Throughout our lives we consider many people to be our life partner. Whether it be our parents when we’re children, a partner as we discover love, our friends as we go through hard times or even a pet we have a special connection to. We spend so much time cherishing and caring for these relationships yet when it comes down to it… How many actually last?
We often blame the other person, problems in our lives or material possessions, but how many times have you stopped to think that it could be a lack of self care that may be the problem?
The truth is, your body is the only life partner perfectly made for you. Your body is made to provide you with shelter, healing capabilities, love and thoughts. It is yours to keep and the one thing in your life that you should be truly selfish about.
Your body is the one true life partner that sticks with you right from birth. Caring for it should come as your top priority throughout life to maintain not only your health, but a positive relationship with your mind and those around you.
So, how do you feel about your body? Do you love it and treat it with pride? Or do you go through life feeling maybe a little ashamed of it?
Maybe you like some bits, but some other bits… well, maybe you avoid having to look at them in the mirror? Don’t be afraid of what others may think of it – no matter how many other bodies you see on TV or in pictures, your body is unique. No one else, however close, can ever truly share it. And more importantly, your body is the only place you have to live in. So, the first step to being in harmony with it is to learn to accept and love it as it is.
Photo: Steve Janes/LakeHouse Photography
Ultimately, what you do to it is your responsibility. How you feed it, how you move it and where you spend your time is all down to you. No matter how many times people tell you to treat yourself a certain way – you’ll only listen and follow it through if you believe it’s right for you.
It is widely known that the more nutrients you feed yourself, the more you move and the more time you spend with nature all contribute hugely to not only having a healthy aesthetic, but also a healthy mind and soul.
So make the right choice. The more you care for your body, the more it will care for you. Provide it with the right foods, move it, nurture it, love it and you’ll notice the difference in yourself immediately.
So how do you do this?
The first step is to get into the habit of doing mental and physical exercise. Notice I used the word ‘habit’? The most important step is to carve out special times each day. I find the best time for me is straight after I wake up.
I have created my own ritual for when I wake up, one I look forward to and never miss.
There are a few things which you should consider trying out in order to achieve the ultimate body:
Medicine – Ayurveda
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest alternative full-body healing systems. It was created 3,000 years ago in India, way before modern medicine, yet is still trusted by many as their main health mechanism.
“Ayur” means life and “veda” means science or knowledge.
People who use Ayurveda believe in a delicate balance between the mind, body and spirit.
If this balance is in harmony with the universe, it is said to provide ultimate health. Although it is aimed more at promoting health rather than fighting disease, a balance can be created that takes specific health problems into consideration.
Injuries, emotions and seasonal change can all upset a healthy balance and contribute towards illness.
It is also believed that there is no bigger healing solution for the body than the mind.
To remain at one with yourself physically, Ayurveda teaches that you should go through all aspects of your life mindfully.
How you keep yourself fit is so important to creating a body that loves you back.
Yoga asana is a form of exercise that targets your body and your mind simultaneously.
Asanas are used as a base for practice. Asana is a Sanskrit term which translates to “posture” or “pose”. The word is traditionally defined as “comfortable seat”, meaning the seated posture used for meditation. However it is now more widely used to define any physical yoga posture.
I do different variations of a Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskara, routine every morning. This helps loosen up my body and get it working and flexible. It also wakes me up and gets me ready for whatever my day holds.
Photo: Steve Janes/LakeHouse Photography
Different yoga poses can be used to target different parts of your mental and physical well being. Yoga poses can be found to tackle depression, digestion, insomnia and infertility, to name just a few. Taking time out of your day to focus on yourself through yoga will add abundantly to your life. Different styles can be used to activate different muscle groups and give a new perspective on the practice, which stops the same routine from getting old and boring.
The best thing about yoga is that it can be done anywhere, so whether you prefer to go to classes with a friend or lay out a mat in your living room, the option is there.
Yoga is so popular because of its versatility – those who practice it listen to their bodies and feel no need to push themselves too far as there is no competition. The main thing to focus on, regardless of how many poses you can achieve first time, is your breathing.
The benefits of the practice tend to unfold over time, so don’t worry if you don’t feel the benefits straight away or can’t do everything first time. Patience and regular sessions will get you where you want to be.
Dealing with stress plays a part in how your body responds to day to day life. Problematic skin, hair and stomach issues can all be linked to how you’re feeling mentally, and chances are if you’ve had a long day at work, you’re not responding so well.
However, stress isn’t an un-fixable problem. There are many ways of dealing with it to keep mental clarity and a healthy body.
One of the most important ways is through meditation. Focusing your mind on a particular thought, object or activity for just five minutes each day can really add to your emotional well being and reinstate calm throughout your body. Buddhism teaches that it is the only real antidote to sorrows, anxieties, fears and general confusions that we experience day to day.
Turning your mind to a simplified version of your thoughts will offer you a sense of perspective on struggles you may have tackled throughout the day, or struggles you are about to go through. It is a form of observation on your own mind to create a sense of relief and self-awareness.
Some people tell me “I can’t meditate – other thoughts keep coming into my head”. We all have that experience but meditation is like physical exercise – the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Start trying to focus on the sounds you hear… just the sounds… all of them, from the ticking of a clock to the car driving down the street.
Take five minutes each morning as soon as you wake up to sit and reflect before doing anything else, including checking your phone. An immediate sense of relaxation will start your day off right and allow you to move through the day’s work in a peaceful manner.
It can be easy to go through days where there doesn’t seem to be a minute for yourself. Whether it’s work, school or family life, it’s sometimes hard to get time to rest.
Teaching yourself mindfulness can contribute massively to keeping you and your body grounded. By paying attention to your own feelings and the world around you, you’ll begin to notice the motions of each day becoming much easier to cope with.
To practice mindfulness, it is important to be present in each moment so as not to be overrun with emotion all at once.
Taking into account how you feel in particular moments will allow you to experience everyday activities with a fresh outlook. It teaches you to recognise where there are issues in your life, and where your emotions are getting the better of you.
Proper deep sleep is also essential for your body. It is recommended to have minimum 7h sleep for an adult so your body can regenerate.
All of these factors play a vital part in how your body reacts to you. Practicing creating a healthy mindset of body, mind and spirit through Ayurveda will contribute to overall health. Yoga asana practice will increase your physical wellbeing and release endorphins and meditation and mindfulness will look after your mind to reduce stress and keep you thinking positively.
Your body is your only permanent address, so you should look after it well, for it to look after you.
It is your own responsibility, which no one else can share as it is yours and yours alone.
Your True Life Partner
Material possessions come and go, money comes and goes, friends and relatives are not permanent. However the body you have been given is the only one you have so look after it and keep it fit and healthy. No one can help your body more than you! It is most important to enjoy it and use it every way you can to get the most out of your life, both physically and mentally. Don’t worry about anyone else’s opinions, because as long as you are happy, it will show and you will glow.
Most people don’t know how good their body is designed to feel. Make a difference and start with your own to set an example for loved ones around you. The body is a reflection of the mind – a symbol in flesh and blood of everything you think and feel.
Remember this and you’ll watch yourself grow into a better person each day and inspire those around you to do the same!
Also by Laetitia: