Being Gentle with your Body

Many people associate looking after their body with pushing themselves hard in the gym – lifting heavy weights, doing lots of repetitions, running fast or using a cross trainer at full pelt. This is reinforced by the feel good factor that comes with a session in the gym and the adrenaline /endorphin rush. Of course it’s not just in the gym but there are many forms of exercise where we push the body as hard as possible.

Not only that but in day to day life we can do every day movements and actions in a way that is hard, rough or aggressive without even realising we are doing it. We bang doors closed, turn on taps or even leave cups and plates down in a way that is hard or rough without even noticing. We perform so many activities on autopilot, often completely unaware of the actual quality we are performing them with.

We might think this doesn’t matter – that our bodies are designed to work hard and to do whatever we require in whatever manner we choose and that the body will cope.

But what if it’s not that simple? What if it does matter?

What if every movement and action we make with the body affects the body in ways that can be good for it or bad for it?   What if the quality with which we move and perform tasks has a bearing on the health of the body?

Consider the possibility that when we are being hard, aggressive, rough, pushing, driving etc that our physical body is being detrimentally affected by bringing that hardness into the body, affecting its overall suppleness and flexibility. This happens over time of course – so we don’t even notice it is happening and we end up assuming those stiff, tight, hard muscles or joints are just part of getting older, wear and tear and might even dismiss it as just being ‘the way it is’ as we age.

So what if there was a way to live that could enhance the body’s wellbeing and maintain its flexibility and suppleness?

By bringing attention to the quality with which we move and perform activities we can begin to notice when we are being hard, rough or aggressive and observe how that feels in the body as we are doing it.

We can choose to bring in the quality of gentleness to our movements and activities. We all know what gentleness feels like, we all have some idea of what it is to be gentle, so it is easy for us to apply this in our every day lives. We may begin to notice ‘that wasn’t very gentle’ or ‘that could have been more gentle’ as we go about our daily activities. Even feeling how you place your feet on the ground as you walk – do you stomp hard or gracefully glide? Notice if your forearm muscles are tight, tense and hard as you brush your teeth as hard as possible or are they relaxed with gentle movements back and forth? Observe how you close cupboard or car doors – do they bang closed or are they gently apposed? What is the quality with which you chop vegetables, stir soup, wash the dishes? Is there a lot of clashing and clanging when you work in the kitchen or is the sound of silence barely disturbed?

The interesting thing is that we as do this and focus on making our movements gentle, the level of what we call gentleness deepens – in other words, what is gentle for me now, in 6 months time will have deepened to a new level of gentleness, perhaps even making my starting point seem not so gentle!  And it just keeps unfolding – there is no end to the depth of gentleness we can bring to ourselves and our bodies. This also deepens our level of appreciation for our bodies and what they do for us. We no longer want to push them hard in the gym or strain them with heavy weights but instead choose more gentle exercise and lighter weights – maintaining fitness but not compromising health.

Furthermore, as we live and apply this, we realise that our bodies just love being gentle and being treated with gentleness – they just seem to soak it up and melt away all that hardness and tension we have been carrying and living with. Gentleness is caring, and by being gentle we are caring for our bodies instead of pushing them beyond what is natural for them. Just like most things in life be it a car or TV or other equipment that we treat roughly, with disregard and lack of care, they tend to get broken or worn our more quickly than if we genuinely care for them, look after them and are gentle with them – so too it is for our bodies. But we can’t just go to the shop and get a new one like we can with equipment – so how much more important it is to invest in looking after your body, caring for your body, being gentle with your body – it will thank you for it.


  • Reply
    Ariana Ray
    24th August 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I love this blog, it presents another way of living that is so supportive of us and how we can live. Thank you.

  • Reply
    francisco clara
    24th August 2014 at 9:48 pm

    Great blog, it’s a gentle reminder of the ways i can be gentle with my body and how it is something that just keeps unfolding allowing me the opportunity all the time to deepen further.

