Massage, Yoga, and Listening to Your Body

oak-childI didn’t go to boot camp this morning. It’s a little silly, really, considering I wrote this great blog post yesterday about how to get out of bed early, but that wasn’t my problem. The alarm went off, I got up, and then I checked in with my body.

See, I had the most amazing massage yesterday evening. It was truly one of the best massages I’ve ever had, given by a very gifted woman named Serra Wobbema.

And I was more tight than I’ve been in a long time on a massage table, owing to the super fun, intense, body changing, super strengthening work I’ve been doing in my New Orleans boot camp.

The massage was thorough, deep, and very necessary. I should’ve scheduled it for a Friday.

I sat on the edge of my bed this morning at 4:30am, and my back and neck told me not to go work out. They said, “That massage was excellent. We’d like some recovery time, thank you very much.”

I actually considered staying awake, feeling a bit guilty that I wasn’t going to boot camp, but then I went back to bed for two more hours. Really, what would you have done?

Listening to your Body

This is a good example of the importance of listening to your body. If I’d gone to boot camp I would’ve tightened the muscles that had deep work done to them yesterday, and probably either cancelled out much of the benefits and wasted Serra’s incredible talent, or possibly even strained one of those muscles due to ignoring their need of recovery time.

Now, in yoga, you’re always told to listen to your body. This isn’t always something you grow up learning how to do, so yoga (or even boot camp) may be the first place you really get encouraged to check in with yourself and notice what your body is saying.

Your body is supremely intelligent. Surprisingly so. It is able to heal miraculously, and deals with all kinds of crazy things that we do to it.

Tuning in to the innate wisdom of the body is different than just using your mind – you have to feel it. This morning, my mind said “Go to boot camp.” My body said, “Please let me rest. Just do some yoga instead.”

After much experience neglecting my better judgment and paying the price, I gave in to the wisdom of my body.

Yoga and Massage

Yoga and massage have a lot in common. Yoga is actually a form of self massage. You lengthen and breathe space into areas that are tight. You massage the internal organs through bending and twisting, breathing nourishing breaths all the while.

Both yoga and massage detoxify the body, increasing circulation in the blood and lymphatic system.

And just as you might be a bit sore in the most healthy way possible after a yoga practice (or boot camp), a deep massage can leave some tender spots asking for time to sort themselves out.

I think the difference here is that I would tend to do more yoga to clear the soreness from a yoga practice, or keep up the work at boot camp, the deep work of a massage is not self inflicted. So, at least in this particular instance, the appropriate thing was a not-so-intense yoga practice, lots of water, and just plain taking it easy.

One of the things about massage is that you have to trust the person who is working on you. I have two close friends who are excellent massage therapists, so I’m a bit discerning about who I trust when it comes to massage.

When Serra was doing her magic during my massage last night, I appreciated her skill and was able to soften and relax. This is so important, because a therapist can’t really do their best work if you’re fighting them by tensing up.

Same goes for yoga. There has to be integration and strength, of course, but there also must be spaciousness to allow the nourishing breath and circulation to do their work. You have to find the right balance of effort and ease, strength and surrender, to ultimately find freedom.

So here I sit, feeling very content from a stellar massage, a sweet yoga practice, and knowing I’ve been giving my all at boot camp. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the world, at least in this moment, is perfect.

And if you’re looking for an excellent massage in New Orleans, check out Serra’s services!


4 thoughts on “Massage, Yoga, and Listening to Your Body

  1. I’m glad you got some massage. Boot camp can be super tough on the body in ways totally different than an intense yoga session. Absolutely, get the rest your body desires!

  2. Thanks for the reassurance Troy. 🙂

  3. Hi

    Your massage sounds so nourishing

    Do you have a favorite massage therapist here in kamloops?


  4. Shar,

    My favorite person to go to in Kamloops is my friend Jen, who is a Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist in Kamloops. That way if I need massage, she gives me massage, or if I need acupuncture or any of the other modalities she uses, I get what will balance my body most. You can find her by clicking on the link in this message.

    Also, Troy who commented above is a massage therapist in Kamloops as well. Click on his name by the comment he made to check him out. 🙂

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