Growing up, my mom taught me some invaluable life lessons. “Always leave a place nicer than you found it.” “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.” Perhaps the one that contributes to my overall health and wellbeing the most is “Listen to your body.”

Most of us don’t.

When we’re tired, instead of taking a nap or resting, we turn to caffeine to artificially stimulate a feeling of awakeness. When we’re hungry, we may eat some food that provides us with the calories necessary for survival, but are we eating the food that’s giving us the vitamins and minerals necessary to thrive?

Driven by the constant demands from our external worlds, we’ve lost touch with the wisdom of our internal worlds. And science is beginning to reveal more and more about what we can learn from our bodies.

Interoception is a developing field of study in neuroscience. It’s the capacity to sense internal bodily sensations. This capacity literally keeps you alive. Hunger lets you know that it’s time to eat. A full bladder tells you it’s time to go to the bathroom.

While most of us may be in tune with what these gross sensations mean and what to do about them, they come in all manner of subtlety.

What if you could hear the quieter messages of your body? What if you could respond to them before they got louder? Might you be able to prevent disease, which is like your body yelling at you to do something differently?

Developing your own capacity for interoception is easy! But it takes time and repetition, just like learning any new skill. Qigong (pronounced chee-gung) is one of Integral Travel’s favorite methods of teaching people to tune in to the quiet voice of their body. This ancient practice will teach you how to quiet your mind, relax your body and tune in to its subtle sensations. You will learn how to feel energy, both within and without your body, and some simple movements to manipulate that energy. Calm yourself down when you’re feeling anxious, or energize yourself when you’re feeling tired.

Yoga has similar capacities as do many mindfulness practices. So whatever your flavor, learn to quiet the monkey mind and tune in to the intelligence of your body. You might learn something profound.

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