Every time we arrive on our mat, we experience something new. As I mention to all my students, each time we arrive, we arrive with a different body. We may wake up energized and ready to practice. We may have days where we still have sleepers in our eyes and mismatched socks on our feet. There are days we will stub a toe, fall and lose our balance while other days we achieve dancers pose with grace & poise: picture perfect.
I am at the beginning of a 30 day yoga challenge. The challenge is to be on your mat for 30 days in a row. I am doing this parallel to a 21 day cleanse: The Clean Program. I couldn’t be more excited to ring in 2012 with health & wellness intentions. As you know from reading just me and my mat, I am not on my mat as often as I would like. If I am to do a cleanse and 30 day yoga challenge congruently, I really need to listen to my body!
Bodies are such wonderful things! We are able to heal ourselves from the insdie out. We are able to climb Mount Everest, run marathons, do yoga and survive with one (or no) legs as we run, play and move!
Everybody has specific signals that trigger them. If we really tune into our bodies, then we can hear our mind/body connection. Sometimes our bodies are subtle with their signals: a headache due to too much coffee and too little water or an ache in our back from picking something up the wrong way. It is mostly when we ignore our subtle symptoms, that our bodies begin to speak loud and clear: cancer, weight gain, diabetes etc.
When we turn our minds inside, when we quiet the unnecessary chatter, we are able to see many warning signs. In my experience, I always feel best when am listening to my body. For me, this mostly means a regular yoga practice, eating healthy, and eating & sleeping when I feel I need to. I actually listen!
I am lucky that my current lifestyle affords me the luxury to listen to almost every moment – but I learnt this skill while I was still a full-time elementary school teacher. Instead of napping at work or eating meals when I was hungry, I modified. I would take a much needed reenergizing walk after school, a yoga class or a nap when I got home. If food was what I needed, I would always keep simple and small snacks at my desk for those moments when I needed them. I also always had tea with me to keep me warm, healthy and hydrated (try candy cane green tea – or ANY green tea – so good for you & yummy)!
Although I wasn’t able to react to every signal, I was able to catch many and listen – reacting to whatever I could in that moment. It is a practice in mindfulness and can be very easy to both listen to and ignore our bodies.
If your body is craving vegetables, for example, and your family wants to go to Uno’s – you should go! Enjoy dinner with the family, but order salad. Just because you’re out does not mean you need a burger. The same can be said for craving meat. Our body sends us signals, so if you are craving meat you shouldn’t eat a salad because you’re “being good” or “on a diet.” Eat what you need and your body will pay you back with kindness.
The same rules apply for exercise. While I wish I could be on my mat everyday, my lifestyle and time constraints do not always allow it. Also, some days we just need to rest! When I work out at KoKo FitClub, they recommend doing so 3-4 times per week. They plan for a rest day – as they don’t want you to push too far.
By using our signals and signs, we are easily able to stay healthy and happy. For January, I wish you a healthy & happy start to 2012. I wish you health, wellness and happiness!
Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!