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By Douglas Groesser

Listen to Your Body

When I was young, I truly listened to my body signals. I woke up when I needed to get up (for the most part – hah!), I really ate when hungry, and I moved when my body said it needed it. I led an active life as a kid, riding my boogie board, running down the soccer field, swinging the tennis racket, and the like. As  I progressed through my schooling, though, I gradually put body signals to the side, and when I started working, I shelved them completely. I was too “busy” to listen to my body anymore. My head was filled with too many ideas, plans and experiences. Yes, my body still spoke to me, but it was in a whisper that could easily be drowned out by my emotions or my mind. 

Now as I grow older, I find the signals and voice of my body slowly increasing in volume again. Yes, some of those signals are, “Ouch – that hurts my shoulder!” and “Whoa, dude, you’re killing my low back!” I bear the internal scars of lots of movement practices that I’ve engaged in without paying attention to my body signals for most of my adulthood. 

Since I married a fitness professional and especially since I began working on the curriculum for The Academy of Mindful Movement, I have come to listen again to my body and try to act upon it. If I listen, I know I am being healthy for my Self. It is not an easy thing for me to do and takes practice and concentration. Thoughts from my mind sometimes interfere with the movement my body is trying to tell me it needs. “I don’t have enough time for a wakeup walk right now,” or “I think it would be better to take that yoga class tomorrow,” says my mind. Sometimes, my emotions bubble up to interfere as well: “I would have more fun if just I read a book,” or “My favorite teacher will be there next week, so let’s sit this one out.” Yet, if I quell these thoughts and emotions and really tune into what my body is saying to me, I find exactly what it needs, from an hour long Nia class to even a five minute stretch. And guess what: 

My body is feeling better since I started listening to it again!

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This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)