The practice of listening to our bodies is simple but we may not know what to do with the information we receive. We may be aware that our digestion is off or that we are carrying excess weight, feeling tired, anxious, depleted or just plain stressed, but what to do about it? If like most people in this culture we are moving through our lives with great speed going from one activity to another without a break, eating with little awareness of our food and exercising our bodies as “other” than ourselves; well, then listening to our bodies to understand what they truly need might be like listening to someone speaking in a foreign language. Some of the words are familiar, but we don’t grok the whole meaning so we don’t know how to respond.
The first piece to listening to our bodies is to pause and connect. Breathe and sense your body right now. Butt in the chair, feet on the floor, lungs breathing….
We all know that we can’t properly digest food when we are stressed out and we may even recognize that we are stressed out, which means that even if we are eating all the right food, we won’t digest it properly. That’s just how it is.
However, if we slow down when we eat, breathe, relax our belly, connect to the food we are chewing and eat in a relaxing environment, away from our desks and screens, well, that would create the conditions for optimal digestion.
Perhaps when we tune into our bodies we recognize that underneath all of the frenetic activity, we are actually tired. Exhausted, even. And its not just physical fatigue, but a kind of mental exhaustion, a kind of emotional backlog, a spiritual malaise. But we have our tasks to do, and we don’t really have time for all of this exhaustion, so we go to caffeine or sugar; tobacco or alcohol, fast foods and unimportant activity to give us the lift we need.This gets us into a catch 22, where the more we artificially stimulate ourselves, the more we need to; and the harder it is to get the real rest we need. Or the more we feed our bodies and minds junk, the more we get habituated to those things.
So learning to listen to our bodies begins with slowing down enough to become aware of our situation, and regular practice tuning in to the effects of our actions on our bodies. Shoving good food into a stressed out nervous system doesn’t work. Exercising as though we are machines to work out also doesn’t begin to touch our multi-dimensionality, and so its effects are necessarily limited. Keeping up with the pace around us and within us by relying on artificial stimulants will just continue to feed the underlying imbalance of not enough rest/going too fast. Tuning out does nothing to nourish and replenish our souls.
We are multi-dimensional beings and taking a purely physical approach to change fits well with our cultural reductionism but doesn’t touch the deeper change we are really yearning for.
When I talk to folks one-on-one, I hear about the sense of disconnection we are feeling. Deep inside we know that the cultural ideal of getting more done doesn’t really feed us, and yet when we take down-time we feel guilty, lazy and unproductive; or we take “down time” in destructive ways like hanging out too long in front of the TV, drinking alcohol and eating comfort foods all in an effort to relax. Breathe.
In the 12 week audio course I created, Sacred Daily Essentials, we begin with awareness. Not criticism, not impossible standards, not going it alone (again),not 10 more things for our to-do list. Instead, we begin with an awareness of our situation, awareness of how we are really feeling and a a shift in approach from massive change all at once, to gradual change over time with the support and guidance we need to take action. This approach allows a flowering of that same awareness, a felt sense of how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together and a return to ourselves that allows us to relax. We get reacquainted with the language of our own bodies and learn to trust our experience rather than relaying on external rules that may or may not apply to us at this time.
Sacred Daily Essentials is a 12 week course that you can take from the comfort of your home or office. Most weeks you will receive a 20 – 30 minute recorded lesson and some downloadable written growth work to help you decide which small step you will take that week. Most weeks we will get on the phone in our “virtual circle” and check in with each other and you can get answers to your questions and witnessing of your process. If you have to miss a call, you can listen to the recording later to receive the input for that week. You can even let me know your questions in advance, and I will address them on the call. Twice during the course we will have “integration weeks” where we pause to go deeper with our practices and if needed, catch up. Twice during the course you will have time with me one-on-one to discuss any particular issues and to receive my guidance and witnessing. You will also receive audio recordings of asana, meditation and breathing practices to support you with your home practice.
This course is the culmination of my studies in yoga, ayurveda and other psycho-spiritual disciplines with which I have been devoted for the bulk of my life. It is my offering to you who are ready and willing to shift your approach, build better habits, and awaken and stay connected to the self-love that allows you to wake up each morning and look forward to the day ahead, and the contribution you are making in this world.
Sacred Daily Essentials is beginning with our first live call on Sunday, Feb 22nd! Our first lesson will arrive in your inbox on Monday, Feb 23rd. This course is limited to 20 so that I can respond well to everyone.
I invite all interested yogis into a free strategy session to see whether this course is a fit for you. I would love to hear about what you are working with, and offer my support to you. If I feel the course would be a match for your needs, I will let you know. Go here to set up an appointment.
If you are already interested in being part of this course, you can go ahead and fill out an application here, and I will follow up with you and set up a time to talk.
If you know you could be feeling better and you are ready to give yourself this time, I invite you to take action now. Why wait?
With Love and Appreciation,
Schedule a Strategy Session for the New Year. FREE 15-20 minute strategy sessions are by phone and offer you a place to talk about what is going on with you. I offer my deep listening and if I have something I think could help you, I will let you know. There are a limited number of sessions each week depending on my course/client load.
Are you ready to create better self-care rituals in the new year?