I had recently observed a conversation where yoga teachers were discussing things that should or should not be said during yoga classes. One argued that telling people to “listen to their bodies” could be the worst idea ever, especially for those who are new to the practice and are not acquainted with their bodies, “the body might be fooling you if you don’t know how to listen”. Which at first made sense. But the more I thought about it, the more I disagreed. I happen to be one of those teachers who always reminds everyone to listen to their bodies, and here’s why:
The body is such an intricate and intelligent framework, a force of nature designed to communicate with us at all times. More often than not, it is the body who reacts to something first before the mind weighs in and f*cks with the signal.
Whether it’s a feeling in the pit of your stomach that something doesn’t feel right, a feeling that sits in your chest that induces pure joy, a stinging pain every time you make a certain movement, or literally the fight or flight response to danger in your environment. The body always knows. It is designed to know and perfectly designed to communicate. Even when ‘dis-ease’ in the mind, causes ‘disease’ in the body, it’s our physical reactions that start to alert us that something in our being isn’t quite running so smoothly.
I have often had beautiful conversations with others who have experienced this first hand. One of those conversations was in regards to decision making. A friend once shared with me that when approaching a situation they were dealing with at the time, every bone in their body was screaming ‘no!’ every part of the physical body was literally reacting negatively to the situation they were faced with, but when enough time went by, and the mind had a chance to hijack the process and start to rationalize the issue, they ended up making decisions that they would soon regret. Decisions that went against what their first instinctual physical reaction was.
Same goes for all else, even when it comes to a yoga class! Often times we find ourselves pushing for a posture, making movements that don’t quite feel right, or forcing ourselves into sequences. While the body might be saying “back off, this doesn’t feel right” the mind is saying “Come on! go for it, it looks cool and everyone else seems to be doing it!” Of course, it works both ways, as the mind might be saying “Nah, I’m not in the mood today” the body might be signaling “Challenge me a bit more I can handle it!” When the body has an ache, but we keep pushing through, we have already been warned to slow down, but the mind wants us to keep pushing.
It is usually the mind that is truly lazy, not the body, it is usually the body that indicates true fatigue, not only the mind.
Making this distinction is a very fine line, but the more you practice trusting your first instinctual physical reaction, the more you learn to refine this for yourself. The mind has a strong hold on us, it can both serve us and stress us. But learning to trust the force of nature that is our divine, intelligent, physical system, can be such a liberating experience.
I say, listen to your body, learn to trust your body, it is not only about the subtle workings of our consciousness, our physical being is as much a player in the game as our consciousness is. We are not to be defined by our physical bodies, but it’s an important tool in the further development and growth of our being. It is all intricately connected. We are here on Earth to not only re-discover the power of our consciousness but to do so while embarking on our earthly, physical journey.
Embrace what the body is trying to tell you, and not just how the mind is trying to convince you…
Love & light,