Monday, October 26, 2009
Maps Of the Lives That We Have Led
I teach a movement class that emphasizes body awareness. One of the pleasures of the class is reading the students' thoughts as they are exposed to the ideas and exercises in the course. One of my students wrote something interesting in her journal and gave me permission to post it. She writes:
We are born with the bodies we have, and all our unique talents and discrepancies and things that come naturally to us, and it’s up to us to decide how to use them, and in what ways we want to stretch ourselves, and what positions we put ourselves in. I read some Native American proverb or something once that said something like, “our faces are the maps of the lives we’ve led,” referring to wrinkles or sunspots or what have you, and I think our bodies are the same way. I find that I can sometimes tell what sport a person plays by their body type and how they carry themselves, especially if they’re really good or have played for years, and I wonder if it’s because they’ve spent so long moving themselves in those particular patterns that their bodies start to reflect the sport; or if it is that they gravitate to the sport that their body is naturally suited for. -Penelope
Our bodies are maps of the lives that we have led. Of course, we are born a certain way, with the face we have and with the body we have, but as we age our bodies and our faces reflect our life style and history. How we use our bodies, how we abuse our bodies, how we eat, how we move, how we express, how we stifle...it is all reflected in our posture, our musculature, our movement, and our health. We are drawn to certain activities because of how we are built and wired, and at the same time, our bodies respond to the activities that we do. If you practice yoga for long enough, it will show in your posture. If you run distances, you will develop long, sleek muscles. If in your culture, you carry water on your head, you will walk with aplomb and grace. If you sit at a computer day after day for hours without stretching, eventually you will suffer from neck or back pain. Your posture, your strength, your flexibility, the tension you hold and your stamina is in great part a reflection of how you live in your body.
Be mindful of how you live in your body.
Move. Dance. Walk. Stretch. Relax. Eat well. Sleep well. Treat yourself to bodywork.
Live in your body well. Live well in your body.
Wishing you balance,