Get out of your head and into your body
Updated: Oct 15, 2020
We live in our heads.
Our minds are full to the brim with information (much of it completely useless), preoccupations, to-dos and to-don’ts and a healthy dose of general world-induced anxiety. Most of the time we just wish we could switch it off. Silence all the chatter for even a few minutes. Enjoy a blissful, thought-less day.
It’s why so many people are desperate to meditate. They can see how mindfulness and meditation may offer some relief from the constant mind-chatter. They want the stillness but sitting still doesn’t always equate to inner quietude.
I’ve always struggled a bit with meditation – for many of the same reasons as others – I struggle to sit still. My mind wanders. I itch to check my phone. I feel like I’ve forgotten the stove on.
So, I started looking into alternative ways to get out of my head.
And I discovered embodiment. I learned that if you can focus your attention and energy on your body, you can calm your mind and refocus or unblock energy.
This is no big discovery. More like a fundamental attribute that most of us have forgotten.
People who move for a living, like dancers, or athletes or fitness coaches understand this implicitly. It’s why they do what they do.
Because movement provide them with a release and feeds their passion.
But for women in particular, who are taught by society and media to shun and hate our bodies (unless they are perfect) or for those of us who were told from a young age that the way we moved our bodies was ‘wrong’ or shameful in some way, this is a revelation.
At first, connecting with our bodies can feel alien and uncomfortable... even painful.
But over time, as you move your body intuitively and connect with it gently, you begin the cultivate a deep and loving relationship.
Try some of these simple embodiment practices:
Unlike traditional meditation, practices like these don’t require you to be still, quiet or passive. In fact, the louder you get, the better!
Stretch. You don’t have to become a yoga-pant-wearing fitness influencer. Just make time to stretch your body in ways that feel good. Find the areas that feel tight and slowly start to release them.
Shake. Shaking is an ancient and powerful practice used my monks and gurus alike and could be described as ‘active meditation’. It’s simple and highly effective at releasing stress, energy blockages and quieting the mind. Just stand with your feet hip width apart so you are grounded and shake your body, your limbs, your head, taking slow deep breaths as you do. Tune into your body’s natural intuition to feel how best to move.
Dance. Dancing is another forgotten ritual of joy and release. It’s why we look forward to celebrations. But don’t wait for the wedding. Put on your favourite song or playlist and dance like it’s your own private celebration.
Pleasure. Pleasure is a form of release and allows you to focus your energy on something positive and enjoyable. Touch your own body with love, sensuality, tenderness or passion. Stroke your hair and skin, massage your breasts, give yourself a powerful orgasm. Luxuriate in the wonder of your own body and its capacity for pleasure.
Breathe. Breathwork is coming to the fore as a practice that can powerfully shift energy, emotions and increase your health. There are plenty of complex and simple breathwork techniques, but you can start by just sitting or lying down and taking deep breaths, counting to 5 in and out for a minute or two.
Sound. We are so used to ‘keeping quiet’, silencing our voices, subduing our rage and deepest desires. Open your jaw and release the tension, let go of the sounds that are sitting in your throat. The wails, the sighs, the groans, the moans – let them all out!