As a therapeutic yoga consultant people come to me with a variety of complaints.
The funny thing is that sometimes people come to see me even though they feel that they don’t have any apparent problems. Unfortunately, our body is such a complex ecosystem that there is always something that could be running more smoothly.
The harmless cues that our bodies are giving us are often trying to warn us from future complications.
The following four daily activities or functions are closely related to the deeper aspects of our health. How many of us carry on with our daily lives and drag along a digestive problem that we have come to take for granted? Or how many of us routinely wake up in the middle of the night? With my clients, I examine them in depth. Every seemingly insignificant detail can reveal which interventions they could benefit from.
By exploring these four areas in your life, you can reveal to yourself how well you are doing. Sometimes it’s time to dig a little bit deeper and listen to what your body has to say.
“I slept like a baby” is a common expression for saying that we slept well and woke up feeling refreshed.
Ideally, you should not have any trouble falling asleep. That means that you’re entering dreamland within around 10 minutes after going to bed.
If you have trouble falling asleep, this can show a variety of problems and disturbances that might require further investigation. Perhaps you are ingesting stimulants that keep you up at night. Or maybe there is a deep hidden loneliness in your heart which doesn’t allow you to disengage from life when it’s time to surrender into sleep.
Staying asleep is another story. While it’s normal to get up to use the toilet if you drank before going to bed, there shouldn’t be any other reason that makes you wake up during the middle the night. During our sleep we digest the latent impressions in our subconscious mind. If you are plagued by nightmares, this shows that there are unresolved psychological tensions that need to be addressed.
And finally, it’s good to ask yourself how you feel after your beauty sleep. Here are some signs of a deeper underlying problem: feeling tired upon waking, feeling unrefreshed, morning sadness, or needing more than 40 minutes to wake up in the morning.
When I ask my clients targeted questions about their sleeping experience, it can give me so many clues of what is going on in their mechanism and what their emotional challenges are. Asking yourself these questions is a good way to get to know yourself more intimately, and ask for help if you feel that you need professional assistance.
Our digestion is closely linked to our emotions. The digestive process is not only about the digestion and assimilation of food. It reflects how well we digest and assimilate life.
Food intolerance, constipation, indigestion, acid reflux, gas, bloating and diarrhea are signals that our digestive fire is out of balance. Sometimes the digestive fire is low. This results in a sluggish digestion and weight gain. Sometimes the digestive fire is too fierce. This can result in acidity, diarrhea and weight loss. Difficulties with assimilation don’t allow us to absorb all of the essential nutrients from our foods. As a result, our body doesn’t get nourished in spite of the fact that we’re eating a healthy diet.
All holistic healing modalities acknowledge the importance of an appropriate diet and proper digestion in order to maintain physical and emotional health. A dietitian can help you with identifying food intolerances. The knowledge of Ayurveda can help you with eating what is most healing for your typology. Or you can contact your yoga therapist or alternative health practitioner to get detailed advise and recommendations.
Sexual energy or libido is a luxury-energy. When we are sick, the sexual drive is the first one to decrease. Evolutionarily, this makes sure that only humans who have the health, strength and resources to take care of offspring procreate. After an illness, the return of the sexual energy indicates that we’ve completed the healing process.
Our libido can tell us something about our hormonal balance. Especially for women, the change in our hormones influences our sexual desire as well as our emotions throughout the menstrual cycle. The time of menstruation energetically relates to the archetype of the witch or wild woman. After that we enter the period of the maiden or virgin during which libido tends to be more low. It then peaks around the time of ovulation when we enter the energy of the mother. We finish our moon cycle ripe as the priestess and filled with feminine hormones that bring our feminine potential to its climax.
Our sexuality can reveal something about our physical health and vitality, as well as our emotional well-being. Talking about your sexual desire or the lack of it can help you to figure out what is blocking this life-energy in you.
Our ability to focus our mind is a subtle indicator of our physical, emotional and mental health. It is well-known that psychological problems such as depression and anxiety can severely influence our ability to concentrate. This brain fog makes it sometimes impossible to read a book or follow a story on TV.
If you are worried about having a neurological disorder, it’s a good idea to check in with your healthcare practitioner. Most often, an inability to concentrate is caused by stress, emotional burdens, grief, depression, anxiety, lack of grounding and hormonal or energetic imbalances.
Lack of concentration is often caused simply by the fact that we are unhappy with the way our life is going.
In such cases it can be a life-changing experience to talk to a friend or a coach to figure out what it is that you want from your life.
Optimal health is achieved when we take care of our physical health, emotional needs and live in line with our individual purpose. If you are encountering problems on any of these four levels, it might be time to start investing in yourself.
The best medicine is happiness.
Author: Deniz Aydoslu
Volunteer Editor: Kim Haas / Editor: Sarah Kolkka
Image: Dionysius Burton/Flickr