Did you know that your taste buds renew themselves every 10 days, lungs every 2-3 weeks, skin every 2-4 weeks, liver every 5 years, bones every 7 years, and heart every 20 years (so long high school heartbreak!)? Isn’t that fascinating? The human body is such an incredible phenomena, in particular because it constantly renews itself.
Chronic pain or discomfort caused by bad posture may have creeped up on you. It may have started years ago when you began changing the way you walk or sit because of pain or injury. If this compensation continued without correction, it may have turned into an unconscious pattern in your body, which led to a postural habit that stiffened your muscles and tissues into this new shape. If this was the case for long enough, you may have begun to define yourself around this posture, falsely convincing yourself that you can’t change it, surrendering to live with chronic pain.
As a yoga and meditation teacher, I see this all the time, and if I’m not careful I too can fall into this unfortunate pattern. Often people believe that collecting an array of chronic pain is much like amassing memories – a normal result of aging. Not so, I say!
In my previous article, I wrote about how I’m constantly being blown away that the workings of the body are so closely intertwined with the teachings of the mind in Buddhism. Learning about the body’s renewing nature is no exception. In meditation, I was taught that we are reborn in each moment. If this sounds a little hokey or new age-y, all it means is that in each moment we have the opportunity to choose how we want to respond to what’s happening around us. For example, if you’re usually very hard on yourself and yearn to be more patient or caring, the next time you make a mistake or break something, you can start carving out new thought patterns by choosing to react in a compassionate way.
When I first learned that the body is always renewing itself, I felt a profound sense of freedom because I no longer needed to be a victim of my past bad postural habits. This realization also motivated me to wake up to each moment and can choose how I wanted my posture to be in the future. On a recent meditation retreat, my teacher said “The only control you have over the future is the quality of your mind right now.” If that applies to the subtle workings of the mind and heart, it surely applies to the physical body as well.
As I’ve discovered and continue to discover, changing any pattern – mental or physical – is not easy, yet always worth it. Come back on Friday to find out how you can start the journey to better posture!
Enjoyed this article? Read Habitual Poor Posture Can Wreak Havoc on Levator Scapulae
This article is so deep on so many levels…yes the body renews itself as you point out, but the mind can and does as well. If the intent is there.
I love that quote from your meditation teacher “The only control you have over the future is the quality of your mind right now.” It reminds me of my own personal mantra I often say when i first wake up…”Today I choose to be thankful and happy.” Thank you for this!
They body has an amazing ability to adapt!
Thank you so much for summing up this mind/body connection so beautifully!! Our renewing power is truly amazing!!
Dawn, having just began my Yoga Tune-Up training journey with Todd today , I wanted to read and comment on one of your blogs as it was your fine introduction to Yoga Tune-Up that brought me here. What interesting facts about how the different parts of our body renew themselves. If only I could memorize these! For decades in all my work, I have intrinsically shared with my students whatever I can to help people improve their posture to lessen their pain and help them move more effectively with less risk of injury. My motto has always been ‘Fit and Well for a lIfetime” and I truly believe that what we do everyday impacts the rest of our lives. This includes posture, movement, stress management, sleep, nutrition and social relationships. Yoga is so powerful in helping us connect with ourselves, our mind, body connection and the world around us. Your blog is intriguing and inspiring. It is possible to improve posture at any age!
Thanks Dawn. I really enjoy reading your insights on meditation and yoga, and how it relates on our daily life. I’ve done workshops (meditation and yoga tune up) with you recently and it’s why i got into Yoga Tune up!
I want to work on my posture. “We are re-born every moment” so every day is a new day and a chance to begin again to break old habits.
The body is amazing! How it is constantly changing and how we can lead change once we become aware. Thank you for your article!
A very inspiring post! I particularly enjoyed the visualisation that during meditation we are reborn each moment. I had no idea that your liver could replace itself after 5 years.
Wow! Merci pour cet excellent article! C’est en plein sur quoi je travaille présentement. Questionner, travailler et améliorer ma posture, sans jouer le rôle de victime, mais bien en étant la créatrice de mon futur.
what a beautiful post- i loved reading about the body’s renewing nature and how the quality of the mind is what effects the future and that ultimately- anything is possible! Thats the message i got from this post- thanks!
Great article Dawn. I didn’t know the body renew’s itself on that timeline. This article hits on embodiment to the fullest, on renewing thoughts and perspective along with the renewing of the body. Thank you for bringing it to light.
