I wholeheartedly believe that we need to move. Our bodies were not built for stillness all the time. Our minds and bodies are deeply entwined, but in order for both to remain healthy we must give ourselves time and space for mindful movement so there is minimal misalignment and we can listen to the messages our bodies are giving us. I recently rediscovered just how uncomfortable it feels to not move regularly when I became very ill and found myself in bed for days.
At some point in my misery of feeling sick and being laid up in bed my body began to feel awful. Not just sick awful, but stiff, sore, achy, and congested. I was not moving. I felt too miserable to move. Simply making it down the hall to the kitchen for water felt epic and unmanageable some days. How could I possibly ask my body to move in this state? Then I began to wonder how much of the state my body was in could be traced back to the lack of movement. I decided it was time to roll out the yoga mat and start moving again. I gave myself some clear boundaries knowing full well that I would be able to talk myself out of practicing at all before I had even finished unrolling my mat. I would do a few cat-cows, two sun salutations, and a few gentle spinal twists. No matter how I felt or what came up I was going to move through this gentle and short practice. And I did. It was not easy. My body did not want to move through the poses. My breath was uneven and shallow. My mind kept nastily commenting, “This is what your yoga practice has become? I bet you couldn’t balance on one leg or do an inversion if your life depended on it right now.” Later in the day my body started to feel a little better, a little clearer. I was still sick, that had not changed, but I felt empowered, stronger. I had managed to complete a short yoga practice. My body felt a little more open and a little less congested.
While I am not yet well and I am light years away from where my yoga practice was just a month ago, I feel better after returning to a daily practice. My body is stiff and achy from illness, not lack of movement. My mind has begun to clear and quiet. I feel more focused and less like wallowing in my sick misery. I am also reminded, yet again, of how important movement and mindfulness are…no matter how we are feeling or what our actual physical capabilities are in the moment. The mind and body must have time and space to align with one another in healthy and beneficial ways. The body needs to be listened to, in moments of stillness and movement. It is easy to get stuck when we remain in one state for too long. This stuckness is where problems, sickness, and disconnection arise. It is important to fully be in, and embrace, where we are at any given moment, but we also must move and create space for what may lie ahead.