…Using only your mind and body
This is part two of a three-part article on tuning your body for peak performance. If you have not read part one, please do so now here. Please enjoy and share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
Last time we talked about how to feel good about your body by accepting yourself
Why should you accept your body as is?
- Your health will improve.When you accept your body, you will care for it, nourish it better with whole foods, proper rest, and exercise.
- You’ll be free from nit-picking thinking.When you stop self-criticism, you will be able to swing from apprehension to calm acceptance. A wave of tranquility will flow throughout your body, eliminating stress and building self-confidence.
Step Two: Body Awareness
What exactly is body awareness?
Jeff Cluff, author, wrote, “It would be accurate to say, when it is not suffering pain, the body is more often than not blind to itself. Because of this blindness, tensions creep into the muscles and joints and interfere with the natural freedom of movement.”
Body awareness is the ability to release all tension and stress from your body and bring clarity to your thinking. Your body will be able to sense its existence and become conscious of its abilities.
Master body awareness and you’ll be able to rely on the receptors (sensitive nerves ending) in your joints, muscles, ligaments, and connecting tissues.
You’ll be aware of your body position and correct it if need be. This info travels through the spinal cord into parts of your unconscious brain.
Body awareness per se is not enough because this suggests observing your body from the outside whereas you should feel it from the inside.
Whatever activity you do, you probably are not aware of your body position. You’re not falling off your chair because sensory receptors take care of that for you.
Steven Handel, the author of “The Wisdom of Body Awareness,” wrote, “We are always communicating through our body language, yet often we are completely unaware of the signals our body is sending.”
“With body awareness, and being a little more mindful of our body language throughout the day, we can improve our posture and how we communicate with others.”
Your posture is critical to your health. When you align your body properly, your bones—rather than your muscles—support your weight and reduce strain and effort on your body.
Dr. David Jockers, the owner of Exodus Health Center in Kennesaw, Ga, wrote, “Bad posture is a modern-day health epidemic that is much worse than most people naturally assume.”
“Posture is the window into your spine. The spine has a robust relationship with the brain, spinal cord, and overall organ function.”
“This intimate connection means that the poor posture and spinal health will lead to an overall decrease in brain and organ function.”
Poor posture also changes your body’s structure slowly, causing misalignment and pain. This results in tension, soreness, and fatigue.
Pete Tambroni, the owner of MostlyBass.com, wrote, “Our posture affects us physically and mentally. We tend to slouch when feeling down or depressed, and stand straighter when proud or in a good mood.”
“We can ‘fool’ our minds into feeling better by straightening our posture. So if things are not okay, try sitting up and smiling. I guarantee your morale will instantly improve.”
Bad body postures—are you one of them?
Cause: Sitting for long hours hunched over your computer.
Pain: Neck, shoulder, and back.
Problem: Bad sitting posture causes the chest muscles to tighten leading to an excessively curved upper back or thoracic region. The muscles of the upper back loosen and eventually weaken.
Solution: Upper-back foam rolling to increase the mobility of your upper back. Lie on a foam roller placed in the middle of your back and perpendicular to the spine. With your face facing upwards, keep your hands behind your head and bend your upper back over the roller five times. Repeat each segment by adjusting the roller.
Prone cobra strengthens the weak muscles in your back. Lie with your face down, arms at the sides, and palms down. Slowly lift your chest and hands off the floor, press your shoulder blades together, keeping your chin down. Hold this position for five seconds. Do two to three sets of ten daily.
Posture #2: Rounded Shoulder
Cause: Sitting with rounded shoulders while typing draws in excessive chest pressing.
Pain: Neck, shoulder, back
Problem: Sitting in that position results in the chest muscles tightening, causing the shoulders to rotate forward internally. The upper-back muscles weaken and lose tightness.
Solution: Relax the tight chest muscles: Place arms against the wall on the side of a doorway in a high-five position, elbows bent 90 degrees. Step into the doorway and stretch your chest and the front of your shoulders. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 3 sets four times daily.
Strengthen the muscle of the back (trapezius): Lie on the floor, face-down, and place both arms at a 90-degree angle in a high-five position. Keeping the same angle at the elbow, lift both arms by dragging the shoulders backward and pressing the shoulder blades toward each other. Hold this position for five seconds. Repeat 2 to 3 sets four times daily.
Posture #3: Over-Pronated Feet
Cause: Pregnancy, obesity, inappropriate footwear can weaken the arch resulting in over-pronation of the foot or flat feet.
Pain: Medial knee pain, hip pain, and low back pain.
Problem: It adds pressure on the foot, tightens the calf muscles and may rotate the knees towards each other. It often results in pain in the toes, growth of extra bone from the heel, pain in the sole, and bunions.
Solution: The best solution is orthotics (devices used to correct the alignment). If the arch is weak, walking or running barefoot may help in strengthening the arches. However, orthotics is the best option, so consult your doctor before proceeding
Next time we will discuss the Pelvic Tile and how to listen to your body.
Until then, stay in great health.
 The brain can absorb about 11 million pieces of information a second, of which it can process merely 40 consciously. The unconscious brain handles the rest (Timothy Wilson in his book “Strangers to Ourselves”).