Embodiment & Movement Practices for Growth & Healing

In Western culture, we are basically taught to disconnect from the body at a young age. We value intellect over feeling and sensing and doing over being. We’re also in a culture that is obsessed with how the body looks over how it feels.  We beat the physical body into submission with grueling workouts, have the “no pain, no gain” mentality, and most of us were taught exercise as a punishment, for a grade, and in conditions that were often times humiliating.

Add on top of that any kind of physical or emotional stress or trauma and we have the perfect conditions for dissociating from the body and retreating into a space of hyper-intellectualism. This is how dis-ease breeds.  This is how we forget about pleasure.  This is how we become addicted to quick fixes of pleasure that actually leave us feeling more depleted in the long run.

The physical body is a primary source of shame, particularly Feminine Shame.

Intentional Embodiment

Practice intentional embodiment and conscious movement as an entry way back into the physical body. The physical body is where truth lives.  The mind contains a version of truth, yes, and it can often lead us astray.

When the physical body, anchored in its beautiful sensorial abilities and engaging fully with the tangible world, isn’t fully online, the poor mind works overdrive and we get swept up in a disembodied, half-truth.

We feel empty, numb, void, and insatiably hungry for life all at the same time.  This can lead us to feeling purposeless, lost, and helpless.  On the physical level, this is where all dis-ease manifests. 

The subtle creates the gross and the subtle dysfunctions and misalignments on the emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, manifest in the physical body and in our tangible lives.  We’ve had cues all along and because we have been priding doing over being and thinking over feeling, we’ve missed them.

The answer?  Intentional embodiment and conscious movement.

Embodiment & Movement

The difference between exercise and movement is subtle, yet profound.  I dislike using the word “exercise” because of the various connotations we have associated with it AND because many of us are exercising for the wrong reasons that are actually putting a wedge farther between us and our bodies.

Movement, intentional movement, is different.  It values feeling and sensing over anything else.  It serves as a bridge among mind, body, and spirit. Movement allows us to become fully embodied and by fully embodied, I mean noticing your sensorial experience, noticing your bodily needs, feeling your body from the inside out and outside in, observing the subtle interplay between your environment and your physical body, your thoughts and your physical body, and your emotions and your physical body. Using the body as the anchor, translator, and messenger that it is allows us to find more ease and presence.

Emotional Fluidity

Emotions are energy that must keep moving.  However, when we stifle this flow and suppress emotions, the energy becomes stagnant and lives in our bodies. Thighs, hips, stomach, and shoulders are some key places they wind up living. 

Through practicing intentional embodiment and conscious movement and engaging in this physical body dialogue, we inevitably become better observers of our emotions and allow them to flow as they so desire.  We feel more grounded and safe to allow this natural flow because we are anchored in our physical bodies, in our sacred homes.

When that component is missing, we may fear our emotions, feel ashamed of them, and allow them to suppress because we are numbed out of the physical harm they are inflicting.

When we’re more deeply connected to the physical body, we can feel into the dis-ease the stagnation is causing, and we feel more grounded and anchored and less like we’ll get swept up and away in a fit of a strong emotion. This is yet another example of how embodiment serves us as a tool for multilevel healing.

Practices

Here are a few simple practices you can begin today!

Notice Your Body

Check in and notice your physical body.  Close your eyes, breathe, and notice any sensations that arise.  Are you hungry?  Are you thirsty?  Are you aching anywhere?  Are you tired?  What does your physical body need from you right now?

Impulsive Movement & Your Emotions

Again, close your eyes and check in and notice any sensations in the body.  Next, notice any emotions that are present for you.  Without thinking or judging or criticizing, allow your physical body to simply move in response to this emotion.  Allowing yourself to follow the impulse to move.  Stay connected to breath and bodily sensation and feel the emotion arise and move and shift and change.

Communicate With A Body Part

Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and tune into physical sensation.  Scan your body lovingly and slowly and completely from head to toe.  Is there an area of the body that feels particularly exceptional in some way at the moment?  Maybe an area that feels disconnected, in pain, hot, cold, or some other way that has your attention?  Allow your body to come into a posture or a movement that mirrors how this body part feels.  Allow that body part, if possible, to be the primary driver of this posture or movement exploration.

And there are so many others and then ways to add creativity to it by taking these sensations and movement explorations into art creation of some kind. 

Additionally, any movement or exercise you typically engage in (that brings you delight, because there’s no reason to do something you dislike because you think you should or because it’s cool or popular) can be done in a more embodiment and intentional way.

Seek to move your body in ways that are conscious and intentional and in a co-creative fashion that allow your body’s innate wisdom to lead.  What will best serve you?  What do they need today?

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