Reconnecting with your body is your best gateway to life-long health, well-being and, yes, happiness.
Movement is one of the most powerful (and free) treatments to maintain health and beauty. But what if you never moved much to begin with? What if you have pain or other limitations? What’s to do BEFORE you enjoy any kind of exercise?
Reconnect With Your Body
„It is never too late to be
what you might have been.“
– George Eliot
She sees people and their bodies with different eyes than most of us: Ayurveda practitioner, Scaravelli yoga teacher and osteopath Svenja Becker. We talked about pain patients, killer yoga (my term, not hers) and about baby steps to greater health and well-being.
Nath: Svenja, what kind of pain patients come to see you?
Svenja: Basically patients with all kinds of pain – knee, neck, shoulders, headaches, back pain, everything in between. Many individuals with sleep disorders. Here in Berlin we disconnect so quickly from our bodies. The best treatment is still being outdoors and walking barefoot. It sounds so simple but we humans need nature to feel happy and healthy and whole.
Nath: It’s really “in” to be outdoors and working out though. But I can’t shake the feeling that it’s equally “in” to promote it on social media to make believe…
Svenja: The yoga community is not free from self-promoters either. Although yoga is originally not a fitness trend, it’s a philosophy. People who like to share nice messages and inspirational quotes by the dozen on Facebook but aren’t even friendly to the supermarket staff – that’s not yoga. Taking care of yourself and caring for others from a healthy place, that’s what it should be about. So speaking of the loud world out there, there certainly is room for a countermovement, for something simple and quiet. Many of us long for the quiet.
Nath: Basically, the greatest wisdom is quiet – the answers to all our problems are so basic it seems simplistic: sleep well, drink enough water, move your body.
Svenja: That’s certainly true.
Nath: From your experience, what are the reactions to “simple” ways of healing? To the suggestion to lead a healthy, holistic lifestyle?
Svenja: I’d say there are two extremes. One concerns women in particular. They optimise and optimise, from diet to detox, and superfoods on top. It can end up being an obsession, and hurt more than it heals. The other extreme is someone stubborn, not willing to give up their sausage and their cake, not willing to stand up from the couch. These are extremes, like I said. Most patients love the sense of discovery when they start to feel better, and want to do more.
Nath: So how do you implement healthy habits for people too stuck in their – whatever kind of – rut?
Svenja: It’s the sense of achievement that drives change, that creates motivation. Adding healthy habits one by one – something small for the body, for better sleep. Maintaining the sense of curiosity is important. Being open to the sensations.
Nath: That sounds doable! But when it comes to movement, I know from readers’ questions that many people who haven’t been athletic in their life shy away from sports, even from something as beginner-friendly and great for mind-body-mindfulness as yoga. What do you advise?
Svenja: Yoga is a great way to move. Everybody has some kind of potential, and everybody practices yoga her or his own way. Yoga practice is not about comparison. It’s not helpful to watch slim, acrobatic models perform some super complex asanas on YouTube. This isn’t what yoga is about. I see many people with yoga injuries that occurred because their yoga mindset was the mentality of being, or becoming, the best in class. So I really encourage you to find a good teacher with a personal approach if you’re a beginner. If you have any health issues, always consult with your GP first to avoid injuries or complications.