breath,  embodiment

Don’t Just Live Your Life; Embody It

You are crazy. Yep, I said it. Please don’t get mad at me for pointing out the obvious. I am crazy too. We are all crazy. All. of. us.

The world is out of balance. Humanity has advanced beyond what anyone thought possible even fifty years ago. Science, technology. Amazing. But the collective mind has gone mad. We are ego-maniacs.

We live in our heads 99.9% of our waking lives. It’s a sad reality. And until you are aware, you have no idea it’s happening.

Think (no pun intended) for a moment. When is the last time you sat — without music, television, other words or distractions? Can you do it? What happens? Dialogue? A narrative? Lists? Thoughts of tomorrow? Yesterday? The brain is always in overdrive. And it doesn’t know how to stop.

“Be here now,” is a phrase that simplifies the process of embodiment, and it’s not as far out there as you might think.

I am on a mission to help people embody their lives every day. It’s a process. I call it Everyday Embodiment. Clever, right?

We teach what we need to learn most.

I am a recovering left-brainer.

What does that mean?

Left to my own devices — and unawareness, I live in my head 99% of the time.

I practice and teach mindfulness as part of my yoga offerings. These practices include conscious breathing (pranayama) and single-pointed concentration.

And while some of the ancient teachings work, I’ve been seeking more for a while — telling someone to count the breath or recite a word/mantra isn’t enough.

Enter everyday embodiment.

I am currently enrolled in a 500 hour teacher training called EmbodiYoga. The discipline combines yoga, pranayama, somatics and body-mind centering. It’s subtle. Confusing. Amazing. Profound.

My mind is blown each time I return from a weekend class.

I keep going deeper. Within my emotions, psyche, tendencies, body — my whole self.

I am integrating.

And I am teaching.

Everyday embodiment. Five minutes. Two hours. Spending time in the body every day is the only requirement.

The Embodiment Process

  1. Visualize — using the mind to put yourself in the middle of the felt sensation in the body
  2. Intellectualize — study of the human body, understanding how it works
  3. Somaticize — using the body (instead of the mind) to feel sensation from the inside out
  4. Embody — integrating all of the steps into a true felt-experience beyond what the brain can comprehend. Embodiment is direct perception of the body without going through the brain.

A Short Everyday Embodiment Practice

The next time you find yourself sitting in a chair, sit tall. Take your attention to your sit bones, your bottom and the backs of your legs — all of the places touching the seat of the chair. Are they receiving the support of the chair or are you holding yourself away from it in some way? Are you holding onto any unnecessary tension you could let go of? Take your attention to your shoulders. Relax them down. What about your back? Is it resting easily against the back of the chair? Are your feet resting on the support of the floor/earth? Keep going through the body, noticing felt sensation. As thoughts arise, keep bringing it back. Felt sensation. Unnecessary tension. Over and over.

The body has an intelligence of it’s own, and it far surpasses the mind. The troublemaker is the ego. It doesn’t want you to know that. It wants you to buy in to it’s craziness.

Somaticizing is a right brain activity. The ego resides in the left brain.

The more we use the embodiment process, the more we activate our right brain, lessoning our left brain’s hold on us. Try it today. Every day. You’re welcome.

Image: Jason Blackeye

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