Listen to YOU!

Written by Heidi Kristoffer

Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is right. Sometimes when I ask a general question (or even if I don't) I feel like I get some many conflicting "recommendations" that my head spins. Do this, don't do that. Eat meat, don't eat meat.

With the changing of the weather, I started to feel really “out of it.” Dizzy, space-y, you name, it, I just couldn’t seem to ground myself. So, I did everything my Ayurvedic coach and yoga teachers have always recommended: I ate warm foods with warming spices, root vegetables, things from the earth to ground. I did every grounding / centering yoga pose in the book, complete with a zillion squats (which are admittedly not my fave.) I also cut inversions out of my practice, which, for me, is unheard of. I love being upside down, it makes me so happy, it centers me, it flips my perspective.

Admittedly, I should have known better than to not listen to my own body (which wanted inversions desperately.) Last year, against my better judgment, I cut tofu out of my diet based on strong recommendations from “experts” and I dropped so much weight and energy with the lack of protein (not everyone requires a lot of protein, but my body does) that my tofu void left, I couldn’t consume enough calories to look or feel anything close to healthy, much less strong and steady.

Advice-wise, everyone kept telling me to stop inverting, promising that it would ground me and stop the crazy spinning feeling in my head. So, I did. Guess what? It got worse!

The most important thing that I failed to remember, is while they may not fall in the category of “grounding” poses, one of the main reasons I love inversions so much is that they force me to breath, to center, to be present, and most importantly for me: to ground. When the time came that I couldn’t seem to find my own center, I decided to listen to all of the advice in the world except the most important advice: what my own body and intuition was telling me was right. I tried so hard to do everything everyone was telling me to do, and it was all so difficult for me, that I forgot some of the best advice once given to me by Tara Stiles: "If it’s too hard, it’s probably not right, don’t do it." (Not verbatim, but definitely what I heard.)

So, one morning, I got on my mat, and decided to just do what came easily and naturally. 90 minutes and many, many inversions later, I felt amazing. My head had stopped spinning, and I felt more grounded than I had in days, maybe even weeks. I am not saying that if you need to ground, you need to do inversions. I am saying, that you need to do what is right for you. It is never good to fight what comes naturally or easily to our bodies or to our minds. Intuition is such a powerful tool. It doesn’t matter some times what the “experts” say -- you are your own best expert. No one knows you better than you. Listen to YOU!

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