The Body and the Self
Our body is the vehicle of our Self. As such it enables us to provide for our needs and desires through movement and the use of a physical presence. It provides a means for communication and agency.
As we move through life, our body increasingly incorporates a range of experiences that are reflected in the way we move and hold our self. These physical habits are often subconscious adaptations to prolonged internal states and more or less traumatic external events. When we become better acquainted with our body's expressions we can evaluate their usefulness in our current reality.
When we talk about embodiment we really are speaking about how a person’s way of being presents outwardly through the body. In other words; the way we hold our self –our posture-, the way we move, our body-language, our facial expressions, our level of physiological arousal (sweating, flushing etc.); they all play a role in what we are communicating about our self.
How we move or hold our body also reflects certain anatomical and physiological realities, such as disease states, but also normal anatomical variability as well as non-anatomically-correct movement patterns. It is important to be able to distinguish those attributes from the psycho-social expression of who we are, as well as to understand how they may in them self have a communicative value.
Body-Communication Coaching is never prescriptive, but instead explorative and experiential. The client is invited to become more attuned to her or his habits of inter- and intrapersonal communication as they are expressed through and in the body. This is achieved by building a growing awareness and experience of how the self is presented through the body. Ultimately, the goal is to have the body be a true reflection of the client’s best self.
There are at least two important reasons why it benefits us to become aware of what our body is communicating about our inner state.
1. Whatever we communicate through our body is instantly picked up by others and is much more powerful than any verbal communication in creating an impression of who we are and what our (hidden) intentions are. In other words; what we embody influences our interactions with others because of their ability to pick-up-on and feel-in-to our expressed and internal states. This can have powerful, split-second consequences in how we are perceived and judged. Given that our bodily expressions are often old responses to our biographical histories, the perceptions and judgments of others may not be truly reflective of our current way of being or of our desired ongoing and future development. However, other people's perceptions of us tend to have a consolidating, perpetuating and self-fulfilling quality to them, making it more challenging for us to change. It is therefore useful to be able to understand our particular presentation of Self, in order to be able to shed those habits that do not reflect our current reality or do not support our future development and therefore don't serve us anymore. At minimum we would want to know what it is that our body is communicating about us. In addition, we may want to work on changing those communications that don’t serve us anymore.
2. The body functions as a relay-station in the feedback-loop that exists between the physical and emotional experience that we have of our self and our environment. Whatever emotional state is reflected in the body will be fed back to the emotional centers in the brain with a bias toward perpetuating the original emotion. If this emotional feedback loop persists it can become part of a general mood that we live in, even if the triggers of the original emotion have long disappeared. For example; anxiety causes an initial excitation of the sympathetic nervous system which increases muscle tension, blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn causes a physical and emotional experience of stress, which increases the excitation of the sympathetic nervous system, which makes us more reactive and alert to negative impulses, which increases muscle tension....you get the picture. Of course, the moods that we live in have a consolidating effect on the way that we hold our body and mind, thereby limiting our possibilities for emotional range and experience.
Who benefits from Body-Communication Coaching?
Anybody who is on a path of self-development.
Anybody who wants to improve their inter- and intrapersonal communication skills.
Anybody who longs to free themselves from old patterns of interaction with others and life events.
Anybody who wants to experience the magic and power of embodying what is true and meaningful to them.
Anybody who wonders how they are perceived by others.
Anybody who’s wellbeing or business success depends on effective interaction with others.
Anybody who finds themselves in frequent and unwanted conflict with others.
Anybody who feels awkward or uncomfortable with their posture or way of moving.
Anybody who wants to increase their capacity for experiential living and mindfulness.
Anybody who wants to increase their sense of self –determination and capacity for purposeful action in the world.
Anybody who wants to experience the spark of emergence; opening up infinite possibilities for change and being.