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Nourish the Body

Many of us have learned to see our bodies as enemies rather than allies, obstacles rather than resources. What would it be like to radically reclaim our relationship with our bodies; to get to know them, to listen to them, to learn to tend to them not out of fear or inadequacy, but out of care? Thankfully, there are people committed to just this, who can help light the way.

 

Ideas, Organizations & Movements

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health

The National Institute of Health's (NIH) NCCIH provides a comprehensive database for learning about the science behind different complementary and integrative health approaches. Their Know the Science initiative provides the public with tips for understanding health science, and the linked article discusses differences between alternative vs. complementary vs. integrative health.

Joy of Movement

Kelly McGonigal, Stanford University psychologist, on the science and practice of joyful movement, and the ways changing our mindsets about physical exercise can transform our lives.

Health at Every Size

"The Health At Every Size® (HAES®) approach is a continuously evolving alternative to the weight-centered approach to treating clients and patients of all sizes. It is also a movement working to promote size-acceptance, to end weight discrimination, and to lessen the cultural obsession with weight loss and thinness." - Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDH) website. Find resources for individuals and communities at HAES community and ASDH.

Be Nourished: Lose the Weight of Body Shame

Organization dedicated to "creating a body-compassionate and weight-inclusive world. Informed by shame resilience theory, social justice movements, and self-compassion while working from the principles of Intuitive Eating and Healthy At Every Size®, Be Nourished offers programs, workshops, retreats, and e-courses for individuals looking to reclaim Body Trust®."

Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB)

An international society for mind-body research, healthcare, and education. Link for consumers to learn more about biofeedback, find practitioners, and discern between the different forms of "biofeedback instruments" (e.g., apps, devices) on the market.

The Center for Somatic Self-Compassion

Both body-centered and contemplative practice, Somatic Self-Compassion is an embodied practice of body, heart, and mind created. Website provides a wealth of embodied practices from the SSC program, as well as MSC meditations and access to additional trainings and resources.

 

Practice

There are so many paths for connecting to our bodies in a life-affirming way that recognizes their uniqueness, honors their limits, and celebrates their capacities. Below are a few that I or those with whom I've worked have connected with; they are not endorsements or recommendations, just an educational resource for potentially opening up new possibilities about how we relate to our bodies. Please use your own body and experience as a guide, and of course consult with a healthcare professional as needed if undertaking a new movement practice.

Compassionate Body Scan

Dr. Chris Germer, co-creator of Mindful Self-Compassion, leads a compassionate body scan to explore a kind and curious awareness of body sensations.

Joy of Movement with Kelly McGonigal

Dr. Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist, teaches group movement classes to foster joy, connection, and community.

Dance Church

On-Demand, Live-Streamed and In-Person classes from Dance Church® - "a joyful community of dancers and non-dancers alike [who] have turned Dance Church into a massive gathering of people around the world, dancing and sweating together."

5Rhythms

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Tai Chi

An article from Harvard University on the health benefits of tai chi, often called "meditation in motion," with evidence-based comparisons to other forms of exercise, and some suggestions for getting started.

Qi Gong

Learn about qi gong, from NIH's National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Differences from tai chi, research related to chronic disease management, tips for finding qualified practitioners, and references provided.

How do you connect to your body? What resources nourish, sustain, and support a friendly relationship with your body? I'd love to hear from you about any suggestions to add to this page.