Becoming Embodied (exercises included)

In today's episode of The Embodied Podcast we discussed Embodiment.

Embodiment is the subjective experience of our body.

It is an “inside out” sense of our bodies.

Embodiment defines the body as more than just the physical body

(such as a chair being just a chair) into the body as a moving, feeling, aware body.

The body is part of who we are.

If we can reclaim our bodies, we become the bearers of choice.

When we are the bearers of choice, we can now accept our present moment and act in a way that mirrors what you value.

Below I have listed a few of my favorite exercises from Peter Levine's book Waking the Tiger for working to improving a felt sense for your body.

To listen to today's episode, click here.

The felt sense is the embodiment (bringing awareness inside the body) of one’s ever-changing sensory/energetic/emotional landscape.

The felt sense moves our focus from actions and things happening outside us in the world to qualities of our present, internal experience (e.g. textures, colors, sensations).

Developing felt sense requires:

  1. Awareness of the Body. Awareness means experiencing what is present, without trying to change or interpret it.

  2. Ability to track sensations. Sensations are the physical phenomena that contribute to our overall experience.

  3. Rhythms. This represents how our physiological sensations occur. This requires patience to let these rhythms take place. These will ebb and flow over a span of minutes. Sensations can transform and take on a variety of different shapes and sensations.

Exercise to improve your "felt sense":

Sit or lie down in a quiet location where you can comfortably focus.

Use the qualities below to describe the sensations you notice in your body.

Pay attention to the subtle sensations and use as many descriptive words you can think of.

Examples of Qualities of the Felt Sense:


1. Feeling/sensation:

  1. Pressure – even, uneven, supportive feeling, crushed feeling, cutting off circulation

  2. Air current – gentle, cool, warm, from right, from left, stimulating, rush, like a feather, like mist

  3. Tension – solid, dense, warm, cold, inflamed, protective, constricting, angry, sad

  4. Pain – ache, sharp, twinge, slight, stabbing

  5. Tingling – pricks, vibration, tickling, numb

  6. Itch – mild itch, angry itch, irritating itch, moving itch, subtle itch, small itch, large area of itching

2. Temperature – warm, hot, burning, cool, cold, clammy, chills, icy, frozen, like: hearth, oven, fire, sunshine, baked bread, snow, stone, shade

3. Size – small, large

4. Shape – flat, circle, blob, like a mountain

5. Weight – light, heavy

6. Motion – circular, erratic, straight line

7. Speed – fast, slow, still

8. Texture – rough, wood, stone, sandpaper, smooth, silk

9. Element – fire, air, earth, water, wood

10. Color – gray, blue, orange etc.

11. Mood/emotion sinking, pulling in, open, closed, uplifting, sunny day, dark cloud, roiling

12. Sound – buzzing, singing

13. Taste – sour, bitter, sweet

14. Smell – pungent, sweet, like rain, like leaves

15. Absence/nothingness – blank, empty

If you find that 1-3 sensations stand out, ask yourself,

"Does it feel more rough or more smooth?" "Is it slow or fast?" "Does it feel heavy or light?"

*Source of the Felt Sense Exercise: Book, Waking the Tiger by Peter Levine

To get more information about Embodiment, listen to the podcast here.

If you are seeking help navigating this space, please check out our coaching options.


©2019 by Danielle McGinnis.
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