Intuition – Listening to Your Inner Teacher

Do you remember when you finally started listening to your “gut”?
I do. It was Labor Day 2012. I was in Mukta Hasta Sirsasana B – when my trapezius muscles on my entire left side seized up. Breathless, I came out of the pose, took child’s pose and couldn’t believe what I was feeling. A rash of thoughts washed over me “Oh my god, what happened? I’ve never felt like this before! I’m injured! Is this really happening? Did I just hurt my neck…for real?” I finished class gingerly, but left in tears calling my husband to meet me with Ibuprofen. I could barely move my head from side to side. Forget riding a bike, or even being able to cross the street effectively. I certainly couldn’t look both ways!
For the second memorable time in my life I was scared. Scared that I may have damaged vertebrae, scared I wouldn’t be able to practice yoga or exercise the way I was used to and honestly, scared of in turn [gasp] gaining weight! If only I would have listened to my Intuition – Listening to Your Inner Teacher can work wonders in our lives!

Intuition - Listening to Your Inner Teacher

I spent the next week still teaching all my classes, just very carefully and not demonstrating anything. I also spent the next week asking myself “Why didn’t I listen to my gut instinct?” You see, just moments before going into the pose I said to myself “Don’t do this today” “Why not?” said my brain, “You do it every day” because “I don’t need to do it today” “but you don’t need to do it any day, so why not today” it said. So there it was. True – we don’t need to do any pose, ever, any day…so what’s different about today? Why not? I love it, I’m very comfortable in it and I practice it often. So up I went and holy cow, down I came in a state of shock.

A few years ago Scientific American posted an article on line: Think Twice: How the Gut’s “Second Brain” Influences Mood and Well-Being.
In this article Adam Hadhazy talks about the Second Brain, the “enteric nervous system” which houses 100 million neurons in your alimentary canal from your esophagus to your anus (that’s more than in your spinal cord). This term “gut feeling” actually comes from somewhere – about nine meters inside you to be exact. In fact, 95% of the body’s serotonin is found in the bowels! That term “butterflies in your stomach” isn’t just an old saying. It has to do with this second brain which has it’s own set of reflexes, senses and firepower.

After 41 years I am finally listening to my inner wisdom. So the next time you find yourself thinking “don’t send this email” or “don’t go into this posture today” Instead of questioning and arguing with yourself, do yourself a favor and listen to your intuition, your inner teacher…your gut feeling. When yoga teachers say “honor your body”, they are saying it for a reason. It’s actually about listening to it, for our body knows way before our mind does.
The mind will take over and starts a conversation with the body. Don’t let the mind win! Trust me, a year later I’m still struggling with neck pain. “If only I would have listened to my body”, I tell myself, but of course injuries are a teacher in their own way too, (but that’s another posting). Instead of regretting, dwelling on the past and wishing I would have done something different, I will move on, learn…and stay off my head (aka practice more handstands)!

For more information on this interesting topic, read the article cited above and check out the book The Second Brain by Michael Gershon.

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Read Related posts on The Importance of Recovery and being a Yogi vs. being an athlete.

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