Why Embodiment is the Key to Vitality, Freedom, and Fulfillment

8 Embodiment Practices For The Modern Woman

Embodiment is the key to healing a painful body image, binge and emotional overeating, and chronic issues of depression, anxiety and fatigue. When we embody, we step into our metabolic power. Unfortunately, so many of us have spent our life learning how to “do” in the body rather than “be” in the body.  And every time we feel that we’re not ok, we’re not enough, or we’re not as we should be, we disembody and retreat to the false safety of the mind.

If we want to get our car across the country we need to get in the car.  The car won’t get there on its own. The same is true for the body. When you want your body to go where you want it to go, you have to get into it.

Embodiment is all about loving your body from the inside out. So many women believe, “I will get into my body, love my body, and live the life I desire when, and only when, I have the exact body I want.” This is the opposite of how it works. This is why so many women struggle with a chronic sense of dissatisfaction, depression, anxiety and fatigue. Without actually inhabiting our body, we remain stuck, unable to manifest the potential we sense for our work, our relationships, and our life.

If we aren’t inhabiting the body we aren’t connected to our own body’s wisdom. And the body knows how to do everything. As the late poet John O’Donohue wrote, “Our bodies know that they belong; it is our minds that make our lives so homeless.”

So why do we disembody if it’s such a poor strategy for actually living into our fullest potential and becoming all that we’re destined to be?

Moving into strategizing life from the mind is a learned survival strategy, a coping mechanism, and a way to navigate discomfort. And there’s no reason to judge yourself - we ALL check out to one degree or another. It’s natural and normal and actually quite a wise response. As young children we had intense feelings that we didn’t yet have the skills to manage. We learned to shut down our breath and go to our heads and be what we thought we needed to be in order to be lovable, safe, accepted, and seen. We’ve experienced betrayal, trauma, abandonment, abuse, fear, and disappointment. And we learned, “This is too much, I have to leave.” And thus a pattern was born of dissociating whenever there was pain, discomfort, or intense feelings and emotions. This might look like eating to numb your feelings, becoming sedentary and withdrawn from the aliveness that moves through your body, or using tv, web surfing or social media or other compulsions to distract ourselves from really being here.

Our minds feel safe. When we live from the neck up, we fall into the illusion that we can just control, strategize, and plan our lives in order to stay in control and manage the unfolding of our life. But our minds are dualistic in nature. It likes that and doesn’t like this, this is right, that’s wrong, this is good, that’s bad. The mind is always judging, comparing, worrying, planning, strategizing, and obsessing. It is wired for struggle.

So how do I help my clients check back in and inhabit their bodies?

  1. Together we explore your passions, desires, and deeper purpose. When we have something that moves us from our core, we have a reason to get back into our bodies. If we stay disconnected from our deeper why, then checking out, sleepwalking through life, staying stuck in survival, and numbing ourselves remains the preferred strategy for refusing to actually be here. Find a good reason to come alive again!

  2. We start to practice slow nourishment. When we slow down and bring all of our senses to the meal, we optimize our digestion, assimilation and metabolism. And we make space to feel truly nourished and to experience pleasure and satisfaction. Put on some relaxing music, create a pleasing space to enjoy your meals, feel your feet on the floor, connect to your breath, notice the flavors, aromas, and colors of the meal. Practice appreciation and gratitude for the nourishing foods you have access to.

  3. We make tweaks to improve the quality of your meals. Part of being in the body is loving the body. What you eat matters to your life and to your body. The foods we take in impact our energy, our mood, and our vitality. Learn how to attune to what your body actually wants and needs. Be conscious of it. When you nourish your body well, you nourish your life well.

  4. We let go of punishing exercise and embrace daily pleasurable and enjoyable movement. Take long walks or hikes in nature, practice yoga, shake your booty, do a group fitness class, download a fitness app, swim in the ocean, go running, biking or skiing. Explore until you find something you love.

  5. We embrace supreme self care: Pamper your body with massage, saunas, facials, baths, and beauty care, swap out old toxic items and replace them with organic, high quality safe products, buy new clothing and dress to feel feminine and sexy. Give yourself the permission, time and space to explore your sexual and sensual self. Let go of the scale and let how you feel in your body and in your clothes to become your guide.

  6. We practice relaxing into the flow of life, slowing down, and coming back to the breath. Reset with some quiet time in nature away from electronic devices. Set your alarm for various times throughout the day and when the alarm goes off, take some time to connect back into your heart and breathe down into your belly.

  7. We start to notice (and honor) the signs and signals of disembodiment: If you notice yourself comparing, worrying, planning, strategizing, and obsessing, if you find yourself in judgement or self attack, if you are postponing the life you desire, telling yourself you’ll start tomorrow, or if you are stuck in the middle of a compulsion, then you have left your body. It’s ok. Love yourself. And come home. And be grateful for these signposts that are showing you the way back.

  8. We explore practices for working with compulsions, feelings, and strong emotions. When we develop the skills to feel our feelings and allow them to move through, we can begin to unhook from the compulsions that are causing us to disembody: alcohol, drugs, overeating, electronic stimulation.

To truly embody your radiance, inhabiting your body is the key. Become the sensuous, present, awake woman that is waiting for you.

Jessie Kuehn