Your Embodied Brain and 3 Ways to Get to Know It
What’s the Embodied Brain
Your embodied brain is fundamental to how you experience, react, remember, form intentions, and act. You may know it as the body-brain, embodied mind, or body-mind. But, for our purposes, they’re one and the same.
While the brain and mind are not synonymous, the two terms are used interchangeably in common speech. In fact, a quick internet search will also reveal that the distinction between them blurs as a result of numerous theories, models, and definitions held by different scientists, practitioners, and the general public. For our purposes, we’re interested in the experience, memory, intelligence, and executive functioning held and flowing within the body and dynamically contributing to the creation of our whole mind.
3 Ways To Get to Know Your Body-Mind
1. Link Your Posture to Your Thoughts
The Relationship Between Thoughts and Shape
Our perception and mood affect our posture and how we hold ourselves. These relationships are either innate or hard-wired through repetitive experiences. In addition, thoughts influence our perception and mood. Therefore, they too shape our body’s responses. Interestingly, the reverse is true as well. How we hold ourselves orients our mood and how we see the world, events, challenges, etc. This means we can cultivate desirable states of mind (confident, empowered, unavailable, etc) by assuming the associated shape.
Numerous studies have tested and to large extent validated these relationships. Experiment for yourself. Assume a slumped posture and downward-facing gaze. Do you feel motivated to engage with others in the room? Does engaging while slouching and turning inward feel natural? Now open your arms as if to embrace a long-lost friend. Stead of welcoming her, see how it feels to complain angrily while holding this shape? Does this feel awkward or congruent?
Embodied Thoughts Posture Practice
Get to know your embodied brain in action. Throughout the week, notice whether your posture and shape correspond to how you want to show up and project yourself in different circumstances. For example, if you’d like to exude confidence and thus hold your team’s while you speak, make sure your posture is forward-facing, erect, and open.
Notice inconsistencies between your body, state of mind, and intentions as well as how your thoughts shape your mood and posture. In addition, note what happens when you make an adjustment and correct for the inconsistencies. If you make this a regular practice, you’ll learn a great deal about yourself through the intelligence of your body-mind. And, you’ll create greater coherence within you.
2. Explore Movement
Conscious movement is an excellent way to witness and learn how you embody your life in action. It enables you to track where you are in space as you move about (proprioception) and pick up vibrations from sounds, movement, and even the hairs on your skin (mechanosensation). You can also notice the subtle sense (felt sense) of the whole experience from inside yourself (interoception). You’ll become aware of how active, integrative, and intelligent your sensorimotor systems are.
You have countless ways to explore conscious movement. A few examples are yoga, dance, qigong, most marshall arts, physical therapy, and even some psychotherapy (e.g., biofeedback and trauma therapy). All offer an opportunity for you to pay attention and become consciously aware of how you, through your body, sense, internationalize, and react to various experiences.
By participating in a conscious movement practice over a period of time, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with your body’s unique assessment of certain movements, bodily expressions, and experiences: both its receptiveness and resistance.
3. Tap Into the Your Inside
The third method of getting familiar with your body-mind involves inner-relating. Essentially, you access embodied information by turning your attention toward the inside of your body. Using your ability to sense rather than think, notice subtle sensations and what is trying to get your attention. The key is to be present: open, compassionate, curious, and nonjudgmental.
As you become aware of sensations, just be with them and let them evolve and reveal their completeness and meaning at their own pace. Furthermore, don’t think through the process. Sense into it.
You’ll find that sensations you pick up will tend to possess the qualities of restriction and discomfort or alternatively openness and scintillation. In other words, what your body wants you to avoid or embrace, respectfully.
With practice, you’ll be able to distinguish between so-called left-brain analytical thinking and right-brain embodied creativity and wisdom and appreciate their distinct gifts.
Embodiment science is rapidly evolving its understanding of the structures involved in embodying, their functionality, and their applications. What this science reveals are some incredible insights on little-exploited human capacities.
You too can expand your knowledge and experience by regularly intentionally sensing your life from the inside and outside. When you practice, tapping into the inside and accessing your body-mind becomes easier and something you can do on the fly or in the moment. Guaranteed, the more you learn from the incredible embodied resources you have as your birthright, the more inclined you’ll be to use them and trust them.
For More Information or Assistance With Familiarizing Yourself With Your Embodied Brain, See:
- Personal Growth, Energy Healing, and Wellness Workshops. In particular: Getting In Touch With the Body (introduction) and Living From the Inside Out (more advanced)
- FREE Guided Meditation Getting In Touch With the Inside
- Related blog posts Why Embodiment is Important For Self-Awareness
- How Your Embodied Mind Shapes Your Life