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Free Yourself Up: Listen to Your Body

My energy was through the roof yesterday.

I felt it from the moment I go out of bed. Energy, and tons of it. I love to roll on and with good energy days. I feel productive and creative and alive. After a morning of teaching and Crossfit, I came home to find my energy still high, almost manic, and my mind not sure what to do with it. Do I go for a run? Pack some boxes? Work on YTT? My focus was all over the place. What ended up happening, as it usually does, is I ended up killing a whole afternoon doing random things and not being very productive. The Enneagram 3 in me was screaming, "Look at you, wasting a whole afternoon. You could have done this, and this and this," constantly on the look out for how to maximize my time, make use of every second, squeeze out every drop of productivity. I'm all for productivity and working hard. Many of you know this year, however, I've been working on slowing my roll, on not pushing so hard, on easing up. I find when I'm either feeling really high or really low, I want to capitalize on what's happening so nothing gets wasted. (again, Enneagram 3 tendencies). I want to use my high energy before it goes away, or use my low energy while I can so I can rest. What I'm seeing is, this state of mind comes from a place of lack. I've had days this week where my energy is low and I have no motivation, and days like yesterday where I feel like I could fly.

What I'm learning to do is fine tune my listening.

One way I've learned to listen this year is through practicing yoga in non-heated spaces. Most of you know, I love hot yoga and have spent 95% of my life practicing yoga in a heated space, up until the pandemic. Once the heat of summer was over and the cold weather came in, I had to get used to practicing in less than ideal temperatures. The shipping container space is amazing and covered and somewhat insulated, and even then, it often doesn't get above 40 degrees and 50% of the time my propane heater goes out during the middle of class. I've had to quickly learn, my body has had to quickly learn, how to adapt. This year, I've really learned what it means to "build heat from the inside out" with Ujjayi breathing. I've learned what poses my body can do in any temperature and what poses don't work for me unless I'm really warm. I've learned how to adapt and modify in a whole new way. And. It's not always the same. Depending on how much I utilize my breathing and my energy level, the practice can look different.

When I allow myself to be surprised by what I'm capable of is when the magic happens.

It could be so easy to go into the shipping container and say, "It's cold, I'm going to have to work so hard, there's no way I'll be able to do anything," and let my practice roll like that. This is very different from, "It's cold, but let's see how my body feels and what happens today." In the first example, I'm pre-determining the practice. I'm lowering the stakes. I'm settling. In the second, I'm letting the practice happening. I'm upping the ante. I'm open to possibility.

I'm learning that true listening to my body happens moment to moment.

It happened this morning, on my mat. The class was in wheel and I was in a fixed mindset about it. "It's cold in here. My body isn't warm enough. I'll just do bridges today." Pre-determined. Then, a small, but mighty voice from within me said, "Are you sure? What if you just tried wheel?" and just like that, I planted my two hands down, lifted up, and surprised myself. It can go both ways. In Dancer today, I really wanted to kick my leg back. My mind was ready for it. My body was not, so I modified. I surprised myself in how I eased up without a story behind it. My body simply said no and that was it. Our minds like to fixate on things, like to ruminate, like to make plans, like to play our worst case scenarios. Our minds like to try and run the show. Like, all the time. Living from headspace, though, can only get us so far before it gets dangerous. There comes a point when what the mind is saying may not be what is needed... when the mind is actually creating toxic thoughts and ideas and stories, both about our bodies and our practice on our mats and also out in our lives in the world. Listening to the body, living from the body, keeps me in check. It keeps me in what's real. And the fastest way to get out of headspace, out of story, is to look at the actual, real, facts. The fact is, my shipping container is cold. The story I have is that it stops me from doing what I want to do in my body. The fact is, Tim didn't clean out his rice dish yesterday. The story I have is that my husband is a slob and doesn't ever clean up anything. The fact is, my dog Daisy killed a chicken. The story I have is that I'm a horrible dog owner.

When I put the facts up against the story I'm telling, I can see just what a mess my mind can make of things.

It's less hard for the body to make a mess. The body will either tell you yes or it will tell you no. It's based in facts. The magic for me has happened this week, when, no matter how I'm feeling energy wise, I listen to my body and let the body make the call. It meant I took afternoon naps this week and had days that weren't as productive as my crazy brain would like them to be. It also meant I got surprise workouts with friends in, had inspiring conversations with people, and made new connections. (I also got a lot of work done, too!). Listening to my body has helped me be in the practice of ease, and take moments as they come. It's felt very freeing this week, both physically and energetically. So, the questions for you this week:

Where are you seeing for yourself, that you are living in story land versus living in facts? Where are you living in headspace instead of body space? What would it look like, for you, to move towards fact and body based living? We need practices that ground us in reality now, more than ever. Sit with these questions and see what comes up for you. Let it be a way of honoring yourself and creating more ease in your life.

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