Saturday, September 24, 2016
Listening to the Body
I have not done any running this week. In my last post, I suggested that my body should not be listening to what my mind says. It is, however, true that the mind should usually listen to what the body says. The start of the school year typically brings new viruses into the house, and Jasper brought home a potent one that he so generously shared with me. My body has been fighting this virus for a few days, and it does not really want to run right now, so I've been keeping the exercise to walking, a few planks, and some light yoga.
Our bodies tell us things all the time. How often do we listen? I know I am guilty of ignoring what it is saying to me. When I have aches, pains, coughs, discomforts, I usually shrug them off, convinced that they will go away soon. If I am really, really tired, do I go to bed earlier? Usually not. If I am feeling a little under the weather, do I go to work? Yep! I usually do. If my cough isn't going away, do I go in to the doctor right away? Um. No, not so much. Perhaps if I had been listening a little better to my body I would have realized that I was not just out of shape last year. Perhaps if I had not been truly paying attention, I would have felt the slow decline of my stamina and realized something was up much sooner.
As a practicing yogi, I always thought I was pretty in tune with my body. I can tell when I"m getting stressed, and I can find a breathing pattern that helps me to remain calm. I can see when I should back off of a challenging pose that my muscles are not ready for. It's been a long time since I've injured myself in my practice because I do pay attention when I'm on my yoga mat. But as I reflect on the past year, I can see that I wasn't following the same practice off the mat. My body was hollering at me that things were not right, and I just refused to listen. As I find myself coughing from this cold virus, I am reminded of how many weeks I was coughing last fall, and how I kept telling myself that the cough was nothing serious. And we all know how that turned out.
I'm feeling pretty good these days. I feel strong. I feel pretty healthy. On Monday I go in for my quarterly CT scan and bone scan and we will see, visually, if things match up with how I feel. I like to think I've gotten better at paying attention to my body. I'm trying to eat the right things, and make all the right moves. I am trying to take a few minutes each day to sit and simply notice where I am holding stress, to notice where I am feeling not quite 100%. I'm trying to listen to the subtle hints and whispers that say move, rest, eat, drink, sleep.
The body will eventually get your attention, one way or another. I'm learning not to make it yell.