Body care must first and foremost be a lifestyle. It cannot be a fad or a new year’s resolution. It can’t be a drudge and a responsibility that has to be taken care of . It has to be a desire, a delight. Whatever the initial motivation, body care becomes a relationship and a kind of passion- that’s right; not obsession, but passion.
Below is a list of principles for GST® body care. The first three related to approach and the final three to the practice of body care.
As to approach:
- Investment: Investment in your body is the best investment you will ever make. Body care is prevention and as Benjamin Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. If you invest in your body, you can avoid almost every major body problem. Your investment helps the body do the thing it does best: keeping you alive.
- Intentionality: Consciousness is another key element in body care. In the beginning, you will have to put in a little more effort to learn about your body. If you have a major crush on a person, you try to spend a lot of time with that person in the beginning, getting to know them. You don’t see it as a chore, but as a delight. When you start learning about your body and living inside your body experiences, you will start to really like it. It’s fun, interesting, and pleasurable. I would like you to develop a crush on your body and start a relationship with it.
- Communication: To get to know someone you must communicate with them, which requires both speaking but most importantly, listening. It’s interesting how most of our communication with our bodies is a one way street. We are usually damning the hell out of our body for not looking the way we want it to, frustrated for the pain it’s putting us through, or hating it for cravings you can’t resist. It is interesting to start listening to the body. Nerves have a different “voice” (sensations) than does muscle tissue. Fascia feels differently and behaves uniquely from the surrounding muscle tissue. The body communicates through sensations. If you are listening to the body- the body will tell you well in advance of injury and disease. Pain is not the first step in the degenerative process it is the sign that your body has already been compensating and is compromised. True prevention is in the listening. The conscious living and listening to the body.
When it comes to the practice of body care there are three things to consider:
- Intensity: Remember, the body hates extremes. A requirement of good body care is moderation. Whatever you do for your body must be moderate, especially in the beginning when you’re introducing new items and stimulus to the body systems. There must be a time of introduction. However, it’s hard for most of us to do anything in moderation these days. We live lives that are adrenal; stress at home and in the office leaves us feeling overstimulated, under slept and therefore over tired and just stressed in general. If we work out in order to “work off our stress,” we head to the gym to power through a work out. But in actuality, most workouts over adrenalize our tissue. This is deceptive because after a traditional cardio or weight workout, people feel physically exhausted and they mistake this feeling for “working off steam”, where in truth it’s an adrenal burn out, putting our bodies into further adrenal depletion.
- Frequency: Fascia likes regularity. The stop and start of any type of body care is not optimal. The body is reliable and dependent on constants. The more steady and regular your practice of body care, the more the body responds and the more it can assimilate the input in order to transform.
- Sustainability: Consistency. In operating a studio for more than 20 years its been an interesting study in people’s bodies but also a study of human behavior. It remains a bit of a mystery why people are unable to regularly and consistently attend to their bodies. Sometimes I thought it was because we are programmed by modern culture and technology to distraction and over stimulus. This makes listening to the more subtle communication of the body challenging. Maybe people are unable to value their health until it’s taken from them. Perhaps it because they see body care as a chore, not a pleasure; or as a workout and not as a sport. Whatever the reason, the body is neglected or simply ignored. I believe that the only way to overcome body indifference and develop a body care habit is by changing our ideas and ideals and therefore our relationship to our bodies.
While this can be challenging if you are already in pain, hopefully this will help give you a new perspective and way of thinking about your body care. And please, stay tuned for more suggestions on how to transform your body care, which will ultimately help you to transform your body and life.