Are you respecting your body in your chosen form of exercise or body movement? For years I thought I was, but it turns out, not so much. Thankfully, I turned it all around.
For a few months now, I’ve been in an energy lull. Slow moving, not wanting to do any exercise that’s too rigorous, everything gentle, flowy, stretchy, meditative. It’s where I was so it’s how I practiced. Taking it easy on exercise and not forcing myself to work harder was a whole new way to operate for me.
I started working-out when I was 13, largely due to a desire to be very skinny. For my teens and into my twenties I did aerobics videos, running, exercise classes, and lots of gym workouts. When I moved to LA I got into power yoga, then found a home for a few years in vinyasa flow. I loved that I could stretch, workout, sweat, breath, and meditate all in one neat package. How convenient! I’m really into efficiency of time.
It took its toll though and I started getting all the classic injuries that many yoga practitioners seem to think is just part of being a devoted student: hip issues, low back pain, and shoulder tension. Actually, yoga is meant to be a healing practice, not an injurious one. If you’re feeling injured more often than feeling amazing, chances are you’re doing something in your practice that is hurting your body.
Through my teacher training circuit I met Linda Lack and started studying her unique technique, The Thinking Body-The Feeling Mind® (TBFM). It was both shocking and humbling to discover, after ten years of practice, how many areas of my body were very limited in their range of motion, and how much of my strength was on the surface rather than in deep internal core muscles. I loved the intensity of the vinyasa classes, but the fast pace and competitive atmosphere were leading me to “pull off” certain postures, rather than truly building the asana from the inside out.
I dove deep into TBFM and uncovered serious physical blockages, opened up new pathways of flexibility and strength, and learned how to do advanced postures from authentic core engagement. I slowed down and did the work to make real and lasting transformations. I do this practice everyday and weave it into all of my teaching, because it leads you to know, love, and respect your body intimately, honor your energy, and move in the most optimum way for you.
Now it’s summer, my energy is on a major upswing, and I want the satisfaction of sweaty, heart-pounding workouts. I get there with hiking, hula-hooping, dancing, and yes, yoga. The difference now is that there is so much intelligence to all of my movement. When I push myself in my own home practice, or go to a challenging vinyasa class, I feel the inner workings of my body in a new way. I make the adjustments I know are necessary for me to have a healing sweaty practice, not a painful sweaty practice. I am respecting my body and honoring my energy. It feels amazing.
My guidance to you is this: get to know your body’s unique needs, strengths, and challenges. Seeing that you don’t come with an owner’s manual, it’s a great idea to work privately with a skilled yoga teacher to better understand how to open up the areas where you are limited, and to find the places that need more strength. I can help you with that.
Second piece of advice: tune into your energy each day and do what it’s asking for. If your energy is on the low side, take a long walk with a friend, do some gentle yoga, and ease into movement mindfully. If you’re feeling restless and a little more hyperactive, celebrate it! Do something sweaty, but do it with intelligence, strength, and grace. Always respect your body.
Take action now:
1) In the comments below, share how this resonates with you. What is your experience with listening to and respecting your body or perhaps ignoring pain and causing injury?
2) Book a private yoga session with me to asses your unique needs and how to make your practice even more meaningful and powerful for you. You can do that here.
Happy Summer Solstice!
Lots of Love,