How Comfortable Are You in Your Body?
You know the types who are comfortable in their bodies. You’ve seen them gliding through life looking ready for anything. They don’t slouch or slump or hunch over. They don’t have flawless bodies. (Nobody does.) But they don’t seem to mind! They look like they feel great in their own skin, no matter what shape or size they happen to be.
Are you comfortable in your body? Are standing, sitting, and lying down easy, or do you feel your clothes binding, your stomach sagging, your back aching, and your knees cracking? Can you spring up from a sitting position on the floor like a child, or is hoisting yourself to a stand always accompanied by grunts, long sighs, and various strange popping noises from assorted joints?
The truth of the matter is that most of us aren’t comfortable in our bodies. Why? Two reasons: We don’t maintain them as well as we might, and we are convinced, for any number of reasons, that we should look and feel different than we do. Fitness expert Jack LaLanne once said that if more people treated their bodies with the same care and upkeep they give to their most precious possessions (their houses and their cars), everyone would be fitter and healthier. Isn’t a little maintenance worth the effort? And what about maintenance on your body image? That could probably use a little ratcheting, too.
A Self-Test for the Yoga-Challenged
Are you yoga-challenged? In other words, are you so far out of touch with your body that yoga seems like an impossibility? Take this test to find out how in tune you are with your body. Choose the one best answer for each question.
1. The longest amount of time I can sit on the floor without feeling some sort of pain and discomfort is …
a. Thirty minutes or longer.
b. Fifteen minutes, max.
c. Maybe two minutes.
d. Why the heck would I want to sit on the floor? That’s why they invented the couch.
2. My back …
a. Never hurts.
b. Hurts 24 hours a day.
c. Hurts after I’ve been sitting for too long.
d. Hurts when I don’t exercise regularly.
3. My coccyx is …
a. The vertebrae at the base of my neck.
b. My kneecap.
c. A small, triangular bone at the base of my spine.
d. I’m quite sure I don’t have a coccyx!
4. I get sick (cold, flu, gastroenteritis, etc.) or injured (sprained ankle, twisted knee, back goes out, etc.) at least …
a. Once a year.
b. Once every few months.
c. Once every few weeks.
d. I hardly ever get sick or injured.
5. My vision is …
a. Excellent (20/20 or better).
b. Pretty good. I have glasses or contacts, but my prescription isn’t a very strong one
c. Terrible. I can’t see well at all without my glasses or contacts.
d. I’m sorry, I couldn’t quite make out the question. It’s too blurry.
6. Whenever I feel a cold coming on, the first thing I do is …
a. Push fluids, get more sleep, go in late to work, and drag myself through the day.
b. Try to talk myself out of it or ignore it. I don’t have time to get sick!
c. Go to work, but whine and complain that I’m getting sick while sneezing and coughing all over my co-workers.
d. Rest, bundle up on the couch with some herbal tea with lemon and honey, increase my vitamin C intake, and stay home so I can get better.
7. The difference between tendons and ligaments is …
a. Tendons connect muscles to bones, while ligaments connect bones to bones or hold organs in place.
b. Tendons connect bones to bones or hold organs in place, while ligaments connect muscles to bones.
c. Tendons and ligaments are those things I’m always pulling and tearing, after which my doctor says, “There’s nothing I can do.”
8. The way I feel about my body can best be described as follows …
a. I dislike certain parts of my body, but other parts are pleasing. I’m good
at disguising my faults with my clothing.
b. My body is okay, but I don’t pay much attention to it.
c. I love my body. I think it’s beautiful, and it feels good to be in it. I take good care of it so it will stay that way.
d. I practically have a heart attack every time I look in the mirror, so I just don’t look in the mirror.
9. I can …
a. Bend down and touch my toes easily.
b. Bend down and touch my knees easily.
c. Fold completely in half, bending forward, hugging my calves with my arms, and resting my head and entire upper body against my legs.
d. Look down and almost see my feet.
10. My muscles are visible …
a. In a lot of places if I flex. I can see the line of my calf muscle if I stand on my toes, and I can see my biceps and triceps if I flex my arm.
b. All the time. I can see my thigh muscles, calf muscles, biceps, triceps, deltoids, and abdominal muscles, even without flexing them. I am truly buff!
c. Possibly on an x-ray—that is, if x-rays showed muscles.
d. Every now and then. Especially when I’m at a lower weight, I can see something that looks a little bit like muscle, but mostly I just see smooth, rounded surfaces with some bumpy cellulite here and there.
Now score your test by giving yourself the correct number of points, as indicated below, for each answer. For example, for each question you answered with an a, give yourself three points. For each b, you get two points. Add up your points, and then check the following section to see what your score means.
Your score: __