by Allyna Steinberg
Love -- a feeling an intense feeling of deep affection -- is something we all we want. We often talk about love between people. When we talk about self-love, the discussion is often focused on the cognitive level, on our thoughts. Articles on self-love frequently share tips for changing our self-talk. There is an underlying assumption that "we are our thoughts" and that our thoughts are the key to building our capacity to love ourselves and others. What if our body was also a key to finding love?
When we take in a beautiful vista, smell our favorite food, taste the ocean air, feel our softest sweater, or hear a beautiful melody, it certainly feels to me like deep affection -- like love. Can love be found through our body?
We are equally our bodies and more than our thoughts. Then, why not consider thinking the sixth sense? This puts our other senses - sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing - on an even playing field with our thinking. And it gives us a powerful opportunity to drop into our senses when our thinking takes over or as a regular practice for living with love.
What daily ways do you already have of dropping into your body senses? Enjoying the smell of your morning cup of coffee or tea or favorite breakfast? Your morning shower? My list of daily sensory moments covering the five senses include waking up with extra minty toothpaste (taste), taking in the colors of the art on my wall (sight), noticing how my clothes feel on my skin (touch), breathing in the aroma of essential oil (smell), and listening to a song with a good harmony (hearing). Take a minute and see if you can think of the daily ways you drop into each sense: sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. And then I will share ways to use those experiences to deepen the love they give back based on the Alexander Technique.
Once you realize the body loves, you can tap into more connectedness and balance with a few Alexander Technique tips. Alexander found that the balance of the skull on the spine is central to coordination of posture and movement and that the body works as a whole (even though we like to talk about it in parts). So how does this relate to our dropping into our body senses?
- Sight, smell, hearing, and taste – all relate to sensory organs that point to where the skull balances on the tip of the spine. The tip of the spine is located behind our eyes and nose and between our ears – so all we’re seeing, smelling and hearing can remind us of where ideally our skull balances on the spine. When the tongue is not tense (the tip of the tongue sits inside our lower teeth and the back of the tongue suspends high and wide by our upper back molars), taking a trip from the tip of our tongue toward our taste buds we’re on our way up the ramp our tongue forms toward the skull balance. Thus everything we’re tasting can also remind us of this important place in the body. Learn more about this via my post on Is there a Neck Joint?.
- Touch – relates to the skin, our largest sensory organ, covering our whole body. Everything we touch could remind us of this body covering that interfaces with our environment in omni(all)-directions. This helps us embody our multi-dimensionality, which through the suspension system of our body supports the balance of the skull on the spine. Learn more about this via my posts on Our Body Concept Matters and Thank Your Body with Dynamic Support.
The next time you enjoy a sight, smell, taste or sound, notice how that’s a reference for where your skull balances on the tip of the spine. And with every touch, notice that you can pop into a whole-body awareness. This practice will put you on a path to creating more connectedness and balance within your body, which Alexander Technique students often experience as feeling lighter, aligned or whole. These hallmark experiences of Alexander Technique students remind me of a deep love integrating our senses and our whole selves. The body loves. Tap into it.
(This post originally appeared on alexandertechniqueforliving.com)
Allyna Steinberg teaches the Alexander Technique in NYC, Hudson Valley, NY and via online coaching sessions. Allyna also holds a Master of Public Health degree and has over 22 years of experience supporting communities, families and youth to improve their health. Allyna has practiced the Alexander Technique for 18 years, after learning about it from an orthopedist at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. She currently focuses her teaching on applications of the Alexander Technique to create relaxation and renewal in activity, heal from trauma, restore coordination through developmental movement, and reach the needs of diverse audiences including those with hypermobility (HSD/EDS). Allyna also co-founded the Alexander Technique Diversity Coalition and offers inspirational tips on her Facebook page.