This is the seventh installment in 10-part series I did through July 26 this year called Wild Soul Summer School. It is all about body loving exercise. The purpose is to do a more thorough exploration of some of the topics that come up most consistently on the podcast. Each of these instructional blog posts has a corresponding Facebook Live video too, which you can find at the end of this post along with links to previous sessions if you want to explore the rest of the series.
This week I’ve got a free moving meditation practice to help you embody self love.
Click here for the practice.
I’ve been a “body person” ever since I was 11 years old, in 1994 when TLC released their album Crazy Sexy Cool. Between them and Janet Jackson, I felt inspired. They were my first female role models and I wanted to learn how to get in amazing shape like them. Thus started my journey of working out and moving my body, aside from playing sports.
It wasn’t until many years later that I’d realize that I had been approaching my body from an external viewpoint only. Primarily driven by wanting to be “tighter,” “toned,” and “in shape.” I obsessed over what I ate, and it was all about “working out” instead of “working in.” I even ended up working in the fitness industry for many years and much of that was not body loving exercise.
MY FIRST TASTE OF SENSUAL MOVEMENT
The first time I ever did any kind of sensual movement *intentionally* was at an S-factor pole dancing class back in 2010 in New York City.
Having never done any dancing aside from drunken dancing at bars, Zumba and salsa, and not really being into yoga yet, I didn’t know what to expect AND was shocked at the class length – 90 minutes!
At that time, I was still very much in my New Yorker “hustle” energy, was accustomed to 30-45 minute classes. Despite feeling some resistance to the idea of slowing down for 90 minutes I felt distinctly pulled toward it.
The entire first 30 minutes of the class was a warm up. As a personal trainer at the time, I was used to 5 minute warm ups, so my mind was freaking out a little bit. It took me awhile to drop in, but I was finally able to surrender and let myself enjoy the movement.
Once I did, I started to experience sensations in my body that I’d never felt before, and feel connected to my body in a way I didn’t even know was possible — primarily because the movements were slow.
They were also nonlinear and we spent a lot of time on the ground. Things like circling the head and neck, shoulders, chest, and hips. It all felt super primal and feminine. It felt like body loving exercise. After 15 years of doing fairly intense, linear movements and exercise, all of this felt new and different to my system, but also surprisingly enjoyable.
SOUL SOOTHING, BODY LOVING EXERCISE
When I talk about doing soul soothing, body loving exercise, I am not talking about working out, I’m talking about working IN – moving the body to have a more enjoyable, connected experience of inhabiting a woman’s body.
Most of my women are sensitive or empathic in some way. So you’re likely used to trying to navigate all of the things that you’re constantly taking in through your senses, which can be really overwhelming.
Part of the practice I created is to help you discern what feelings, sensations, and emotions are actually yours and what you might be taking on from other people, your environment, the news, etc.
With a sensual movement practice, the only goal is to feel safe in your body, because for so many reasons, so many women don’t feel safe in their bodies.
When you internalize body shame, not feeling safe in your body, or feeling like your body could be an invitation for harm, you become closed off, keep people at arm’s length or don’t always allow yourself to become intimate with people (in romantic relationships and otherwise).
You may cut yourself off from getting the kinds of nourishment that you need, want, desire and yearn for because you feel unsafe or self-conscious. (Let me know in the comments if you can relate!)
Spending time with your body in a practice like this establishes a baseline of safety, love and care for your amazing vessel and allows you to treat your body as sacred, rather than something to be objectified or sexualized.
Your body is wise, beautiful, unique, vast and dynamic and deserves to be treated as such.
NOT ALL MEDITATION IS CREATED EQUAL
Having a moving meditation or sensual movement practice is huge for women because many of us are not built to sit in stillness and silence.
For many years, I attempted seated, stillness meditation and I struggled. I was still so in my head, it was more of a battle than a relaxing or enlightening experience.
When I started experimenting with the practice that would later become Wild Soul Movement, I noticed that the combination of moving body and focusing on one mantra, allowed my mind to focus, relax, and let go of the constant chatter.
People who feel that they’re not good at meditation are likely just meditating on the wrong thing – a mantra allows you to choose what you’re repeating over and over in the mind, which eventually can help to reprogram beliefs around lack, unworthiness, shame, and etc.
Moving meditation can be as simple as taking a walk in nature. It could be dance, it could be stretching or even your regular workout, if you know how to drop into your body.
In Wild Soul Movement, we stick with sensual, mostly slow, connective movement designed to turn on and activate the body and the senses to help you become more literate with your body’s signals.
A consistent moving meditation practice allows you to find a baseline level of groundedness and calm, which then makes it easier for you to slow down or even still your thoughts, AND trains to you pause in life situations before you respond or react.
Once I incorporated this into my daily practice, I became much more peaceful and it was easier for me to do the things that we’ve talked about in previous sessions of this series – such as surrender, let things go, and trust myself. The same has been true for many of the women in the Wild Soul Movement Virtual program since 2014.
You can find the short sample of this practice here, centered around self love. Specifically *embodying* self-love rather than trying to do all these “actions” to love yourself, that don’t usually last.
The movement is a physical expression of the words, so the mantra is super simple: “I love myself.”
If you’re someone who struggles with self-love, you may have some resistance, but you’ll likely notice that the resistance happens in the mind. The body can totally feel it, and you really never know where self-love is going to show up for the first time in your body until you give it a try!
Whether you’re dealing with body shame, body hate, chronic pain, physical discomfort, or just being up in your head a lot, this kind of practice is one of the easiest ways to help you through all of that in a way that honors where you are right now (rather than needing to follow prescriptions or protocols from other people).
In this practice and the sample video, I will guide you, but I also invite you to do whatever feels good for you. Receiving that kind of permission can be life-altering a lot of people.
Watch the video for this blog post below and click here for the sample practice.
If you’ve missed any of the earlier Wild Soul Summer School sessions you’re catching and you want to check out the rest, here are the links:
Session #1: Connecting to and Cultivating Your Feminine
Session #2: Integrating and Harmonizing Your Masculine and Feminine Energy
Session #3: How To Let Things Go (For Good)
Session #4: Do You Speak YOUR Body’s Language?
Session #5: Use This Feminine Super Power to Move Through Resistance
Session #6: How to Trust Yourself
Got questions or comments? Email us at [email protected]