What Does it Mean to Feel the Body?

by | Feb 29, 2024 | 0 comments

What Does it Mean to Feel the Body?

One of my yoga students once asked me after class, “Elizabeth, what do you mean when you say, ‘Feel the body?’”

I immediately smiled with glee! I just love it when yoga students have questions before or after class.

And, this was a great question. Because so often, as a yoga teacher, I’m making statements that have meaning or value to me. But then I’m reminded that not everyone has a holistic background like I do!

Yoga Means Union

Yoga is a physical experience. In fact, some people use yoga as a form of exercise. However, yoga is so much more than a physical workout.

Yoga is a connection between mind and body. One could even add a connection among mind, body, and spirit. In fact, the origin of the word “yoga” means to yoke or unite.

Yoga leads to a joining of mind, body, and spirit. It’s a harmony between mind, body, and spirit.

So, the question, “What do you mean when you say feel the body?” is so appropriate to yoga practice.

When I teach a yoga class, I am continuously encouraging the students to breathe into the pose. And, when they breathe into the pose, they are breathing into the body.

In fact, my own yoga instructor who I trained under to become a yoga teacher, would tell us, “It’s like you have a little pair of lungs. Send those teeny lungs right to the stretch. Then, using those small (imaginary) lungs, breathe right there in those spaces.”

Breathe into the Body

Breathing into the stretch means you’re literally breathing into that area of the body.

When you breathe into the body, you feel the body more.

Let’s give an example from a practical standpoint.

Many of us live in our heads. We are constantly making decisions.

Think about it. From the time you get up, before you even start the work day, how many decisions have you already made?

What to wear? How to do my hair? Earrings or not today? Do I want coffee or tea? Which type of cereal will I have today? Do I want to stop for coffee on my way to work? if so, where?

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

Which means… we’re constantly in our heads. So much so that people have forgotten what their bodies feel like. That, or, they just altogether avoid any connection with their body (whole other topic for another article).

In a world of tech, we make decisions all day. We are distracted by devices. We worry, analyze, think, wonder, replay, rehash, ruminate… we’re in our heads, people!!

Benefits of Breathing in Yoga

Yoga is an opportunity to give your head a short break.

And, yes. I am aware that I am constantly competing with students’ thought bubbles during the entire practice. (I can tell when people wind up facing an opposite direction than what was cued.)

During yoga, students are still nagged with their “to-do” list. They have priorities outside of yoga. I realize that they’re worrying if they’ll make it in time after class to pick up their kid from practice.

But as much as their able, I encourage students to leave the thinking at the door. As best they can. For just 60 minutes.

It’s hard. I get it. I too am an over-thinker, live-in-my-head-a-lot kind of girl. At least, I’m aware of it and in recovery, LOL.

Breathe and Feel the Body

When we’re on our yoga mat, our job is to do our best to stay present. Leave that thinking stuff to the side and just be.

Be with your breath.

Breathe into the stretches.

And let the breathing and stretching help you feel your body.

So, that’s how you “feel your body” my friends. Inhale into the yoga pose. Exhale, release tension from the body. Use the breath to feel with and connect to the body.

Making yoga a mind, body, and spirit-connecting practice.

Oh, how I want to get up off this couch and practice yoga right now! How about you? Care to join me??

Let’s do it!

Feel free to visit me here. I’m more than happy to partner with you on your healing journey.

About the Author: Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, HNB-BC, RYT (200) is a holistic nurse, registered yoga instructor, and reiki master.

Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a certified coach, nature lover, and avid meditator.

Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bulls. She enjoys gardening, jigsaw puzzles, farming, music, and hiking.


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