Learning to Listen

Are you a good listener? By that I mean do you listen to the messages your body is sending? Feelings and sensations are your body’s thoughts. They alert you to what is happening and what you might need. Generally speaking, most people are too busy to notice what their body is saying. Your body can alert you of its needs the same way it alerts you of hunger and pain. The question is, do you pay attention?

In Western culture, the body and the mind are regarded as separate parts. Yet in the East, they are considered an integrated unit. Yoga practice, which includes physical posture, breath work, and meditation, is an opportunity to build a relationship with your body. Time on your Yoga mat or meditation cushion provides a space to get quiet enough to really listen. It takes a dedicated practice to expand your awareness and feel all your parts.

The human body has proprioceptors within its muscles and joints. Proprioceptors provide information to the brain. They let you know where you are located relative to the space around you (this is called exteroception). And they let you sense the internal state of your body (this is called interoception). The latest science suggests that one of the greatest causes of pain and dysfunctional movement is lack of body awareness. Studies show that when you increase proprioception you decrease pain.

The Yoga Tune Up® /Roll Model® Method therapy balls and techniques are an excellent tool to expand your body awareness. This work is the perfect complement to all your other movement practices – including the simple day-to-day practice of living in a human body. I have found it to be so effective that a few years ago I furthered my studies and began offering it in classes and workshops.

The therapy balls help you identify areas of overuse, underuse, and misuse. Not only can you disarm tight and overworked muscles, but you can wake up muscles which are not performing. When you understand and address your compensation patterns, your body becomes more unified in its movement and your performance is increased.

I often joke that humans don’t come with an instruction manual. You learn to move by copying those around you. Most adults don’t have a grasp of basic anatomy. As Jill Miller, the founder of Yoga Tune Up® says, we know our way around the town we live in better than we know our way around our own body. This work will give you a basic understanding of your body and a path to living more fully in it. In other words, you will gain the tools to listen more deeply.

Here are some opportunities to do this work with me:

1. My Yoga Tune Up® class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-6 pm, at Yoga Tree Hayes. I design this class so that in one hour we address a particular body part, muscle group, or aspect of movement.

2. Roll and Relax is a 2-hour full body massage workshop where you learn the Roll Model® techniques and do a full body self-massage. There are two more this year with the next one coming up in June.

3. I will teach a more comprehensive workshop on rolling this fall in Los Gatos. It will include a full body roll-out, some basic anatomy and kinesiology, and the science behind rolling.

4. For a few years now I have been dreaming up an embodied anatomy and functional movement course. It will finally happen next year beginning in January so stay tuned.

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