Listen to your body

We hear the phrase 'Listen to your body' a lot in yoga - but what do we really mean by it?

listen to your body

If you’re new to yoga, the instruction, “listen to your body” may seem to confusing. It may take some practice to notice it but, in fact, our bodies our communicating with us all the time.

What is the quality of your breath? Is it rough, smooth, short, shallow, deep…? Notice your inhalation, your exhalation and the spaces in between. Can you breathe comfortably in your pose? 

Are there any areas of tension or tightness in your body? Notice the tongue in your mouth, the space behind your eyes, your jaw, your belly…

How is your energy doing today? Are you tired or energised? Scattered or focused? Is your mind feeling one thing and your body another?

Notice what’s there and let it be.

Deepak Chopra offers some ideas of how you can start listening to your body:

Feel what you feel. Don’t talk yourself into denial.

Accept what you feel. Don’t judge what’s actually there.

Be open to your body. It’s always speaking. Be willing to listen.

Trust your body. Every cell is on your side, which means you have hundreds of billions of allies.

Value spontaneity. Emotions change, cells change, the brain changes. Don’t be the policeman who stops the river of change by blocking it with frozen, fixed beliefs.

Enjoy what your body wants to do. Bodies like to rest, but they also like to be active.

Sometimes it’s only when we get on our yoga mat that we notice these things. So we invite you to take this into your day. Pay attention to your breath, your body, your mind, your energy levels. Notice what’s there with detached interest but try not to become too invested. The only certainty is that everything changes in time.

Practice in class with Sandra Carson

Sometimes in yoga, we push ourselves. Doing this on a regular basis can lead to losing the feeling for our natural boundaries. This practice invites you to listen to your own body, so you can learn to regulate your effort, adjusting or modifying the asana to your personal needs.

This was originally published 03-11-2014 and updated on 11-08-2020

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EkhartYoga Written by one of the EkhartYoga staff or guest writers. A dedicated team of yoga teachers, yoga students, anatomy geeks, and recipe creators.