You’ve probably heard it a thousand times before in Yoga class, "listen to your body". But what does it actually mean? How do you listen to something that doesn’t speak actual words? Are all yoga teachers crazy, or is there really something to this?
Learn to Listen to Yourself
As a yoga teacher, I have to say, we are not all crazy. What we mean by 'listen to your body' is exactly that. Quieten your mind and listen to what your body is trying to tell you. Maybe you don’t need to go so deep into a backbend just to keep up with Flexible Felicity next to you. We are trying to encourage you to honour your body and trust your inner wisdom (your subconscious mind). That wisdom that says, ‘I’ve reached my limit right here. This is where I am staying today.’
Rumi (the guy you’ll see every #instayogi quoting) says; “Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.” He’s referring to the inner wisdom we have inside of us. Our bodies are smart. They know how to heal themselves; we just need to learn how to listen. Ever wondered why you don’t’ feel hungry sometimes when you’re sick? It’s because your digestive system needs to rest so your body can focus on healing, not digesting that delicious raw vegan cake. This loss of appetite is your body telling you something. Surrender to its wisdom and quieten your conscious mind that says, ‘I need to eat all of the things now.’
So how do you learn to listen to this inner wisdom?
There’s a fine line between listening to your inner wisdom and letting your brain take over. It’s easy to say "my body is telling me to stop," when really it’s just your conscious mind being lazy and wanting out. Learning to really listen to yourself comes with time, patience and practice. Taking up a daily meditation practice or heading along to a yoga class will help. Through both of these practices we are working to quiet the conscious mind so we can begin to hear the language of the subconscious. If you can’t get along to a class try our beginners guide to meditation for some great resources to help get you started.
When you think you hear something, stop and listen. How does it make you feel? Are you physically reacting badly to the thought (nauseous, sweaty palms, shaking etc) or does it make you feel good? Sometimes our bodies use physical reactions as a way of communicating with us, the challenge here is to pay attention to these signs and take heed!
The bottom line? Always trust your gut feeling and learn to tell the difference between your busy conscious mind and your inner subconscious wisdom. All the answers can be found within.