Practicing body sensing is one of the major keys to living a sensational life. This is the practice of returning to your senses and becoming more embodied. You leave the madness of the overthinking mind for the stillness of inner KNOWING.
Without this key life skill you might live your life as a Mr. Duffy.
Mr. Duffy lived some distance from his body. – From The Dubliners by James Joyce.
Contrast this quote from James Joyce with the experience of the poet W. B. Yeats from his poem Vacillation when he says:-
All a sudden my body blazed and for twenty minutes more or less I was blessed and could bless. – Vacillation IV – W. B. Yeats
This is a real experience of embodiment and it only takes twenty minutes more or less for you to know that in Essence who you are is a real blessing. I is an experience of heart chakra awakening.
Most of us are more like Mr. Duffy than the one who feels they are blessed and can bless. So before I share with you this body sensing meditation let me share with you a menu related to this article and to the guided meditation itself.
Body Sensing Meditation Menu
- The Meaning of Body Sensing.
- Why Practice Body Sensing.
- When to Practice.
- How to Practice
- Body Scanning Meditation
- Other Resources
I recommend that you read this article in full before you start listening to the guided body sensing meditation.
This is because in doing so I think you will invite a deeper understanding of the invitation from such a practice and why it really is a key life skill foundational to living a Yoga Lifestyle.
Body Sensing Meaning
The practice of body sensing has different names. These include:-
Each of these names points toward the same fundamental practice of bringing conscious awareness to the body.
Body sensing is a practice for a given time when you focus your attention on the sensations in the body. These sensations include:-
This is not an exhaustive list. Each of these sensations are felt rather than analysed. You begin to return to feeling more embodied.
Why Practice Body Sensing
If you find a regular practice of sitting meditation difficult (as I do) then the daily practice of body scanning exercise may well be for you.
This body scanning exercise is more about learning how not to do but how to allow yourself to be in free flow.
I love the practice of body sensing. This is the practice I start my day with. I now wonder how I ever did without it.
The effects later in the day are often profound. I feel delight for no reason. I am living in the present moment. I am a Mr. Duffy returned home to the experience of living in a body in Full Presence (David Whyte)
Body scanning wakes you up.
It is for this writer the foundational practice for cultivating embodied spirituality. It takes you out of one of the key reasons for suffering both personally and collectively. This is your obsession with over thinking.
I use this practice when I need a quick boost of energy. I use it for managing anxiety especially when I am running workshops. I use this practice because I really love it.
At almost seventy years of age I am probably one of the fittest people I know (at least my wife is always declaring this to be so). I am growing bolder not older. Sageing (I hope) rather than ageing.
I am not on any medication. I pay attention to my body on a daily basis through body sensing and inner body awareness exercises. I give it the attention it deserves.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Body sensing exercises teach you how to allow your body to love what it loves. It begins to connect you to that intelligence that is beyond the intellect. The body KNOWS in ways that the intellect cannot know. This is connecting with the foundational energy of the 1st Chakra.
Knowing oneself comes from attending with compassionate curiosity to what is happening within. – Gabor Mate – When the Body Says No – The Cost of Hidden Stress
When to Practice
To begin with I recommend that you practice body sensing exercises in the morning before you get out of bed. This is before you tune into the madness of the collective outer world.
Living in the head and experiencing all our thinking there distorts and impoverishes our sense of being and belonging, because when thinking cuts itself off from the body, it encloses itself from our living reality. The body holds the deepest currents of our being and is our bridge to the life of the world around us – the being of the world. – The Embodiment Manifesto – Philip Shephard
You can start crossing the bridge to being and belonging by listening to the body sensing meditation shared below.
Make this the way you begin your day.
Don’t push for results. Let the practice grow with you and grow in you. The challenge is to take the power from your over thinking personal mind and move it into an experience of trusting your inner voice that is body KNOWING.
I have a friend who has for many years facilitated drumming workshops. She was telling me about that day when she woke up and all the rhythms, she knew in her head had somehow appeared in her body. Her body now knew the rhythms in a way her technical knowledge did not give her.
I practice body sensing while I am gardening. Often, I find myself thinking while I am working with the earth. When I notice this, I am usually in what is called in Hatha Yoga the pose of the Hero. I am kneeling on the ground either clearing the ground, weeding or planting.
So I consciously breathe in and out and I sense how I am kneeling, how my hands feel etc. Usually I sense the stings from the nettles or from the briars.
