Ways to Practice

The practice of embodiment brings our awareness to the present moment, where mind and body are together. Separation occurs when mind wanders forward to the future and back to the past. As your practice grows, you will become more aware of when this is happening and consciously choose to be in the present where mind and body unite.  It seems as though the mind’s main job is to generate thoughts and left to its own devices will continue to churn out thought after thought. But with the practice of mindful embodiment, you can start to observe how the mind is operating and this allows you to create just a tiny bit of space between you, as the observer, and your thoughts. You start to develop the ability to simply allow thoughts to come and go while you stay focused on the body in the present. Note: For those who have experienced physical trauma, intense emotions may arise when practicing focusing on the body. The guidance of a professional may be needed.


  1. studiorenewyoga@gmail.com

    First step is to practice embodiment, bringing your full attention to your physical self. This brings mind and body into the same moment. When you become aware of mind wandering away from the body, use a cue to bring mind back to the present. Here are cues that have worked for me and others. Find the one the works best for you or create your own:
    1. Bring full attention to your toes. Lift and spread, wiggle, etc.
    2. Place your hand on your belly and notice the gentle rise and fall as you breathe.
    3. Bring the tip of the index finger and thumb together on both hands. You could also do this while gently squeezing the “webbing” between index and thumb of the other hand.
    Whichever cue you adopt, start to practice. You could also attach this practice to an existing habit, say, each time you sit down to eat or when you get into your car.
    At some point, you may decide to commit 5 minutes each day of bringing full awareness to your physical self. One option is a body scan, head to toes or toes to head. There are several body scan apps and youtube guides to choose from or you can choose to scan the body in your own way. Keep in mind that in the beginning, you will likely find it difficult to sustain this attention as the mind is always busy generating thoughts. Each time the mind wanders, gently bring attention back to the body. The important thing is to consistently, persistently practice this to create a new neural pathway in the brain and develop an enhanced relationship between mind and body.

    • Margaret Newland

      I remember one teacher, Robert Svoboda, saying, “The body would be perfectly happy without the mind.” What I understood was that the mind can often seem like a tyrannical ruler from the body’s perspective. Once you intentionally start to practice becoming aware of the body, you will find it has very much to say. I often comment that if you are having regular conversations with your baby toes, you are probably pretty healthy (and most of those conversations do not start with the sharp pain of a stub!).


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *