When was the last time you felt 100% in your body, feeling the subtle energy and noticing the signs that your body gives you? Sadly, many of us are more out of touch with our bodies than we imagine – and this contributes greatly to health problems and difficulties in healing. We are encouraged to ‘make the pain go away’, to ‘soldier on’ when sick, to ‘feel the love and not the anger’ – but in all of these ways and many more, we deny the self.

That’s why so many spiritual or natural healing disciplines today focus on ‘Being in the Now’ or ‘Being in Your Body’ – so you can really feel what its trying to tell you. Your body speaks to you in feelings, not words (in most cases, anyway!), but how do you learn to listen?


Ayurvedic wisdom offers many little gems of advice to help you gain a better understanding of your body: through your body type and its relationship with the environment to foods, herbs, lifestyle choices and the seasons. But many of these insights can also be gained simply by listening and following a few simple rules.


Step One: Implement Some Simple Lifestyle Rules and Routines

Following these rules allows your body to function better by creating a greater rapport with the daily ebb and flow of the earth’s energy and bodily cycles. This will ensure that your body’s signals are clearer and easier for you to read; there will also be less confusion created by living against the flow of nature. This step is highly recommended, even if you can only make a small change here and there.


As much as possible, follow the natural rhythms of the day/earth, by:

  1. Getting up around sunrise

  2. Having breakfast as early as possible, before 7.30am is good

  3. Working (whatever you do) throughout the daylight hours

  4. Having lunch between 12.00-1.00pm

  5. Stop working before sunset – usually in late afternoon

  6. Eat dinner early, before sunset (or 6.00pm) is great

  7. Relaxation time in the evening

  8. Going to bed by 10.00-10.30pm

  9. Staying cool in summer and keeping warm in winter


As much as possible, follow the natural rhythms of the body, by:

  1. Waiting for true hunger to occur before eating*

  2. Waiting for true thirst before drinking**

  3. Evacuate natural wastes as soon as you get the urge – don’t hold on! This includes – bowel motions, urine, flatulence, belching, coughing, sneezing, nose blowing, crying*** etc…

  4. Not forcing your body - if you want to change something, do it gradually (eg. Over-exercising, crash diets)

*If natural hunger does not occur around mealtimes, try to encourage it by reducing snacks or taking digestive stimulants before mealtime. Ensuring you are relaxed before and during meals is a great digestive stimulant. Don’t eat when you feel bloated, sick or emotional.

**Your body lets you know through thirst when it is running low on water, there is no need to force gallons of water into your body unless it requires it. On the other hand, sometimes the thirst signals can be subtle – you may need to train yourself to notice them in order to prevent dehydration.

***It has been discovered that tears release stress-related chemicals from the body, so don’t hold them back - Crying is a natural tension-reliever!


Yes, This is how humankind have been living for millennia, and with good reason. But in today’s world, we are living lifestyles which are more and more at odds with these natural rhythms. Simply making these small alterations is often enough to spark natural rebalancing and healing changes in the body.


Step Two: Notice Your Body’s Signals

Noticing how your body and mind feel at different times of the day, in different environments, and different seasons or even countries (if you’re a frequent traveller), is the next step in learning to listen.


A good way to do this is to use a diary. Take notes when anything you judge to be a sign occurs, and then note the circumstances.


Look for signs such as:

Circumstances to note:

  • Hunger and thirst

  • heat or cold

  • trembling, sweating

  • aches and pains

  • digestion/elimination changes

  • vision changes, noises in ears

  • muscle tension/relaxation

  • aggravation of existing complaints

  • anxiety, emotions and feelings

  • poor sleep

  • energy level changes

  • good signs and feelings should be noted too!

  • Where are you?

  • What is in your environment?

  • Who is near?

  • What are you doing?

  • What are your thoughts?

  • What can you hear, smell, feel, taste, see?

  • What have you eaten/drank recently? Any medicines taken?

  • What have you been doing for the last few hours or days?



Once you have spent a week to a month noticing your body, you should be getting very good at it! Now you can probably stop using the diary and go through it, looking for patterns. During the year you may also notice patterns which relate to the seasons.


Here are some examples of patterns you may find:

  • Are you always hungry/thirsty at certain times?

  • Do certain feelings precede others? (eg. You always have a weak feeling before you notice you are hungry)

  • Does being in a certain place make you feel sweaty and flustered? What could be causing this? (eg. Fluorescent lights, music, stuffiness, smells..)

  • Do the muscles in your neck tighten or release in certain situations or places?

  • Does your breathing get shallower or deeper when certain people are near?

  • Do you get a headache after a day at a relative’s house?

  • Does certain music make you feel uneasy or anxious?

  • Des a certain aroma bring a smile to your face?

  • Do you feel more alert on days when you ate breakfast and lunch on time?

  • Are you happier when the sun is out or in summertime?


Step Three: Try Some Changes

After taking note of what your body tells you, think of some changes you can make in you environment and lifestyle to better suit your body’s needs. The put these changes into effect and see what happens. If you have any amount of success, you can congratulate yourself for having effectively listened to what your body was saying. But if success is limited, keep trying, and you may try a different angle too.


Many people who practise meditation, TaiChi, Yoga or spiritual disciplines find that they find a calm centre and a place of peace within which also brings with it a greater consciousness of the body. Don’t think of this as a problem, but use it to your benefit, and talk to your body. If you can see your body as a tool in your spiritual or life journey rather than a hindrance, then it is bound to reward you.


Step Four – Intuition

After listening for a long time to your body, you will find that you are getting attuned to more subtle messages. This is a great skill to cultivate and leads to developing your intuition. Intuition is really just listening very closely to your body’s most subtle messages. With intuition, you begin to listen not only to what your body is telling you about itself, but to what it can tell you about other people and situations, and about how to heal. For further information on developing intuition, read Judith Orloff’s book ‘Intuitive Healing’.


Real-Life Success Stories

I noticed feeling uneasy in certain stores, my eyes and head would feel like they were fogging over and after a while I would start to feel sick. I decided that there must be something in those buildings which was interfering with my body’s energy system, so I made a decision to not do my shopping in those stores if I could help it. I started noticing that it was only certain buildings which had this affect on me, and after avoiding them for a long time, the effects were much more easily noticeable. Sometimes I will go into one of these places without thinking, but within about 5 minutes I’m usually rushing out the door as soon as I notice the uncomfortable feelings coming back” J.D.


I’m not a very thirsty person, so I was always forcing myself to drink, drink, drink to try and get my daily quota of water. After visiting an Ayurveda practitioner, I was told to drink only when thirsty and I thought this was great! But that winter I started getting a little worried that I was only having around 2 cups of fluid per day – and surely that wasn’t enough. I was about to call my practitioner, when suddenly I started wanting to drink a LOT more and was getting a dry mouth often. I watched it for a week or so and it continued, in fact, as the weather got warmer in September I was drinking more and more. My practitioner enlightened me. She said that my Kapha body [an Ayurvedic Body Type] has a high proportion of water and winter is a cool wet season, so naturally we need to drink less. In spring/summer we start needing to drink more, especially around the change of season, so that totally explains what was happening and I’m glad I was listening to my body’s needs!” R.K.


I was having a problem with gas every evening, but I noticed that it was never in the morning. So I did a food diary for a week and found that I ate lots of legumes for dinner almost every night, but never for breakfast or lunch. So I cut down on that kind of protein for a few weeks – it was an instant success.” M.T.


I have a problem with migraines…but it used to be a much bigger problem before I discovered the trigger. It was my mother!! Every Sunday after visiting her I would get a migraine in the night. I’d never connected it with her until I really thought about my weekly patterns. So that week I asked her to not wear any fragrances before visiting and we sat outside in the fresh air instead – Bingo. That night, no migraine. What an easy solution to a terrible problem!” B.C.


I forget to eat easily, but I learned to notice when my body was running low on fuel. I get nervous, sweaty, shaky and tired – and now when that happens, I think ‘Hey! I’ve got to eat!’ and after I eat I feel so much better.” M.A.

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