I spend a lot of time listening to my heart, my intuition, my thoughts (which never stop), but have not ever gotten proficient at listening to my body. As a yogini, I know this revelation is going to out me in a negative way. I've been in classes where the teacher instructs us to choose our own version of a pose, going by what our body needs on that particular day. I am really not good at this!! It makes me anxious, and then it gets worse when she follows it by saying not to look around at what everyone else is doing, because that is just what I was going to do next. So, how do we know what our bodies need?
I get confused, because low energy, as I've experienced the last week, could mean I need to step it up and do an energizing practice. It could also mean I need to rest and take it easy. I try different things and eventually discover that one practice feels better than another. I can't say I decide this easily or quickly. In fact, this whole week I've been going down the wrong path, apparently. I have been fatigued, not sleeping well, and my joints have been acting up in irritating ways. I assumed I'd overdone it, and proceeded to take a couple of days off of yoga. Then I did a home practice that was not up to my usual level. And I felt worse and worse. Today, I finally said to heck with it and headed to my usual intermediate yoga class. And lo and behold, I instantly fell into the groove. We worked our core, and I realized that my third chakra needs some firing up. I also discovered that my wrists felt better after a bunch of vinyasas, and my mind finally shut up for 5 seconds by the end of class. Huh.
So how can I tune in more quickly and recognize my needs? I think I discount my body's cues because I expect limitations from it. I was not a strong person physically for the first 35 years of my life. I get aches and pains, and it takes me a long time to work the stiffness out of my joints in the morning. I have spent time scanning my body for pain and swelling, but not for clues to what I can do to nurture it. I have a fear of my body failing me, yet I don't listen to it and respond in a healthy way. Spending some time every day doing some basic body sensing, my energy level, any restlessness, fatigue, aches and pains, and then listening from the inside will help me to recognize the cues, I hope. I am going to experiment with this and see if i can become more mindful of my physical self, when too often I neglect it in favor of the emotional/spiritual body. If the body is truly the vessel for the soul, as I've read, then the care and nurturing of the physical shell can only enhance the spirit within.