Wednesday, November 10, 2010

what's your story?

The body holds stories.

The body holds memories. Just as it holds tension. The aches and pains are related to certain experiences, whether it's an injury, a stressful experience, or an important event. Where you feel the tension, tightness, or aches may change, depending on where you are right now. On your story at this moment. Our bodies hold stories, and we have to listen.

I realized, that in addition to my aches and pains in my lower back (from not knowing how to sit properly - thanks to chairs that are almost always oversized for my... ahem... petite stature), hips (from sitting A LOT at the computer for work and school), and shoulders (ditto), I also tend to hold tension in my jaw. Not good.

A little TMI: My dentist, on my last visit a month or so ago, said, "I see you've been grinding your teeth at night." She asked me if I wake up with a sore jaw and/or a headache. Or if I subconsciously tighten my jaw when I'm concentrating or when I'm tense. I told her I never paid attention to that.

(And since I AM concentrating right this second I had to draw attention to my jaw just to make sure it's relaxed.)

Now that I'm trying to be more aware, I realize that yes I do sometimes wake up with a sore jaw and a headache. And yes I tend to tighten my jaw when I'm focusing, or when under stress. The body doesn't lie.

And I have to admit, that for someone who LOVES movement - from years of gymnastics, dance, swimming, yoga, etc... I don't always have the most keen sense of body awareness when I'm not doing any of the above activities.

Which tells me... that I still have so much to learn. About self-awareness. Self-monitoring. Stress management. Easing physical tension as a way to ease mental and emotional tension. 

During a yoga practice, instructors would usually remind people to relax the jaw during savasana. Or any other pose. To relax the forehead and the space between the eyebrows. To relax the facial muscles even while in a challenging pose. To just breathe. It's something I have said myself in classes I have taught before, and it's something that I'm still reminding myself to do outside of an asana practice. To be self-aware in other areas of my life. It is a challenge, given that my story at this moment (and for the next couple of years) is one of intense pressure. Deadlines. Performance. Which makes it all the more important, so I can get through this current stage in my life with some degree of self-care and well-being.

So what's your story? What story are your muscles and bones telling you? Are you a writer with wrist issues? A chef on your feet all day? Does your back beg to be massaged after a day of lifting heavy items? Or does your heart feel heavy after listening to other people and helping them work through their problems?

What story are you holding in your body? Where in your body do you feel blocked? And how do you listen to your body?

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