What is Embodiment?

What is Embodiment?

Before I share about embodiment, I want to acknowledge that I am a student of embodiment. My primary teachers are Rachel Lewis-Marlow and Heidi Andersen, with lots of other inspiration from wonderful organizations and professionals. 

One definition of embodiment is where our consciousness and our body intersect. Another way to describe embodiment is our subjective experience of our body. I’ve also heard it described as mindfulness for the body. (These are not my definitions, but definitions that I’ve heard from various teachers). 

Understanding embodiment can be helpful, but if it gets in the way of you practicing embodiment, then I might suggest setting the understanding aside. Let’s pause for a moment and check in with your body. As you are reading this blog post, where are your hands in space? Perhaps notice the points of contact between your body and surfaces (i.e. chair, ground, etc). What’s going on with your breath in this moment? You just practiced embodiment. 🙂

How is Embodiment different from Mindfulness?

While there is certainly a relationship between these two practices, there is a difference between them. Embodiment invites the body into the conversation, while mindfulness is often more centered around the mind. Why is the body important? We don’t just exist in our heads! There’s a whole, wonderful body that our existence and nervous system runs through. We experience memories, trauma, emotions, and more in our body. Inviting the body to the table gives us a lot more information to process trauma, adverse experiences, and difficult emotions. It also gives us more tools for nervous system regulation (which helps us feel more present, clear, and engaged).

Context and Nuance are Important

If you’ve “left” your body or disconnected from it, it was for a good reason. Disembodiment is a way that we protect ourselves from threat or danger. Maybe you had an experience that made your body feel unsafe. Or, your body may feel unsafe due to systems of oppression. (These two situations can also coexist). 

Practicing embodiment is going to be different for every body. We must acknowledge experience, social context, and environment as variables that will impact our relationship with embodiment. Heidi Andersen wrote a blog post called Embodiment is a Social Justice Issue, that provides more nuance.

So, How Can I Practice Embodiment?

There are endless possibilities here, but I will provide a few resources. I’ve recorded two complimentary embodiment practices on Yielding and Energetic Boundaries

The Embodiment Institute also has some wonderful recorded practices on their website here

Find a movement practice that is slow so that you can take your time noticing your body in space. At Current Wellness, Tidal Strength and Flow Yoga are two classes that provide opportunities to slow down and sense into your body. 

Lastly, I teach an Embodiment Practices class here and there! Check out our weekly schedule to see when it’s on the schedule next or contact us to learn more.