  • Reply
    Beverley Croft
    24th August 2014 at 10:39 pm

    This is a beautiful blog Eunice. I can relate to all you have said. Up to 8 years ago I was always being told by my (now late) husband that I banged doors and turned taps on in a very hard manner, but I could not see it and would not accept it. Later I came to watch what I was doing and found that indeed I was being quite rough, but had not realised it. I realise now that I had been a very frustrated person at that time. By gradually becoming more aware of this, I slowly began to ‘gentle down’ my movements until now I do everything in such a beautiful gentle way, and I feel absolutely awesome.

  • Reply
    Carmel Reid
    24th August 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Eunice, this is lovely, I can feel myself getting more and more gentle as I read your words! What a simple, practical reminder to look after our bodies using everyday examples like how we chop food or close a car door. ‘Gentleness is caring, and by being gentle we are caring for our bodies instead of pushing them beyond what is natural for them.’ Beautiful.

  • Reply
    25th August 2014 at 7:26 am

    A great reminder Eunice of the power we have in our own hands to take care of our selves at an ever deeper level. Starting with the simplicity of being gentle in our daily living as we go about things we do within our day. Great to notice how the simple introduction of being gentle affects our well-being.

  • Reply
    Jeanette Macdonald
    25th August 2014 at 8:17 pm

    I always enjoy what you write Eunice and the stop it brings me to to ponder on your words. Such common sense and practical and simple ways to support ourselves,and our bodies. The investment in caring for ourselves in such a deepening manner surely prepares us for a much more vital old age as well and could take a huge amount of pressure off the health system.

  • Reply
    Gayle Cue
    25th August 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Thank you Eunice for another thought provoking and action inspiring blog! I’m even trying to type in a gentle way after reading your article. As you have pointed out, when we focus on making our movements gentle, the level of what we call gentleness deepens. This is really fun to become aware of. After reading your article I was also pondering on the wider effects of being gentle. Because we can feel the effects in our body, doesn’t it stand to reason that these same effects will be felt in the world at large? So our gentle movements aren’t just for ourselves but for the whole of humanity.

    • Reply
      Jeanette Macdonald
      27th August 2014 at 10:31 pm

      well put Gayle, surely it does stand to reason.

  • Reply
    Michelle McWaters
    26th August 2014 at 6:07 am

    I really enjoyed reading this blog. Eunice what you share about moving your body in gentleness is continually unfolding for me. I try and stay aware of it all day and I am constantly setting new foundations for what gentleness is as I go deeper with it. For me gentle exercise is a joy as is going about my daily tasks in gentleness. There is a whole new level of connection, joy, space and harmony in each day as a result, escalating my self appreciation and vitality. This in turn is ever offering me an opportunity to evolve a more deeply tender, loving relationship with myself and then so outwards to all my relationships.

  • Reply
    26th August 2014 at 10:10 am

    Eunice I like where you say that we can’t go out and get a new body like we can with a TV. So true. This blog reminds me how precious my body is and how everything I do with it affects if it’s going to work well or not.

  • Reply
    10th September 2014 at 1:40 pm

    I love this Eunice. It’s a great reminder that when we get caught up in the doing of things, which frankly life seems to be all about sometimes, it’s easy to forget about looking after the body that is doing all the doing. Push push push is all the mind does. I’m excited to see how much my gentleness can deepen. If there is not end… what happens! Wow!!

  • Reply
    Rosemary King
    13th March 2015 at 9:33 am

    What a loving reminder to be gentle at all times Eunice, so beautifully written. Today my buzz word will be “gentleness” at all times – allowing has been superseded for the time being! Thank you

  • Reply
    22nd February 2015 at 9:13 pm

    A beautiful reminder to be in conscious presence and therefore gentleness when going about our day. I often find I have not been in gentleness when I bump into the edges of tables, benches or doors and end up with a bruised hip or arm a painful reminder of not being with myself.As you say Eunice everything we do is impacting on our bodies and either harming or healing and that our bodies are with us for life and not disposable items to be replaced when worn out. From now on I will endeavour to be much more loving and gentle and appreciate my body and its need to be treated with the tenderness it deserves.

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