Given the challenges I’ve had to find words to convey the embodiment experience I offer, I asked participants of my groups for reflections; and here are my thoughts shaped by this feedback. Please peruse them at your own pace and interest!
The session each week is holding time and space to give attention to the inner body experience. You learn about how your perspectives change when you connect to your internal physiology via your feeling senses. The embodiment approach I have is a direct transmission from my bodymind to yours and I have learnt and cultivated this capacity in the study and apprenticeship of Integrative Body and Movement Therapy, taught by Linda Hartley and faculty – you might want to research her work further.
Folks have said over time that an important aspect in the journey experience is my voice and the tones that I embody as I guide you. Neuroscience indicates that our nervous systems relax when we hear certain tones or cadences in the human voice and this is intentional in how I hold space. The fact that I join you in my own embodied state of mind as I guide you is essential to how I facilitate and is how I connect to the group. I’m never just talking and watching; I’m sensing and amongst you as a facilitator. I attune to the group nervous systems and adapt my guiding in response to how I feel you.
It’s a unique kind of bodymind practice with the focus directed inwards to get to know your sensations as an authority and authenticity within you: a location of your body’s receptivity and responsiveness to your immediate experiences. From this authority, you allow movement. The practice is not about directing your movements per se, rather it is purely spending time with and getting to know more about this realm of awareness and knowledge within you.
Folks recognise from week to week that sometimes they might find deep relaxation and connection to subtler processes of sensation and movement inside them. This connection can bring feelings of wholeness, resource, presence and joy; or discomfort, dreaminess, and sometimes resistance to being with the experience in their body. Sometimes lived experiences are remembered or longings are felt and it does engage people in a curiosity about their body as their mind: a realm of imagining, remembering and creating that they want to tap into more.
People realise that they don’t always feel comfortable with their experience during, or even after a session. I validate these experiences in recognition that discomforts and state-shifts are important signifiers of how we are receiving and responding to life. When these states are allowed – recognised and attended to – they feel more integrated and meaningful and can inform our responses.
I’ve heard from many that value the way I invite them to receive the guidance I offer into a ‘map’ or body system that can focus or carry them into a different set of perspectives… and sometimes they don’t need or even remember what I’ve said afterwards! They appreciate that – perhaps unlike a more directed movement class – they could take or leave my guidance and accept my encouragement for their bodymind to guide them.
I’ve had feedback that you feel ‘safe’ in the group, which I recognise has so many particular meanings individual to you; and when many people say they feel safe enough to be with whatever comes up, there’s definitely some common factors. I’m aware of a deep sensitivity I can bring to facilitating embodiment and am interested and care about people. I am continually curious what creates safety for people in a group and I take feedback seriously and within my capacity to adapt. I am trauma informed and attend to my own learning and skilling-up as a facilitator as I go along.
Participants value being with others (the group), yet only having to attend to their own experience. Sometimes a person feels an inspiration or a disruption in their experience from another person’s sound, movement or sharing in the group, and this can support the person’s own embodiment enquiry over time.
It’s been valuable for me to write this and thank you for reading. I’m aware that you might be reading this without having attended my class ever, so I’m hoping that you might get something from what I’m relaying here. If you have follow-up questions, feel free to contact me.