In every yoga class I teach I encourage my students to listen to their bodies, pushing themselves to their edge but not beyond it. I share this same lesson with my children, helping them to notice and understand the messages their bodies give them. And then...
...and then I busily run around working on a bazillion different projects not paying attention to my own body's messages such as nearly falling asleep while writing at the computer, puffy tired eyes when I wake up, and a need for too much Awake tea everyday to name a few examples, until my body has enough and decides to let me know in a bit louder voice that enough is enough and I need to rest, really rest.
So on Monday morning when my sweet husband awakened me I was quickly greeted by a headache. Now I get headaches fairly often and didn't think too much of it. I usually press on, drink water, maybe a bit of caffiene, do some yoga and energy work and it usually settles out.
Not this time. Moments after getting out of bed I realized that bed was the only place I was going to be that day. Not just a little annoyance of a headache this time, but a nausea inducing, eye piercing, room spinning, sound and movement sensitive migraine. My body was no longer saying slow down and take a rest, it said STOP! in no uncertain terms. So, finally, I listened (what choice did I have at this point) and I stopped.
I stopped for the entire day, barely dragging myself out of bed at midday to try to eat something and continued to rest or sleep until late afternoon. I was still not quite myself until the next morning, but in all that stopping and resting I remember that lesson I say everyday and remembered I have to practice what I teach. Listening to, respecting, and honoring my body's messages. Trusting that when I do, I am healthier, happier, and more grounded than when I run around like a chicken with my head cut off ignoring that fact entirely.
Again I am reminded this is a practice. Yoga and life. We don't always get it right and sometimes we need a siren instead of a whisper to notice. But we can laugh, be gentle with ourselves, and practice some more.