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(Where) Do Emotions Reside In Your Body?

When you think about the last time you felt a tremendous sense of nervousness, how did your body feel? Was there a fluttering (butterflies) in your stomach? Did your muscles quiver in anticipation?

Now allow yourself to remember a time when you felt like you were full of joy. Maybe you were in a grove of redwoods when you felt your feet soften and connect into the earth, maybe you felt your infant for the first time and your heart melted, maybe you were looking deeply into the eyes of someone you love and your belly softened. What was the felt sense in your body then?

Our emotions invoke sensations in our physical body. We have long expressed this connection between our emotions and our somatic experiences with phrases like:

- Broken hearted

- Butterflies in our stomach

One author I like calls her deep love experiences “ a bowl of warm vanilla pudding” in her stomach. I experience events that are not right for me as a deep fatigue and a suctioning sensation behind my eyes.

Letting yourself explore the felt sense of emotions in your body, is a healthful part of building a bridge back to your physical body. It is an important part of building kinesthetic intelligence.

Along with remembering back to moments in our lives of deep physical emotional experiences, we can learn to sense into our bodies as a daily (or many times per day) practice.

Try This At Home: Body Tuning- 5 minute practice

Come to rest in a most comfortable way, in a quiet space.

Notice your in and your out breath. Feel your body breathing on its own.

Allow yourself to turn your attention inward. Notice the sensations within your body. If you have persistent pain, or a place where you have experience pain lasting longer than three months, your attention may get snagged on these areas.

Gently guide your awareness away to the midline of your body. You can return to noticing these other sensations when you are done.

As you breathe, gently tune into the sensations along your mid line.

Begin with your skull, moving down toward your throat. Tune into your throat and neck, before gently tuning into your chest, belly, pelvis. Allow yourself to tune into your pelvic floor.

Track the sensations you are noticing- a tension in your pelvis, a pressure in your belly, and be curious about these sensations.

You can think, what is this sensation highlighting for me?

Allow yourself 4-5 minutes to tune in.

Over time, you will get to better know the felt sensations in your body, as well as patterns of sensation your body creates in response to emotion. You may notice that a pressure in the throat or chest is related to something you may feel fear or danger around, and a warmth in your low back or belly is when your body feels safe and stable.

Go slowly and be patient to this form of body tuning. With your presence you will become better able to feel into the body, and better able to support yourself.

Happy Tuning In!


Doggy legs look so weird when they sit!

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