The Body Speaks Its Mind

Posted by on Jan 20, 2017 in Articles, Back Pain Relief | 4 comments

The Body Speaks Its Mind

When Thought Manifests

I love my students. They’re sincere hearts, their intelligence and education, their willingness to be present for continued healing and transformation.

During the election season we all faced a challenge to our emotions and sense of safety. Many of us put in the extra effort to help get other citizens out to vote. All that was interesting enough, however the Monday yoga class following the election was most interesting to me. As a Back Care Specialist I am aware of how emotions play a role in back pain. It seems to make common sense, at least in the yoga world, that if someone lost a job and was worried about financial security and support that their lower back pain would be related to those concerns. That knowledge did not prepare me for what I observed in my post election Monday yoga class.

Keep in mind that most of my students come to class every week and many have been doing so for over a year. We always begin class with a supine chest supported position for deep breathing and centering. There are a few students that have a scoliosis, or twist, in their spines. That however did not explain the fact that almost 50% of my class was experiencing a collapse with distress on the left side of their spines, including left hip and shoulder aches. What an interesting observation! This was openly shared and considered an indication of something, but what?

Enter my teacher Aadil Palkhivala

My Teacher AadilA month after the election I was attending a seminar with my teacher Aadil. One of the topics for the weekend was yoga for back care. I began to study with Aadil over 15 years ago, yet I’m always open and curious to see what else I might learn. I was not disappointed.

He presented a reflection on back pain concerns following the first three of the five Koshas. When we experience pain in our body there are three places to look; at the structure of the body, the energy of that part of the body, and the emotion/ thought that is moving that energy. I learned that when the body is pulled front or back, it represents the aspect of mind that is concerned about our past or our future. When the distortions occur horizontally, that is left to right, this represents conditions or circumstances that we are expected to accept and trust even though they are lacking in integrity.

My mind was blown…

Aadil’s reflections on left-right distortions in the spine matched perfectly my observations of the spinal distortions experienced by the bulk of my yoga students in Monday’s class. The election results were in, and we were being asked to trust someone who’s integrity was in question and had influence over our lives in unpredictable ways.

The body speaks his mind

It is often easy to say,  “My back hurts because it’s out of alignment, ” or “My back hurts because I have been sitting at the desk all day,” the structural reasons. It is not as easy to discover the mental emotional reasons for our back pain. Even though we say things like, “He is a pain in the neck,” clearly reflecting our anger and frustration with someone. Yet there is a deeper more subtle energy of how our beliefs, thoughts and our responses to them manifest in our bodies, which they do consistently and often unnoticed. They show up as chronic tight places, or even an acute discomfort somewhere that passes after a few days. Our bodies can guide us to deeper awareness.

Refining our awareness.

Refining our self awareness contributes to the skill and wellness of how we live our lives. By centering ourselves regularly we can observe our thoughts and feelings in order to make the necessary adjustments before they manifest as discomfort or illness.  By surrendering our attachment to those things we can’t control, nourishing our own capacity for truth and love, and remembering the greater power of goodness that exists, can lead us to make clear choices. How we choose to use the energy of thought has the capacity to sustain us individually as well as be a contribution to our communities and the body of humanity.

My invitation to you is to take time to stop the internal dialogue about aspects of the inauguration, find out what you really believe, check how that feels in your body and whether it sustains you or diminishes you. The path to liberation is a step by step process. Become part of the dance.

Remember your practice. Center yourself daily. Join me in class for reinforcement!

Many blessings on your journey,   Lillah

Be a part of my community! Check out my private yoga therapy sessions. Practice with my book: Healing Our Backs with YogaTM




  1. Thank you for sharing this thoughtful insight/truth. My intention is to be more mindful.

    • Thank you for reading… mindful is a daily practice. Be well. On the journey…Lillah

  2. Lillah, thank you for sharing this profoundly important observation. The greatest value of doing and teaching yoga is gaining insights such as this.

    • Thank you for reading. Life and yoga … both amazing! I thank one of my wonderful teachers Aadil Palkhivala and his wife Savatri for helping me connect the dots on this.

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