Or, what is Embodiment.
To me Embodiment is not a style, it’s not a technique,
it’s an attitude.
The attitude of being fully present to yourself, to your body, and to honor what your body wants and needs.
When, in class, I ask you to move into Downward Facing Dog, do you move automatically into what you’ve told is the “right” alignment?
Or do you take the time to feel?
To feel if maybe today you need to keep your hands a little closer to you because your shoulders feel tighter than the last time?
Every single action, every single moment of your day can be approached in an embodied, or in a vnon-embodied way.
You can wash the dishes while you listen to a podcast and think about what to prepare for dinner (non-embodied), or you can be completely present to your actions, feeling the temperature of the water on your skin, noticing the different weights of every object you hold, their different textures (embodied).
The same goes for Yoga asana. You can take a class and follow the instructions of the teacher rigorously, trusting blindly what she says, or you could be completely present to your body, noticing how every single movement, even the ones you’ve already practiced a million times, feel on your body today, in this very moment that is different from what was two hours ago.
Not to follow what a teacher says on every occasion is of paramount importance.
If day in day you learn how to disregard the signals and sensations from your body, just to do exactly as the teacher says “because she knows better”, you’re giving the signal to your nervous system, day in day out, that you cannot be trusted.
Your nervous system is gonna think: “ ok, I’ve tried to say this gently, but I’m being ignored. Maybe I need to be louder”.
And so will do muscles, and so will do your fascia.
To listen to the signals of your body might not come that easy at first, as we are methodically taught how to ignore its signals: “you can go to the toilet only during the break” “you will eat at lunch hour” “you can't go for a walk until you’ve finished to write these next two chapters”.
But that’s something we can relearn.
It requires dedication, as any new language does, but the effort will certainly and profusely pay off.
Try this today:
Set an alarm to go off at a random time on your phone and, when it does, ask yourself these things:
Are you thirsty and you didn’t notice?
Do you feel like you wanted to walk but needed to finish something else first?
Are you hungry but it’s not lunch break yet?
Every time you answer yes, take action and give your body what it needs.
This, to me, is embodiment.