Consistently throughout a yoga class and hopefully in the introduction you will hear from the Instructor to "Listen to your body". If a pose hurts, don't do it. If a pose is too much for you today, don't do it. If you are on your mooncycle, don't do a headstand! Basically, if you aren't feeling it, don't push yourself into a pose, you will only end up hurting yourself.
This is a very hard lesson to learn especially in today's culture. Even in all my yogi glory, I find myself looking at my neighbor thinking, "She got into birds of paradise, so can I!". But this isn't the yogi way and you can really twist your body into knots pushing yourself too hard.
In yoga, we learn to listen to our bodies and understand which poses our body can handle and which it can't. Some of us simply have to work harder at balance poses or just don't have the arm strength for crow pose.
At the beginning of my grief journey and especially when I was going back to work, I challenged myself to listen to my body. I have a very go go go personality and don't feel satisfied unless I check off enough tasks off my checklist evertday. Well, grief is a job in and of itself. It's taxing and takes a toll on your body and life without you even realizing it. Why? Well here are my thoughts... about a thousand times I day, I am seeing a memory, being sad, and then telling myself that I need to move on.
For example... see a corner of the street... Matt and I met here once to go to sushi at our favorite place... we went to sushi on our first date when I didn't even like sushi!... I would do anything to have sushi with him again... wait you can't... OMG Matt isn't here anymore (feeling of being punched in the stomach)... OMG, I can never have sushi with Matt again!
Another example... oh my gosh the tree fell down at the dog park... I can't wait to tell Matt he is going to be so surprised... I can't tell him... OMG Matt isn't here to tell anything anymore... OMG I can't go to the dog park with him again... OMG I have to move on without him... I don't want to be at the dog park without him!
And so on and so forth about a thousand times a day so as you can imagine this is tiring. I recognized that grief was tiring during my 3 month leave from work, I was tired from simpy waking up and taking care of a few errands and still needed to rest midday. So logically when I went back to work, I knew this would be a challenge especially for me since I fill my day so full. So I told myself, it's okay if I don't exercise everyday or just lay on the couch for a night, don't make plans with friends, or don't complete another form. The world won't come to end!
I am proud to say I listened to my body the past few days. It's a hard week for me. Yesterday was 4 months since Matt's death and tomorrow is what should have been our 3 year wedding anniversary. I knew it was going to be a rough one. So yesterday, after work I felt I truly didn't feel like going to yoga (gasp) so I didn't. I got a pedicure instead and watched TV. I said I will get up early and go to yoga! But I was tired and didn't and good thing it was a long day including numerous meltdowns, I needed all the energy I could get!
So I listened to my body and it was right! Now I don't condone listening to your body everyday on skipping workouts but this time it was right. And listening to your body is definitely a lesson to take from your mat to the real world during times of grief.