For years, people have been accusing me of not being in my body (read about it here). I used to have no idea what that meant. I mean, of course I’m in my body, right? I have a body—and I’m alive. So by every medical and spiritual definition I could imagine, I’m in my body.
Yet my mentors kept telling me I’m not—not just Tricia Barrett, my dear friend and spiritual counselor, but Debbie Rosas, the founder of Nia dance. When Debbie and I were talking awhile back, she said, “Lissa, I know you’ve done a lot of personal growth in the past few years, but I feel like embodiment is the missing piece.” And she invited me to come train with her at her Nia White Belt Intensive in Portland. Since Debbie is the most grounded, solid, rooted, sensual woman I know, I decided that I wanted some of what she was having—so I said yes. And WHOA, NELLY! Debbie was right. I haven’t been in my body.
What Do I Mean By “Be In Your Body?”
I’m pretty much a walking cerebrum. I identify primarily with my mind, so much so that when I showed up for my Nia training, I couldn’t feel a body part in space unless it was hurting. Like when Debbie asked me how my arm felt, I was speechless. If I touched it—or if I touched the floor, for example, I could feel it. But a body part floating in space? I was completely numb.
After only three days into the training, I couldn’t believe how much sensation was awakened in me. Like WOW! I could feel my nose. I could feel my hips. I could feel my belly button. I could feel my pinkie finger—and none of those body parts were in pain. When I woke up in the morning, instead of noticing the racing thoughts in my mind first thing, I actually noticed the slippery, soft, sensual sensation of the sheets on my bare skin.
Holy sheet! This is revolutionary for me. I don’t think I’ve ever really felt my sheets before.
So what does this mean? What do you get if you make the journey out of your mind and into your body? Here’s a list Nia founder Debbie Rosas and I wrote together:
20 Reasons to Be in Your Body
Being in your body:
- Increases pleasure. If your body is numb—and you don’t reside within it, you can’t enjoy pleasure. How intense can an orgasm be if I barely feel it? How much pleasure can I receive from the soft touch of someone who loves me on my arm, if I’m not even aware of my arm?
- Ramps up your vitality. When you feel more sensation, you feel more alive. Yes, you notice the little aches and pains of the body more, but this also translates into feeling loads of intense joy.
- Helps you tweak what’s not working. When you’re living in your body, you notice the subtle messages your body sends you. When you hear them—even as soft whispers, you can tweak your body movement—or even something bigger in your life—like ending a relationship that isn’t working or saying no to a job you don’t want to do.
- Keeps your body safe. When you’re not in your body, you might overdo it. You might ignore the first warning signs of disease. Pain is meant to protect you from danger. Feeling pain is good because it can keep you safe if you listen to the signals and “tweak” your movement, posture, or life circumstances in reaction to the pain.
- Is the first step to self-healing. The body is the first thing to get knocked out of balance if your whole health (which includes your relationships, your work / life purpose, how you express yourself creatively, your sexuality, your environment, your financial situation, your spirituality, and your mental health) is out of whack. If you’re not aware of the sensations of your body, you can’t self-correct and begin the process of healing yourself.
- Cultivates a deeper emotional connection. This allows emotions to be experienced, embodied, and quickly released, increasing emotional agility and fostering the ability to quickly let go of negative emotions and fully enjoy positive emotions.
- Helps you make conscious choices. When you feel undecided, get in your body. The body will tell you what to do.
- Keeps you more grounded. You won’t feel chaotic, spinny, buzzy, or floaty the way you might when you’re in your head.
- Helps you sleep. When you tap into body sensation, you can help turn off the mind.
- ROCKS your sex life. It’s much more fun to get it on when you’re actually in your body.
- Helps you be in relationship with yourself and others. When your body is in relationship with someone else’s body, you’re communicating on a whole different level.
- Guides you in being able to read other people’s bodies. There’s a conversation going on without words. You’ll get a better sense of who that person really is, how they’re feeling, and what you need to know about that person.
- Helps you feel the sensuality of the world. When you’re in your body, you’ll feel things deeper, smell things more vibrantly, taste things more fully, hear things on a whole new level, and touch with more sensitivity.
- Helps you dance through life. When you feel more sensation, you tap into the joy of even subtle movements of the body. Every aspect of your life can become a dance.
- Helps you lose weight. When you’re paying attention to sensation, your food is more enjoyable, you’ll notice when your belly feels full, you’ll appreciate the yumminess of your body, and you’ll probably eat less and lose weight.
- Helps you see life as art. When you enliven sensation, you see the world with fresh eyes that can turn even the most mundane thing into art.
- Improves confidence and sex appeal. When you live in your skin, you can’t help but shake your hips, throw back your shoulders, and step into your sexy greatness.
- Awakens intuition. When you feel your body, you’re more able to tap into gut sensations and other somatic feelings that will help guide your path.
- Helps you reclaim your personal power. You’ll feel the visceral sensation of your power right in your belly, and you can use that feeling to stop giving your power away and bring it back into your body.
- Helps you create stronger boundaries. You’ll learn to be able to recognize the difference between your body and someone else’s body so you can erect personal boundaries that increase your capacity for love and empathy, while also protecting you from energy vampires who long to suck you dry.
Do you want some of that, love? Stay tuned for Part Two of How to Be in Your Body, wherein I’ll give you some tips for actually being there!
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and health care revolutionary. Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out on Twitter and Facebook.