Listen to your body when it speaks to you. Why is this such a hard concept to put into practice?

I tend to override what my body is telling me to do, begging to me do, with whatever my brain thinks is actually the best course of action. Shockingly (or perhaps, not so shockingly) my body happens to be a lot smarter than my brain. If it needs to my body will bring me to a crashing halt, even when my brain is telling me to keep going.

In yoga classes, the teacher with often say to only do a pose if it speaks to you. They’ll suggest to back out of a pose if your body disagrees with it. This idea of listening to our bodies and conversing with them has stuck with me over the past few months of doing yoga on a semi-regular basis.

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The older I get the more I realize that my body communicates with me on a regular basis. I’ll get headaches from stress or I’ll feel anxiety in my chest or sometimes I just feel like crap. Usually the way I’m feeling directly correlates to whatever external things are going on in my life.

The other day I stumbled across a blog entry that really hit home. It was titled, “Is commitment the missing piece of the happiness puzzle?” In the blog the author talks about committing to her yoga practice, but then she broadens the discussion out how in our society we are offered so many options that it becomes overwhelming and thus makes it difficult to commit.

This idea of committing or rather having a hard time committing really struck a chord with me. I’m committed to my work and finishing the PhD program. I’m committed to loving and being there for my friends and family. I’m even committed to taking care of Sirius and Charlie. But am I committed to taking care of myself? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Why is it that when life gets stressful the first thing to go out the window is my healthy eating habits and my exercise routine? It seems like one of those things that’s superfluous or a reward, but really it’s the aspect of my life that keeps me grounded and balanced. Exercise and healthy eating habits keep me happy, healthy, and sane.

In the past few weeks I’ve been doing great when it comes to making smart food choices and working out on a regular basis and you know what? I feel great! Sure I’m stressed and I feel a bit guilty that I’m not making as much progress in my work than I’d like, but I don’t have headaches or any of the other physical symptoms of stress.

So my challenge to myself is to work on listening to my body. Next time I feel like I’m too busy to exercise, I need to really look at my time and see if there is something else I can cut from my schedule before I sacrifice my workout time.

And on that note, I’m off to hot yoga!

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