The Listening Body

life-energyPeople often don’t realize that their bodies are continuously speaking to them, giving them information in seconds.  Your body registers the temperature of a room upon entering, the heart beat of another, the light in the room making your eyes adjust, your body registers the safety of the situation, and the recognition of people (do you know anyone in the room?).  All of this happens on a subconscious level.   Often, we continue moving throughout our days without any stillness to register what our body is actually feeling and communicating.  However, if you ever used the terms, “He/She’s a pain in my neck,” “I’m sick to my stomach,” or  “My heart is broken,” then your body is clearly speaking to you.

Along with the brain, the gut (abdomen) has the most concentration of neurotransmitters  and these neurotransmitters/neurons receive and send information to the brain as well as one’s environment.  The gut is often considered the ‘second’ brain, even though the abdomen (gut) sends and receives much more information to the brain than the brain sending information to the gut.  Of course, in our society, I think it would almost be blasphemy to say that the second brain is actually the first brain, because we make meaning from the cranial brain. However, many cultures and indigenous populations view the abdomen or gut ‘instincts’  as being the first brain, the more important, knowledgable brain while the second brain is relegated to the less trustworthy cranial brain.

The abdomen (Gut) contains around 100 million neurons, more than the spinal cord, which is part of the Central Nervous System.

Because of this element (Central and Peripheral Nervous System), the body is the storehouse for your experiences and trauma: accidents, emotions, surgeries etc.  It’s no wonder that a person’s digestion can become blocked due to  anxiety, stress,  and unexpressed emotions.  When working with people, I often ask them for any physical ailments.  I ask for any consistent indigestion or other digestive issues including heart burn, acid reflux as well as I look for any extended belly’s and weight-bearing in the abdomen. I then usually ask the client “What is going on in your life that you are not digesting, that’s not sitting well with you?” This is often something that the individual is attempting to make ‘ok’ or rationalize in their life but it’s not working for the body (Nervous System, Intuition).  Therefore, it becomes stored energy responses within the body.

The body has many signals of information that it tries to communicate to you and we’ll take a closer look at specific areas of the body and its signals in the following posts.

Exercise: Noticing

Sit comfortably in a quiet space, eyes closed and connect with your body through gentle breathing.  You may want to bring your attention to your breathing, the rhythm of your exhale and inhale. During this breath as you notice your heart rate decrease or increase (hopefully it decreases), sounds you hear, skin sensations, or smells, Notice any tension or physical pains that you have or had.  Just notice what your body is telling you in that moment through your senses and follow that sensation for a moment. Then return your focus to your breathing.   You can repeat this exercise multiple times each time noticing any changes in tension or physical pain once you return to breathing state.