From time to time I enjoy going to the gym to train with weights (great for bone density!) and I’ve also noticed over the years how we increasingly exercise using machines which dictate our range, pace, duration, resistance and so on. We can now also have devices with us out running or track ourselves 24/7. It’s interesting, not to say paradoxical, that our physical, organic lives are becoming increasingly machine and technology dependent.
Perhaps we embrace this because, even when we are fitness training or participating in sport, it is actually our minds that tend to predominate. We are likely to be driven by will-power, a goal, or thinking tactically. Or perhaps we have to smooth out the stresses of the day and our mental chatter by listening to playlists or watching video screens. In different ways, both of these mindsets can get in the way of a direct and deeper connection with our bodies.
As both a yoga and postural health teacher I seek and work with the mind-body connection. ‘Yoga’ is a Sanskrit word meaning union, or integration, and it is this relationship of mind and body that gives ‘physical’ yoga practice much of its richness.
We seem to live in a world which increasingly takes over our head-space – often at the expense of our physical instincts and wellbeing. And while mindfulness practices, meditation or prayer can help bring calm and clarity to the mind, and in doing so hugely aid physical relaxation, our musculoskeletal system needs more to remain healthy.
Posture work can be a mindfulness practice that directly benefits our bodies. It helps us to embody natural and healthy movement in daily life – how to sit, stand, bend and walk in ways that both relax and stabilise our structure, rather than damaging our joints and backs. Postural work requires a willingness to explore, listen to your body, and change. Like yoga, it can inspire personal transformation and growth, and offers a path for that journey.
I highly recommend Esther Gokhale’s insightful book, ‘8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back’ for its beautiful illustrations and explanations of primal, functional, pain-free posture. If you’d be interested in attending postural workshops or finding out more about the Gokhale Mehtod, get in touch with me, Clare Chapman at www.gokhalemethod.com. If you’d like my yoga glass information or even want to contact me directly, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org