I used to kill everything. Certainly I was not born with a green thumb. I once killed a rosemary plant which is notoriously hardy. I was miraculous in my ineptitude yet longed to germinate, to cultivate, to grow something! It was beyond frustrating.
I’ve come a long way! Today, I have a couple of mint plants, some Lantana, an oregano plant, aloe, a peace lily and even (shockingly) was able to grow one extraordinarily supple cucumber (before the whole plant got too out of control, LOL). It’s been an amazing turn around. I thought of this the other day as I chatted with a friend who has the same shady history of planticide. I got curious. What changed?
I used to say that I killed plants because they didn’t tell me what they needed. My cat let me know when she was hungry, cried if her water ran out, pawed at me when she wanted to play. But plants? I thought they just sat there, blissfully bountiful and equally disappointed in me. Then I started to watch them. The jagged edges of my mint began to brown in the heat of summer. So I moved it in the shade and suddenly it flourished. I watched my peace lily with worry and then noticed it’s droopy long leaves. Some water perked it up and I realized that it was talking to me. They were all talking to me! I had just never listened before.
Yoga teachers have funny sayings. “Find your breath.” “Feel the ground.” “Listen to your body.” We hear this a lot in yoga but what does it really mean? Do our bodies actually talk to us?
YES. Our bodies are always communicating with us. This is a direct connection to our intuition. The more we listen to our body, the more clear and strong the signals become. We begin to notice the droopy leaves or burnt ends of our own system. What if we treated our bodies like I treated my plants? Noticing, adjusting, nourishing and then watching to see how they responded. Would they thrive?
When we listen to our bodies, we are more attuned to our physical, emotional and spiritual needs. We also know the day to day state of our systems. When we get still and check in with our body we may feel discomfort. And that’s good! Sometimes staying busy is a coping strategy to not feel discomfort but pain is the body communicating with us. Letting us know we are struggling and need care to rise and grow. When we are aware of the pain we take back the power it has over us. And we act on that pain when need be. We care for our bodies.
We learn to trust our gut, to trust ourselves. We begin to know things with certainty. We know what foods feel good to our body (including dessert!) We can feel when we are not grounded. We can nourish our bodies with good vegetation, lots of water and most importantly, LOVE.
is when we
for taking so long
to treat our bodies
like a home
Yoga is really all about listening to your body. We stand tall in mountain pose. We check in. We feel our feet pressing into the Earth. We feel our ribs expand as we breathe in and feel them hug in as we breathe out. We scan our bodies and notice any place that stands out. And the places where we feel nothing. We bring our awareness there too. With each practice we feel more deeply alive. The best gift our bodies give us is this! To feel completely alive, developing and flourishing each day.
Listening to our bodies is a practice. It is a healthy daily habit we can bring into our lives. Set a reminder on your phone that says FEEL. Stop, breathe and feel what is. Be present in the beautiful temple of your body, your true home. Most importantly be sure to practice daily love of your body. Drink some water, sit in the sun and grow.
Read my thoughts on yoga, teaching, parenting and everything in between. Shout out to Tiffany Stewart for help with the writing.