Listen to and with your body


Artwork by Marion Lipschits

Today the rains are tropical. A dense curtain of water rustles in the olive grove where large puddles seem to dance for joy. Occasionally the flow of water is interspersed with gusts and storms. Not the right weather to give the Sunday morning yoga class outside, in the open air. Fortunately, the municipality has given me a space in the village to which I can always move. 

This space is on the first floor of the indoor swimming pool. It hangs halfway over the swimming pool like an atrium. The room is closed off by a glass wall that lets all the sound through. You can see and hear what is happening in the water. The air ventilation system blows with a constant hum. I dispel the slight smell of chlorine with incense. That helps well. 

I taught yoga in this room for years. Also during aqua aerobics classes. That was a good exercise in focus for everyone. The biggest challenge was to make myself understood without shouting. The participants are happy that we are back in this space because it is better to have lessons here than no lessons at all. The good thing is that the swimming pool is closed on Sundays. So no extra noise. And during my other yoga class on Wednesday morning, there are no noisy activities in the pool, only the up-and-down swimmers who don’t say anything to each other.  Another advantage is that the floor is warm and not like in all the buildings here an ice floor. In short, nothing to complain about. Today, the rainstorms pounded on the steel roof. Again, it seemed the tropics. And yet it was another great lesson that I want to tell you about. 

I see that in these harsh times where an information war is taking place, people are tense. Even here in the backyard of God. Society is changing, the flow of information is confusing and apparent certainties are falling away. People lose their permanent indefinite jobs, for example, because the company no longer has anything to sell, such as air conditioners, and so goes bankrupt. The jabs do not work as previously believed so there is no returning to normal. I can see the disillusionment on their faces. There is fear and that makes the flow of thoughts increasingly busy and perhaps more negative. It takes so much attention away from reality that people stiffen up and are dead tired simply because they can’t feel their own bodies any more. 

In yoga, the balance between body and mind is essential so I work on this daily. Feel your body and listen to it. Because your body is wise. Every discomfort or pain tells you about what is consciously or unconsciously being thought in your head. My students have known this for a long time and train themselves daily to focus on where they are in their lives and not on the stream of thoughts.

Today I added that you can also listen to the other with your whole body. I read and hear that there is a lack of listening. Much bickering is the result of not being able to accept that you were not right and perhaps the other person was or that someone simply has a different opinion. When you are in a conversation, feel with your whole body what the other person is saying. Then you don’t have time to prepare an answer and you can listen to the whole story. Let it sink in. Until the end. Feel what happens to you. Suddenly you experience a connection with your heart and with the other person. Be still with the love you feel and not with the smart-ass answer you automatically wanted to give to dismiss the narrator as crazy. Take your time, check the information with your moral compass and feel the connection. It is great because love and peace are the result and make words superfluous. 

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