into the healthy weight range for my body (I mean, I exercise for a living, there is NO excuse to be in the top of that range). I like fruits and vegetables, I just need to incorporate them more into my diet and work harder to make that the basis for everything. I don't believe in low-fat foods as a general rule, since they often compensate with sodium or chemicals, but I can't continue to always over-slather everything with real butter and cheese. I am tired of constantly battling between a 10 pound range. I hate having "fat clothes" in my closet just in case. I want to feel good about my weight 90% of the time, as opposed to the 10% of the time that I do now. I want to look at pictures and think "I look happy" instead of "I looked like that?".
I read a post from another blogger yesterday that struck a chord with me. I'll spend obscene amounts of money on yoga clothes or running/biking gear, yet I don't care to spend the time and money necessary to work the best foods into our diet. I have no excuse for that. Why spend the money on great clothing that performs well for the outside of my body and not spend the money on foods that not only please me but fuel me in the best possible ways on the inside?
It's time I finally took the time to truly honor my body, in all the ways that it means.