The first time I felt truly embodied was in my early thirties. I was studying with a Tantric Yoga School that incorporated practices for women to put them in touch with their Shakti essence – or divine feminine essence. One evening we had a simple ritual within a sacred circle of women. Working in pairs, we sat eye-gazing for a short period of time, and then we took turns standing and dancing from the essence of our element as our partner remained present for us.
I am a Taurus, so for me, that element is Earth. Think African drums, or didgeridoos, and the sound of elephants. And, so I stood up, left my inhibitions on the ground, and let Earth energy run through my body. What emerged blew my mind. While I had learned Latin American dancing and ballroom dancing in my youth and clubbed my way through my 20s, the dance that came forth was not fiery, graceful, or indeed anything from my repertoire of ‘moves,’ but rather it was deep foot-stomping, ass-shaking, and wild arms — and I felt more alive and in touch with my body than I ever had before. Essentially, I realized that this body had intelligence and anima of its own, and that I had never allowed it to just ‘be’ before, nor had I truly connected with it. At that moment I felt exhilarated yet calm and authentic.
Up to that point, I had seen the body as something of a chore, much like many women do. There’s the upkeep of pruning and plucking; that once-a-month nuisance of lower back pain, cramps or sore breasts. There are the thighs that don’t look the way we want them to or the creaky knee that slows us down.
After my experience, however, my mindset shifted. I began to pay attention to what my body needed and let it take the reins. It very quickly led to considerable improvements in the sports I played, in my posture, in my sex life, and my overall well-being. As I continue to stay tuned into my body’s intelligence, I’ve noticed that I am more confident, sensual, healthy and at peace.
There are many reasons we become out of touch with our bodies. In her book, The Wild Women’s Way, Michaela Bohm who counsels in intimacy and sexuality, points to three over-arching reasons: trauma, overload, and anxiety. When we experience any of these, we can become numb to the messages of our body, and even begin to block them out altogether. We end up living in our heads, disconnected from our being.
However, some simple practices can be easily be incorporated into our day-to-day routine or can become a weekly ritual to put us back in communion with our feminine body intelligence.
1. Engage the senses
Our body is an amazing sense-machine. We can take time to smell our tea before we drink it, or pause and listen to background sounds. We can practice some eye rolls or become aware of all that our eyes are taking in. When eating we can chew our food more to savor its taste and texture. Moreover, we can give ourselves a foot or intimate massage.
2. Rephrase the language you use with your body
To create a more connected relationship with our body, we may need to review how we communicate with it. Instead of thinking, I hate my thighs, how about thanking your thighs for all they enable you to do. Alternatively, instead of my neck is killing me, try my neck is trying is tell me something. What could that be?
3. Listen to the body
Body scans, yoga nidra, and restorative postures allow us to listen to where tension or trauma lies in the body, and to enable the body to use its intelligence to release and relax.
4. Immerse yourself in nature
Nothing brings us back to our natural flow, and into our bodies quite like communing with nature. Work into your schedule time for gardening, barefoot walking, forest-bathing, flower-arranging, being with a pet, or swimming in the ocean.
5. Move freely
Alone or in groups, see how your body responds to different types of movement and music. What is its spirit? It may surprise you.
Nothing connects us as profoundly to the energy of the feminine than being in a safe and honoring space with other women. Look for classes, or start your own monthly group of coming together, practicing movement and ritual and sharing stories.
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