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A New Approach on How To "Listen To Your Body"

A New Approach on How To “Listen To Your Body”

How many times have we heard… “Listen To Your Body.”

In Yoga, in recovery, even when working out…

“Listen to your body. If it doesn’t feel right to you today, don’t do it. If you’re tired, go easy.”

All really great things to hear and absolutely words to believe in.  

But.

How many of us have actually stopped and really made sense of what those words mean?

“Listen to your body.”

In order to listen to something…. you have to let it speak

For years I think I’ve believed I’ve known what “listening to your body” meant, or how – when on my mat during a yoga class – to try and establish what my body’s needs are. But it has just recently struck me that, I’ve never actually let my body talk. 

I’ve put ideas into its head. I’ve fabricated assumptions. Maybe I’ve noticed areas that are tight and let my mind make the decision that stretching that area is needed. But its always my mind that grabs the mic. 

listen to your body

Something I’ve learned about myself, specifically in my journey through eating disorder recovery, is that I am far more prone to take care of others than I am of myself. I hate to see someone I love upset or hurting and thus feel compelled to offer them words of gentleness and care.

But not so much for myself. 

Now I know we, as people, are whole. Mind. Body. Soul. Each part of ourselves, we are connected.

But.

What if, for this point in my process, I actually find it easier to see my body as something separate.

It’s own identity. Like a friend. Not part of me. 

In that case….it would have its own voice. It would have its own feelings. Its own hurts, fears, and joys. 

Then, suddenly, that feeling of wanting to take care of something else takes precedence over all else.

listen to your body

This first dawned on me during a feelosophy class I did the other week: a restorative yoga class that incorporated healing touch and massage therapy. I’m not sure exactly what motivated me, but as I was laying there, I began not to try and sink into my body like is my usual practice, but rather actually separate myself from it, and then actually ask my body, “what are you feeling?” 

I couldn’t believe it. 

My body had a voice. 

It was not my own voice – the voice that I hear all through the day, ruminating and circling and jibber jabbering in my mind’s jungle gym. It was different. It was softer. It was more tentative. It seemed shy. 

But as I lay there, I could hear it say how good this felt. 

I could sense it smiling.

I began letting it do the moving. I gave it the control – the control my mind oh so loves to hoard. Accepting this control, it suddenly had space to speak and tell me what it was feeling. Not me telling it. 

It was so grateful to have me there listening to it. Like a child who’s been waiting and waiting for when their parent got off the phone so they could tell them about their day. 

I think it even giggled. 

And you know what I did? As my body gently stretched and moved in slow, fluid movements…

I smiled. 

I smiled because I could see how happy my body was. I could hear how overjoyed it was to be moving in the way it has always loved to move. A way that it has been restricted from and often punished for. 

Like taking care of a small child that has been too scared to come outside to the playground, but oh so badly has always longed to get out there in the sand. 

I smiled…

because it was so wonderful to see my body…this other identity that I care for and love

…happy. 

listen to your body

I know, in time, I hope to see my body as “me,” but right now giving my body an identity that is separate from myself is helping me find body love. 

Body awareness.

If you also find it easier to show compassion and care for others, maybe you could also use a similar visualization?

Like my younger, inner child that I keep beside me, I want my body to be happy. I want to see it thrive and not be scared. I want to do things that make it feel good, because right now, it is my friend. It is not me. 

 

Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud

A New Approach to Listening To Your Body. Letting Your Body Speak. #bodylove #awareness #mindfulness #yoga #selflove #recovery Click To Tweet

Tell me,

When you “listen to your body,” do you think you are actually letting your body speak?

 

 

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Jamie@TheMomGene | 8th Feb 18

    Ahhhh, I do this with the twins all the time: “what is your body saying to you?” when they are hurt or anxious or angry. I’ve never thought to do it with myself, to step out and peer in. I love that.

    • Cora | 11th Feb 18

      You are such a brilliant Mom. I don’t think I was ever brought up – even in school – to ask my body anything.

  2. danielle | 8th Feb 18

    that is such a good question! sometimes i listen very well, other times i ignore signals and push on. right now my body is saying why the red wine when you know it doesn’t agree with you? and my sleep was disturbed so i’m feeling tired. my body is telling me to relax and just chill out. i’m trying to go with that… overall i find that if i just stop all the noise and relax my mind, my body relaxes as well 🙂

    • Cora | 11th Feb 18

      This process has the two steps – asking your body the question and giving yourself time to let it speak is one. But actually then DOING what it asks for is a complete second. I’m still working on the second one most of the time.