Actuellement, dans la compréhension de la population générale il est tellement facile de se déresponsabiliser lorsqu’on a des blessures ou bien de sentir impuissant puisque nous nous sommes faites dire qu’avec l’âge il est normal de devenir courbaturé, d’avoir des douleurs physiques, de perdre des facultés avec le temps. Par contre, avec cette nouvelle notion, il est beaucoup plus difficile de se dire que notre situation est irréversible et maintenant c’est possible de prendre en charge notre condition physique afin de l’améliorer puisqu’au final rien n’est permanent et nous avons le pouvoir à tous les jours d’améliorer nos habitudes de vos, nos postures, nos pensées. Vraiment merci, belle prise de conscience en lisant cet article!
This post brings me back to the Yoga Sutras, specifically the first Sutra which states “the practice of yoga begins now.” Just as so your post talks about renewal and starting over-thats what this sutra means to me. At any given moment our yoga practice to connect better with our bodies and breath in the present moment can begin, and begin again. This is one of the most inviting aspects of yoga-there are an infinite amount of beginnings and nothing is ever final. The idea of a yoga practice inherently suggests something of change and development and starting over.
Oh ! How I wish I could reborn !!! I guess we all do. But it’s encouraging knowing that we renew ourselves and that there is still hope to change bad habits and train our body in a new way or dimension. Let’s do it.
Dawn! I love this post. I have recently put together this idea of changing ones patterns as well! It’s such a phenomenally strengthening experience, inside and out. Training the mind to remove self doubt has always been a struggle, until I realized that that self doubt is just the ego. I’ve tried Yoga Nidra recently, which is life changing all in itself, and I have found that it has given me a new position on life. Thank you for the beautiful post!
I had a Rolfer once tell me (amongst all other clinicians) that I would never have a straight spine. That the bones are malformed because of the scoliotic curve in my body and that’s the way my body would be. I didn’t buy into it. For one second. And I am seeing change! The work is slow and sometimes not easy, but well worth it! 😉
I can most definitely speak of the changes in my body being mirrored in my mind. The freedom from tissue restriction, the stabilizing and strengthening in my joints in muscles, have helped me reach new stability and strength in my mind as well. Beautiful!
“Argue your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours!” -Richard Bach
Great article Dawn! I found it so relevant as you melded the many different facets of our being, both our physical and our emotional/mental, and the truth that we have the capacity to be “reborn in each moment”. As you stated, “you can start carving out new thought patterns by choosing to react in a more compassionate way”, we also begin new movement practices with conscious knowledge and change. What is so incredible to me is the definitive interconnection of these aspects of our bodies, as one makes subtle changes for the better within one, it influences all. Thank you.
Great post, and conveniently appropriate for me at the moment. I have always been lazy with my shoulders and let them slouch foward for so long that the position has become normal for me. But this bad posture is making exercise more difficult as my trapezius has gotten more and more stiff and tender. And all it takes is waking up and being mindful (ALL the time) of my posture and just keeping my shoulders neutral. Your posture is 100% in your control.
I think Thomas Myers had said that human beings are the only creatures that can instantly adopt new postural patterns and be stuck with them for years on end. He had said that when a dog experiences fear, the dog’s body will temporarily adopt a new movement pattern but that within a very short period of time they’ll go back to their normal and healthy pattern. But we humans don’t play that way. If someone scares us or yells at us or if we just get down on ourselves we can completely rewire and tangle up out movement patterns that it could easily take years to unravel. This is why Yoga Tune Up is so great. It gives us humans a method to untangle our crappy patterns in a logical and fun way!
Timely article for me as I am working on correcting my posture – pronounced anterior pelvis tilt resulting in an exaggerated curve in my lumber spine and “popping ribs” in most poses. I agree – self-awareness is key!
Its hard work trying to unlearn bad habits, but its good to hear that changes can be made as long as you stick to it.
Thanks for sharing this empowering article. I love how you connect asana practice with Buddhist teachings. It’s so true that the present moment is the only time we can effect change, in our posture or anything else.
Good article. My back/hip discomfort comes from a little bit of sitting but more so of always standing straight with my shoulders back and down (habits from my piano playing/orchestra playing days).
Right now this is my new normal that I am working through – painful process but work that needs to be done.
Thank you for the reminder. I think it’s important to remember that changing your mindset will help create new neural pathways that can lead to change in the body. We don’t need to be stuck in negative behaviour or patterns.
Dawn – thanks so much for this! I am forever on the look out for clear examples of how amazing the body is , especially how our cells renew themselves all the time. I have been asked to create yoga practice for wheelchair users and have been researching this over the past while. it’s great how you come across exactly what you are supposed to know at exactly the right time. Forever learning!
I love that you lead with how often the body renews itself! I think that is so overlooked in any of our modern medicine and we need to work on our thoughts and patterns before the circumstances around us change!
Succinct. The interweaving of ego, identity and postural habits is strong and can only be shifted through our own resilient effort. Thanks Dawn.
very encouraging post, renewel is a great way to look at things. We are only stuck if we let ourselves be.