The Subtle Art of Embodiment
8 Practices & Rituals That Will Invite You Back Into Your Body to Awaken More Pleasure, Healing & Presence in Your Life
So many of us have been conditioned to move fast, to be as productive as possible throughout the day, which causes us to lose this connection with our body and our senses. Slowing down and reconnecting with our body stirs up some fear in people because it forces us to feel our pain. So often times we just stay super busy to avoid feeling the pain. But what I will say from experience… is that when we slow down and embody more of ourselves and stay present with our experiences, we are also opening up to feel more pleasure in our life as well. We can’t have one without the other. The more we are open to experiencing the pain and the shadow of life, the more we can experience the other side of the coin… the bliss, the joy, and the ecstatic pleasures of life. Below, I’ve created an outline for you to journey through your own embodiment practices and rituals.
1. Get Out Into Nature
Go immerse yourself in nature, without your phone, and open yourself up to the guidance and wisdom that it has to share. All of the answers we are seeking are within nature, yet we as humans are complex beings and we’ve been conditioned to believe that the answers are far away within some training or guru’s spiritual teachings.
Lay your body on the Earth. Breathe with her. Get your hands into the dirt or the sand. Hug a tree. Sit with the plants and observe them. Listen to them. Feel your body in water. Feel the wind upon your skin. Notice the wildlife around you. Connect with the sun, the moon, and the stars. Connect with your body in relation to these elements. Your body is your portal these other elements, other dimensions, other world, other galaxies.
2. Movement is Medicine
Move your body in ways that feel good to you. I am not necessarily implying exercise. If certain forms of exercise don’t feel good to you, this will cause you to check out of your body more. In order to shift our experience in life, we need to get into the body. This movement I am speaking of is slow. It’s mindful. It means taking the time and intention to connect with your body and notice what’s going on inside. Observing the sensations without judgment. It means taking a moment to pause and fully experience life and what is going on within your physical dwelling, your body temple. Go dance, do yoga, qi gong, swim, walk, run, skate, whatever your movement medicine is, please do that!
3. Taste Your Food
Yes taste your food. A lot of us are just eating on auto pilot… shoving food down for fuel to keep us going throughout the day. Before your meals, take a pause. As difficult as it may be, take a couple deep breaths before you eat so that you can become fully present with your food. Not only will this help you enjoy your food more, but it will also help you digest your food better. When we actually focus on being present with our food and open up to the full experience, taking in the taste, aroma, textures, we are able to listen to our body more and give it what it needs. Notice how it feels to consume the food and what it feels like in your body.
Our breath is our life force. It’s the tool that helps us stay connected to our bodies in the present moment. Whenever you find yourself getting triggered, lost, distracted, frustrated… come back to your breath. Our breath is what weaves our mind, body and soul into union. When we are intimately connected to our breath, we can access embodiment on a much deeper level.
Take a bath or a shower and allow yourself to become fully present… allow the water to dissolve the tension you’re carrying in your body. Maybe light a candle, use some Epsom salts. Allow the warmth of the water to bring you back into your body… feeling all of the subtle sensations, cleansing whatever is no longer serving you.
Simple self-massage is a wonderful way to access the body and all of the subtle layers of the energy body. Get some coconut oil (or whatever oil calls to you), maybe add some essential oils, and give yourself a massage. This is such a great gift to give to yourself. Not only will it help you deepen the relationship you have with yourself, but it will deepen the trust you have with yourself. And when we learn how to trust ourselves deeply, we can feel safe to arrive more fully in our body. Whenever we can meet our body with presence, a part of ourselves begins to soften and release. When we can access our pleasure, and indulge our senses, we can start to feel safer to return home to our body. If you’re carrying the deep seated messages around pleasure being wrong, bad, sinful, etc. it may be helpful to do some deeper work around this with a healer, therapist, or coach. Feel free to reach out for support from me if this resonates for you.
7. Get Off the Screen
Do I really need to explain this one? Our computers, phones, tablets and other devices are wonderful tools but they definitely don’t help us get into our bodies. If anything, they distract ourselves from what we are experiencing in our bodies and can create more turmoil. This is a tough practice but anytime you find yourself stuck scrolling through social media or whatever it may be, take a moment to connect back to your body and your breath and just notice how you feel. If you’re feeling contracted, get off your phone or your computer and go for a walk, get some fresh air, stretch out your body, be in the presence of a loved on and come back to yourself.
Have you ever tried vigorously shaking your body to move stagnant energy or chi? This is a powerful practice to increase life force energy, shake up stagnant energy, release tension in the body, and increase circulation to allow energy to flow in a way that nourishes every cell of the body. Shaking helps to clear fear and trauma that is residing in the body on a somatic level. When there is fear and trauma living in the body, it’s easy to check out and disembody. So if you feel called to this practice, shake it with all you got, and then find stillness. Notice the effects that it starts to have on your body and your mind.