Towards a more embodied way of life
With the upcomming new year in mind and the usual focus on how to better, amend, correct or start up afresh with some appropriate new year resolutions I´d like to share a text from the aw-inspiring Menschen Museum in Berlin that was featuring parts of the Bodyworlds exhibition.
Out bodies mirror our lifestyles.
When our body no longer wants to play the game is over.
Without it, no thoughts, no actions, and no expressions or experiences are possible.
Without our bodies, we have no world, no family, and no friends,
without our bodies we could not exist.
Its complex structure is fascinating , as are the lives it allows us to live.
– Menschen Museum, Berlin. fra utstillingen Bodyworlds
Most of us far too often take our miraculous bodies for granted, and by doing so ignore the fact that were it not for our bodies every joyfull life event we have ever experienced would be nulled out.
(A glimpse of what the network of our blood vessels actually look like in all its marvelous complexity)
So the word I wish to make my new year- mantra is:
Embodiment is a term used to denote the degree of awareness with which we, experience and relate to our own body and the manner with which we communicate with it. The opposite is disembodiment.
Embodiment is about HOW we experience, relate to and communicate with our body , not the fact that we HAVE a body. This is the reason why it is possible, even in a society as body- fixated as ours, to acctually live a rather disembodied life.
New year resolutions often tend to focus on making amends for how we have treated our bodies during the holidays (with diet and exercise as the two main themes). But HOW we engage in these two activities are often less emphasised.
The results could be rather different depending on if we do so from an embodied or disembodied state. Here are some examples of the difference between approaching diet or exercise from a state of embodiment and body-fixation.
Embodied eating and drinking
Changing your diet might indeed be a step towards having a better relationship with your body based on learning which signals that acctually means hunger for edible nutrients and which that points to hunger for something else. There might be several areas in our lives where we might feel malnourished (relationships, responsibilities, a need to use our abilities, our paricular family-constellation, lack of access to nature etc) which all might end up translated into hunger for food.
Developing a more embodied awareness might increase our ability to dicern these different hungers. Then the new challenge would be finding out what you need to adress in your life in order to nurish this.
But embarking on a new diet might just as well be yet another step away from your body if the motive is trying to fix the external and visual parts of something you deep down despise, fear or loath. The act of “going on a diet” is the same but the outcome, both physical and psycological, depends on the underlying intention.
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
Embodied work-out routines
The same goes for «looking after your health» by staying fit. Starting a new workout-routine might be a doorway to connect with and sense your body in a healthy way. Discovering your personal and unique boundries and challenging your idea of what your body can and cannot do. But the outcome of a new work-out regime, no matter if you choose yoga, pilates, strenght-training or kick-boxing, depends entirely on how you view your body in the first place: as an aw-inspiring entity which acctually changes and adapts to how you use it (and which lets you know what is really going on in your life and how it affects you) or as a trophy to be admired or judged by others.
If we look behind all the currently accepted fitness ideals of our days we will find a lot of deep-buried self-hatred jumping around on treadmills and flexing large muscles in the gyms..
Photo by Jacob Postuma on Unsplash
Approaching a work-out routine with the intention of discovering our body as a novel and totally uniqe landscape gives the activity we choose a different flavour and has long-term implications on how we treat our bodies on other areas in life, not just in the gyms.
The difference between an embodied or body-fixated work-out is not necessarily seen in the visible physical result (at least not imediately) but is often strongly reflected in the emotional and and psycological result of the work-out. And in the long term the physical results will show them selves as well.
Here is a nice way to check if you are eating or moving from an embodied or disembodiment state of mind:
- Are you able to be totally present and sense into your body when engaging in the activity you are doing?
- If you experience the activity as plesurable and delightful: are you able to savour it just for your own sake (and not the sake of your instagram- or facebook account)?
- If sensations turn unpleasent because you are changing something that might have been a long-time pattern: are you able to stay present and aware through that as well until the sensation changes?
Embodied playing and living
For those who want to start the year off with a chance to delve into what embodiment feels like: here is a new year offer:
On a Timani/ NM session we can typically work with:
- Increasing your embodiment-booster nr one – interroception, your internal sensory awareness, which might affect your physical, mental and emotional state of mind
- Finding out if re-occurring tensions or aches are the result of ways in which you use your body on a daily basis
- Learning about how becoming aware and changing the way you sit, stand and walk can affect chronic tension in the shoulders, arms and neck
- preventing or alleviating pain, reoccurring tensions or discomforts related to playing your instrument.
- Finding out if stage fright and nerves are all “in your head” or if they might be the result of the ways you use your body when playing
- Finding ways of connecting more deeply with your musical intentions when playing through increased
- becoming a more conciously embodied mover/musician
and lots more..
A blessed New Year to you all!
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash