Learning to listen and interpret the messages of our bodies, is probably more challenging than a pull up, but more rewarding than dropping a pant size. Why? Because to build solid and healthy relationships of any kind we must start with listening. In my yoga classes one of my main goals is to teach people to listen to their bodies. This is something that I have been working on for myself for many years and still am practicing on a daily basis.
When it comes to exercise, if we learn to listen to our bodies we are less likely to injure ourselves. I often tell my students “No pain, no gain went out with the 80’s!” Why?...
Because most people I know tend to push past their edge and injure themselves.
The “edge” is where you can feel the intensity of the pose without any “bad” pain while still being able to breath. I have even taken this so far as to letting my body decide what kind of exercise to do. Maybe my body wants to go for a walk instead of doing yoga, maybe today it wants to dance…whatever it is I listen and usually feel much better afterwards.
What we eat is another place we can apply listening to our bodies. Firstly there’s in the quantity: as we slow down and eat with out distractions we can savor and enjoy the flavor of our food as well as give our tummy enough time to say “I’m full”. Another way is in what we eat. For me digestion has been a huge learning opportunity and what I’ve learned is if you have any experiences of discomfort after you eat, then there was something you ate that your body doesn’t like or simply cannot digest properly. For me I’ve learned that my body doesn’t like dairy, rice, or sugar, but loves lots of green vegetables, some meat, and a little bit of wheat.
I have had people say that I need to take wheat out of my diet (many people have glutten/wheat allergies) and I tried that for a week and my body absolutely hated it. So I’ve learned to honor and listen to my body first and foremost. Another good thing to note is: what your body wants and needs will change moment to moment.
For me this was a huge acknowledgement because I’d be like cool, this is the kind of food by body wants, this is the kind of exercise my body wants I can now settle into my routine. Sure enough next thing I know my body would be like “I don’t like oatmeal for breakfast anymore” and my routine was out the door. Another thing I found interesting is occasionally I would have a craving for cheese, something my body isn’t particularly fond of, which kind of confused me. So one time I decided to have something with a little cheese in it, and only ate until I felt comfortable. Guess what? My body didn’t react!
All because I gave it what it was asking for—just enough, not too much. So I highly recommend adding “listening to your body” into your regiment. Oh, and be sure it is your body speaking and not your inner child that just wants ice cream and candy for meals!
You may find out things you didn’t realize were preventing you from experiencing optimal health and start feeling
good in your body!