It was a Saturday, my favorite class of all. I set my intention for my practice and took a deep breath. Class began. Seconds later I lifted my arms into Warrior One and then I felt it, a sharp pain on my left side. It started out as a dull ache, and then it began to throb. I finished out the yoga class determined to bypass my injury.
For days following I iced it, used arnica and took natural remedies. Although the pain diminished, it never disappeared. Then I sneezed and it was all over. I couldn’t take a deep breath and I was in agony. I knew I had popped a rib. Although it seems there is an easy explanation for this injury, the root was much deeper. I literally couldn’t breathe.
Life had been hectic at best, and time was moving at warp speed. I am a holistic nutritionist going through a major expansion at work, and to say I was over-scheduled is an understatement. Each night I went to bed praying for a clock that ran on a 48-hour schedule, because 24 just wasn’t cutting it. My BlackBerry was always on, I was constantly running somewhere and I feared what was on my daily calendar—literally. I knew I needed balance, peace of mind and a place to breathe freely. Luckily I found it through yoga.
Yoga is my place of quiet and it seems I hear the most profound messages during and right after my practice. On this particular day the message came in the form of my body virtually screaming at me. I had way too much on my plate and I was feeling suffocated. My body actually mimicked this emotional feeling through the injury that restricted my breathing. I got the message.
Our emotions can play an enormous role in our health and are often the cause of many of our chronic conditions. In Chinese Medicine, each organ system has an emotional characteristic. For example, the liver can be associated with feelings of unresolved anger, the kidneys can be connected to feelings of fear and the thyroid gland is linked to the voice and emotional expression. Oftentimes an imbalance in the body can be traced back to an emotional situation that has been suppressed, or a conscious issue that is unresolved. In my case, my injured rib represented an inability to breathe due to an overload of responsibilities.
I have worked with countless clients on a multitude of heath conditions and it wasn’t until recently that I really started to hone in on the emotional root of many of these issues. One of the chronic complaints in today’s society relates to digestion. Many times digestive issues can correlate to whatever it is you aren’t “digesting.” This could be a career that feels wrong or a relationship that is stressful. It varies from person to person. Although these individuals often need better nutrition, what they really need is to balance out their soul.
The body speaks to us on a daily basis. It may come in the form of a headache or a “gut feeling.” It may also be digestive distress, depression or weight gain. The more connected you are to your core, the easier it is to eradicate the symptom and uncover the true cause. The key is to accept your body, exactly where it is today, and start the process of listening.
5 Ways to Truly Heal Your Body
1. Ask yourself what makes you happy. This question is key. Identify 5 people or things that really bring you joy and then ask yourself how many of these people things are currently in your life.
2. Identify the symptoms that are “uncomfortable” and start to take notice when they occur. Maybe you suffer from headaches that happen in certain situations. Maybe you are unable to say no to people or situations that drain you. Ask yourself why you put other people’s needs before your own?
3. What are your dreams? Make a list of your aspirations. What is stopping you?
4. Quiet time. Carve out some time for silence. It is impossible to connect with your inner self when you are constantly surrounded by chaos. The peace you create within will begin to connect with your external world. Try meditation, yoga, deep breathing, journaling, or just resting.
5. Affirmations. Affirmations are a way to connect your body and your brain. Although you may not believe what you are saying at first, the cells begin to absorb the statement and the brain will catch up. Say this several times per day: I am healthy, I am strong and I deserve to live in a body, and a life that I am proud of.