what does it mean to listen to your body?
Leticia Leyva, Support Teacher at TheHotTT
To listen to your body means to respect its physical limitations and not let your ego rule how deep you go into a pose or how far you push. You have to play with your “edge” as we call it which is that fine line where you are at your maximum point of expression in that particular moment in that particular pose. Your edge varies from day to day based on several different contributing factors which is why it is so important to listen to your body. You should never feel pain in any pose although you may experience severe discomfort or new sensations, this is all part of the process of learning to listen to your body and differentiate between pain and uncomfortable or unfamiliar sensation. How can you differentiate you may ask, and the truth is it’s different for everybody but as a general rule if it’s a zinging sort of quick shooting pain that is where you stop before creating Injury as that is your body speaking to letting you know you’ve gone too far. Although yoga is intended to heal, if not performed properly, or with the right intention, injuries can happen which is why it is crucial to learn to listen to and respect your body and what it’s telling you each and every time you practice.
Susan Wyler, Senior Teacher at TheHotTT
Listening to your body begins with getting very quiet inside. This entails quieting the mind. The first sutra of Patanjali – chitta vritti nirodha – instructs the beginning yogi in the most important practice — the cessation of the churning of the mind. In any culture, this is not a simple thing to do, so imagine the difficulty in our very noisy world.
When we begin to quiet the mind, we start to be able to recognize where blocks are in the flow of prana. Feel prana trapped behind the right shoulder blade or hiding in the pelvic bowl. Our mind turns inward and we’re able to use our mind to guide the flow of prana, to hear the body’s whispers and cries, to begin to be a gentle parent coaxing, nudging, moving the whole – mind/body/soul – toward a feeling of safety and opening.
Ryan McCourt, Support Teacher at TheHotTT
What I felt to be the most frustrating part about yoga when I first started, was how different my abilities were each day. Some days I could get my foot over my head in standing bow and other times I wouldn’t be able to kick hard enough to even bring my upper body down. Day after day I heard “listen to your body” and day after day I blew it off. Then one day it clicked. I need to appreciate the fact that I can be in the room today, and practice what my body is able to do today. Too often I would compare myself to what I did the day before, become frustrated and push myself too hard. Then I realized I have my whole life to get my foot over my head. No one is going to die if I fall out a couple of times today, there is no reason to be frustrated. The only negative thing that could come out of all this is pushing myself too hard, hurting myself, and rending myself unable to practice yoga. Listening to my body and taking the steps I need day in and day out will be the best for my practice, my mental clarity, and my whole life, no matter how it looks today.
Jelena Lepesic, Senior Teacher at TheHotTT
Listen to your body
listen to hear
Speak your body
your own Self
Your Self speaks the language of Body
your body is Home
Home in Body
your only home
where everything Is
Everything is there
there just listen
listen to your body
KelleyJane Paradise, Support Teacher at TheHotTT
To listen to your body, you must first be able to be humbled by and honest with yourself. To listen to your body, you have to decide that you have an awareness that is deep and utterly necessary to your well-being. To listen to your body means that you set aside ego, ambition, and complacency, and do what is right for you. “Do it because you can”- Zefea Samson
If you can push, you push, if you have reached your edge, you maintain. If you have sharp pain or illness, you back off. What you hear in your body, you respect and honor with actions that mirror what your body is telling you. Always listen.
Jeannie Savage, Support Teacher at TheHotTT
When I see this question, I think of a few things. I feel like eating this piece of pie instead of going to a yoga class, I feel tired or I feel worried. There are feelings that are more physical and feelings that are more psychological. They both effect the physical body, as we know. It is all connected. Psychologically speaking, we can go in circles for hours with entertaining thoughts, research, doubt and worry. As Mark had said earlier this week: “Your body speaks to you all the time. Listen to all the signals and communications your body is sending you, not the chatter in your mind that’s filtering it” So, let yourself feel and don’t feel the need to label what you’re feeling or analyze it. Slow down, get quiet, stop thinking for a moment and focus on your breath. To me, this is the first step to getting in touch with your body and becoming more sensitive to what is going on with it. Breathe deep, breathe as deep as you possibly can. This breathing will cause sensations in your body that you are not used to feeling. If you notice that you are stiff or tense somewhere in your body, let it go. By breathing deeply, your body will move without you thinking about it. When you breathe in, your chest and shoulders will lift up. When breathing out, you become more loose, more alterable. That is a good place to start, get to know your body and when you’re in yoga class keeping consistent with your breath you’ll know the days where you can go deeper and push and the days where you should hold yourself and not push so much.
Mark Drost, Senior Teacher at TheHotTT
Your body speaks to you all the time. Listen to all the signals and communications your body is sending you, not the chatter in your mind that’s filtering it.
Toddy Willis, Senior Teacher at TheHotTT
Experiencing the different reasons that practitioners, students and yogis enter the yoga room can help you open your mind to understand how they wish to connect with themselves and how they connect with the yoga itself. Whether people come in for a good work out, because they’re invited by a friend/studio or because they’re dealing with an injury, illness, melody or something that just doesnt feel quite right within themselves or whichever reason it may be; it directs us towards how, why and when we find that connection with ones Self. How exactly to do it is all in the practice: practice of breath, practice of mind control, practice to practice itself, to willfully surrender. Connecting breath with the simple things we feel in our body as deep as they may be allows us to move our energies, allows us to create those workouts and allows us to create that health, that rehabilitation and that restoration. It allows us to embrace the moment; whether you’re practicing on your own or next to a friend. The connection of ones Self is yoga. Whether we do it in a yoga studio or we do it sitting on the end of our bed in a meditative position; it is the time that we take for ourselves to breathe, to listen with what’s within. Allowing ourselves to seperate from the outside world starts the pathway to connecting within.