This is the third post in a series called Resilient Resistance. We need all of us to stay engaged for the long haul, so I’m sharing strategies for doing justice work without burning out or giving up. We can’t afford to lose any one of us. Last week's post was Pick One Thing. Want next week’s edition? Click here to subscribe.
My call for us this week is simple: get out of your anxious, hectic brain and get back into your body. Through years of practice, most of us are pretty good at ignoring, overriding, and shutting down the sensations of the body. We’ve lost access to our own intuition, even though it’s the one voice that truly knows what you need. This isn’t because of some personal failing on your part, though. Societal factors are at work to keep us disembodied, so getting back in your body becomes both an act of resilience and an act of resistance.
Patriarchy prioritizes the intellect at the expense of physicality (and emotionality, but that’s a post for a different day). Because of this, we tend to think of the intellect as the highest realm of being, to the extent that we get so wrapped up in the realm of the mind that our bodies seem to completely disconnect. If you’ve ever had a long day studying or working in front of a computer, alone with your thoughts, only to snap out of the trance 8 hours later and finally feel your aching back and shoulders, you know what I mean.
White supremacy (and patriarchy and cisnormativity and...) criminalizes some bodies while praising others. I’ve talked before about the skinny, bendy white lady yoga norm and how damaging it is to all of us, including those that happen to meet this norm, and especially those who fall outside of it. Meanwhile Black bodies, trans bodies, and immigrant bodies (among others) are routinely harassed, criminalized, and killed with impunity. We are shown over and over again that our bodies are never enough, that our bodies aren’t safe, that simply by existing, our bodies will betray us.
But our bodies matter! These weird sagging bags of bones are our constant companions and how we move through this tender, brutal world. Your body is the path to your deepest knowing, so tending to it is of paramount importance. Getting back in the body is a way to get grounded and get out of your spinning brain that’s (understandably) terrified about the future and get back to this moment right now.
This isn’t to make the uncertainty of the future go away, but to try to balance it out with the reassurance of the present.
Here is a short list, compiled by your brilliant minds in class this week, of ways to reactivate your body when you feel disconnected:
- Sit in the grass.
- Go for a walk.
- Ride your bike.
- Work in a garden. Touch dirt.
- Chop vegetables.
- Eat something delicious.
- Dance to your favorite music.
- Take a hot bath.
- Have an orgasm.
- Sniff an essential oil or something else with a strong smell.
- Wear something with a nice texture (like velvet.)
- Breathe slow deep breaths.
What else would you add to this list? What else helps you get embodied? I’d love to know!
P.S. I’m teaching a new series on practicing inversions that starts next week. Another excellent way to Get Embodied! Click here for more info: bearteachesyoga.org/leapsandbounds.
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