To look inside, to sense, to feel our body can be difficult. The body holds a record of our hurt, our trauma, our not-so-rosy past experiences. As these discomforts build up, the body becomes a less hospitable place for our awareness to reside.
Many of us have histories of having to sit through experiences we didn't want to be in, but for whatever reason could not escape. And as a protective response, our mind went elsewhere while our body had to stay put.
Or we were never allowed to feel our feelings. Instead, they were minimized. We were told to get over it, stop crying, it's not that big of a deal.
We’ve lived through millennia and generations of moral conditioning and shaming around the body being gross, unholy, evil, not to be trusted, less important than the mind.
Through a lifetime of accumulated experiences like these, we form a habit of regularly checking out rather than checking in. One of the few things that pulls our attention back to the body is increasing levels of pain.
This is often the state people are in when they come to us for guidance in exercise. They want to get back in touch with their bodies, they want to reduce pain, they want to feel good again. But it's hard to form a healthy relationship with your body when you aren't actually IN your body and have lost your way back.
Embodiment is about coming back in. Getting to know our flesh and bones and organs again. Taking up residence. Learning to acknowledge, feel, and compassionately hold the painful material stored in our tissue. It's about reuniting spirit and matter.
Embodiment may not be the easiest task but, just like any muscle, it strengthens with the right type of exercise. And after a while you'll have abilities you never once imagined possible.