Your Body Tells You What You Need
Many times during yoga class, you'll be prompted to listen to your body. How does your body feel today? Is there tension? Do you feel strong and energized? Is the body exhausted, in need of relaxation and a rebalance?
When we listen to our body, we can give it what it needs. There's no pressure to fold deeper or a hold a pose longer. Each level gives the body something good, from the release of tension to becoming more flexible or building more muscle. Each day is different. Some days we need something light, some days we're looking for challenge.
Yoga taught me to become more aware of my body. I found out that I store tension in my back and shoulder. I lift my shoulders unconsciously when that happens, and that's probably the reason why they used to always hurt.
When I'm aware of the tension, I can release it. I close my eyes, let my shoulders fall down, relax, take deeper breaths. I feel the air come through the nose, through the throat, to the lungs. I feel my chest rise and my belly expand as I inhale, and I squeeze all the air out in the exhale.
Then, I check the whole body for tension. I sometimes find out that my lower back is tense too, with my tailbone sticking out. With the deep breaths, I let them come into a neutral position.
Being aware of our body doesn't only help us in our physical health. It can also alert us of a troubled mind.
My body tells me when I'm feeling stressed (because sometimes it sneaks up on me). My back and shoulders start to hurt. From that awareness, I can then find out what's causing the stress and either solve it or let go of the thoughts.
Awareness of the body helps me become aware of where my mind is. It alerts me of subconscious troubles. And only then can I address them and give my mind peace.