August 1 would have been Jerry Garcia’s 75th birthday. I mention this because there’s a Jerry story that’s been coming up a lot for me lately. Later in his life Jerry became an avid scuba diver. He loved it. He said that he had become self-conscious about his weight gain and being in the water helped him feel weightless and more at ease in his body.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this story lately because I’ve been trying to focus on ways to listen to myself, discover what my needs are, and honor them without questioning my intuition.
And I stress the word “trying” because this shit is hard.
My nutritionist gave me homework a few weeks ago. My assignment was to ask myself if I’m hungry and if the answer is yes, eat something. Sounds simple enough, right?
What I found out is:
1. I have never in my life ever asked myself if I’m actually hungry.
2. I’m really good at talking myself out of listening to my body and its needs.
If you have a long history of disordered eating like I do, this probably isn’t shocking information, as I’ve now learned it’s common behavior in people with “food issues.” But man, was it a trip to be nearly 29 years old and have to sit there and ask yourself these seemingly innocuous questions and yet have your answers be so complicated.
Are you hungry? Yes? Are you sure? Yes? Are you sure you’re sure? I feel like you just ate, should you be hungry?
And so, I’ve been working on getting better at trusting myself. Listening to my own hunger cues is sort of the last piece in my food journey. Or so I thought, until I realized my ability to talk myself out of listening to my own needs stretches far deeper than my issues with food. It shows up in my work life, my dating life, my sex life, and in my relationships with friends.
Somehow I’ve become an expert at putting myself last and doubting everything my gut tells me to do. And so, since it’s August (the month I turn 29 and the year I finally exit my Saturn Returns) I’ve been trying to focus on fixing this. Why do I do it? And can I catch myself and relearn how to listen to and trust myself?
And this is why I love that Jerry Garcia story so much. Jerry listened to his needs. He wanted to feel free and comfortable in the body he was in, so he scuba’d his way to freedom.
It’ll be no big shock when I tell you that my yoga mat has become my scuba gear.
These days my yoga practice looks very different. I haven’t been spending a lot of time in public, group classes, but I have spent a bunch time rolling around on my bedroom floor, trying to figure out what feels good on my body.
What I’ve come up with is the following yoga class, which I taught at Laughing Lotus on August 1, Jerry’s birthday. It’s a lot of wide legs, it’s a lot of letting either your own body support you or finding your support in the earth.
My offering for you to remember while moving through this flow is something I’ve been repeating to myself for the past several weeks. You wouldn’t wait until it’s beeping at you to put gas in your car, why on earth would you wait until you’re burnt out or starving to care for yourself or eat?
We know what we need. Jerry knew he needed to feel at ease in his body, so he took to the water. I know when I need to eat and what I need to do to feel good, I just need to listen to myself.
So enjoy, and find your scuba diving. (Also, as always, playlist embeddaed at the bottom of the flow.)
Intuitive, grounding flow
Bhumisparsha mudra: Earth witness. Left fingers on earth, right on thigh. Inhale for 4, exhale for 6. Use the earth and yourself for support. 10 deep breaths.
Wide knee child’s pose
Down dog, pedal
Crescent, hands on thigh
Prasarita with bends
Walk to hands, wide leg uttanasana
1: W1--Devotional--Prasarita/sway--Flat up--W2--Peace
2: W1--Devotional--Prasarita/sway--Flat up--W2--tri--Peace
3: W1--Devotional--Prasarita--Flat up--W2--tri--extended side angle--Peace
4: W1--Devotional--Prasarita--Flat up--W2--extended side angle--frame foot,step forward wide--tadasana--Uttanasana--wide chair--Crow/Squat
Twists and hips
Crescent, twist/counter twist
Half Hanuman, grab outside foot, twist
Lizard with blocks or twist
Roll up, swing legs, lay down
Bridge or supported bridge (3), wheel if you need it. Meet in bridge with block
Feet as wide as mat
Knees left, left ankle on right knee, head to right, twist wide
Knees right, right ankle on left knee, head to left, twist wide
Supta Baddha Konasana, with blocks and blanket
Stay or into savasana