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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
because it was so wonderful to see my body…this other identity that I care for and love
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.
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 LoudA New Approach to Listening To Your Body. Letting Your Body Speak. #bodylove #awareness #mindfulness #yoga #selflove #recovery Click To Tweet
When you “listen to your body,” do you think you are actually letting your body speak?
I am 200% not a relationship expert. Let’s get that out right now…