Body Wisdom for Health
“What I try to do is to get people to listen to their body; to get them to hear what’s going on; and respond to that.” – David Heard
As David Heard presents it to his elite athletes, as he did with people at his national paralysis rehabilitation centre and continues to do today with everyday individuals such as you and I, this teaching is to promote a new culture of listening to the body. It is something that both he and I are passionate about. David and I are delighted to be teaming up to bring The Body Wisdom Campaign and Culture to a wider audience.
Listening to the body has a purely positive impact upon any other health activities that individuals may be involved in. But more importantly, it is the breakthrough that allows people to take the next step from being constrained to following regimented, formulaic procedures for health and physical vitality, to actually being able to observe what is going on within themselves and thereby responding to that, to make a difference for the better.
We believe that we can touch millions of lives by inspiring a new culture of listening to the body, and invite you to both embrace the wisdom yourself; and support and encourage the development of the culture for others. In fact, it is nothing new. Many people have been aware of the practice for many years. It’s simply that so far they make up a relatively small percentage of the world’s population.
In our approach, we think of body wisdom in two distinct parts; listening and the ability to respond, and both are distinct key skills to regain. But they are inexorably interwoven and interdependent – a holistic One.
Listening to the Body
We all honour our body’s needs, at least to some degree, otherwise we would all die of thirst, for starters! Generally, though, the wiser culture of listening and inner knowing is in its infancy.
What we wish to do with Body Wisdom then, is to heighten the quality of awareness to more effective levels, and expand this through a broader range of bodily areas.
Let’s say we are ambitious and enthusiastic enough to go straight for a fully comprehensive approach to listening to the body, and to the self. We may wish to develop awareness, for example, in the following various, clear and distinct areas of listening to and responding to;
- The heart as a muscle.
- The other muscles – individually one by one, and collectively as a whole.
- Energy and fitness levels.
- The lungs, kidneys and other organs.
- Breathing, pulse rate, and calmness levels.
- Hunger, thirst and digestion.
- The quality of our sleep and wakefulness.
- Structure and posture: bones, joints and movement.
- The tone of our skin, it’s lustre, taughtness, texture.
- Mental activity and it’s balance.
- Enthusiasm and emotional activity.
We may wish to re-frame this in a more friendly and appealing way, particularly for the beginner, in terms of being ‘true to self’. In this we recognise and honour all of the natural exuberances, potential and desires we have. For example:
- To maximise and embrace our potential for heart health.
- To maximise and embrace our potential for flexibility.
- To maximise and embrace our potential for fitness.
- To maximise and embrace our potential for relaxation and inner calm.
And to maximise comfort within our own body, in terms of:
- Having relaxed, healthy, strong, comfortable muscles.
- Feeling well fuelled and having a comfortable stomach and digestion.
- Feeling strong and comfortable with regard to our bones, joints and posture.
Of course, these are ways to develop specific awareness, as part of the overall aim of listening to EVERYTHING that we are doing and that is going on.
Listening to the body also allows us to cultivate a more enlightened relationship to symptoms.
Developing awareness in this way allows us to see the cause of the symptoms we may experience, which may encourage us to remove the causes. Rather than (or as well as) treat the symptoms of dis-ease. We learn to listen to our symptoms as friendly message carriers. We listen to our body for signals. Symptoms are those things that started out as signals that were sufficiently repeatedly ignored, so that they had to shout so loud to get our attention that they caused us pain and discomfort. So it is important to think of them as being on our side, guides to help us recognise and remove the cause.
It’s also important to remember that whatever ’score’ we may wish to give ourselves for our ability to listen to our body, it can only be enhanced and bring benefit by any new intent we have for better listening from now on. These are all positive steps on the way to personal physical congruence and physical self mastery.