Living in harmony with our bodies is key to optimum health. Many of us don’t realize that we are disconnected from our bodies. Many of us are taught to care for our body from our mind’s perspective, as an intellectual exercise doing all the things we’re “supposed” to do. This disconnection from the body can lead to dysregulation of our nervous system, suppressed emotions, and suppressing our innate wisdom. These can all contribute to dis-ease in the body.
Here are some signs that you are disconnected from your body:
- You tend to experience life from your head, with thoughts, analysis, and rationalization
- You tend to judge & talk about your body like an object
- You tend to feel anxious, stressed, and/or depressed
- You keep coming back to a feeling of emptiness or void
- You feel like you don’t know who you are anymore
- You have a hard time trusting yourself
- You tend to get overwhelmed by emotion and you either get triggered or shut down to avoid feeling
For many of us, disconnection from the body is a survival mechanism. If you find that you’re disconnected from your body, know that this isn’t meant to judge you negatively. Know that there’s nothing wrong with you and this is the byproduct of living in a culture that promotes this disconnection.
Why is it so hard for many of us to deepen our mind/body connection? The answer lies in our emotional bodies.
Painful emotions that we don’t process while keeping our nervous system regulated get stored in our tissues. Unresolved emotional energy is called emotional trauma. To learn more about this, check out The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. This isn’t a new concept: indigenous cultures have used embodied practices throughout history to process emotions and regulate the nervous system
The National Council of Behavioral Health estimates that 70% of Americans have experienced trauma. Trauma can be major like a near-death experience or can stem from emotional neglect or trauma passed down from your ancestors. If you’ve been conditioned to suppress “undesirable” emotions, then you probably store them in your cells, specifically your fascia. Bringing your awareness to your body touches on these unresolved emotions. If your nervous system is in survival mode, your brain usually shuts down that connection because it is not a “safe” time for you to process these emotions. This is why many of us are uncomfortable in our bodies.
I specialize in coaching my clients to find safety in their bodies through nervous system regulation and through various ways of processing emotional energy. Different techniques resonate for people at different times in their life. One of my favorite ways of releasing emotional energy is by practicing Yin Yoga.
Unlike the typical Yoga practice, Yin Yoga is a deeply meditative and slow practice that targets fascia and connective tissues. Yin Yoga is founded on the ancient knowledge of body energy.
I first experienced an emotional release during a Yin Yoga class several years ago. Deanna Hasni, the co-founder of Joya Yoga, set the energy of the space where I felt physically and emotionally safe and supported. She compassionately guided our awareness to stay in our bodies.
We were about two minutes into holding a hip-opening pose, and Deanna encouraged us to stay present and surrender to the pose. This helped me to unlock what felt like a stone within my body as if a small dam was released in a river. The tears welled up and I found myself crying.
Usually crying in “public” would have made me feel self-conscious, but Deanna’s gentle and loving guidance instilled in me a sense that it was safe to feel. I let my tears flow until it felt complete. Afterward, I felt deeply at peace, lighter and more open with a sense of more personal freedom.
I recently attended a class with Elizabeth and I LOVED the way she guided us with loving energy that made me feel safe to just be with my body. During one posture, while compressing my ankles & feet, I sensed an energetic release and shed gentle tears. During another posture, I felt a deep sense of love from being connected to the earth and divine energy. This sensation was so powerful it also brought me to tears.
I don’t experience every class this way. If the instructor focuses on the postures without guiding compassionate awareness, there’s less of an opening in me for an emotional release. I believe that one’s ability to direct their consciousness and state of their nervous system play a role in how the energy moves.
The more I allow myself to feel and connect to my body, the more I feel connected to my authentic self. From this place, I am empowered to take aligned action and to create my life and experiences from a place of compassion, peace, and love.
If this calls to you, I suggest checking out Joya’s Yin classes.
If you’d like support on your journey to embodied empowerment, I’m here for you. As a trauma-informed coach and certified hypnotherapist rooted in science-based practical applications, I guide women to self-empowerment through healing their relationships with their bodies.
I’m also an award-winning photographer and offer to empower portrait experiences for women. You can connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org, on my website www.ultra-spective.com or by joining my online community, The Self Love Club (visit my website for details).
Guest Blog By Anna Vickroy, a Joya student.
Photographer, Trauma Coach & Certified Hypnotherapist