Gazing out over my garden on a still summers day, watching the flittering and fluttering of the bountiful butterflies, listening to the warm hum of the summer bees, I am struck with the impermanence of it all. Sitting here today with such peace and lush beauty it seems impossible to think of it being any other way. But as Summer gives way to Autumn, and Autumn to Winter we hardly notice the changes taking place in front of our eyes, until one day we stop and take a look and see what is front of us.
Before we know it the lush green of plenty has given way to the barren of Winter. The trees losing their leaves, their branches, a stark outline providing scarce shelter for rare birdsong.
It occurs to me that this is symbolic for our bodies, which are young and flexible with the youth of spring and summer and how like the turning of the seasons we hardly notice the changes that are taking place within and without. Have you ever seen one of those speeded up nature films that show a plant coming into bud or the decay of plants and animal life? I am wondering what a speeded up film of our body would look like over the course of a life time. Will yours be long and flexible like the willow or bent over and rigid like the old lightening tree. It’s what we do on a regular basis that will determine the outcome of our frame, this container that we call a body to take us through our lives. If you sit hunched over a computer for much of the day then of course your body will adapt to that position and change accordingly, as with anything we do. We get good at what we practice.
Maybe you have noticed that it’s a bit more difficult to get that seat belt on or to reverse the car. Or perhaps reaching round to put your arm through a sleeve has become a little tighter.? How do you want to approach the Autumn and Winter of your lives? it’s what you do now that will shape the body that you live in later. It’s never too late to start moving; your body will respond with a joy and gratitude and maybe even a sigh of relief.
One simple thing that you can do to help lengthen your spine, improve your posture and provide more space for the discs and vertebrae is to think about where is the point of your gaze. Where do your eyes normally focus when you are going through your everyday? Are you looking down, maybe to the left or to the right? If your gaze is down your head will be down too which will start rounding the upper back and shoulders, contributing to the downwards stoop of the autumn and winter body. So even without moving much or doing too much by adjusting your gaze position you can radically effect your posture, and your mood too. You may notice if your mood is low your body follows, If you are feeling down, the eyes and head are usually down too.
Think of the crown of your head reaching upwards towards a blue sky lift your gaze to the horizon, try it, as you go about your day, see how it feels, stand tall, look around at your world you may find lifting your gaze lifts your spirits a little too. And as we approach the end of another summer, why not go back to the garden of youth, the eternal summer and commit to a regular practice of movement. Move more in your everyday life, take the stairs, stretch, breathe deeply, bend to smell the flowers, look up and reach for the stars, sing, and walk, laugh loudly, love with an open heart and chest. Bend with the suppleness of a young willow.
If you would like to be more in touch with your body and improve your body awareness, attend Pilates classes in Harpenden or St.Albans, please contact Susanne