Esoteric Yoga - The Yoga of Stillness, allows us to explore the relationship and awareness that we have with our body and the mind. There is a difference between allowing the body to lead the way or allowing the mind to lead the way. When the two come together in union – body and mind, we have a synergy that has the potential to truly serve our whole being.
- When your stomach bloats? Why is that happening?
- When you feel a tightness in your body – why is this and why in that area of the body?
If we make a commitment to our own self-enquiry and not brush off what we are feeling and noticing, then we can take this deeper level of honesty to get to a deeper understanding about what is going on in our body. It is from this commitment to ourselves, and our wellbeing that we will then most likely take responsibility and make the changes needed in order to take better care of ourselves.
The key is to bring more trust with what the body is sharing and not judge what is there to feel. If we don’t have that judgment then we can just be with whatever is there to feel, with a loving acceptance to allow things to be as they are in each moment. Judgment is often what gets in the way of allowing oneself to feel the deeper levels of honesty in the body.
Being open to receiving the wisdom from your body (as opposed to the mind) is deeply supportive. It can be as simple as noticing what areas of your body feel tight or hold tension or appreciating areas that are open and surrendered. We can clock where our body is at without judgment or attachment, and bring an honesty so that we can get to true healing.
To bring a practicality to this discussion, lets look at two common areas of our life where we can override the body with the mind. When we bring a focus to something our awareness increases. So lets bring a focus to exercise and sleep, two topics that many can relate to.
There are so many ideals and beliefs about exercise that we are fed: How to exercise, how long to exercise. I was very much caught in the belief that I needed to do a minimum amount of exercise each day to manage my weight and body image. If you stay fixed on the beliefs that the fitness industry feeds you, then you are not going to be listening to your body because you are focused on reaching the goal you have set yourself.
For example lets say you have set yourself a goal to walk on the treadmill for 45mins each day, but at the 20 or 30 minutes mark your body says that’s enough, but in your mind you need to go to 45mins so you push yourself and justify in your mind why that’s okay. This is a classic example of not listening to your body and allowing it to lead the way. It was the belief that I would get fat if I didn’t walk for 45mins that kept me in the cycle of not listening or honouring my body.
Ironically when I eventually braved to let the belief go and listen to how long my body felt to walk each day, I actually lost weight! When we are fed beliefs that we say yes to they grab us and take us away from the absolute wisdom that the body is delivering to us every moment of every day.
When we do choose to listen to the body and honour it, the positive experience of how we feel in the body is confirmation that we are honouring our innate wisdom. For example, lets say you go for a walk and you set out to walk for 45mins, but at the 30min mark you can feel that’s enough and then you feel in your day how honouring that was for you and you didn’t feel depleted, that’s where it is really beautiful to observe and confirm in your body that you are tuning into what’s true for you on any one day. So it’s not staying fixed to these things we are being fed that we may have thought were true. Nothing is more true than the messages your body is sharing with you, which is different from person to person and why we cannot compare. We need to read things for ourselves, and whilst it may be that what we feel is similar to another, everyone is on their own journey of what is unfolding in their body.
A good nights sleep is so key to our well-being and yet so many suffer from poor quality sleep. One of the contributing factors to poor quality sleep is not listening to when the body is tired. When we push through to stay up later than we should and thus override the messages from our body to go to bed, our body goes into a disregard.
I want you to try 2 things:
1/ Clock how your body feels the next morning when you push through to do that extra task the night before or stay up late to watch a movie, despite the messages from your body telling you to go to sleep
2/ Clock how your body feels the next morning when you honour your body, give yourself space to wind down towards bedtime, and go to sleep when your body is tired and ready
My experience has shown me that when I push through, even if it’s only for five minutes,no matter how many hours sleep I have I am not as rested or rejuvenated the next morning compared to when I choose to honour my body like scenario 2 above. It is quite a substantial difference to the quality of my sleep and thus the energy I have when I wake, most likely compromised because I am going to sleep with a body that has pushed through, more stimulated and thus not settled . This is just one of the many things we could look at that affects the quality of our sleep.
The choice is ours to make – to override the body or listen to the wisdom that our body is sharing. Our body is precious, wise and something to be deeply appreciated. When we realize that the body is the boss, we also realize that how we feel is very much in our own hands.
Author: Marika Cominos