Why You Need a Machine to Connect With Your Spirit
The hand axe was the first machine people built. In the thousands of years since then, our gadgets have grown in complexity and purpose. Yet, not a single one can match the efficiency and agility of the machine used by that first maker of the hand axe: the human machine.
Machines have been my passion since I was a child. My love for mechanics led me to earn my technical drafting certificate when I was 16 and living in Mexico. But my passion wasn’t fully realized until I applied my knowledge to the human body.
Today, I help my clients heal and avoid injuries by teaching them to be aware of their own body’s mechanics using time-tested techniques pioneered by Moshe Feldenkrais and Thomas Hanna. Learning to be aware of your body reduces your risk for injuries and enhances your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Body Awareness Explained
Body awareness means paying attention to what is usually overlooked: the marvelous mechanics of the human body.
What did you think about when you walked out of your front door this morning? Most people think about the best route around rush hour traffic, that important call to make the moment they get to work or whether they remembered to put the smart phone in their bag. Almost no one thinks about the astonishing way their body carries them through the doorway and down the steps.
And almost no one would be thankful for a blister. Yet a valuable lesson lies in a blister on a toe. Blister pain rises and falls in tandem with our steps, providing a relentless education in body awareness. The rising of your foot, the friction of your shoe against your toe, the moment of burning pain when your foot meets the ground becomes difficult to ignore.
And when you stop ignoring how your body moves, you’ll begin to see it’s a miraculous machine. Most importantly, you’ll be able to use your awareness to improve your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
How Body Awareness Affects Health
Our movements, even the automatic ones, influence our health and well-being. Posture, a movement we often don’t think about, is an excellent example. Our lifestyle encourages poor posture. Computer work, driving and cell phone use cause the head to be in front of the shoulders.
Yet, this slouching leads to neck and back pain. Poor posture also causes weak abdominal muscles that, in turn, lead to ankle and knee pain. Even rotator cuff injuries and tennis elbow can be traced to poor posture.
But physical pain isn’t the only issue stemming from sagging shoulders. Studies show slouching can increase depression and reduce energy.
It works the other way, too. Correcting your posture doesn’t just prevent problems. It changes your body chemistry for the better.
Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, presented a now-famous TED talk. In it, she explains how the right posture can make you more confident and successful. Standing strong even makes a positive impact on your testosterone and cortisol levels.
Body Awareness is Underrated
Unfortunately, we’re discouraged from connecting mindfully with our bodies when our society values the way our body looks, rather than how it feels.
Lifting machine weights may grow your biceps or tighten your abs, but it does nothing to create a truly functional body.
I show my clients how to perform multi-joint functional exercises. By using these specialized exercises, you use your body as the integrated, functional machine it is.
You’re not just engaging in mindless repetition; you’re thinking about your form. The result is greater body awareness as well as greater strength and stability to prevent injuries.
Awareness of Breathing While Walking
Breathing is the most important movement your machine makes. It sets the rhythm for a succession of internal processes. It also connects your body to your spirit. But you’re most likely doing it incorrectly.
Most people inhale by filling the chest cavity, creating tension in the neck and reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to the organs.
Breathing correctly, by expanding the belly, is a simple and powerful way to improve your health. It can lower your heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels.
You’ll probably need to practice belly breathing while sitting or lying down. By putting your hand on your belly, you’ll feel your abdomen expanding as you inhale. Notice how your breath slows. Notice also how your body begins to relax.
Belly breathing isn’t just for meditation. It’s an effective way to feel more relaxed and energetic throughout your day. It’ll take practice to make deep breathing automatic. But the practice itself will teach you to become more aware of how your body moves.
Gratitude Through Body Awareness
Try this exercise. Stand up from a seated position. But move as slowly as you can. Observe how the energy begins in your feet and rises. Observe each muscle as it contracts. It’s a movement you may repeat a hundred times a day and yet never appreciate the richness of the machine that makes it possible.
Gratitude is a natural outgrowth of awareness.
We have semi-private training classes that will help you raise your body awareness. You’ll learn how to integrate your mind and body. You’ll move with more ease and freedom. You’ll reduce your risk of injuries. Most importantly, you’ll connect your spirit with your machine.
Give us a call today to learn more.
“Keep on moving,”
Luis Ponce Sr.
( 408) 778-5577