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Listening to Your Body

by Jo Wilkie

Our bodies are faithful guides that are always giving us clues about the direction we are taking in life. Unfortunately, since our bodies don’t communicate in words, it’s easy to miss the message in our very thought-centric society. In Yoga class, I am often telling students to listen to their bodies. This is more than just instruction for any physical activity, but an imperative skill that translates into living a better life.

For instance, back in the day, when I was working in corporate accounting, I would often try to get up and practice Yoga prior to work. I found that I often couldn’t rouse myself for that activity and, when I did, I always had a horrible, horrible day – I would feel tired and heavy, as well as VERY cranky. At the time, I attributed it to not getting enough sleep and thought to myself, “Wow, morning Yoga and work just don’t mix, so, I will shift my Yoga practice to after work instead…”

Complete insanity, don’t you think??

This time period popped into my head the other day and I laughed out loud – my body was sending me very clear signals that my job in accounting was the WRONG place for me. I was able to ignore my body signals on days that I practiced Yoga after work, but on the days that I was actually present in my body before work through my Yoga practice, my body was sending a loud and resounding, “NO” to me about my career at that time. Today, I am MUCH better at hearing the wisdom of my body barometer – I know what my body’s “yes” and “no” both feel like in my body, and I listen up and act accordingly.

The point is, that in all cases, if you follow your body barometer by moving away from activities, places, and people that your body barometer says, “No” to, and move toward activities, places, and people that your body reacts in a resounding, “Yes” to, you will find your life moving effortlessly in a positive direction. Now, whether your social conditioning will happily go along for the ride is another story altogether!!

What does it feel like in your body when you are engaged in something or with someone that is clearly not for you? How about something or someone that clearly makes you happy?? Are there times that you experience these sensations in your body and ignore them? Why? Tell me about your body barometer in the comments.

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