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embodied ecological consciousness

Updated: May 1

To be embodied is to experience the body, and all of its components, as a felt-sense of the living experience. To be embodied with the earth is to experience and feel one's physical body and its physiological functioning as part of the earth; to feel alive and to experience bodily sensations as they change from fluidity to tension, for example, and vitality to expansion. Hatha yoga is referred to as the process of embodying consciousness. The techniques of hatha yoga invite presence within the body, observation of breath, felt sensations, and permeating places of tightness or weakness with the breath and awareness to transform habitual patterns (Rea, 1997). The extension of consciousness, which touches the subtle breathing, pulsating experiences of the body, is the cultivation of an embodied awareness.

There is an intimate reciprocity to the senses; as we touch the bark of a tree, we feel the tree touching us; as we lend our ears to the local sounds and ally our nose to the seasonal scents, the terrain gradually tunes us in in turn. The senses, that is, are the primary way that the earth has of informing our thoughts and of guiding our actions (Abram, 1996, p. 268).

An embodied expression of the pulse of life comes from the weaving rhythms of breath, heart, and body. With awareness, this weave expands to experience the felt-sense of interconnection with the living earth, pulsating and “permeating with the same elemental creative intelligence that gave birth to the stars” (Reinders, 2007, p. 7). The total reciprocal presence of in and out, rising and falling, contracting and expanding pattern of breath, heart, and body is mirrored in all of life, from the subatomic pulse of the atomic-quantum world to the pulsing vibration of stars (Rea, 2014). “Our own life is entirely continuous with the life of the rivers and the forests, our intelligence is entangled with the wild intelligence of wolves and of wetlands, our breathing bodies are simply our part of the exuberant flesh of the earth” (Abram, 2005, n.p.). An embodied expression of ecological consciousness can be experienced as a literal sensuously-felt breath into the weave of life-force.

ireland waters

written by colleen bishop, co-founder of Alchemy of Prana

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