by Megan McDonough
In a well-known Washington Post experiment, one of the world’s best violinists, Joshua Bell, played a Stradivari at a train station during rush hour in D.C. Hardly anyone noticed. That’s what most of us do with this priceless human body—fixate the mind on the tasks at hand and ignore everything else. In this post, we’ll explore very simple ways to pay attention to the body.
Move, Play, and Have Fun
According to the Post article, there was one group of people who consistently stopped to listen to the violin: children. At least they tried to stop, until an adult pulled them along. There were things to be done and deadlines to meet.
As children, we recognize beauty, we know the joy of play, and we don’t walk with a purpose. Instead, children hop, skip, run in circles or dance to get from point A to point B. Getting to point B is not the point, after all. It’s the journey that matters.
Playing is … well, fun. Forget the gym. It smacks too much of adult need to accomplish the goal of “being fit.” Instead, go sledding. Jump on a trampoline. Swing. Skip. Jump rope or jump in a lake.
Or, if you dare, do as CNN suggests and Prancercise instead of exercise.
Nap, Rest, and Sleep Yoga
After children play, they crash. Naps are good for adults too, as they increase alertness, mood, creativity, and productivity.
One of my favorite ways to rest and rejuvenate is called yoga nidra, also known as yogic sleep. It’s just a movement of your attention from one part of the body to the next. Richard Miller’s iRest Program has been used in numerous research studies from veterans with PTSD to stressed out college students.
Try the 20-minute practice yourself here.
All work and no play makes us dull. Pay attention to this moment by re-focusing your attention on your physical body.
Megan McDonough is CEO of Wholebeing Institute, an educational organization co-founded with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar. WBI is committed to spreading ideas and practices that can help individuals and groups live life to its fullest. Click here for a course listing.