It is pretty strange how most of the American culture teaches us to treat our bodies these days. We are taught to decorate them, to be ashamed of them, to flaunt them.
To ignore them until they are in pain. To pretend they hardly even exist until they are broken. To put food into them in order to distract us from uncomfortable emotions.
We are taught to use them to accomplish various distances on foot or on wheels. To put them into repetitive motion rituals, until we inevitably wear down a joint or two.
We are often taught to hate them, even though they are working for our survival 24 hours a day. We are often taught to use them, in order to get something we want.
What is missing? Increasingly I hear that people “don’t have time” for reversal and maintenance of the wear and tear.
One gentleman I encountered this year had lost about half of the mobility in his lower spine and hips – and was in constant stiffness and pain -, but he did not have time to do some back-strengthening and healing a few times a week. Work called. Too much work. But the path he was on was headed straight towards not being able to work at all.
Resisting the lessons – and rewriting them Most of us have not been taught by our culture that care for the human system is necessary to keep it functioning. If anything, we are taught that repetitive motion, athletic training, or cardiovascular pumping are the solution. But true care, rehabilitation, and regular maintenance of each system, including the mind, brain, and nervous system? That is rarely an option.
Comprehensive and regular maintenance of your entire human system is a notion that is still not at all mainstream. The various fitness franchises and trends popping up may provide short-term motivation, but a comprehensive healing system does not change with cultural whims. It can and should provide relief, refuge, and energy for decades. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
And as those decades pass, you will actually gain time, reduce pain, and transform infinite sufferings into understanding, healing, and countless realizations.
Ann Chrapkiewicz, M.A., is the founder, owner and director of Bikram Yoga Capital Area, an independent yoga school in East Lansing. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.