What does it mean to be embodied?
Ever experience the phenomena of when your attention is on something it seems to appear everywhere around you.
And so it’s been for me with the word embody, or embodiment.
As I pondered on what it means to be embodied, these words came through:
Just because you have a body doesn’t mean you’re in your body.
Yaaaah. We have this amazing gift of a physical body and yet we can spend a lot of time being out of it. I wonder how much time in a lifetime we spend un-embodied.
(I’ve listed some links below to help you be more embodied)
Remember those three magic words:
BE HERE NOW
In 1971 it was the title of a book by Ram Das, then subsequently used as the title of a song in 1973 by George Harrison and later in 1997 was the title of an album by Oasis.
Those three words are a simple yet potent reminder to be in your body and be present right here in this very moment.
BE HERE NOW
It reminds me of this wonderful passage by
Henry David Thoreau
as he describes the phenomena of being “out” of the body:
“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit.
In my afternoon walk I would fain forget all my morning occupations and my obligations to society. But it sometimes happens that I cannot easily shake off the village.
The thought of some work will run in my head and I am not where my body is – I am out of my senses. In my walks I would fain return to my senses.
What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?”
I just love that passage as it speaks of the practice of mindfulness and presence and also how we all experience from time to time “being out of our senses”.
So if you’re asking why does being in the body really matter?
Well for one thing, we’ve all experienced the feeling of thinking, thinking, thinking. It’s tiring and exhausting and stressful. And it’s usually not so productive and definitely doesn’t spark the creative juices.
Even Einstein didn’t just “think” his way to those great ideas. They came to him when he relaxed, played, and daydreamed.
Living in a world that’s caught up and tranced by information, social media, and the convenience of mobile devices that offer continuous engagement of the mind, it’s easy to forget that we have a body, much less be in the body consciously.
Yoga and Meditation practice help us rest and relax the incessant thinking and bring consciousness to our body.
Yoga is union of body / mind / spirit
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class you know that wonderful feeling you experience at the end of the class during and after the practice of Yoga Nidra. You are guided to use your awareness and conscious breath to relax each and every part of your physical body. You expand consciousness more fully into the body, the mind activity subsides, and you experience the relaxation of a unified body/mind/spirit.
Being embodied is relaxing and expanding!
I could even be so bold as to say:
BEING FULLY EMBODIED IS AN ANTIDOTE TO STRESS
But what about the pains and discomforts of the physical body that we all experience at times. What about the past traumas held in the body. Who wants to be in the body fully to experience that?
I’m currently reading a book by Thich Nhat Hahn – “No Mud, No Lotus” (Love that title – it says it all)
He asks that we learn how to suffer well.
That probably raises a few prickly hairs at the back of the neck.
Our western conditioning doesn’t consider suffering as something to aspire to do well.
But if you read his books, they are filled with wisdom about being real about the human condition. We all suffer to varying degrees.
He encourages us to not avoid or deny our pains and discomforts but rather find within us that capacity for compassion, empathy, and understanding, and this in turn translates into us becoming compassionate, empathetic and understanding of others.
WHAT BRINGS OUR AWARENESS BACK TO THE BODY
What I’m most curious about is what is the mechanism that brings our awareness back to the body when we’ve drifted into thinking and into an out-of-body zone?
In a yoga class, or a meditation class, you may be asked to become aware of when you are thinking and gently return attention to your breath and back to the body, allowing the thoughts to be recognized and then let go.
But that moment of realizing that you’ve been out of the body thinking about something of past or future means that you’ve already become conscious that you’ve left the body and spirit behind, much the same way Thoreau describes.
We’re wandering around in this mental space and then we realize we’ve “left” and are not present to the moment. So the question remains:
What is it that makes us aware and take notice that we’ve left the present moment?
Well I don’t have an answer, but I’ll offer a fun imaginative and maybe even true possibility.
Or soul, consciousness, or whatever you wish to name that “abstract concept” that takes form in the physical body (= embodiment).
Our spirit needs to be in the body to experience and express everything from within this beautiful miraculous organism. So when we “leave” the body and go into the space of thoughts that we call mind, our spirit nudges us to remember our body and remember that our mind is to be in service to our spirit, in service to the callings of our heart and the only way that service is going to happen is when we’re embodied.
So loved ones, enjoy your body. Be in it. Nourish it. Breathe consciously. Be grateful for this physical body miracle. Be with the discomforts with loving-kindness and compassion. Let your spirit be fully embodied and let your mind be in service to your heart.
Love to you, You are love
What’s the fastest way to be in your body?
ULTRA SIMPLE EMBODIMENT PRACTICES
that you can practice any where, any time, any place
1) CONSCIOUS BREATHING
Eckart Tolle describes, “one conscious breath is meditation”
You can practice
anywhere, anytime, any place.
Throughout the day PAUSE, BREATHE CONSCIOUSLY, and feel the difference. It feels good which makes it effortless and enjoyable.
The more you pause and breathe consciously, the more you’ll be present to the moments. Being present and embodied will assist you in handling stress and you’ll gain the capacity to be see what’s there for you from a soul perspective, rather than a “why is this happening to me?” perspective
2) BE HERE NOW
Take a deep breath and
Be Here Now
Say this phrase throughout the day and find yourself instantly embodied and present.
Pin it up around your home and work place as a reminder.
Do you live Locally and Luckily in the Byron Shire?
Here are a few links to offerings that I recommend to help support you in being fully embodied – the union of body/mind/spirit:
Longer held stretches coupled with an intention to breathe consciously and be present to whatever arises physically, emotionally, mentally with compassion and understanding.
Restorative yoga is a nourishing practice which soothes the nervous system, calms the mind and creates deep inner peace.
• Womens Restorative Yoga with Star Despres
• Restorative Yoga with Deb Manoy
at Yoga Peace Weds 6-7:30pm
Integrative Restoration Yoga Nidra with Dr. Lauren Tober
iRest provides you with tools to help you relax deeply, release stress, increase resiliency, improve your interpersonal relationships and provide you with greater mastery and control in your life.
with Nirupa Hoffman
A Somatic approach to Yoga inviting a gentle and slow exploration of movement with a focus on nourishing the nervous system.
Primal movement patterns, gentle asana, inner tracking and natural breath restores our capacity for self regulation and rejuvenation.
This movement practice is suitable for all levels.