Regardless if you are pregnant or not, listening to your body is a skill that takes conscious effort to cultivate and will reward you in many many ways.
During my 1:1 and group sessions I try to always remind people to listen to their bodies/hearts/instincts… and then I see it. The uncertainty in some people's eyes "how the fuck do I do that?" / "what does that even mean?"
I know these questions are in their minds because one day they were in my head too. Probably the first time I heard it was during a yoga class I was taking online. And slowly, the more the teacher asked, strangely, without any direction or instruction on HOW TO LISTEN TO MY BODY it started to make sense.
The thing is, I know that listening to our bodies can be a challenging experience. It is not an easy question to answer.
Especially when you add things like trauma, low self esteem, body dysmorphia, lack of physical practice, overstimulation, living on the edge of burnout constantly…. These don’t make the process of diving or learning how to dive into tunning in and listen any easier.
Let's just be clear I say listen to your body I mean in part, maybe as a first step, to develop something called body awareness.
Body awareness is as simple as how conscious and connected you are to your physical body.
This is usually the best place to start, physical awareness. Then we can move into awareness of our heart. The so called whispers of the heart and then move into connection with your instincts, true gut feeling. Those two may take longer to learn and feel confident. To be honest I’m still learning and will probably make a separate blog for each 😅
What are the benefits of body awareness/ listening to your body?
Benefits can be physical or mental. Benefits can affect your relationship with yourself and also indirectly how you relate to others.
Some specific benefits include:
Balance and stability
Healthier relationship with food and weight management
So what can you do to learn how to listen to your body / explore different ways to listen to your body?
Here are a few ideas...
Mentally scan your body looking for areas of tension. Tense them more and consciously relax them. Go to each area and repeat the process one by one.
Observe, feel the surface underneath you. Notice what you notice about it. Describe it mentally to yourself. Notice how your body responds to the surface. Any pain? Any discomfort? How is your body moulding itself against the surface?
Engaging in conscious breath patterns and techniques will allow you to notice the relationship between your body - breath - mind. Try diaphragmatic breathing or breathing techniques that activates your parasympathetic nervous system.
Focus each body centre:
According to energy healing theories, there are 3 gateways or centres in our body. These are our gut/womb, our mind and our heart space. When focusing on each centre we can do it using any mindfulness technique we feel comfortable with. For example sitting down, with our eyes closed in silence bringing our focus to the centre we want. It can also be during a walk, bringing our attention to the centre we are aiming to explore. You try what feels good to you. When you do it, you can just notice what notice, or even ask questions to this area like: what are you trying to tell me?
Deep core exercises:
Deep core exercises are a great way to reconnect with yourself. Not only gifting you physical benefits like strengthening the pelvic floor, aiding incontinence, supporting your sexual health but also supporting that mind-body connection. Always refer to someone trained o deep core or work pelvic floor recovery. Things like yoga, Pilates, high intensity training and breathwork can help but only if done correctly. If not done correctly you could end up hurting yourself.
Any movement practice:
Movement practices like yoga (asana), weightlifting, running, body weight mobility training, swimming, tai chi, hiking, etc... can help you learn about your own body. You don't have to be an athlete to experience the learnings that movement can give you.
Try journaling from the perspective of your body or a body part. Allow them to be radically honest to you, and allow yourself to be the vessel of that honesty.
Ecstatic dancing is pure medicine. Allows you to connect with your body allowing your subconscious mind to take over while letting your inner child be present. You will be surprised what you can learn from unrestricted body movement.
When doing my talks about mindful eating people tend to focus on how this can be the antidote to “overeating” but they forget it can also work for undereating habits too. Mindful eating is about dedicating your attention to the present moment when it comes to your eating habits. And this requires to learn how to question ourselves and our emotions. By “question ourselves” I don’t mean to doubt ourselves but to try to understand what’s happening behind our very valid feelings. Really good questions to ask yourself is what is this really about? How is this behaviour supporting my body and my mind in the long term?
Chanting / singing:
Some studies have shown how singing mental health. It can also promote a feeling of connection to yourself and others. To help you explore changing / singing as a way to listen to your body you can sing mantras, songs or just allow yourself to create vocal noises while playing an instrument or by yourself.
