Friday, June 11, 2010

Listening to My Body

Friday, June 11, 2010—where has this year gone? It seems like yesterday was January 1st, and now the year is half over. Then we shivered in the below zero cold, wished for warmth and didn't believe that it would ever come. Now we swelter inside oven-like heat with 100% humidity and wonder if we were ever cold!
In the last few weeks, I have discovered Zhan Zhuang, the practice of standing still, which seems to be a precursor of Tai Chi. I discovered this through the blog, Voyage to DISCOVERy; the author has links to Zhan Zhuang video clips and I practice along with them. I have also read Geneen Roth's new book, Women, Food and God, which advocates listening to your body.
The combination of these two things has led to greater body awareness, to ways that I am hunching my shoulders, twisting my legs, or curving my spine. I find myself coming back to center during the day in quiet moments. I also feel more stamina since following Zhan Zhuang, and I am able to breathe easier.
One of the ideas that Zhan Zhuang advocates is practicing outside, close to trees. I am really more of an inside girl—I like nature in theory, and in practice I am squeamish around bugs, heat, plants that make me itch, breezes that blow my papers around, etc. This morning, I decided that I would take my Zhan Zhuang practice outside in the early morning; I would greet the dawn and fill my lungs with fresh air. I stepped outside in the lightening darkness, performed my warm up movements and assumed the position of stillness. Within three seconds, I was a morning feast for the mosquitoes! I could almost hear them calling out to their friends, "Hey, guys, look—it's breakfast!" I could see them flying around and feel them biting me. Right away, I incorporated Geneen's advice to listen to my body, which said, "Run back in the house! Now!" I did. Then I resumed my Zhan Zhuang while pondering that age-old question: Do they have mosquitoes in China?


differenceayearmakes said...

I'm so thrilled that you have discovered zhan zhuang through my blog! And the mosquito story so makes me laugh :). I must admit I practice more indoors than I do outdoors. There are times of year when outdoors works - and time it doesn't.

Linda said...

Rebecca, I am thrilled that you stopped by! I am also thrilled to discover Zhan Zhuang through you--even though part of me doubts that standing still can make a difference--the rest of me KNOWS that I feel better already. I love reading your posts--we like several of the same things--and I have also discovered so many new ideas. Thank you!

MizB said...

Do you have more interest in the "listening to my body" thing, in regards to eating? 'Cause I could suggest a whole slew of books (I love "intuitive eating", and have been working at it for years -- had some excellent success with it, but then fell away and had to restart).

I actually just found a neat-looking book by Thich Nhat Hahn, the other day, called "Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life". It looks interesting, so I've got a copy coming to me from the local library. :)

I haven't read a ton of stuff about "listening in", other than the books focused on eating, but it's definitely worth looking into -- slowing down could do EVERYONE some good, right?

Should Be Reading

Linda said...

MizB, the book you suggested sounds good--I will have to look it up. I've read several of Geneen Roth's books, some of Brooke Castillo, and some other bloggers who deal with intuitive eating. I also did the Weigh Down system several years ago. When I follow the principles, I lose weight--but now I can't seem to follow the principles! I checked out your blog(s)and I really like them--I'm sure I'll visit you again! Thanks for stopping by!

The Riverside Writer said...

Great post, Linda! you know I love to write outdoors, but i need to connect, or rather, REconnect with the other lessons you mentioned. I have not yet read Women, Food, and God, but would like to - thanks for the reminder!