Welcome to my new series: Off the Mat. The physical practice of yoga has given me an incredible amount of tools I use off my mat. This series will be a place to share those! I'd love to hear about your stories too! #comments
"Feel what you feel."
When I first stated hearing teachers say this, I didn't exactly understand it. I got it on an emotional level, "when you are sad, be sad", but not on a physical level. Yoga was the first physical practice I have ever done. It connected me to my body. Before practicing yoga regularly, I didn't really have an awareness about my body and how it felt. If I had a headache, it was just a headache. If my arm hurt, it just hurt. There were never moments where I connected why I might feel those things to something other than the pain of it and really there just weren't any thoughts about it.
Let's cut to now: I have been having brain fog. This isn't something I am familiar with, I have never noticed brain fog before. I have also been sleeping poorly, feeling lethargic, and honestly slightly sluggish in my movements. I started practicing yoga a little more to see if that would change anything. My first reaction was to stop practicing because it didn't feel good, it didn't feel the same as usual. I went to a few slower yoga class and felt completely sluggish afterwards. I mentioned it to my friend and she said when she feels this way she does the opposite of how she feels, she suggested going on a run. If you know me you know me running isn't my game but I heard what she said and thought I'd give it a try. (it, not the run.) I went for a swim in the cool lake and came home to do some cardio, squats, arms and abs.
Suddenly I felt different, refreshed.
The point of this story is the practice of yoga teaches to observe your physical body on your mat. Lately, I've been observing my body off the mat. Noticing what I am craving, noticing parts of my body that feel more tense. Noticing parts that seem more squishy. Before yoga my reaction to these things would have just been statements or even complaints. Now I am learning that my physical body has a lot to say if I know how to listen to it. Feelings are signs, little bread crumbs leading me to a new place. Because feeling what you feel isn't just about emotions, it's also about physicality.