Deep listening grants you access to your wise inner guidance, allowing you to "respond" rather than "react" and make more mindful, nourishing, and compassionate choices.
This compassionate listening isn't so much a specific technique as it is an approach to how you receive and respond to yourself—it's how you listen to your body, breath, feelings, and thoughts. It's the process of showing up for yourself and meeting yourself in a more curious, kind, and compassionate way. When you pay attention to yourself in this way, you set the conditions for conscious relaxation, allowing you to stay calmer and open with yourself, others, and your circumstances.
Deep listening is an intentional activity. Humans aren't designed to let our guards down easily, so we need to progressively and methodically create a foundation that enables us to stay calm when we have the impulse to do the opposite. Deep listening helps you cultivate the kind of conscious relaxation that allows you to stay open, present, and curious in situations where you normally wouldn't.
As part of a the yoga practice, Deep Listening helps you discover how and where you are holding tension in your body and mind and allows you to hear what is stored inside this physical, emotional, and mental discomfort. And the truth is, you may not be so "enthusiastic" about making contact with your tension and what it holds. This is the "stuff" that you've purposely been suppressing or resisting.
Steps to Practicing Deep Listening
Welcome yourself. Pause to welcome yourself, in whatever state you're in. You can show up more when you feel welcomed. And just know that it is OK to show up as you are, no matter what state you may be in.
Get grounded. Consciously allow your body to land on the earth so that you feel the support underneath you holding you up. Focus on your exhales and send that release into all the areas of your body that are plugging into the ground.
Breathe freely. When you feel grounded, you can turn your attention to your breath and grow more familiar with the ways you may habitually "hold" your breath. Practice allowing your breath to flow more freely and fully.
Listen inward. As you grow present with your breath, begin to listen inward. Practice kindly and compassionately noting how you “feel” without judgment. This is the heart of deep listening. As you practice responding to yourself with kindness and curiosity rather than judgment, your nervous system shifts from the stress response to the relaxation response, which sets the whole body up for deep healing, growth, and repair, and allows you to access your inner wisdom and sense of wholeness.