Listen to the Body's Sensations to Establish Deeper Connection.

Recently I was introduced to Non-Violent Communication by my teacher Chiara Guererri. NVC is based on the idea that there are universal human needs that we all desire and have a right to claim, such as the need for understanding, creation and protection. Most conflicts arise from miscommunication of needs while using language that is coercive or manipulative--including the ways we communicate with ourselves, particularly with our bodies. When we encounter discomfort or pain in the body, most of us attempt to resolve this pain by overpowering it; or what I like to call the “shut up, pain, I’m better than you” approach. We try to aggressively stretch a tight spot, we pay a massage therapist to basically put their entire body weight on us, or we simply ignore the pain and push through. I’ve found that more often than not, that pain returns sooner or later. What if we treated these aches and pains of the body not as enemies to be squashed by our relentless commands, but as a signal from the body that there are unmet needs that could really use some support? Our time on the mat is the perfect place to begin dialoguing with the body: How does it feel if I engage the part of the body that's hurting instead of just stretching it? How does doing an entire practice close to the ground affect the painful sensations? What about if I do mostly standing poses? While we might not figure out how to "treat" our pains immediately, we can start to build a common language with the body by using our yoga practice to observe the body's response to each action.

With Love, Bayeshan

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