Sometimes I get questions from students about the difference between real listening and indulgence in a yoga practice, and how to tell the difference between the two. Sometimes we are suspicious of our body giving us the message to ‘back off’ – and our reaction can be that we are simply being lazy, unmotivated and self-indulgent. If we don’t push ourselves a little bit, do we get complacent and never more forward into our true potential? How can I distinguish between exploring an edge and gentleness when needed?
Our bodies love and crave movement. But often our thoughts get in the way. When we resist moving, it is usually because of some sort of inner criticism. Listening to that inner critic rarely, if ever, helps us overcome resistance. Real listening, that would be rooted in compassion and kindness helps us honour what our bodies need in the moment.
Let me explain further. If the messages in your head tell you to ‘back off’ because you will never be good enough anyway, then listening would be self-indulgent and not in your best interests. Instead, if the thoughts to ease out of what you are doing are rooted in compassion and you know deep within that you are absolutely ok just as you are, then kindness wins and you give your body exactly what it needs.
Many of us are much too sedentary – and choosing to get up and move is almost always what our bodies need. Sometimes the kindest thing to do is not skip a practice, but to find the mat, move slowly and create a judgement free space for your body to explore. And of course, the more practice you do, the better able you will be to tune in and hear┬áthe truth within.