Following your heart matters. Don’t just do it, feel it.
Hey yogi friend. I want to talk to you about feelings. And I promise you, even though it’s Valentines week, there’s no side serving of mush.
So, I just came across this quote that I want to share with you.
Everyone wants to know what it means. But nobody is asking, how does it feel?
Mary Oliver, a Pulitzer Prize Winner, said this on Poetry. When I read it, I was floored with recognition and connection.
Here comes the why?
In class you’ll hear me say ‘don’t worry so much about how the pose looks, instead ask yourself how it feels.’
And I wonder…
Is that a big ask for you?
In any part of your life, If I said put aside productivity and results, boxes ticked, reps clocked and go for the ‘feeling’ instead. Could you do that?
Could you perhaps…
- not weigh yourself and instead ask how you feel about your body.
- not log your miles, and instead ask how did that run feel.
- not ask how old? Ask how old do I feel?
Maybe you could – but stats and results, hard facts and figures still rule. Right? 😉
That’s ok (and not so ok). I get that we have a numbers-obsessed, goal-getting society that often discredits or disregards the intelligence of how we feel. It’s how it is.
I’m also a trained journo. The why, the meaning has a place. It’s good to ask why.
But stay with the ‘how does it feel?’ question, because there is way more value to be had in that question than I believe we give credit for.
While there’s a lot of feel-good stuff to be had in external achievements and the discipline that goes with it, way too often that ‘score’, ‘result’, ‘achievement’ can be at the expense of your inner wellbeing, wellness and comfort.
The win is not always worth it
The win is not always worth it…and you’ll kick yourself when that happens because really, you’ll have known it all along. Because you felt it….and didn’t value it. You didn’t pay attention to that signal.
You with me? This make sense?
If you’ve ever been accused of being too sensitive or wearing your heart on your sleeve’ I say…CONGRATULATIONS. Thank whoever it was for the compliment because FEELINGS MATTER.
I remember the last time I was told, ‘don’t let your feelings get the better of you – it is what it is. You’re taking this too personally’.
Let’s just say it wasn’t a ‘Namaste’ kind of day.
I look back on that experience now and think, holy c*!p. If I had let my feelings get the better of me, if I hadn’t run rough shod over them and toughed out feeling awful for so long, I wouldn’t have found myself in such a miserably depressed, anxious mess.
Lesson to Self. (It was a hard one to learn).
So, that’s why I’m sharing this yogi lesson with you. Your core feelings, your truest, deepest desires matter. Think of them as your inner GPS. When you go against them, you get signals of discomfort in the body. There’s that inner knowingness that you’re moving away from your true nature. You are off track!
But, if you’re listening, if you get the message (yogi’s call that awareness) you get the opportunity to course correct and detour a whole heap of trouble.
You also get to steer your life in the direction it needs to go and create a life that lights you up. It will FEEL great – and you won’t need some external measurement to know you got there.
It’s great to come to yoga class, throw a few shapes, work your body physically. It’s what a lot of folks do and it has a level of meaning. But don’t disregard the heart and soul stuff that you also get to cultivate when you practice yoga. The value of connecting with your internal environment is as important as what you can achieve in your external environment.
Don’t just do it, feel it!
So to wrap up, my challenge to you is to put your feelings into February. It’s got to be the month to give it a whirl… and let me know what happens. Comments go in the box below.
I’d also love to find out if you’ve ever regretted not following a feeling. How did that work out for you?
That’s all for this week. I will leave you with three heart opening poses you can add into your home practice to get you in the feeling mood.
- Warrior 1
- Cow Pose