How often do you pay attention to the sensations in your body?
Do you notice when you are tender, sensitive, bruised, achy, sore, tense, tight, or nauseous?
How about when you feel
If you are like me, you haven’t realized that first comes sensation then comes emotion.
Bessel van Der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps the Score says, "When we pay focused attention to our bodily sensations, we can recognize the ebb and flow of our emotions, and with that, increase our control over them."
Typically our brain works so quickly we don’t notice the associations we’ve already made between the sensation of nauseous and the emotion of nervous, worried, or anxious.
So what can we do?
Robin Hilton Bowden, who works with yoga and mindful intimacy coaching, offers three steps to feel into your sensations (and for lots of other great inner work!):
STEP 1: BREATHE
Start by taking a deep breath into the body. Pick a sensation to work with or start this exercise when you notice a sensation. When you feel the sensation, see if you can use your breath to outline it, deepen it, move it, or soften it. Breathe to get present and allow the sensation. Breathe to feel better and to release the sensation. Notice any emotions or feelings that come up in your mind in response to the sensation.
STEP 2: FEEL
Feel the quality of the sensation in your body. Can you describe it? Can you feel it shifting when you start to relate to it with words? What emotions arise for you? Feel into the emotions, noticing the connection you've made between a sensation and a particular emotion.
STEP 3: RELAX
Relax. The sensations (or lack of sensations) in your body are not a judgement on you. Sensations are your body's internal response system to outside stimuli, and if you can relax, you can then begin to choose how you want to feel by picking the sensations in your body you want to expand or by softening the sensations you want to release.
If you want to experience less fear, come out of a depression, or soften your anger, start with the sensation just before the emotion.
If you want to feel more pleasure, greater ecstasy, or bursts of joy, focus on the sensations in your body that you associate with those emotions.
You have the choice.
With great love and much feeling,
P.S. If you'd like to work on sensitizing your body, we can connect in a video or in-person coaching session to clear sensations in your body around shame, sadness, and vulnerability. We can also work to expand pleasure and increase desire in body and mind.