What Is Embodiment & How Can We Use It For Self-Care?

“In a global that’s constantly objectifying [physiques]…to be embodied is really a political act.”

-Dr. Hillary McBride

Embodiment is becoming something of the buzzword previously couple of years. You’ve likely heard the word thrown around in wellness communities, frequently alongside mindfulness, and also the two offer a similar experience for the reason that both of them invite us to pay attention to the current moment.

But while mindfulness concentrates on slowing lower to get conscious around the globe around us, embodiment is particular to the physical nature. Mainly, it asks us to understand that our physiques and minds aren’t separate but connected.

Understanding this connection isn’t easy though, mainly in the Civilized world where we’re familiar with ignoring our bodies’ needs in the productivity. Or, alternatively, suppressing and controlling them.

“[Embodiment] asks us to understand that our physiques and minds aren’t separate but connected.”

One time i is at college coupled with a brief stint with running, for instance. Every single day with that track, whether my body system was exhausted or hurt, I laced up and recited that tired phrase, “mind over matter.” I assumed which i needed to hear my brain and never my body system to attain my running goals. I did not know how the 2 were really connected and spoke to each other.

I’ve experienced this disconnect between my body and mind in other periods of my existence, too-as with graduate school, after i tried to survive on salt and vinegar chips and occasional alone. Or when, like a youthful girl in church, I had been trained that my body’s sexual desires must be covered up until marriage.

Many of these are types of disembodiment, as well as mind-body dualism-i.e., the fact that the brain and physiques exist separate of each other. First though, let’s have a couple of steps back through history-to 1596 France-to ensure that we are able to better realise why we’re speaking about embodiment whatsoever. Enter: René Descartes, in france they philosopher credited for creating mind-body dualism in Western philosophy.

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A Brief History Of Embodiment

Mind-body dualism claims that physical matter is distinct, along with a person’s ideas and feelings are outside of their physical self. Based on Descartes, “The nature from the mind (that’s, a thinking, non-extended factor) is totally different from those of your body (that’s, a long, non-thinking factor), and it is therefore possible for you to exist with no other.”

It was not only Descartes who believed your body was outside of your brain. These schools of thinking go back because the fifth century BC to Plato, who also contended for mind-body dualism. A couple of century later, Augustine’s work grew to become influential in Christian and Catholic religion, because he believed your body was “sinful” and must be controlled.

These philosophies have defined a lot of the way we watch our physiques in the western world today. And they’re partially accountable for why we’re getting a discussion about embodiment to start with. For a lot of us, mind-body dualism has influenced our whole lives-from Western medicine to the way we process anxiety and stress to the way we “check out” with technology.

“Mind-body dualism has influenced our whole lives-from Western medicine to the way we process anxiety and stress to the way we ‘check out’ with technology.”

“When I enter an electronic ‘space’, my body system just like disappears,” writes Dan Nixon in your body Like A Mediator. “…This disembodied picture aligns very well with the way it really feels to become totally absorbed in certain ‘content’ on my cell phone for half an hour at a time.”

Trauma, in addition to religious ideologies, may also influence the way we experience our physiques. If we have experienced harm, we may not feel safe within our physical selves. And when i was elevated with religious ideologies that trained us our physiques were “dirty” or “sinful,” we might also find it difficult to enter into our physical selves fully.

Thankfully, philosophers and psychologists have poked holes during these theories, including Maurice Merleau-Ponty, a 20th-century French philosopher. He claimed the world can’t be experienced with no body which the self and reality comprise one another. “We possess a body, but we really are a body. There’s no me without my body system,” he stated.

Based on Merleau-Ponty, your body is greatly part of our existence and who we’re, yet it’s frequently been reduced and objectified to ensure that we’re feeling disconnected from this. Embodiment teaches our physiques aren’t just a house for the ideas and feelings they’re part of us. By using this theory, we are able to bridge your brain-body gap and realize everything works harmoniously to assist us find balance and grounded living.

We can go back to ourselves-our physical selves, that’s-and fasten to the physiques again, seeing them being an extension of who we’re, regardless of how they appear or function.

