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Why Does Embodiment Matter?

Updated: Sep 19, 2021

Written by Lillian Stamey



In the world of wellness we hear the term ‘embodiment’ almost everywhere we turn. Echoing through the Instagram accounts of our favorite yoga teachers, somatic practitioners, spiritual healers, artists, mindfulness coaches, and fitness experts… ‘embodiment’ can sometimes seem amorphous or ambiguous in the way it appears in many different fields.


But just like water, this term is a connector, and it’s very nature is to take form within the container it is in.


So what does it really mean? How can I experience embodiment? And…why does it matter?


Let’s start with the definition of ‘embody:’

(verb)

To be an expression of

To give visible or tangible form to

To contain or wrap around

To bring together as a whole

To give bodily form to

To make corporeal


It’s root word ‘em’ means to ‘put in or into’ or ‘bring to a certain state.’


To be embodied means to give expression to one’s whole self-experience. It calls forth a process of birthing form and visibility to the most subtle aspects of our human experience. Embodiment conjures all that’s transient, invisible, and unknown to us, and humbly asks it to be seen and known.



How can I experience embodiment?


Embodiment is a process of learning how to uncover pathways of connection between what we call body and mind.


We cannot refer to embodiment without including our bodily experience. After all ‘embodiment’ has the word ‘body’ in it!


The world of our body’s wisdom is silent and sensuous. We can gather body-wisdom by bringing consciousness to physical sensation, movement, and feeling.


To be embodied is not something to achieve; it’s an experience to cultivate. Though once you’ve devoted time and attention to practice embodiment, the fruits you can bear are delicious!


You may begin your embodiment practice with simple daily awareness exercises. Feel free to try this practice throughout your day:


1. Invite yourself to notice where your body is connected to the ground.

2. Once you’ve found this connection, notice your feeling of weight and density in your body.

3. Become aware of the movement of your breath.

4. Notice any sensations that awaken as you bring your attention to ground and breath.

5. Keep your eyes open and tune into your surrounding environment.

6. Can you remain connected to ground and breath as you engage with your environment?


Notice any shifts and changes you might experience in your body, mood, thoughts, or actions.



Why does embodiment matter?


Embodiment, as a process of coming into wholeness, gives us more resources for our healing. When we can directly feel our full experience we are able to source information from within to better understand our needs. This process takes us out of our habitual patterns and provides us with new options to shift and change into re-alignment.


Embodiment, as a way of connecting to self, helps us form deeper intimacy in relationship with others. The greater depth with which we can hold our own experience is the depth we can hold others. Skills we develop in self-witnessing directly influence the way we perceive, understand, and act within our relationships. When I can hold myself with love and compassion, even in the darkest of times, I can hold others with the same quality of fullness.


Embodiment, as a practice of fully feeling, enhances the quality of our lives. Sometimes we forget that when we avoid or refuse to feel the painful or uncomfortable parts of our experience, we also cut ourselves off from feeling the joyful and pleasurable parts of our experience. When we allow the affective process of emotions to move through us in body, mind, and soul, we get to experience the very nature of our vitality.


How do I learn more?


As a Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist I guide others through deep processes of connecting back to body. I am here to hold a container for self-learning through guided body-mind practices. Connect with me to learn more.

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