Let’s talk trivia. Do you know what the primary colors are? How about the names of the actors in your favorite television shows or movies? But tell me, do you know what your intercostal muscles are? Do you know where your atlanto occipital joint is?
We spend a lot of time learning. In school we learn how to write, how to read, how to count, and so many other things. In our jobs we learn about computers, filing, and all sorts of job specific functions. Many people struggle with “common sense” tasks, say changing a tire on the car that you drive every day. What we rarely ever think about is something that we use absolutely every day and cannot function without. It’s our body.
Now, you may say, hey I think about my body. I try to eat healthily or get enough exercise. And knowing about the functioning of our bodies is important. Eating right and getting physical exercise are really important to our bodies and our overall health. We should be able to be in tune with our physical selves and know if what we are doing is helping our health. But what happens when something goes wrong? Do you know how to change your tires?
Often, we rely on others to tell us about our bodies. Doctors, physical therapists, masseuses, personal trainers. But the thing is, a lot of times when something is wrong, the main goal is to quieten the symptoms. If you’re having back pain, a doctor might prescribe painkillers and rest. And while this may make you feel better, the next time you go to do something strenuous, you could end up in the same predicament if not worse. Now, not all doctors or medical professionals are only concerned with symptoms, there are absolutely situations where doctors are necessary, but because we rely on them for all of our issues, we have a different relationship to our bodies. If we expect someone else to fix us, our care in dealing with our physical bodies, is different.
We need to take back responsibility for ourselves.
One of the first things I like to talk to my voice students with is breathing. There are so many misconceptions about breathing.
Breathe from your diaphragm
Breathe from your stomach
Suck in the air
What actually happens is much different. And understanding the actual process of breathing can illuminate extraneous habits we have that we think are helping us breathe, but actually are not. What my students’ always find interesting, is how they actually had no idea how to breathe. They do it all day every day, but don’t know how it’s done. Now we don’t have to understand how everything in our body works or how every bodily process works, but if something goes wrong, it would be nice to have an underlying understanding of our bodies so that we aren’t solely relying on other professionals and can use our own intuition and understanding to help heal ourselves.