  3. Susie @ Suzlyfe | 9th Feb 18

    Beautiful, and such a great lesson. I like to think of listening to your body as a conversation. Just like loving yourself is about your relationshiop with yourself–everything is complicated!
    Susie @ Suzlyfe recently posted…Pup-date, Date Night + Two Weeks! (Friday Catch Up 2/8)My Profile

  4. Emily Swanson | 9th Feb 18

    I think what’s helped me the most is the verses in 1 Corinthians 6 and just how my body is not my own, but Jesus bought it with His own blood, and that I can’t abuse it or do with it what I want. It’s incredible to think about how God fearfully and wonderfully designed our bodies with hunger signals, the need for sleep, the need to move, and it’s been so wonderful to be aware of the fact that my body isn’t invincible. I have to rest. I have to do some movement, that feels good, and I’m so thankful to be growing in that area of intuitive living more this year.
    Emily Swanson recently posted…Comment on WIAW: Why Chocolate Can Be Had for Breakfast Tooo…. by Agness of Run Agness RunMy Profile

    • Cora | 11th Feb 18

      So beautiful to hear all you are learning on your journey em <3

  5. Nicole @ Laughing My Abs Off | 9th Feb 18

    Oh my gosh Cora, this was beautiful! And makes so much sense that treating our bodies as almost a separate entity makes us much more gentle and kind to them. I’m so happy that you had that mind-shifting moment in your yoga class. It’s definitely not easy to separate the mind from the body but being in a space like a Feelosophy class (which btw sounds amazing) is definitely the perfect place for that.
    Nicole @ Laughing My Abs Off recently posted…Random Moments of Happiness + Weekly Workout RecapMy Profile

    • Cora | 11th Feb 18

      It’s a freeing, lovely feeling when you are able to feel that separation between the two

  6. Ellie Pell | 11th Feb 18

    I love the name of the yoga class. I’d say I try to let my body speak when I am winding down at night before bed. Usually my tummy is full, and my body is ready to just lay and be a lump. I love this time of night!
    I am actually really terrible at hearing my body when it’s thirsty. I am getting better, but sometimes I just don’t respond to it’s signals. It’s so funky because I just end up drinking a whole bottle of water later, when I could simply sip throughout the day!
    Ellie Pell recently posted…The whiskey in the bathroomMy Profile

    • Cora | 12th Feb 18

      Well your awareness is the first step. Your evenings sound similar to mine….. I think maybe this is when I’m best at listening to my body 🙂

  7. Sarah @ Bucket List Tummy | 11th Feb 18

    What a great class this sounds like, feelosophy. It sounds like something we all should take. I love the point of view of your body having a voice rather than listening to your body. Having a voice is a powerful thing, and I’ve experienced before in certain situations, but would love to experience it much more .

    • Cora | 13th Feb 18

      They are such similar thoughts and yet, if you think about it close enough, really quite different. We can think we are listening to anything – because thats in our control – but we cannot control someone else’s own voice.

  8. Kaylee | 12th Feb 18

    I get thinking yourself into feeling something. As a mostly logical oriented person, the whole listening to parts of myself other than my head (i.e. body, gut, heart) freaks me out.
    That approach you take is interesting… Really haven’t thought of it that way before and will have to keep you posted on that. 😉
    Kaylee recently posted…Week in Review: Cold Spells, Pizza and DogsMy Profile

    • Cora | 13th Feb 18

      Let me know if you have any further thoughts on it. Maybe during one of your yoga sessions you’ve been doing?

  9. chasetheredgrape | 12th Feb 18

    I love this way of thinking, it’s like in that moment everything just clicks and you know how to proceed. No one ever teaches you how to listen to your body, especially after you have lost the ability to do so. Head rules all, decides everything, creates what you ‘need’. But gaining tools to help you break through that is gold. You’ve struck gold!

    • Cora | 13th Feb 18

      I agree <3. It's not something you can teach at all.

  10. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 15th Feb 18

    Bravo, bravo.

    I think this idea is genius and we should all incorporate it.
    Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets recently posted…Sweet and Sassy Snickerdoodle Granola RecipeMy Profile

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