Embodiment Inquiries Inspiration and Practices
The Eileen Fisher Embodiment Lounge at the 2017 Wisdom 2.0 conference in San Francisco provided a space to explore more embodied living, with master teachers and thought leaders sharing cutting-edge teachings, conversations, and practices.
This year’s Embodiment Lounge featured three large wall panels, engaging three core embodiment topics: listening to our bodies, moving our bodies, and using our bodies to shape our experience.
Here is the text from the panels, including simple practice you can use in daily life to connect with more awareness, energy, and ease in your body and your mind.
Embodiment Lounge Panel #1
What part of your body wants to move?
I move, therefore I am.
— Haruki Murakami, Japanese writer and novelist
Before we were even born, we moved. We shaped ourselves into being by moving. Movement is essential to learning; it is the language of life and of the brain, integrating and anchoring information in our neural networks. Yet it is easy to lose our growth-oriented momentum. We unconsciously limit our potential through repetitive movements and habitual body states. We all know the power that movement holds, instinctively feeling the impulse to stand up and walk around when our minds and moods get stale.
Let’s move into something new! What if we invited continued learning and development into our lives through the generative power of movement? Let’s expand our repertoires and tap into creative new possibilities by engaging the potential available through conscious body motion.
Practice: Connecting Brain & Body
Our brains learn how to move us by communicating with our bodies. This exercise gives you an experience of how easy it is to re-open the lines of communication. The key is to move very slowly and gently (that’s what your brain likes!).
- Stand with your feet slightly spread. Gently hinge forward from the hips, allowing your hands to fall toward your feet. Do not stretch, simply notice how far you go.
- Now stand with a slight bend in your knees. Place both hands just above the knees, keeping the elbows straight. Slowly and gently round your back and look down, then arch your lower back and look up. Keep your movements small. Repeat 3-4 times. Then, stand up straight.
- Repeat #1 and notice the immediate changes in how far you go.
This is how fast you can reconnect your body and your brain, enhancing your overall well-being.
This exercise comes from Anat Baniel, creator of NeuroMovement and author of Move Into Life.
Embodiment Lounge Panel #2
What is your body saying right now?
The body never lies.
—Martha Graham, American dancer and choreographer
We spend most of our time living in our heads. It’s common to think this is our best — or only — source of information. But as a result, we miss out on vast amounts of wisdom, intuition, creativity, and brilliance, all accessible from our bodies. Most of us never learned how to read the body’s subtle signs. We were not taught how to slow down and listen to what our bodies are telling us. Instead, we got shut down, tensed up, and stressed out.
It’s time to change all that. Our well-being and our capacity to fully embody our potential depends on it. Let’s learn the language of our bodies and train ourselves to recognize and pay attention to the cues and messages they are always sending. Let’s discover what happens when we tune in to our body sensations and access what we know from the inside out.
Practice: ENERGY GEMS©
Ways to Drop Into Your Body Anywhere, Anytime, All the Time.
- GENTLY BREATHE IN, GENTLY BREATHE OUT
- SOFTEN YOUR KNEES WHEN STANDING
- GENTLY DROP YOUR SHOULDERS
Use these Energy Gems to connect to every-moment body wisdom. Make it a habit to drop into your body wherever you are — in a meeting, on a coffee break, waiting for a bus. Let your stress become pure energy!
This exercise comes from Zuleikha, creator of Take a Minute™ Exercises for Everyday Self-Care. (Energy Gems© — a Take a Minute™ program 2016, Zuleikha)
Embodiment Lounge Panel #3
How can you shift your body to change your reality?
Your body language shapes who you are.
—Amy Cuddy, American social psychologist, author, and lecturer
How we embody ourselves communicates so much more than we realize — from the way we sit, stand, and walk to what happens when we’re bored or interested. Most often, our bodies take on habitual patterns that reflect our core beliefs and stances on life, either inherited or developed through personal experience, and speak volumes about our confidence, energy, outlook, and more. While this typically happens unconsciously, we have the power to consciously engage our bodies and create intentional emotional states that send the messages we want — to ourselves and to others.
The key is to get mindful — not just about what our bodies are communicating, but about what we want to experience and express through our bodies. Let’s start paying attention to our mind-body connection and choose to access and align with our innate intelligence. Let’s create more empowered and intentional states of being and relating.
Practice: 20 Seconds to Confidence
This quick and simple centering practice can be used at any time to regain confidence and presence and immediately put you in a powerful, self-assured state. Use it in stressful situations, before an important meeting or talk, or to enhance a beautiful moment. The key is to practice it often.
- Breathe in and lift upward from the base to the top of your spine — recovering a dignified yet natural pose.
- Then, feel a long exhale travel down the front of your body — soften your chest as you think of someone who makes you smile.
- Now, expand your personal space in all directions, filling the room.
- Finally, settle in, staying in relationship to the space around you and connected to a state of confidence and ease.
This exercise comes from Wendy Palmer, founder of Leadership Embodiment