Saturday, July 16, 2016

Movement with Intent

I am not initially sure what drew me to to my yoga mat. It certainly wasn't my childhood experiences with yoga. Yoga sucked when I was a kid. All the loud breathing and ohm-ing and laying on the floor for no reason. I wanted to run around outside.

For years my athletic ability has been hard, fast and competitive. Push harder, be stronger, test the limits of my body, stamina and endurance.

I think I even may have been drawn to yoga as an adult because of the fancy poses. I really, really wanted to master a headstand, handstand and crow pose. All of which I can do, but I've realized that's not it. I also started to turn to yoga for my nagging sciatica and psoas troubles. Regular practice has made the nag non-existent, well that, and a new bed! Seriously, totally digressing here, I thought I was just working out too hard, sitting too long or holding my pigeon pose for too long. Nope! It was my bed. A recent trip to CO shed some light on the potential that my bed might be the issue. I had little to no pain while traveling and sleeping in foreign beds, yet as soon as I got home, bam, sciatica and psoas nag back in full force. We all underestimate the value of a quality bed and in turn quality sleep. If you wake up stiff or with aches and pains, consider a new bed. Seriously! So simple, but literally transformative. For months I was thinking my issues were getting worse. Each morning I was so stiff and achy.  'I must be getting old.' Nope, got a new bed; all aches and pains gone. It just occurred to me this morning that I haven't paid any notice to my sciatica in weeks! When it used to be a daily constant nag. Craziness I tell you.

OK, digressing aside, something has changed with my approach to movement. Sure there will be days where I want to do a sweaty spin session or go for a run, but lately, I would rather be more in touch with what my body is telling me than how hard my mind wants to push. 

My yoga practice lately has been more meditative and spiritual than fancy and bendy. I am more interested in poses that restore me and center me, than standing on my head. My new alter is bring a new spiritual awareness that I have never felt so strongly. 



Something has shifted and I can't even really put words to properly describe the shift. But the take-away I hope to share, is listening to your body. So many of us need to push harder, be stronger, sweat more, but there is something about connecting with your body, soul and spirit in your movement. Sure you can sweat. But do what feels good, not what you "should" be doing, not another rep to finish the round or holding chaturanga until you collapse.

There is something to be said about movement with intent, with love, and I think that is the true practice, move your body because you love it, not because you want to punish it, or yourself. Sit still and listen to your breathing because you want a deeper connection with loving yourself.

Sometimes the harder we push the more resistance we get, maybe stop pushing so hard. Maybe surrender. I know, it's hard and surrender is scary, but so is learning to love self. Surrendering to yourself and then "shoulds" and the self-competition is healing. Don't worry if your definition of "exercise" is the same as anyone else's. And also allow it to change. As a person who has spent years pushing my body as hard as possible until it ached, I think there might be something to listening, embracing, loving, accepting and moving my body and mind to connect more to my heart. Move with the intent to love self. And listen to your body, it will tell you the movement you need.

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