Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Learning a New Instrument

Over the years, I've heard countless metaphors and analogies about the body, as I'm sure many of you have. One that always sounded right but I didn't really understand: "the body is an instrument." I heard it again last night as I prepared for my workout and finally got it.

I found myself comparing the body to the voice as an instrument. Back when I was in chorus, our voices were top priority. We practiced daily, learned new techniques, and never settled for less than excellence. We warmed up our vocal chords every day to prepare us for our day's challenge. If we were going to hold long notes, our warm-up included breathing exercises to strengthen our diaphragms. If we were singing very low or very high notes, we warmed up by pushing ourselves higher and lower in our ranges. We never did the same combination of warm-ups twice. If we got sick, we were not allowed to participate and were instructed to speak as little as possible, drink tea with lemon and honey, and gargle with salt water every morning. Like I said, our voices were top priority.

So now I understand the need to treat my body the same way I treated my voice. I have to protect it. I should never get stuck in the same routine because my body will stop responding to it. I have to challenge myself, learn more each day, and, above all, make my body top priority.

Don't ask me how I never really made this connection before. I suppose we all need our ah ha moments -- the moment something really clicks. This new perspective makes me see it less in terms of what people tell me I'm supposed to be doing and more in terms of what I want to do to keep my body tuned, flexible, and strong, just like I used to do with my voice. We can create beautiful things with our bodies, if we give them the right love, attention and respect.

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