It's something you hear from adults al your life, and now that I am getting into my mid 30s, something I hear friends and colleagues say about having new aches and pains in their bodies:
"It's a byproduct of getting older."
From observation, it seems like most people feel incredible in their youth. They are agile, unbreakable, and pain free. Then, as they age, they get more aches and pains, their workout recovery times get longer, their joints get achy.
My body journey has been the exact opposite. Some people are born knowing how to use their body, I was not. I have no intact memories of childhood where I was not in pain. I had no balance, and constantly crashed into things (7 concussions before the age of 15), fell off of things, sprained ankles, dislocated joints. I was exhausted, never wanted to move, had such low blood pressure and temperature it amazed doctors. Caught every disease; I missed about 3 months of school in almost every grade. Everything was hard, my joints ached, my stomach ached, I threw up a lot. Thinking was hard, and I moved through life in a fog. I was obese by the time I was in 5th grade, weighing in at around 250 lbs.
For me, since about the age of 18, I have been on a body journey leading to me feel better. Every year of my life, I feel better than the year before. I have a clearer mind, less body aches, more injuries are rehabilitated. To me, getting older is a journey into feeling better. I don't believe that so many people have to feel so bad so early in their life! We start being more sedentary, drinking more, getting less sleep, being more anxious and stressed and we think what it does to our bodies is just "getting older".
It seems like what is really happening is that we are not caring for our minds and our bodies as well as we could be. This "getting older" is a little bit of an excuse. It takes our choices out of the equation and lets us throw our hands up and say "there's nothing I can do about it!"
Yes, there are legitimate biological things that are happening in the body that change over the course of a life time, but we can profoundly change our bodies with some time and attention. Learn to rework how we move and breathe, and undo to habits that we have unconsciously picked up along the way.
It takes time, and it takes attention. We often put our bodies last. We use them until they need attention so they break. It's a little like never changing the oil on your car until it runs out and breaks. Our bodies need our time and our attention, and our breath.
How you breathe affects your nervous system, it tells your brain whether you are safe or in danger. Your breath affects your athletic performance, and your musical performance. Breathing correctly lets you get the most out of many activities, including yoga practice, singing, talking, and massage. How you breathe calms your body down, and lets you release tension in your muscles, and helps you think more clearly.
It took me 30 years to learn how to breathe this well, and I am still improving. You can too!
In September I will be leading two classes centered around Breathing. These classes are for people who want to feel better in their bodies, and for singers and speakers who want to improve their voice/body connection. Classes will be offered via zoom and limited to 15 people each.
Sept 10- Oct 29
More information on signups to come.
You can also email me with any questions.
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Christa Durand is an arts educator, vocal technician, breathing coach, and musician.