What Does Embodiment Mean, and Why Is It Essential to Our Happiness?

Breathe Deep to Let Your True Essence Shine

As you grow in your mindfulness practice you probably hear the word embodiment thrown around. But what does it mean? And why is it essential to our happiness?

For as much of a body-obsessed culture that we live in, we actually spend very little time in our bodies. We have cut ourselves off at the neck, using only our thoughts and bouts of pain or pleasure to feel into our bodies. We let our minds take the wheel and drown ourselves in images and data of what the outside world has determined we should look and feel. We have left the joy of feeling our bodies at the door. 

For many women, this cut-off begins around puberty or earlier as we have been trained to see the images of women that represent something we are not. This kind of body dysmorphia leaves us depressed and we hide our bodies for fear of rejection. We learn about pleasure from movies and TV so we can “perform” for the boys. 

We have trauma and abuse from our society all with an underlined virtue in the importance of being sexy for our lives to matter. 

Camille Rainville wrote a moving poem, “Be a Lady They Said” in 2017 that two years later became one of the most heart-wrenchingly profound pieces of art I’ve ever watched about what it means to be a woman. 

Unfortunately, men are falling into this trauma more and more as pressure to look a certain way increases while our lifestyles become more relaxed. We are busy, and sitting, and traveling in automobiles to get everywhere we go. We have our food and everything else delivered so we can stay home and dump more and more data into our minds about the world around us and our place in it. 

This modern lifestyle is super convenient. It’s convenient for all the companies out there who use their time and energy to invest you in them. To help you feel alone, like an outsider, and in need of what they offer. Whether it be a pill, or simply your attention, the goal is to keep you in your head and in mercy to them. 

Breathe into your Body

One of the easiest ways to start feeling your body is through breathwork. You’ve heard it a million times: Just Breathe. And our bodies are craving it, but our mind is in control and doesn’t see the point.

So let’s do it together now.

  • Take a nice deep inhale through your nose
  • Exhale with a sigh
  • Do it again.
  • Now close your eyes and inhale one more time, and feel the breath rise and fall as you inhale and exhale. 

Feels good right?

  • Continue to breathe consciously like this. 
  • Feel the air move into your belly on the inhale and notice the subtlety of movement as you exhale.
  • Continue with this feeling. 
  • Follow your breath 
  • With each exhale find yourself relaxing through your shoulders, your jaw, your belly. 
  • Perhaps even placing one or both hands over your heart and just being present in this moment.

If you are taking time to do this, even as you read, you are probably noticing a feeling of ease come over you. You may notice your mind has slowed and there is a sense of joy and connection within your body. 

This is how the embodiment experience begins. It begins with slowing down and becoming aware.


The first time I did a breathwork session my entire face was tingling and my hands morphed up into claws. I was numb and completely vulnerable. Once the hour-long session ended I realized I had streams of water flowing from my eyes and I was feeling such a powerful release of energy and emotion that I didn’t understand what the hell had just happened. 

The only thing I knew for certain was that I wanted to feel more. 

At the time I didn’t understand what was happening or what embodiment meant, but I started to see the power breath was bringing into my body. Every time I consciously started to breathe, and let the breath guide me into my body, I felt more open and expansive. I started to reconnect to dormant information within my body and gradually I have been able to release that stagnant energy out of my body using my breath. 

We store emotion, hurt, trauma, and feelings of shame in the body. We bury it within us and then cut off access to feeling it because it feels too painful. We lose that connection and rationalize it through our thoughts. 

When we talk about embodiment it’s not really a question of what you’re thinking, but where you’re thinking. 

Inner Intuition

With so much information being thrown around daily it’s hard to keep up and decipher truth from deception. The media is doing a great job of telling us what we need or don’t need, what’s important or unimportant, whom we should hate and whom we should adore. All we need is that seed to be planted for an idea to take on a life of its own. 

Breathwork helps us travel inward. It helps us take pause in the questions of the day so we can tap into our inner intuition and start deciding for ourselves what feels right in our bodies. 

Once our body is engaged we begin to feel into situations in our lives instead of analyzing them. We begin to grow up feeling more confident and in control of our body and thus our emotions. 

Embodying our perfectly imperfect bodies helps us to stand confidently when life feels hard and our insecurities are revealed. 

Taking ownership of your body is a huge step. Taking ownership means you are ready to breathe into the pain and air out old emotions and trauma. It means you are going to deal with uncomfortable emotions, people, and situations in the moment. It means becoming whole. Dancing in the rain, feeling the cold breeze hit your back, moving your body in new and challenging ways, and allowing yourself to illuminate from the inside out. 

Embodiment asks you to breathe into the spaces you’ve covered up early in your development and allow room to shift and move through that discomfort. Mindfulness is a daily practice and body awareness asks us to join this daily practice to listen, to observe, to notice. Your breath is your anchor. It’s the portal from the outer world to your inner experience. Whole-body living is connecting your breath to your mind in a way that opens you. In a way that helps you feel alive, rested, and in control of your life and your experience. 

The outside world will always find ways to showcase what is wrong with you and what you need to be doing. Embodiment is feeling into which of those messages are right for you and which you can throw by the wayside.

As you walk this path that is your life you will be continuously challenged and questioned about your choices. How you decide to show up and live is all about how you embody those choices. Anchor into your breath, feel stillness from deep within and walk confidently towards your true potential. 

***If you are interested in going deeper on a journey into connecting with your breath, check out my online course, Breath Mindset, and begin your embodiment journey today.