Intuition is not a new age concept, yet it remains to be one of the hardest things to listen to in modern day. We’re surrounded by a myriad of ideas, expectations, people, even devices that can tell us which direction to take in life. However it’s our intuition or inner wisdom, which we often ignore that can be our best guide.
“If we slow down a bit and check in with our body and feelings, we soon notice that helpful inner messages come to us all the time—through physical sensations, flashes of insight, intuitive feelings, and from that state of clarified intelligence the Yoga Sutra calls rtambhara prajna, or “truth-bearing wisdom.” We can use this information to adjust our course, tune our inner state, and interact with the environment.” ~ Sally Kempton
In yoga we focus on the idea of letting go of the external world and quietening the “internal chatter” in order to listen to our more subtle internal messages. When we step on the mat and focus purely on our body and breath we open ourselves up to a wealth of wisdom.
When we approach our practice mindfully, rather than from a place of habit or routine, we learn to truly listen to the feedback our body gives and tap into an inner wisdom that can positively affect our health and wellbeing. It’s the difference between being guided by how we “feel” as opposed to how we “look”.
People often confuse listening to the body with listening to the mind, with all it’s busy chatter about expectation, interpretations and ‘I shoulds’. How to hear messages from a place of inner wisdom is a practice on it’s own and one that takes patience and compassion. The upside is that once we learn to truly listen to this internal guidance on the mat, the more likely we are to notice this practice spill over into daily life.
Next time you step on the mat, notice how you move and breath – is it from a place of habit or routine? Do you simply know the steps and ‘go through the motions’. In turn, notice what happens when your routine is changed by an unfamiliar teacher or sequence – do you feel resistance?
Perhaps part of the journey towards tapping into your inner wisdom is to break out of habit, but also to break out of that external chatter. Let go of the expectation you create of yourself when you glance in the mirror at the end of the room, or glimpse an advanced pose on the mat next to you. What if you spent the entire practice with your eyes closed – what would you notice? How would your body feel?
Give it a try – you might find you feel more connected, more freedom, more alive. It also might feel a little weird at first, remember it’s a process.
Next time you move into a seated forward fold pose for example, let go of the idea of reaching your toes and simply move until you felt that sensation in your hamstrings – enjoy the stretch. If your hamstring says, ‘this feels too tight, this is my edge’, listen and have the wisdom to pull back. When it feels right go a little deeper, lose the need to rush.
“Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.” ~ Jason Crandell
The most important thing to remember when you step on the mat is that your practice is yours to create. True yoga is your ability to practice from a place of authenticity, with a mindful and heart centred approach. When we approach our practice in this way, we are more likely to listen to it’s subtle messages and our inner wisdom.
The same goes for off the mat. When you choose to do something, take the time to pause, breath and notice what feelings or sensations arise. If something doesn’t feel good, perhaps it’s time to pull back. Learn to listen to your inner wisdom.
Sweat, stretch & smile Kula crew!
About the author: Andy Broadbear is a qualified yoga therapist & teacher, who specialises in pre/postnatal + women’s health. She is also co-founder of YogaMamas, a health & wellness blogger, photographer and busy mama of 3!
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