“Hey knees. I’m really grateful for all the ways you let me move and play. I know we’ve had our disagreements over the years, but I feel like we’re taking care of each other these days. I appreciate you. I love you. I’m sorry about the scrapes and bruises . . . but that was fun, eh?”
This is a pretty typical conversation between me and my body. It’s a casual chat in gratitude for all the parts that keep me going how I’m going.
I just recently hit a point where I can feel my body getting older. Until this, it was all fun and games and “oh, I can get a new ACL if this one blows out.” But I’m realizing that this is really truly the only body I’ll get to occupy in this lifetime. I should take care of her.
The more I learn about anatomy and humans, the more impressed I am with the physical human design. How do my kidneys even know what vitamins and minerals I need? How does my blood know how to clot? How am I able to fight off a flu? I’m very impressed, body. Nice work.
I’m also sometimes terrified that my body will forget how to do these basic functions. “Hey heart, you know to keep beating even when I’m sleeping, right?”
With the intention of balancing out my awe and fear of my own body’s capacities, I show it gratitude. I thank my kidneys for filtering out the sometimes less than optimal fuel I offer. I give respect to my feet for carrying me around all day. I send mad props to my lungs for letting me manipulate my breath during a pranayama practice, and then they go back to breathing quietly without my attention, like it’s no big deal.
I talk to my body because I care for it greatly. Sometimes I think it’s funny that my soul is trapped in this fleshy, carbon-based, fat-filled meat container. But for whatever reason, this meat container is mine, and mine alone. And I love every freckle, wrinkle, and scar.
I love the lines that form near my eyes when I smile. I love that my hands can scratch a dog’s belly. I love that my feet will let my brain tell them to keep going, long after they’ve tired. I love that my arms are weirdly too short for my torso, like a T-Rex. I love that just touching my skin to someone else’s can help them heal. I love that my muscles respond to my activities by creating micro tears that grow into stronger muscle. I love that my skin will take permanent ink to remind me of important moments in my life. I love that I have eyebrows, even if I don’t understand why they’re there. I love that my spine moves in so many directions, even if it doesn’t look like the healthy spines in anatomy books.
And even if my body doesn’t look how someone else thinks it should look, I’m really grateful for all the things it lets me do in this lifetime. I know this body is temporary, like everything else, and that’s okay. I will love her as much as I can in the time we have together.
Katrina Kopeck is a yoga instructor, writer, food enthusiast and dog hugger in Boulder, Colorado. She loves all puppies, most books and a great deal of music. She teaches yoga at the Boulder Veterans Center and public classes at Core Power Yoga. Find her full schedule and connect at www.katrinakopeckyoga.com. Photo: Nickolai Kashirin
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