Thursday, September 3, 2009

Listening to Your Body's Whispers

Usually it's not till I'm injured and in pain that I listen to my body, but my body is talking to me all the time. It tells me to stretch and shift when I've been sitting too long. It tells me that there's strain on my knees when I bend like that. It tells me that it's perfectly satiated two hours after dinner. I know I can easily tune in and listen, but sometimes I don't. Then my body has to scream louder. It's not nice to make your body scream, and it's no fun to listen to.

There are always little warnings. They start as whispers. Sometimes I hear them when I'm dancing, and I don't listen. It's usually midway through the dance when I'm in the zone. I'm warm and loose and into the music, and I might get little tinge of pain if I turn my knee before my foot. I get so connected with the emotions and energy of the music and movement that I ignore my body's whispers. I'm dancing in my mind, which is an exhilarating place to be. But noticing my body as I dance is gratifying too. And what happens if I listen to my body for the way to move? What if I tune in to what my body is telling me? There are messages all the time.

When you decide to listen, you notice what feels good to your body. It might to step lightly, or maybe it wants to open through your shoulders. You might be surprised to find that following your body's way makes you feel lighter, more graceful and expansive. Guided by what movement your body wants, your dance through life becomes easy and grounded in the present moment.

As you are just beginning this skill of listening, you may have to start the conversations. At those moments when you remember to notice your body, give it little gifts of attention. Here are some examples:
  • When taking steps forward, enjoy the soft touch of your feet on the floor and the gentle roll of the heel to toes.
  • As you stand, engage the muscles in your inner thighs, pushing energy down into the earth to take weight off your knees.
  • Expand your chest where you sit by subtly rolling your shoulders back and down and gently engaging the muscles across your chest, radiating energy from your heart.
Your body is what allows you to do everything that you do, and it is your only mode of transportation through this journey. At the same time, it is also your closest traveling companion. Be good to it. Let it have some say in how you get around. Let it also be a space that you stop and explore from time to time, listening for guidance about where (and how) to go next. Listen to your body's whispers, and you will have a much more joyful journey together.