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Why you should learn to tune into your body


How tuned in are you to your body’s subtle messages? The whispers and the nudges there to guide you to make aligned and supportive choices? How sensitive are you to the language of your body?


I don’t mean body language as we typically perceive it, I mean the unique way in which our body communicates with us through physical and emotional sensations.

In Western medicine this awareness is called interoception. Our perception of sensations from within the body.

Lots of us have the interoceptive awareness to decipher the signals that tell us when our heartbeat increases, when we need to pee or when we’re thirsty. But what about the awareness to feel a tightening around your solar plexus, a subtle closing of your throat or the sensation of your chest opening?

On a recent embodiment training I was invited to try and experience the sensations of my organs - specifically my liver and kidneys! Someone with a highly sensitive introspective awareness may well be able to feel each and every organ in their body just by tuning inwards. For most of us though, this takes practice. Often because we’ve become numb.

So often, we consciously and unconsciously numb ourselves from experiencing our body’s signals. Dialling down our sensitivity so much that we feel nothing or only what is expressed on the extreme ends of the spectrum. Unavoidable pain or body shaking ecstasy.

Everything in the middle becomes inconvenient and disruptive to our busy daily lives. There are pills and therapies for every possible inconvenience!

I took pain killers almost daily for 9 years to suppress the pain of chronic headaches. I began taking contraceptive pills at 15 to avoid the crippling pain of my periods. I drank alcohol almost daily for 2 years to hide from the truth that I was living a life that was so out of alignment.

Even without the drugs to numb us, society has done a great job at conditioning us into negative patterns of self-talk. We can bully ourselves into avoiding discomfort and gaslight ourselves into believing we’re overreacting.

I don’t mean to suggest that we shouldn’t seek remedies for our pains. I understand that pain feels very different for each of us. What I believe is that the pain we experience is our body’s way of communicating to us that it wants us to listen. And when our immediate reaction is to reach for something to dull pain, we shut ourselves off from being able to hear, listen and understand what the pain is telling us.

It’s become more comfortable for us to be less sensitive.

We can exist in this state of numbness for a long time. It becomes familiar and ‘normal’. So much so that the intuitive whispers or the gut feelings that we’re told to listen to, just aren’t loud enough for us to hear.

Whilst we can still survive in this state of low sensitivity, we cannot truly thrive. If we want to live a fully expressed life and feel in alignment with our authentic self, we must learn to tune in to our body’s signals and decode what these signals are communicating to us. Without the information from our body it will be arguably impossible for us to experience true harmony.

On my journey, it’s been the embodiment practices that I teach and practice that have been key to me experiencing these deeper bodily sensations. Learning how to shift out of my hyperactive mind and into my body has created opportunities for me to feel more. Over time I’ve found it safe to stop numbing myself and hiding from my emotions. I can hear my intuition more clearly. I feel more grounded, at peace and joyful. I feel empowered and powerful.

If you’re curious to practice tuning into your body, I have a practice you might like to experiment with below.



 

REFLECTIVE PRACTICE

A practice for tuning into your unique body language to help you make aligned decisions


Below are 4 examples of everyday moments you might experience. You can choose to practice 1 of these multiple times or practice each one.

A. When you're about to decide what to eat for lunch

B. When you're about to decide what to do at the gym

C. When you're about to decide on a plan with a friend or family member

D. When you're about to decide on how to approach a challenging conversation.


THE PRACTICE


1. In the moment when you're about to make a decision, pause. Close your eyes. 2. Take a few full, deep and natural breaths (nothing forced). 3. Mentally scan your body from head to toe, noticing and physical sensations. 4. Bring into your minds eye what it is you want to make a decision on. Ask yourself “what do I want to [do/eat/say]”. Your mind will likely produce an option for an answer pretty quickly. 5. As you experience yourself coming up with an answer in your mind move your awareness into your body. What do you feel and where? Is there any tension, contraction, heat, unease or shrinkage? 6. If you can feel any of these sensations ask yourself the question again and come up with a different answer. Repeat step 5.


If this is a new practice for you, the objective isn't necessarily to make the ‘right’ choice. It is simply to bring awareness to the sensations we experience as a result of our choices. Over time we can then decode what these sensations mean to us and begin to make choices that come from our intuitive guidance. Have a play and see what you can feel.

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