I have a favourite part of the garden which is in the wood. I plan to create a space there where I can lie down on a camomile lawn (probably only during the Irish summer) and practice body sensing anytime I feel I need an energy boost or just for the sheer fun.
Very often I am joined in my gardening endeavours by Felix the cat. Felix loves lying full stretch under the wooden garden seat or while giving himself a dust bath. He is a master of full body presence. I just so love that cat. He has moved from being a street fighter to be a lover.
[bctt tweet=”Living in the head and experiencing all our thinking there distorts and impoverishes our sense of being and belonging, because when thinking cuts itself off from the body, it encloses itself from our living reality. ” username=”@YogaJourneyfor1″]
I often practice body sensing last thing at night but find I will fall asleep. If falling asleep is an issue for you then I think body sensing will help you a lot. It will for one thing take you out of the anxiety you might feel around not being able to sleep. Check out the great practice of Yoga Nidra (Yoga Sleep).
How to Practice Body Sensing
It is best to practice any body sensing exercise with a clear intention. Energy follows intention. I call this practice of clear intention, “Companioning YOUR Greatness.” (Taken from These are the Clouds by W. B. Yeats).
Let it be your intention that you invite yourself to trust the inner guidance and KNOWING that is available from embodied intelligence rather than cerebral intelligence. This requires that you create a sense of Sanctuary.
If, like many people in today’s age of communication, are experiencing F. O. M. O. then you may well find the idea and practice of creating an inner Sanctuary challenging.
The acronym F.O.M.O. stands for:-
- F – Fear.
- O – Off
- M – Missing
- O – Out.
Many people today are addicted to their mobile phones. This is a symptom of how their minds work. There is attachment and there is the inability to turn the off switch on.
Sanctuary is a place you learn to create within yourself.
It is a boundary you create in order to allow for the experience of the Boundless. This is when you might KNOW, as W. B. Yeats knew, that “For twenty minutes more or less, so great my happiness that I was blessed and could bless.”
This happens for no reason because you get out of your head.
Trade logic for bewilderment – Rumi.
Rumi invites you to trade knowledge for not knowing (bewilderment) which is the gateway to inner KNOWING through the body. As the modern mystic Eckhart Tolle writing in The Power of Now – A Guide to Enlightenment says:-
[bctt tweet=”Enlightenment is not away from the body but through the body – Eckhart Tolle” username=”@YogaJourneyfor1″].
I wish so many spiritual seekers would make this statement their embodied mantra rather than the practice of disembodied transcendence.
The challenge of any method of body sensing exercise includes:-
If you only practice body sensing exercises irregularly then don’t expect to get much out of it. It is a very different was of focusing your attention. This practice is part of what it means to follow the spiritual instruction of becoming a little child.
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3 KJV
A little child is totally embodied. They haven’t yet become a Mr. Duffy who lives some distance from his body through over identification with thought. They have as yet not felt the shades of the prison house that is the sense of the personal ego self.
They are still a pure flow of sensation and they are as anyone with a heart can recognize sensational beings. You are still that sensation being but you have forgotten.
[bctt tweet=”You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Wild Geese Mary Oliver” username=”@YogaJourneyfor1″]
Body Sensing Guided Meditation
I am exploring writing and recording my own version for a body sensing mediation. In the meantime I share with you a guided meditation that I highly recommend and have used myself.
It is shared by Dr. Richard Millar Founder of the iRest Institute. The iRest Institute is an educational non-profit that provides events, teacher trainings, and educational content based on the ancient teachings of Yoga Nidra but presented in a form made accessible for modern day living.
Dr. Richard Millar has had vast experience in inviting you into that sanctuary of inner body awareness sanctuary of inner body awareness.
So I recommend that you listen to this introduction to body sensing. Try and do this while lying down or sitting in a chair. Do not listen while driving.
I also recommend, as does Dr. Millar, that you begin to write a journal to record your thoughts, your emotions and your various sensations. This helps ground and honour the practice.
It tells your unconscious mind that you are serious and sincere in your commitment to inviting integrity.
So when you are ready you can begin to listen to this xxx-minute guided meditation on body sensing.
I hope that you found this invitation to the exercise of body sensing of value.
Remember, like anything, it takes time, patience and disciple to move from someone who has unconscious competence (think learning to drive) to someone who has unconscious competence think (experienced driver).
This is a challenging process because in reality you are learning to move from doing to non-doing. You are learning how to allow Life to be done through you. You learn what it feels like to experience Flow.
