Self-Love as an Embodiment Practice
Mindfulness has grown in popularity over past few the years. The latest iteration of this trend is embodiment work. If mindfulness can be defined as activities that allow one to be fully present, embodiment work can be defined as using awareness of physical sensations in the body to be fully in the moment, without distractions from the world around us. This includes practices like dance or movement therapy, visualization, sensory awareness, and progressive muscle relaxation. Essentially, any movement or focus on physical sensation can become an embodiment exercise.
What is an embodiment exercise?
Embodiment practices use the body as a tool for healing and self-awareness. If you found developing a meditation practice too challenging (or too boring), embodiment work might be for you. Concentrating on sensations of pleasure in the body has the power to both calm your restless mind and maximize sexual gratification.
There is no wrong way to tether yourself to the present. Anything that allows you to drop into the present moment and stay there can be a mindfulness practice. Sexual encounters with a partner can be mindful, rapturous, and all-encompassing, but focusing on needs or desires outside of yourself can lead to you getting stuck in your head, ruminating on how the encounter is going. Are you blowing their mind? Are they hopelessly in love with you? Did they notice that unexpected, never-before-heard squeal or grunt that you just made out of nowhere?
It’s easy to start ruminating or get caught up in cyclical thinking when you are in bed with someone else. The beauty of using masturbation as an embodiment practice is that only your experience is relevant. Alone with your pleasure, you can release the sense of urgency to reach orgasm, let go of any worries about making out of character noises or faces, and focus on the experience of arousal in your body.
An embodiment practice can help reduce anxious thoughts and create a greater sense of calm and empowerment by challenging and engaging the body and inviting your overactive mind to take a break. Masturbation is a great addition to any self-care routine. It’s linked to greater self-acceptance, a more orgasmic partnered sex life, better sleep, and a stronger pelvic floor. Adding mindfulness multiplies the benefits.
Create a supportive space
Take the time to set up the ambiance that relaxes and arouses you. Seduce yourself. Draw the curtains. Lock your door. Turn off your phone notifications. Set up a refreshment tray with anything you’d be thrilled to be brought by a lover. Play your favorite mood music. It’s not one-size-fits-all. Create the space that works best for you.
Adapt a beginner’s mindset
Go into your mindful masturbation practice with an open mind. Try a new toy to eliminate expectations that you may have attached to an old favorite. Add in a new lubricant or enhancement product to change the experience.
Instead of focusing on the pursuit of reaching orgasm, explore what sensations you experience as you play. Scan your body from head to toe for sensations. Try to give words to your experience. Do you sense heat, tingling, pulsating? Notice your senses (smell, sight, touch, taste, sound).
Don’t rush the experience. Deliberately slow down to connect with your body and the experience of pleasure.
Allow space for a full range of emotions
It’s normal for feelings beyond pleasure and ecstasy to come up when you are taking the time to tap into your present moment sensations. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings without judgement.
Embodiment work is a great way to explore and experiment with different toys and arousal triggers. By spending time each week journaling about what you noticed during your masturbation practice, you’ll be able to track your exploration process and learn more about your body.