If you feel disconnected from your body or dysregulated in your nervous system, you aren’t alone. Getting out of our heads and into our bodies is one of the most important things we can do for our physical, emotional, and mental health, but often we have no idea where to start. As the author of Your Body Is a Revolution and an Embodiment Coach and Somatic Practitioner, I have worked with hundreds of people who are doing the tender work of bravely coming back home to their bodies after trauma, disassociation, and negative self-talk. Here are a few invitations that you can use to begin a deeper relationship with your body today:
Learn to listen to your body. High-stress levels, not being able to sleep, getting hives, feeling anxious and tense all the time... these can all be your body's way of trying to get your attention and tell you something is out of alignment, or a health issue is going on. Our bodies are truthtellers. Slow down and sit with your body. Learn to listen to what your body is trying to communicate with you and take it all in as neutral information. If you learn to listen, your body will tell you exactly what is going on in your life.
Feel your emotions. It can be uncomfortable to face big emotions, but shutting them down only impedes our body's ability to process and release. Give yourself the time and safe space to feel what you feel. Emotions are part of being human and it is one of the ways our bodies speak to us.
Remember that movement is medicine. Allow your body to move freely as it wants to. Notice the beat of your heart and the air in your lungs. Use movement as a way to move stagnant energy and return to what brings you pleasure.
If you feel sexual desire, practice safe and consensual sex. Safe for your mind, emotions, heart, and body. A healthy sexual ethic that opens the door for embodied sexual liberation is about connection, freedom of expression, bodily autonomy, accountability between partners, reverence for our whole personhood, practicing consent, rejecting shame, having freedom of choice, being empowered in your own sexual sovereignty, and having comprehensive, accessible education about sex.
On that note, self-pleasure regularly. This does so much more than just help you understand your unique body and unique desires; intimately knowing your body’s anatomy and baseline of normal is foundational for both body literacy and physical health. There is no reason to feel shame about it.
Remember, your body is a revolution and if you feel disconnected, there is likely a very valid reason for it. Individually, we’ve all experienced hardship and pain. Collectively, the systems and structures of the world we are living in are not currently set up for human flourishing, and our bodies know this. We are sick, tired, traumatized, and stressed out because body-based oppression runs in our societal systems, our institutions, and the constantly moving target of “ideal” that we are all striving for.
Coming back home to our bodies is profound, healing work. When you take back your body and heal the impact of trauma in your nervous system, you no longer need to fit in to be safe, find belonging, or feel loved. You can reclaim your true self in all its powerful authenticity. By speaking truth to limiting beliefs, we can release the grasp that shame has on us and end the ways we are at war with our bodies. May our relationships with our bodies become a source of healing for ourselves and each other – and may that, in itself, be revolutionary.
Tara Teng is a somatic practitioner who helps people overcome shame, heal trauma, and come back into a relationship with their bodies. An ardent human rights activist and former Miss Canada, she was presented with a Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal in recognition of her work to combat human trafficking. She lives on the unceded traditional territories of the Kwantlen and Katzie First Nations, in Vancouver. Learn more here.