yes, yes, and yes.
our bodies speak to us deliberately, consistently, and without fail. each morning we can wake and take a moment to survey our human shells. how do my feet feel? does my stomach ache? is my neck stiff? simple questions lead to a more pronounced bodily awareness.
why is bodily awareness important?
let me share a story.
the body speaks in a variety of ever changing, ever appearing ways. outside of the obvious pain and pleasure shocks it sends us, the body occasionally speaks without such direct feeling.
i took a yoga class with one of my favorite teachers on tuesday. the class is labeled vinyasa level 2/3, which generally means the pace is quicker, the poses more difficult, and the sweat is guaranteed.
on tuesday the poses poured sweat out of my pores. i bent, reached, elongated and breathed. classes in san francisco, and in urban environments in general, are slightly more difficult than say, the classes in marin, the county just over the other side of the golden gate.
perhaps because the median age of a yogi drops and the bodies are younger. perhaps because the students ask for harder classes. perhaps because busy, bustling city environments shape the class in particular ways.
regardless, i noted a slight difference between the class i took in san francisco and the class i took in larkspur where i work. the teacher, who teaches at both studios, upped the intensity. he added core work. i struggled. big time.
as we huffed and puffed our way to stronger centers, i noticed how easily i relinquished the pose. i noticed how quick i was to relax onto my mat, essentially “giving up”. in the moments i took to recline, a thought flittered into my vision: i always, without fail, intentionally avoid direct core work and always, without fail, avoid it.
“yogic crunches” are not in my home practices. nor are many poses directly targeting the core of our bodies (the area just below your ribs all the way to the space just below your belly button). another thought followed:
my arms and shoulders and upper back are very strong. my legs are the strongest, most solid part of my entire body. but my core? the space connecting legs and chest? it is the weakest. the softest. the most untouched.
if our core is the center of our being, this is where we radiate our selves. if our hearts radiate our love and compassion, our middles radiate our personal confidence. if we cannot hold a strong core, our vertebrae crunch against one another, our chests cave in, and our bodies ache with discomfort from misalignment. not to mention we sink into our low backs during certain core-emphasizing poses.
why do i avoid working on my core?
there are a million possible answers to that question.
i did note the next day though how sore the space just below my belly button was. my lowest belly was tender from exertion for days.
previously, whenever i did crunches of any kind, i never felt any sensation in my lowest belly. i felt a lot in my hip flexors and low back, meaning i’d dropped into those areas as opposed to using and working with my core. the fact i felt anything in this previously unfelt spot was reason enough to believe change is here and change is coming.
my body spoke to me on my mat tuesday morning. it showed me, gently, where i can bring a little bit more loving-kind attention. it showed me i am strong, and getting stronger. it showed me how it and i am changing.
the body talks. with or without words. learning how to decipher its messages can bring you to incredibly heightened levels of personal understanding. the information our bodies hold is endless, as we are also endless.
take the time to tune in, to learn your frequency, to see how your body truly works and what it needs. learn to read yourself and health, healing, and happiness will unlock for you like knots you never know could be undone.