What is bodily awareness? It's important we know the difference between body awareness and bodily awareness. A quick google search will show you the following:
Bodily awareness is the way we relate to our body, including the way we perceive it, control it and affectively react to what happens to it, is unlike the way we relate to other objects. ~The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Body awareness is external awareness of the body. Ie. Making sure you don't bump into people in a crowded space.
Bodily awareness is internal awareness of the body. Ie. Noticing your tummy feels upset after digesting dairy.
Yoga helps with both. Taking time to quiet the mind, flow with the body and having a certified and trained instructor guide you through helps to create that body awareness. In our American society, we tend to idolize business. This leaves the mind constantly wandering and thinking about what's next, instead of being aware in the present moment. It also leaves less time and space for body awareness.
When we take a yoga class, we are creating that time for ourselves. I always create time after savasana for gratitude and invite my students to take the time to thank themselves for finding the time to quiet the mind, and connect with the body.
This brings me to bodily awareness. When we take the time to feel our bodies, check in with ourselves, we can keep our physical bodies feeling better and the mind sharp and happy. Bodily awareness gives us a chance to heal ourselves and prevent injury. It gives us a chance to find and set boundaries.
Just like noticing that you may be lactose intolerant, it's important to notice how the rest of your body is feeling. If we stay distracted with our business, these problems can get worse over time then it feels like you "suddenly" have a back or hip problem. When in reality, if you had more bodily awareness you may have noticed pain or problems earlier.
Try It Out!
We learned one way to create that awareness in the hips this week. Starting in Warrior II, straighten out the front leg. Pivoting from the ball of the foot, bring the heel back 45 degrees. From there, keep the legs strong and the knee caps lifted (this will keep your knees safe) and pivoting from the heel, bring the toes forward 45 degrees. Your toes, hips, and shoulders should now all be facing the side of your mat. You should really be able to feel the muscles, joints, tendons, and all that other good stuff inside our bodies keeping us together working together!