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How Aware Are You of Your Own Body?

January 13, 2012
For many people, yoga is far more than exercise—it's a spiritual practice.

Our focus here at Clean Plates is on healthy eating, but clearly, there’s more to living a healthy life than eating well.  How you spend your time, and who you spend it with, for example, affects your mental and physical health just as much as that kale smoothie or free-range burger. And of course, physical activity is a huge part of the equation.

We often hear about benefits of exercise like burning calories, building strength and flexibility and the mood-boosting effects of endorphin release. What we don’t always hear about is the power of physical activity to help us develop physiological awareness —in other words, awareness of our own bodies.

This kind of body awareness is a big part of what Clean Plates founder and nutritional consultant Jared Koch emphasizes in his work with clients. He believes that every body is different; therefore, learning to eat well means learning what works best for you as an individual. The same is true for exercise.

One form of physical activity that emphasizes body awareness is yoga. Of course, for many people, yoga is far more than exercise—it’s a spiritual practice. But even on a purely physical level, learning yoga poses, or asanas, can be a wonderful way to become more aware of how the different muscles in your body work together to create movement and balance.

For inspiration, check out this video of Equinox yoga teacher Briohny Smyth that’s been making its way around the Web this week; in it, she demonstrates handstands and other advanced arm balances:

Keep in mind, you don’t have to look like Smyth to practice yoga, nor do you need to be at her level of expertise to experience yoga’s benefits. We just thought this was an inspiring example of physical grace and power.

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