How Yoga Teaches Us to Listen.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Sep 6, 2015
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Are you there, yoga? It’s me, Jennifer.

Sometimes I subconsciously (and consciously) avoid my yoga practice.

I move my body in a myriad of other ways simply so I don’t have to look in the magic mirror of my sticky mat.

Because my yoga practice doesn’t lie.

Some days, my practice lets me know that I’m exhausted—depleted and pushing through my day as a stay-at-home yogi with two active children because I have no choice.

On days like these, I feel grateful for this revelation, but, simultaneously, I feel cheated that I can’t listen to what I genuinely need.

What I need is sitting on the couch poring over a novel. What I need is to eat more than normal or to take a day and nap and not eat much at all.

But I have two kids who need routine—two extremely mobile little people who can’t have a mommy sitting on the sofa reading and napping and munching on peanuts.

So instead of unrolling my sage green sticky mat, I bring some weights up from the basement and press out a few sets to lift the fog of staying up all night with a teething baby, to get my heart and blood pumping, to feel alive and alert, because there’s not enough coffee in the world for some rainy, grey mornings.

This is what I would normally do on a day when I need rest but can’t grant myself permission to take it.

Today, however, I unrolled my sage green mat.

And now I sit here on the carpet in double pigeon pose, typing this next to one child playing and another sleeping in her electric swing, post juicy yoga practice.

Okay, I admit, it was more of a dehydrated yoga practice.

My body did not feel supple or strong today.

No, I felt the fatigue rippling deeply through my tissues from running and weight training and Pilates and other day’s yoga practices. I felt last night’s lack of sleep and this morning’s rainy haze.

I switch shins, so that my other hip is now opening up in double pigeon. The soft tissues surrounding my hip joints begin to feel more pliable—more ready to release a difficult last two weeks and, possibly, open up for more challenges, more joy and more life in general.

I switch my shins again so that my tighter right hip has an opportunity to let go of stale, residual tension, and I feel ready to stop fighting.

I feel ready to stop fighting my daughter as she tries my patience.

I feel ready to stop demanding that my husband do things my way.

I feel ready to listen to the reality that my busy body needs to take it easy—at least for today, at least for a few hours.

My hips suddenly feel deliciously relaxed.

I change the cross of my legs one more time and notice the adjoining lightness in my chest.

Sometimes, we don’t have the space within our lives to stop and sit. Sometimes we have active little children or a job that doesn’t offer a day off when we desperately want it, but we can give ourselves the space to listen to what we need and crave.

And that’s the thing about being a good listener, both with ourselves and with those around us—often, just being heard is enough.


Author: Jennifer S. White

Editor: Evan Yerburgh

Image: Author’s own


About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She’s also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


2 Responses to “How Yoga Teaches Us to Listen.”

  1. Awesome post. I love the concept of the sticky mat as magic mirror and that one of things that is shows us our exhaustion:)

  2. Sandra says:

    Very nice & real Jennifer! I recognise that feeling of thinking I need one thing which seems totally unattainable and then a little bit of attention and listening can give exactly the space and softness we are looking for….Bless.

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