Do you have a relationship with your awareness?
I used to show up to yoga class, go through the motions and leave. I knew it made me feel great and at that particularly time in my life that was all I needed. An outlet to relax and move my body in a way that felt good.
As is the way with most things, the more you practice, the more intrigued in the process you become.
One of my great mentors used to say ‘be interested in the detail’. She has a way of teaching that takes you on a journey through the body using the breath. Her classes are captivating. You leave feeling transformed.
It is this interest in the detail that allow us to access another level of awareness.
If we consider awareness in 3 layers you would be very familiar with the outermost layer. Our outer world. The things we see around us. The next layer would be awareness of our minds. Our thoughts and emotions. And finally, the third layer, our body. Our feelings and sensations.
All interconnected, yet so separate. Most people move through their days only accessing the outer two layers of awareness. At their next Osteopath appointment they’re told their neck & shoulders are particularly tight. They hadn’t really noticed, but for the next week suffer from severe migraines. Not because of their treatment, but because their awareness has now shifted to an area of their body that needed their attention, but was never given it.
Did you know that from an Ayurvedic point of view there are 6 stages of disease?
6 Stages of Disease
We don’t suddenly become ill without having had warning signs along the way. Most people tend to ignore the signs. As illness progresses, it begins to manifest in the body in more obvious ways. Trying to get out attention. In fact, it’s not until after stage 4 that most peoples symptoms are severe enough for them to seek medical attention.
Stage 1: Accumulation
At this stage, our body starts to becomes blocked in one or more of our 3 Doshas (Body Types in Auyrveda Medicine) primary locations (Vata in the colon, Pitta in the small intestine and Kapha in the stomach) . Symptoms of an imbalance are noticeable at this stage. Aggravating factors include stress, repressed emotions, inappropriate diet or lifestyle, insufficient rest, environmental toxins, climate or seasonal changes.
Some of the warning signs include:
- dry skin
- aching joints
- loss of appetite
Stage 2: Aggravation
In Stage 2, our body continues to build up in the doshas. Our symptoms from Stage 1 become more pronounced.
Stage 3: Overflow
If we haven’t noticed a shift and taken appropriate action during stages 1 & 2, the aggravated doshas overflow from their primary locations into other areas of the body. Symptoms become far more pronounced.
Stage 4: Relocation
By the time we get to Stage 4, the aggravated doshas become lodged at new sites where there is weakness in the body. Symptoms are now felt at new locations. It is at this stage that most would seek medical attention.
Stage 5: Manifestation
A specific diagnosis is general made at Stage 5 e.g. heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc
Stage 6: Maturation
The disease by Stage 6 has fully developed into a chronic condition requiring intervention.
(Source: Six Stages of Disease from an Ayurvedic point of view – How we lose good health)
Increase your awareness – improve your wellbeing
I could go on to talk about the ayurvedic approach to balancing the body but for the purpose of this blog post I want to focus on awareness. Awareness of your body on a cellular level.
Taking the time to regularly tune into how your body is feeling is very important for good health and wellbeing.
So how do we do this?
Simple. Get still. We spend so much of our day running around after our kids, working on our businesses, keeping house etc etc etc…..that we barely have the chance. It sounds almost too simple right?! But it is.
The more time we can carve out to get still and simple observe the sensations in our body the better. The more you practice, the more familiar you’ll become with your body. I’ve noticed recently a large imbalance in my left side. It started with an aching down my right side (mostly from carrying from 2 year old) and eventually a numbness down my left. Now when I sit in meditation I feel a large disconnect with the left hand side of my body. Weird right? I’ve been treating it the entire time, from the moment I first noticed. It’s both structural, energetic and emotional. Without the awareness, who knows what position I’d be in now. My guess is in a lot worse state than that which I find myself in now.
Bringing awareness to your body doesn’t have to be a formal practice. Of course it can be, or you could simply try tuning into how your body’s feeling at varying times during the day.
If you want to dive a little deeper and use a formal practice, let Andy guide you through a body awareness meditation below.
Over to you mama. Do you have a relationship with awareness? Can you tune into how your body’s feeling? Don’t wait until illness sets in. Start practicing now.