Listen to your body! But...how?
In the yoga and general health and wellness industry, it's often said, "listen to your body!". I know I say it a lot to my students and clients.
But what exactly does that mean? How do you listen to your body? How exactly are you supposed to know what is best for you as an individual?
Here's 5 of my top tips!
#1: Be willing to explore
Sometimes what we're currently doing -- whether we're talking exercise, diet, sleeping patterns, relationships, or any other aspect of health -- isn't the best for us. Maybe it's not exactly harmful, but it's also not getting us closer to our goals or allowing us to improve either.
Exploring means trying new things, even if what we're doing already seems pretty good!
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#2: Understand that discomfort...
...doesn't always mean it's harmful or unhealthy.
For example, I encouraged people over on my Instagram Stories to try cold showers for the month of November (see the highlighted story: "Nov Cold" for info). It's not as bad as you'd think, I promise!
You can still begin with hot water, but you just switch the tap all the way to cold for the last 15 seconds. Then you slowly increase it to 30 seconds, 45, and finally 60 seconds each week.
The benefits of cold exposure are numerous but the thing I love most about this is how much it teaches you the power of your thoughts! When you think "I can't do this! I'll freeze!!" then of course it will be unpleasant, and seem impossible. But if you simply BREATHE and think, "this is temporary, and it's good for me. I find this refreshing," then the cold water really does become something to look forward to!
This is such a great exercise for learning to listen to your body -- i.e. not listening to your mind. Sometimes we think we're listening to our bodies, but it's really our thoughts controlling the situation. I promise it's not your body that wants you to grab that donut! It's your mind. See how that works?
#3: Forget where you're going. Focus on where you are.
Whether you're moving on your mat or eating, walking down the road, or brushing your teeth, it's easy to do even these things with half our brains on what's next. But practising total mindfulness of the activity you're engaged in helps you to home in on what your body feels about what you're doing. You can tune in to how your arms or neck or fingertips feel in each posture, or how your stomach is receiving the food you eat (maybe you realise you're full much sooner than you do when you're eating just out of boredom or habit.)
#4: Make tiny adjustments, one at a time.
So, whether you're listening to your body as you move, or as you make changes to your diet, or anything else, of course it makes sense that it's harder to understand what's happening if you make quick, drastic changes in many areas.
So instead, change one thing at a time.
Sometimes we need a bit of help making these small changes in our lifestyles. This is something that I help my clients with in my health coaching. If that sounds like something you're interested in, email me or click here for a bit more information!
#5: Understand it is a never-ending journey.
That's why we say "enjoy the journey" because there's no getting off it! Well...until you leave your body and begin a whole new journey in the next life!
There is no such thing, though, as figuring out exactly what is best for you all the time, forever and ever. It's more about understanding that each day is an opportunity to do your very best.