Care for your body like your car

What if we took care of our bodies like we do our cars? Or our homes? I talked about this idea in a yoga class I taught this morning.

We’ve all probably heard these sayings… “Your body is your temple.” And “Your body is the only place you have to live.” These are incredibly wise words, words with which I doubt many people would disagree. Yet, how often do we really think about what that means?

Let’s imagine that we take care of our bodies like we take care of our cars.

We give it the fuel it needs to run, and that’s it. We wouldn’t want to add anything to the gas tank that clogs up the engine and hurts the car’s performance. (In human body speak, we only eat food that is good for us. We only eat food that makes us feel good and gives us valuable nutrients.)

Every 10,000 miles, we get an oil change to make sure what we have flowing through our engine is clean so our car performs at it’s best and doesn’t break down. (For our bodies, this could be doing a cleanse or a fast, drinking more water or re-committing to a highly nutritious diet.)

If it overheats, we fix it or else it will break down. (It we’re pushing our bodies too hard, we will physically exhaust ourselves, and we won’t be able to perform any longer. If we have too much stress in our lives, we’ll burn out.)

If the care makes a weird clunk or click or screech, we figure out what’s wrong and fix it. (If we’re in tune with our bodies and minds we’ll notice what is off. Maybe that pesky worry that keeps resurfacing or keeps us from sleeping needs to be addressed or let go. Maybe you notice a tight knot in your low back and find that you have a super tight back hips from sitting at your desk all day. Some stretching and regular standing breaks can help.)

We may take our car in for a general tune up just to be sure everything keeps running properly. (This could be a monthly massage, a daily light yoga practice, weekly art making, or talking things through with a therapist every so often.)

Similar analogies can be drawn with how we care for our homes. We clean, we decorate, we fix. After all, our cars and hour homes are investments. Their value depreciates if they aren’t cared for. Is that where our motivation comes from? If so, let’s put our bodies in the same terms. The value we get from our bodies is in our work, our play, our love, our everything. We will do all of this more effectively if we care for ourselves. From a preventative and financial standpoint as well, wouldn’t you rather feel great now and do what you can to avoid future medical issues? If health issues arise due to lack of self-care that’s more time at the doctor and more money out of your pocket.

Let’s pay the same attention and subsequently, give the same care to our bodies; and to our minds and emotions as well. We all have needs for self-care — the stuff that we need to do to keep ourselves feeling great. We need enough sleep, nutritious food, friends and family to love us, and fulfilling activities. How do all of these elements feel for you? What do you need more of and less of?

Yoga is one way for us to connect with ourselves in a meaningful way. We give ourselves the space and stillness we need to notice what’s up with our bodies, minds and emotions. This could be a great tool for you if you haven’t tried it already. There are many other ways to tap into yourself as well — meditation, a quiet walk, an art project.

Please, connect with you. Nuture you. Your body is your temple, and it’s also your car!

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