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August 2023 : Interoception

If I asked you to pause and pay attention to your body, and notice how you feel, for a full moment, how would it go? 

Would you be able to focus on your body? Would you be able to notice your current state without trying to change it? How much nuance can you locate in the feelings of your body? Can you feel weight, tension levels, the rhythm of your breath? your emotional state? 

In the neuroscience world, our body’s system for sensing internal information is known as interoception. 

The system for feeling how our body is organized in space, in relationship to itself and the external environment is called proprioception. 

We are also sensing for levels of threat and safety in our environment through a system known as neuroception

These systems are a part of our overall nervous system and contribute to regulating and deregulating our state of attention (fight/flight/freeze/fawn/social engagement/rest/ease/creative flow).

Exercise modalities don’t always bring awareness to each of these antenae. One of the foundational elements of Pilates is the mindfulness piece – focusing on our body while we move it. Through my time teaching and working with folks, I have come to believe that sensation is a necessary skill for focus. If we can’t feel something, there’s nothing to bring our attention to. 

This need for building skills of introception was a big motivator that moved me towards training in The Franklin Method. The Franklin Method offers tools for increasing our ability to feel our anatomy, specifically to feel our anatomy while in movement. I find these tools to be deeply empowering. I’m less interested in prescriptive exercise routines that tell us what to do to prevent pain – and more interested in how we feel about movement, the role that pain plays inside our movement habits, and cultivating an expansive sense of self that holds it all.