I use my cell phone as my alarm clock in the morning. In the past, it has gotten me into trouble when I’ve forgotten to charge it overnight (whoops!) but I’ve finally gotten it down to a science. My phone has this cool feature where the alarm first starts off as a vibrate. Then it turns into a vibrate and a gentle ringing sound. With each successive ring the alarm gets louder and louder until it is at full blast which I have been able to hear from outside of my apartment. Most days I wake when the ring is just starting to pick up volume. Other days I have actually snoozed in my sleep and then woken up after the ringer has already picked up full steam.
We use alarms for a lot of things in our life: to wake up up in the morning, to tell us when our food has been warmed up in the microwave, to let us know if we haven’t buckled our seatbelt/left our door open/left our keys in the car ignition, to let us know when someone is calling us/texting us/emailing us/updating their status on facebook…that being said, even though we have so many alarms, we don’t always choose to pay attention to the task they have been designed to help us with.
I snooze my alarm every morning. My roommate ignores the microwave beeping every minute to let her know her water has been heated up. My boyfriend groans at my car telling him to put his seatbelt on and will let it beep to exhaustion. We ignore the outside world trying to get in touch with us on our phones.
There are consequences for ignoring these alarms from something as benign as having to re-heat water all the way through dying in a car crash by refusing to put on a seatbelt. Alarms have their place and reason for existence.
This is also true of our bodies. We have alarms all over. A sore throat when a cold is coming on. A twinge of pain when something is not quite right. A headache when we haven’t had enough water. Hunger when our body needs food. Exhaustion when we need a break. Somehow, we have become just as good at ignoring these alarms. Just like the alarm on my phone, they start off quiet enough but will get louder and louder if we decide to ignore them. An sore throat can turn into 2 weeks of sickness. A twinge of pain can turn into a chronic injury. Dehydration can cause a whole mess of problems.
Yoga helps us to tune into these alarms and hear them at their quietest volume before they escalate into full-blown sirens. Awareness is one of the biggest gifts. Once you are aware of an alarm, you can work on figuring out how to quiet it down or at the very least help to pinpoint the reason for its existence. Life has taught us to ignore the alarms. Our job as yoga practitioners is to start hearing them again.
The body doesn’t have a snooze button. Trust me, I’ve tried.