Whether or not you’ve heard of ’embodiment,’ it’s one of those terms that needs a good description so you can really understand it (and remember it!).
So what is it?
Embodiment is about consciously feeling a particular energy (i.e. an emotion or quality) within you and authentically expressing it on the outside with your whole being.
So there’s an alignment between your inner experience & outer expression.
For example, to describe someone as ‘the embodiment of joy’ implies that the person is genuinely feeling joyful energy internally and authentically expressing it externally.
Others can feel this person’s energy too, as well as observe it in their body language and hear it in their voice.
This alignment is what makes us feel alive, present and connected.
Sometimes embodiment is effortless e.g. when you’re feeling super relaxed after a massage or when you’re feeling excited or in love and everything about your body language and energy (and perhaps your voice) shows this on the outside.
But many times, there is a mis-alignment between our true inner experience and our outer expression. Why is that?
Reasons for misalignment
- Being too focused on and distracted by your thoughts to sense your true feelings and sensations (living in your head/mind, rather than in your full body).
- Unconscious repression of your emotions and/or certain expressions because you learnt (most likely from childhood) that it’s not safe to show them (note: even though you may not consciously feel these emotions, they are still held within your body and can impact your daily behaviour).
- Consciously hiding how you feel by using words or behaving in a way that would suggest you feel differently.
The desire to be authentic
We all want to be seen as authentic and to be known as honest as these are generally signs of confidence and trustworthiness.
That said, there are always going to be times where it’s not necessary or ‘appropriate’ to openly express our true feelings e.g. passing judgement to a stranger or laughing in a serious meeting.
The key is to be aware of when and why we choose to withhold something and to align these reasons with our core values as much as possible.
Example: choosing to withhold a judgement about someone because you value being respectful to others and this person has not done anything to disrespect you or anyone else.
Embodied dance and movement: a tool for healing and personal growth
I’ve always loved dancing but for the most part (especially if there was no drinking involved), I was too self-conscious to really let myself go around other people.
Over the past couple of years, I began exploring just how liberating freestyle dancing is for me.
I discovered that it’s a way for me to fully express myself, spontaneously and creatively, in many different ways, without thinking or planning.
I can be playful, sensual, wild, graceful, primal…you name it!
I soon felt the urge to share this magic with others and was so happy to learn that there is a global movement of this type of free-form expressive dance.
So I decided to become an embodied dance facilitator!
Embodied dance and movement is a great way to practice embodiment, either at home alone or as part of a group session run by a facilitator.
It’s a dynamic practice to calm the mind, connect to your feeling body (including your breath) and freely express your heart and soul.
Depending on yours or the group’s intention, it can be used to:
- Expand your range of movement and therefore your range of expression beyond your typical patterns & conditioning
- Release emotional & physical blockages by feeling, moving and expressing in a healthy, liberated way
- Evoke the qualities/feelings within you that you want to experience and embody more of in your daily life
- Connect deeper and co-create with others using dance and movement
Also, as I’m sure you know, music can have a powerful influence on our emotions and energy so being intentional about the choice of music you listen to (if any at all) is important.
I chat more about this topic with Dr Nasrin in this podcast episode.
Over to you:
What’s your experience with dance or another embodiment practice?
If you’re brand new to this concept, what do you feel inspired to try or do differently?
Comment below or send me a private message – I’d love to hear from you!