Movement has changed me. It’s a simple word with such a broad meaning, and it’s an act we’ve probably all taken for granted at some point. I know I have. I believe there’s absolutely a connection between our mind, body, and soul, with movement being the connection. Once I learned that taking proper care of our well-being might be the most important way to recalibrate, I asked, what better place to begin than with moving our beautiful bodies? We have free range to customize movement to our liking, and while I usually find my center on my yoga mat, I’ve taken a deeper look into how we can consider our most organic habits and rituals around it as a source of healing. To my surprise, it only required my effort and my focus.
The more I learn about myself, I realize that I’m unable to be a force in this world if I’m not aligned with my body. So much so that I’ve had to prioritize finding ways to tap out of society and into understanding my body’s language. Burnout is real, and we owe it to ourselves to press pause when necessary without the fear of missing out. Of course, this is so much easier said than done, but from some pretty uncomfortable personal experiences, I believe self-preservation should be our focus. For me, restlessness and anxiety indicate that I’m out of alignment. My mind is everywhere but the present, and my body doesn't feel like my own. This sensation is not only disturbing, but it’s also a huge drain on the energy I’d rather use to effectively show up for life’s obligations. Initially, finding ways to combat this seemed tedious, so naturally, I avoided it until I couldn’t. The New York buzz, traveling for work, and carving out time for play have taken a major toll on my body and mind. As I’ve come to realize, adulthood is a beautiful yet complex experience, so finding quick and helpful ways to fill my cup has become one of my most sacred intentions. Movement—in its purest form—has been the action I’ve coupled with my intention.
To no surprise, the idea of intentional-movement practices dates way before my time and is considered a form of medicine in several parts of the world. Studies have shown that intentional movement releases endorphins, helps us process emotions, and strengthens our connection to our bodies. Practices familiar to us today such as yoga, Pilates, qigong, and tai chi each have roots in ancient times, serving as a means to gain focus, clear energy, and assist with body and mind realignment. This was useful insight as someone who loves a yoga class, however, I must admit that my biggest obstacle is time management. My goal then has been to find quick, more convenient, and still effective resources with equally healing benefits. With a topic as broad as movement, I’ve worked to shift my perspective to notice that I was already participating in my own form of healing without a need for the structure I’d thought was required.
In conversation with friends and family, I was challenged to consider movement in any form as a catalyst for the change I was looking for. This stuck with me, piqued my interest, and further reshaped how I think about movement. I soon realized how stretching, going for walks, and even dancing freely could play a part in centering my mind and releasing unwanted energies while giving my heart some action. It had been my absentmindedness when partaking in these activities that hindered me from fully experiencing the healing process. Mindfulness as it relates to movement refers to our focus and therefore constitutes intentionality of the practice, aiding in a sense of resolution. Ultimately, this exercise is a suggestion to silence the noise in a meditative manner. It opens our minds to receive and gain a better understanding of what our bodies need. In all seriousness, intentional and mindful movement can be the deep sigh you need and can be an amazing customizable coping mechanism for all abilities.
Since bringing moments of intentional movement into my daily life, I’ve noticed that I’m better able to manage my anxiety, which has also impacted how I’m able to show up for others. I’m able to be proactive in meeting my needs emotionally, mentally, and physically. I’ve succeeded in clearing unwanted energies that are weighing me down. Such benefits motivate me to maintain consistency. It’s been a great help in building a healthy and compassionate relationship with myself. I’ve learned just how much our bodies endure on any given day and, with a more mindful listening approach, I’ve become more careful about what I expose myself to. This abundant lifestyle shift is exactly how our most basic movement habits are healing. Who knew!
While healing might look different for you in your intentional and mindful movement practice, I hope that sharing my experience has given you some momentum to try. To get started, consider evaluating your relationship to movement. We can greatly benefit from quality time with ourselves when our minds connect to our bodies. So tune in, wave your arms, hit your child's pose, move your hips, and dance to get your energy flowing freely. The beauty is that no one's practice is the same. To the contrary, healing intentional movement should give us freedom and encourage creativity rather than restraint. When we understand how our bodies communicate with us and how positive we feel as a result of intentional reaction and movement, it’s difficult to ignore. This results in the evolution of a beautiful harmony with yourself. Remember that healing is in present moments, so let’s allow this to be another resourceful means of journeying back to our freest selves. Because we very much deserve it.
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