Rx #2: Body Rituals
I believe it’s important to develop a set of rituals to be more in tune with and responsive to your body. Your body is the first body that you have to engage with before you engage with any other body. So, I want to offer a list of rituals that I have been doing or that I am currently practicing to do regularly:
- Morning Stretches: I don’t always have the time to exercise or feel energized enough to exercise. But one ritual I do after I wake up is make sure I do at least a few stretches since my body has been rigid and not moving for hours. It helps to realign my body and prepare me to be active for the day by easing into it through slow movements. I think too much our culture emphasizes that exercise has to be quick and intense moves and it can be simple and slow. Also, I do stretches throughout the day when I feel as if my body is too stiff or has been stuck in a position too long. For example, I will stretch my fingers after typing on my laptop for too long.
- Morning Meditations: My mother is devoutly Christian and likes to wake up every morning reading and studying the Bible. I didn’t do that, but this year I decided that I would do my own form with tarot and other oracle decks. Each morning, I pull a card and meditate on what the message of that card is and how it will guide my day. It’s a great way to open the day and set my day off right for myself.
- Deep Breaths and Moments of Stillness: I am an anxiety-filled person. I know I don’t seem like it on the outside, but trust me I am. My body tenses up quickly and easily under stress. So I am in practice of developing a ritual of taking a deep breath and having a moment of stillness where I relax my body before I have to do anything that is physically, mentally and/or emotionally stressful. It allows me to start at zero so I don’t add on more tension to a body already filled with tension.
- Self-Touch: Last year made me realize how important touch is and so I encouraged myself to develop a greater intimacy with my body through touch. I regularly do self-massages with oil or shea butter (Mu Healing has been one of my go to’s) on areas like my neck, my left hip and my feet that often become stiff or painful. I give myself soft, sensual massages or touch because our bodies deserve to feel pleasure and not just adapt to pain or harsh touch. One area that I don’t think we focus on when it comes to massage is our face, so that is one area I am showing more care.
- Watching ASMR Videos Before Bed: I know some people are grossed out by ASMR video, especially the food-related ones. I don’t particularly like the food ones either, but I do enjoy role-play, sound and “touch” ones. It is surprisingly soothing, and helps me to appreciate pleasure and sensuality in my own body. A few examples of ones I enjoy are the plucking the bad energy/cord-cutting with scissors (I like the sound the scissors make) and finger fluttering sounds. Some of my favorite ASMR Youtubers are Batala, Soft Whispers, Reiki Healing Hope, Trigger the Tingles, Annura, Nefertiti, African Xhosa, Silver Hare, Lune Innate, and 곰돌이 숭늉이 [Bear Soongnyoong].
- Intentions, Mindfulness, and Essential Oil Before Bed: Every night, I spray this lavender spray from Perry Boyce around my room while saying either a statement of gratitude or my intentions for a restful sleep. As with the ASMR, doing so helps me to disconnect from all the stress of the day and settle into sleep.
Those were some of the rituals I do and I hope they inspire you in your own. Do you have any body rituals? Please share in the comments!