Listen to your Body

Today is a special day because it truly isn’t like another.

Tomorrow isn’t today, and neither was yesterday.  We are creatures of habit, and often times it seems that each day might be similar to the last, but if you look deep, its easy to see that this isn’t quite the case.  Each day truly is different from the last AND the one that will happen tomorrow.  We eat different foods, we have different conversations we work on different projects at home and work.  Something will happen TODAY that will be different from yesterday.

Everyday your body feels a different way.  It might be that you have slept in an odd position, you might have worked out extra hard.  Or maybe it was extra traffic and extra screen time and extra stress.  No matter the case, every day your body has something different to say.  And say it will!  All too often when the body disagrees with your actions, it says it loud!  Its easy to hear the loud cries of your body.  The pain stiffness and tightness that all too often accompanies it to make sure you know that there is an objection to be heard.

But what about when your body is at its optimal?  What about that feeling -a “runner’s high” that is felt when you have pushed your body just enough or pushed past your limitation?  When you wake from sleep refreshed and  when you bounce out the door prepared for the day.

They say that most humans tend to give negative feedback.  That we give approximately 8 words of negative reinforcement to every positive response.  Sometimes I wonder if our society can only focus on what’s wrong.  What needs to be fixed.  What if this is all we know how to listen to anymore?  What if we feel the aches.  we feel the pains, but we’ve forgotten to cherish the moments when we are energized and it just seems like everything clicks. I for one have decided to refuse to accept this reality, and Pilates happens to be a fine weapon to combat this evil brew.

“I reject YOUR reality and substitute MY OWN” -Adam Savage, Mythbusters

They must have sprinkled on something magic when Joe made The Reformer, The Leg Springs or the Arm Chair.  You can’t help but find your stomach when you push your legs out for footwork, or circle your arms around in the Arm Chair.  The beauty of this equipment is that it provides a kind of tactile feed back and a visual cue to truly show you what is happening to your body when you move and while you work.  Everything you need is there.  BUT!  You can only understand what is going on in your body if you pay close attention to it and let the tools that you are using show you!

When you press your legs out in footwork, Do your ankles wiggle outward or wobble inward?  How does this impact the position of your feet and how is your weight distributed?  How do your inner thighs feel?  DO you feel your inner thighs?  WHAT DO you feel?  

Footwork is one of the most basic exercises, and it is how most workouts start and it is also one of the most telling of moves (Joe’s Genius lives on).  I love that Pilates helps you to listen to your body talk and to understand what it is saying.  It turns your focus inward and provides a place for your wandering mind to focus.  Once you know how to do the exercises of your workout you might even call it a moving meditation.  Focus your awareness not just on what’s happening that shouldn’t or what gives you discomfort.  Ask yourself what feels wonderful?

CELEBRATE the success of a stable ankle pressing out on a still foot.  Know that your body IS working!  Your body was built for movement.  Know that your body will make every attempt to accommodate the series of motions you have planned for it.

I have to confess that running has always been a challenge for me.  For so many reasons, its just always been tough for me to stick with.  One foot after the other, after the other, after the other…  But I know its good for you.  So I try to do it again and again and again.  I am currently on my third attempt at the “Couch to 5K” program, but after three weeks am still only 3 days in.  I refuse to give up on this program.  I won’t let it beat me and I know eventually I WILL complete it.  After completing the first day of the program, my legs were in AGONY for three days.  3 Long days.  It hurt to move and all I wanted to do was stay in a blanket wrapped around me like a cocoon on the couch and lay as still as possible.  BUT I didn’t!  Motion is lotion and I pushed on like a trooper and puttered about and did my day. Secretly hoping no one would chuckle loudly enough for me to hear.  I couldn’t believe the distress I was in!

How can I be a Pilates Ninja and not be able to jog a 60 second interval?!  Truly variety is the spice of life and I needed more of this one.  One week later I mustered up the courage to do the next day of the program.  60 second jogging interval.  Here we go again, bound to not let it get the best of me.  I completed my jog and then I waited for the next day and for the agony.  And I waited.   And nothing happened.  Instead, I FELT GLORIOUS! But I also scratched my head.  How could I have two completely polar opposite experiences?! The answer lies in the fact that Today isn’t tomorrow and its not even yesterday.

The truth is that our body CAN adjust to external circumstance and it CAN respond to a challenge.

The next time you feel your body respond to the challenges you have given it, try to listen to just what it has to say.  welcome this response.  It is a sign your body is working for you.  it is working to adapt.  it is working to prepare for the future in the best way it can.  Your body is working hard for you, and maybe the least thing that you can do is try to listen to it and the things it has to say.  It may be uncomfortable but you never know, you might just find that you dominate your own personal hurdle and it might even feel GLORIOUS.


Love the place you and your body are in today.

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