How to Tell When Your Body Needs a Break

Check in with your body and take time off from your routine to be more successful in life.

End of phrase. Period. Full stop. Start anew.

Is this how you operate in your life? Taking the time after the completion of each event to stop, reflect, take stock and start again?

One of the problems with our current worldview is that we are constantly on the go. There is very little “down” time, and even less time for reflection and integration.

We also can start to make our work-outs or our training sessions into a “job” where we go go go, persevering through hardship and fatigue, rain or shine, in the quest to achieve our goals.

But is all of this hard, constant work really serving you?

Using the body’s natural signs

The body is miraculous and brilliant in its design, and there are certain things the body tells you about training that can help you reach your optimum levels, without the “no pain, no gain” slogan that is seriously outdated.

Ayurveda, the medical arm of yoga, teaches us about tuning in to the body. There are certain techniques for measuring your pulse daily and your pulse tells you whether or not to work out!

But short of getting your heart rate monitor out every morning, there are simpler, and quite clear indications for when to take a break.


For women, this is your menstrual cycle. This is a time when the body is cleansing. And during this time, it is best to take a complete break from your current routine of work and workouts, in order to let the body fully cleanse and relax. This is a time for inner reflection. It is a potent time when you can look at your routine and see if it’s working for you or needs an adjustment. This break actually helps you to be more focused and powerful in reaching your goals. It gives your body the time to relax and renew and when you start again, you really are starting “new.”


For men, it is just as important to take a break in your physical training cycles. In some schools of Ashtanga yoga, which is a very physically demanding practice, there is no practice at all on the new moon and the full moon. This is meant to be a time of reflection and pause, and a time for the body to rebuild.

It is interesting to note that some women call their menstrual cycle their “moon.” So for both men and women, resting during the “moon” is powerful, both symbolically and actually.

Taking time off from projects or even from the daily flow of your life is important. It is more important than a vacation, which you might take once or twice a year. This is a consistent break from the routine, where you can re-evaluate, and check in with yourself on the level of body, mind and spirit. This break allows you to find more inner strength and power to reach your goals, and you’ll find yourself advancing beyond what you did when you never rested.

This month, I’m not including an Energy Medicine Yoga technique, so that you can get acquainted with the continual practice of resting and resetting. It makes everything you do more powerful, your goals easier to reach and the calm center of your own being more resilient.

Taking a rest day? Here are three ways to avoid being a couch potato.

Photo credit: Mark Kuroda,