I would like to share my thoughts on three things that I think are interrelated and keys to resiliency and longevity. Those three things are;
Let’s start with a definition of each:
- Interoception – The sense of the internal state of the body. This can be both conscious and unconscious.
- Introspection – The Examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.
- Intuition – The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
Let’s also look at the definition of resiliency:
- Resiliency- The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties, toughness.
We could go very deep on any of these, but for now, I would simply like to share a simplistic view of how they are connected and one simple (not easy) practice of how to take advantage of this connection for your long term health and well being.
First, let’s start with interoception. I first recall coming across this word as it related to the resiliency of elite athletes and special operators. Studies suggest that both these groups have a good awareness of their bodies and know where the boundaries or limitations lie. I have been emphasizing this fact in our group fitness classes. I believe that some people have a more natural inclination to this body awareness, while others have to work harder at it. However, I definitely believe it is something we all can improve upon with focus and intent.
Introspection comes into play in that we have to be willing to take the time and effort to examine our own level of interoception. Although the above definition of introspection focuses on mental and emotional processes, the mind and body are not separate. If we put our focus and intent on how our bodies are moving and feeling, we can create better awareness.
Our intuition comes into play in that I believe our bodies have an innate intelligence. You may have heard the saying, “Pay attention to your body.” Well, nearly everybody has heard this, but I think many of us have lost the connection or haven’t really developed the connection to this powerful voice. I recently recalled an experience from many years ago that is an example of this innate intelligence. I remember during my teens having frequent episodes of SVT or Supraventricular Tachycardia. I experienced an extremely rapid heart rate that sometimes occurred for no apparent reason and other times when I was exerting myself. It occurred most often during football or other high-intensity efforts and would make continuing very challenging and also leave me very drained. To try and self-correct this, I found myself performing a ValSalva maneuver by holding the breath and bearing down. This would sometimes aid in returning my heart rate to normal. The reason I share this is that I was not diagnosed until my early 20’s, and no one ever told me to perform a ValSalva. I didn’t even know what one was. Looking back, it was simply my body telling me what to do.
There are many ways to develop resilience, both physical and mental, but one practice that we have been integrating into our training is Intuflow. We have described this mainly as a joint health and mobility practice, which, in and of itself can aid in your physical resilience. However, it can be much more if you truly focus on being introspective of the movement while integrating your breath with that movement. I look forward to sharing more of this practice and some of its applications in class and future workshops and videos.