I write a lot about food on this blog, but there’s more to life than food and there’s more to me than recipes. Sometimes I’m hit with truths about life that I feel compelled to share with you as they happen. If you ever feel disconnected from your body, dismissing what it needs in favor of what you think you “should” do, especially when it comes to movement, I invite you to read this post.
“Should I take hip hop dance or yoga today?” I asked my friend, Lola, the owner of Movement Lab, a mind-body studio in Baltimore.
She responded in a way that I wasn’t anticipating.
If you close your eyes and check in with your body, what is it asking from you?
More dance, cardio, sweat?
Something deeper, more stretch, more mindful?
My weary, rundown body knew the answer.
The body that said, “Yes,” to one too many commitments over the past few months. The body that started to get sick last week as a result of being so exhausted. The body that performs for me at such a high level each day, carrying me from one event, presentation, and meeting to the next.
My physical body wanted to keep moving at its normal, breakneck pace. Dance! Sweat! Work it OUT!
But my soul knew I needed something else.
Rest. Stillness. Peace.
As I made my way through rush hour traffic to get to class, a new song came on the radio. A song I hadn’t heard before. A song with a message that I needed to hear.
Breathe, just breathe
Come and rest at my feet
And be, just be
Chaos calls but all you really need
Is to just breathe
Off to yoga I went.
As I left class, Lola saw me, smiled, and asked, “Did you serve your body today?”
I smiled back, still experiencing the peace and stillness from class, “Yes, yes I did.”
I couldn’t help but reflect on the lyrics of the song, the class itself, and our conversation on either end of it.
What if we were more intentional about listening to our body, noticing what it needs, ignoring the “shoulds” and aligning ourselves with what would serve our body?
Have you ever forced yourself to work out and move your body in a way that ignored how it was feeling, neglecting to check in with yourself to find out what would feel best for you in that moment?
Maybe you pushed too hard on a day your body was crying out for rest.
Maybe every fiber of your being was whispering to you to slow down, but you added another mile to your run.
Maybe you wanted to take a peaceful walk in the woods or try a yoga class but didn’t think you’d sweat enough, so you didn’t do it because it wouldn’t “count”.
I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve ignored my body’s inner voice and pushed it when I needed to rest.
I want to be clear. This is not about slacking off or not trying.
Some days your body will tell you it wants to be pushed or that you have pent-up energy and want to take that kickboxing class, go spinning, hit the trail for a long run or hike, or dance until your feet hurt.
Other days it will tell you that it needs a quiet nature walk, a yoga class, a relaxing swim, or a Nia class.
I invite you to pay attention to your body this week, to heed its whisper.
To get curious and notice without judgment how you’re feeling.
To be honest about what would serve your body best in that moment.
To pursue movement that brings you joy, freedom, and restoration.
To breathe, just breathe.