Most enjoyable activities are not natural; they demand an effort that initially one is reluctant to make. But once the interaction starts to provide feedback to the person’s skills, it usually beings to be intrinsically rewarding. – Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Body Sensing Resources
Free Audio Courses
When you join this free mini-workshop, you’ll discover:
- Why you likely have only 1 or 2 wisdom centers open right now — and how that undermines your access to the full spectrum of intelligence and guidance waiting within you
- Why it’s critical to inhabit the back of your heart as much as the front
- How your gut holds the key to your security… and how to use its wisdom correctly to know when your next step is the right one
- The surprising body part that’s the “black sheep” of the 6 wisdom areas — and also the real engine for your power
- How the intelligence of your bones holds the master key for deep, nourishing meditations
- One of the top myths that’s blocking you from accessing your body’s wisdom in any single moment
- A simple practice to get quick clarity on the biggest question in your life right now
If you’ve been looking for a powerful, new way to approach awakening, healing and living your life with full-tilt vitality this is the event for you!
You’ll also have a chance to hear about an exciting upcoming 7-week program with Suzanne in which you’ll be empowered to sense, explore, nourish and expand your important body wisdom areas to live your life with greater awareness, ease and creative fire.
If you feel anxious and unsettled, it may be that your mind is someplace else and completely disconnected from the body.
Our lives demand our thinking minds to be turned on all the time, processing information, making decisions, scheduling ahead, reading and typing on computers, navigating subways. Our minds are everywhere but here in the presence of our bodies.
Our minds are everywhere but here in the presence of our bodies.
If you have a lot of nervous energy, you probably have tried sitting meditation, focusing on the breath, and find it difficult to keep up with the exercise. As multi-taskers by default, leaping into concentration meditation on the breath is highly challenging!
FREE Body Sensing Course
3 Deepening Mindfulness Practices
1st: Deep Body Presence
2nd: Whole Body Sensing
Articles of Interest
By Philip Shepherd, Author of Radical Wholeness and New Self, New World
Living in the head and experiencing all our thinking there distorts and impoverishes our sense of being and belonging, because when thinking cuts itself off from the body, it encloses itself from our living reality.
The body holds the deepest currents of our being and is our bridge to the life of the world around us – the being of the world. By distancing the centre of our thinking from all that, we enter a kind of alienation that makes us feel like spectators on the events that surround us.
Furthermore, we start managing from on high what we cannot experience, because head-centric thinking is keen to create structures of control, systemization, judgment and acquisition.
But being out of touch and off balance ourselves, we can only seed more imbalance with every wilful, managerial impulse – even when our impulses spring from an agenda that seeks to improve things. The desire to behave ethically, if coming from a place of disconnected reason, will necessarily focus on fixing how our behaviour affects the material world.
Because disconnected reason tacitly expresses a contempt for the body, it will overlook the problem of how our relationship with the body affects our behaviour. This is our blind spot – and it is a towering liability, because our relationship with the world can only mirror and express the relationship we have with our own bodies.
Having estranged ourselves from the body and its wisdom, we find ourselves also estranged from the world and its wisdom.
Body Sensing Practices that I have been exploring in my personal practice are based on a number of principles. Here are the five main principles that will guide us over the next few weeks of the Body Sensing yoga and mindfulness course.
1. Develop interoceptive awareness with slow Mindful Movements
Moving slowly helps to train the nervous system of the body. Often our fast paced life impacts on our nervous system in a number of ways. We push through even though we are tired, use stimulants like caffeine to keep going.
Moving slowly, and combining smooth even breathing with our movements helps us retrain the nervous system. Its not enough to just rest in shavasana at the end of the practice.
When we move slowly, we get a chance to experience the movements from the inside, we can make adjustments if needed.
Read more at
An Inquiring Practice to Notice the Body
This 20-minute guided meditation from Jon Kabat-Zinn explores embracing sensations as they arise in the body in order to ground ourselves in the here and now.
- Establish yourself in whatever posture feels most appropriate for this moment. Drop in on a sense of the breath, moving in and out of your body as you sit here, or as you live here. Come in touch with the sensations associated with the movement of the breath, wherever they might be most vivid, either at the nostrils or at the belly or in the chest, anywhere. Ride on the waves of your own breathing, moment by moment by moment.
- Experience the full duration of this breath coming in, and the full duration of this breath leaving the body. Aim the attention on these breaths sensations, and sustain the attention as best you can, and the feeling, sensing, knowing, quality of the awareness of the breath, of the awareness itself.
Again, I hope this article on the foundational practice of body sensing was of value to you.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave such question or comment in the box below. Who knows it may lead to my writing a further article for your interest.
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