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How You Can Practice Embodiment For Self-Care

How then will we reclaim our physiques and exercise embodiment, especially as a kind of self-care?

1. Taking On SPACE.

If you’ve been told to create yourself smaller sized or invisible, this could feel especially frightening as disembodiment is one thing a lot of us practice subconsciously, since we’ve learned we’re not permitted to appear within our complete form. Disembodiment is yet another survival mechanism when we’ve experienced physical trauma or harm. We leave our physiques because our physiques don’t feel safe.

“Take small notes about your feelings inside your physical form.”

But we are able to practice coming back to the physiques beginning with becoming mindful of the way we occupy space inside a room. Notice your feelings whenever you enter an area, take notice of the way your braches sway or the way your bottom feels inside a chair. Are you able to have the wind in your face? Does the body feel heavy, lightweight? Take small notes about your feelings inside your physical form-even when that feeling is uncomfortable or frightening. There’s no judgment or goal here.


Practice relaxing the body when participating in daily tasks. Even breathing deeply is one thing a lot of us forget to complete. While doing the bathroom, driving inside your vehicle, or laying during sex, relax the body and breathe deeply and slowly. A lot of us hold tension within our shoulders, so notice if you’re hunching yourself and perform a couple of shoulder rolls.

Also, plant your ft while sitting. It might seem simple, but getting both ft placed on the floor can literally be-well-grounding. This could work while standing too, by realizing the way your ft are attached to the floor and supporting the body. And when you’re not able to face, you can test this practice together with your bottom, realizing the way your weight feels inside your chair. Simply by feeling gravity’s pull, we are able to feel more embodied and much more confident these days and move throughout our day.

3. SHIFT A Foreign Language.

We are able to also practice embodiment simply by addressing our physiques included in us and shifting our language to speak about them included in who we’re. A lot of our value is positioned on applying our physiques and moving them in challenging ways-but additionally keep in mind that our physiques are beautiful and powerful, even when they might look different or function differently than we predict these to.

“Remember our physiques are beautiful and powerful, even when they might look different or function differently than we predict these to.”

I experienced some embodiment coaching a couple of in the past, and among the suggested practices was giving my body system a reputation and pronoun. So rather of always speaking about my body system like it’s an item, I sometimes say “she” or make use of the name I selected. This can help me keep in mind that my body system is definitely an extension of myself, and “she” can talk to me.

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4. Learn How To LISTEN.

Recall the story about me running attending college? I did not understand how to use my body system, only against it. But because I’ve learned much more about embodiment, I have seen the way i can pay attention to and let my body system move forward.

For me personally, this appears like regular body scans. Additionally, it means hearing my body system when “she” has something to state. I’ve lengthy ditched the saying “mind over matter” and rather inquire, like: “Does this feel great?” “Would I love to operate a bit farther, a little faster?” “What is my body system telling me now?”

Our physiques talk to us, and they’ve a great deal to say. They are able to talk to us about illness or trauma. And they may also educate us how to get better proper care of ourselves. However, we must learn how to listen.

5. Look For MOVEMENT AND Physical Encounters.

To reconnect with this physiques, we are able to practice daily movement and interact our senses. This does not need to be effort or strenuous exercise, but instead simple practices like walking, stretching, or perhaps sweating might help us remember our physicality.

Furthermore, small functions like wearing lotion (gradually with intention) or giving ourselves a hands massage can reconnect us to the physiques. We are able to engage our senses through smell and taste, too. It may sound so simple, but eating gradually or together with your eyes closed is a superb method to experience taste and, ultimately, embodiment.

“When we become embodied, we are able to live more grounded and conscious lives-in your mind, body, and spirit.”

I really hope these practices will help you discover the link between the mind as well as your body once more. Keep in mind that are all beautiful by themselves, but additionally when cooperating. Whenever we become embodied, we are able to live more grounded and conscious lives-in your mind, body, and spirit. If only this personally, and for you.

How can you practice embodied living? For those who have any tips or suggestions, I’d like to hear them within the comments below. x