Getting a massage:
Getting a massage can help you become familiar with parts of your body you can’t access yourself as easily. Many won’t realise the amount of tension they hold in their body until they get a massage. Having someone perform a massage on us opens the possibility to learn how to monitor our own condition and maybe even learn how to adjust things accordingly.
Walking backwards invites you to connect with your body in a way you are not used to. By helping you relate to your movement in a new way by helping you engage your muscles differently than when walking normally.
Movement practices are a great way to learn about our physical body. Restorative yoga is a little bit different. It teaches us about our bodies in stillness and most of the time in silence / little sound distractions. It’s a great way to also start exploring your heart and instincts.
On social media you probably have read me raving about sound baths or maybe you have come to one of my intimate sound bath sessions. Sound baths or sound therapy can help us reduce anxiety, tension, and pain management. As the waves of sound pass through our bodies we experience unique sensations that allow us to get to know our bodies in a deeper level.
Changing to barefoot shoes:
Im not an expert in barefoot shoes or barefoot culture. I just enjoy it very very much because I’ve experienced the benefits of it. I guess sometimes you don’t need to understand how something works in order to feel the benefits. I’ve always been a little bit of a clumps haha! Since I started transitioning (I haven’t finished because I wear my wellies a lot during my walks and haven’t find a barefoot replacement yet) in 2021 I noticed how my feet were slowly gaining more sensations. I was able to notice the terrain and even if I slip I would know engage in order to prevent a fall. I put this theory to test when I visited Madeira with my husband and all I wore were my barefoot shoes + being barefoot around the airbnb we stayed at. After reading some blogs people mention other benefits too, including but now limited to: Prevent and Relieve Foot Pain. Ground Yourself and Connect to Nature. Improve Your Posture. Strengthen Your Feet and Legs. Give Your Toes More Wiggle Room. Stronger ankles. Better stability and balance.
Before and during my pregnancy I’ve been exploring all these practices, to help me manage life as it is and as it might become.
Body awareness / listening to our bodies is not the cure for all dis-ease but it can certainly be one of the best ways to prevent and anticipate bigger issues.
Regardless if you are pregnant or not, I encourage you to explore some of these practices and notice what you can notice from them.
Remember: Life will shake us, for the better and the worst. I believe that if we have enough tools to choose from, a conscious effort will help us navigate the waves the best way we can with the situation we have at the moment. One of those tools body awareness / listening to your body and now you have a few ideas on how to cultivate that tool.
My name is Carla, I’m a latina living in the UK. And for the last 8 years I’ve been in a journey. Of learning and unlearning.
After a positioning myself in Panama with a successful carrer in marketing but many unsuccessful and toxic romantic relationships I decided I needed to do something to break the pattern.
That led me to travel solo, add to my academic education, move countries, face shadows, find self-love again, finally find healthy romantic love, take a different leap with my career , start my own business, move to the countryside, own a garden, continue to train in different approaches to mental health and wellbeing, work with people all over the world and now grow my family.
Now I am a certified personal and professional performance coach (but I don’t like that title, is too long! So I call myself a life coach) I and trained as an Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner, EFT / Tapping Practitioner and hypnotherapist. I have been a yoga student for the last 10 years and I have been teaching yoga (asana, pranayama and meditation) for the last 3-4 years. I teach breathwork, mindfulness and as a trained mental health aider one of my passion projects is to facilitate workshops to my local community and corporate clients. I also hold cacao ceremonies and sound baths. I offer reiki sessions and guided journaling experiences.
I believe in science and academic research and also believe in the intangible energies we and the world around us are made of.
And at the time of posting this blog I am happily 9 months pregnant.
If you are looking to:
gain confidence in your professional life
talk to someone about what's in your mind to help you organise your thoughts around a project / aspiration / plan
if you experience challenging feelings and would like to explore an alternative approach
if you want to explore some of the prsctices I mentioned in this blog (yoga, breathwork, ecstatic dancing, mindfulness...)
if you have limiting beliefs or fears you want to let go using hypnosis
if you want to change for the better the way you communicate to yourself
I can help you.
Join my waiting list to be one of the first people to get information on my next available dates or check the digital resources available at the shop.
Thank you for reading and I hope you have a lovely day!