• being human,  embodiment,  learning

    What Is Embodiment?

    From the dictionary––em·bod·i·ment / əmˈbädēmənt (noun) : a tangible or visible form of an idea, quality, or feeling. “she seemed to be a living embodiment of vitality” … But what does that actually mean? The definition, to me, feels vague, and perhaps will change as more people experience the feeling of being embodied. It is truly not a concept that can be grasped with the mind. It must be experienced. I first became interested in the concept of embodiment when I stumbled upon an advanced yoga teacher training called EmbodiYoga. I enrolled and got a taste for about a year through that lens. The discipline incorporates yoga, somatics, embryology and body-mind centering. It’s an amazing practice that, in many ways, looks nothing like the yoga I taught or the yoga I’ve experienced in the studios I’ve visited. Since my time studying EmbodiYoga, I’ve been introduced to other non-yoga versions of embodiment that I now practice regularly. Embodiment, in it’s simplest definition, is living from a felt-sense of the body. It is direct experience. It includes all parts of the body (the brain too — we are whole, not our ‘parts’) and it seeks to know via the body itself. Writing this feels only a little…

  • being human,  embodiment,  learning

    The Living School

    Today, I believe, is a turning point, a pivot toward that which I’ve been called to for a while now. God has been leading me, all along actually, but specifically for the last year, as I’ve had ears to hear and a heart ready to follow. I’ve had much more quietude in which to pray, listen and discern, though I’m still learning the fullness of what that means. I’m also better at not having to know everything, to follow my senses toward what feels right. I became familiar with the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) a few years ago and have immersed myself in study and practice ever since, from books to podcasts to videos to scholarly papers, I’ve been obsessed with learning more about contemplation, the lives of the saints and Christian mysticism. I’ve also been reading about and deepening my understanding of nonduality for over two decades, as it’s a primary concept of yoga philosophy and embodiment. All of my years as a yoga teacher and deep study feels like it is converging into a cohesive story. I have no idea where it will all take me. It feels auspicious and beautiful to live in the mystery. Last July, I began talking…

  • being human,  embodiment,  learning

    The Realization Process

    I have been practicing somatic meditation throughout the last few years, though not as regularly as I’d like. Recently, however, I started a regular practice, specifically using Realization Process techniques. As a long time ‘dabbler’ in meditation, bottom-up approaches work far better for me than top-down and I actually feel like I’m making progress. I have been noticing small shifts not only in the practice but throughout my days. At first I wrote, ‘it’s not easy and takes effort’ but a more accurate statement is that ‘it takes effort only insomuch as I give time to it and get out of my own way.’ Today I thought I’d share a scholarly paper on the Realization Process developed by Judith Blackstone. It’s a bit heady but I’ve been studying yoga, meditation and other such topics for a few decades now. The following are excerpts and a link to the paper which briefly describes nondual reality and the process that helps us realize our part in it. “Although nondual realization itself is entirely effortless, entirely without any sort of contrivance, we need to do the focused practice of subtle inward attunement in order to let go from deep within ourselves. But then we are able to really…

  • being human,  embodiment,  learning

    Making the World More Embodied

    When is the last time you felt your feet on the floor? Your butt on the seat? The tension in your shoulders? The spaciousness of your head? The quality of your heart? Embodiment, in it’s simplest form, points to these things––a felt sensation of the body. But it’s so much more. I have been immersed in yoga studies for over twenty years now and while I still read yoga texts, I’ve moved much more deeply into the topic of embodiment, a very real outcome of yoga if practiced this way. (Sadly though, some yoga moves us away from our bodies, even into a place of objectifying our bodies instead of owning them, feeling them. I personally am not interested in this yoga.) Embodiment at it’s core is about inhabiting the body and about celebrating the journey of living in a body. There is a lot of research and practice on the subject and it is growing in popularity, but at it’s core, for me, embodiment is about moving from my head/thinking/ego and dropping awareness into felt experience, into the body. I am an every day learner and the things I read, study and listen to are varied. While I’m moving more toward physical books, I…