How sharp is your Interoceptive Awareness?


I recently attended a workshop with the amazing Meghan Currie and it helped me feel myself from the inside as a new soul experiencing a body for the first time. I realised how much we all normally do, but how much of this doing can be automatic and often unperceived within our bodies and our scope of awareness.

I have been reading a book called "Fascia" by David Lesondak and he talks about something called, Interoception which is defined as the awareness of one’s own internal body state, our sense of the body’s own internal signals. Interception is essential to our sense of embodiment, motivation, and well-being.

I would love you to answer this honestly, when you brush your teeth, do you ever feel and notice the weight of your tooth brush in your hand or the sense of touch of the tooth brush on the skin inside your mouth as you brush ? or when you sit and eat, do you notice the different textures, temperatures and flavours of your food as you chew ?

So often we do this unconsciously, without paying much attention to the process and many times rushing through them, especially when doing something like brushing our teeth, most things become a means to an end, and we truly miss out on the miracle of "Being" as we get so busy! When we eat, sometimes even before we have chewed all the food in our mouths, we would bring a new spoonful of food as the flavour goes as we chew (have you noticed?) and then we realise we ate all our food sometimes without even noticing it ! I catch myself quite often lost completely in the act without a true conscious action in the "doing"

There are so many levels to our "feeling." We might want to indulge in the things that feel good and pleasant and completely avoid or reject those of opposite qualities, and when this happens, we unconsciously start to push the capacity to truly feel away. It's like when you have a friend who always texts you and you never reply, eventually that friend will get tired of sending messages, which can occur with the communications of our bodies due to the lack of interest on our sides.

There are endless layers and feelings inside of us waiting for us to become aware of them, to witness them, hold space for them, acknowledge them and most importantly, allow them to be there, sense them in their fulness without pushing anything away or becoming attached to any aspect of it in particular. And when we resist to feel this, we shut it down...

Like Meghan says, "Lean into your experience (the layers, the sensations, etc), it might feel like a wall, but it might be a portal"

During the workshop, I experienced postures and transitions in a way I had never really experienced before, it wasn't easy, but it brought a huge sense of release, accompanied with many sighs, and the yoga in itself, felt like medicine

And this medicine can be found in every single unfolding moment, as long as we are open to receive it <3

So, F E E L, ask yourself how are you? Every aspect of you, and feel it, ask as a good friend would ask you how you are. Become friends with your internal state, submerge into your inner layers and notice what's inside, no need to speak to your experience with words, thoughts or logic, but with a willingness to receive whatever unfolds in each moment

Why?

Faulty interoceptive input, or the inability to feel one’s own internal body state, is thought to be involved across a wide spectrum of psychosomatic and somato-emotional disorders. Both anxiety and depression are accompanied by significant alterations in interoception, as are eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.

Interoception is a lesser-known sense (some call it the seventh sense) that helps you understand and feel what's going on inside your body.

Things such as feeling: Hunger, thirst, tiredness, pain, different temperatures, and any other internal sensations.

Testing Interoception:

To do this test, all you need is a stopwatch, you can use your phone or kitchen timer.

  1. Set timer for one minute.

  2. Sit in a comfortable position and take a few deep breaths.

  3. Start the timer and count the number of heartbeats you feel. Write down that number

  4. Now repeat this same process while taking the pulse in either your wrist or neck. Wait two minutes and take your pulse again, and then take the average of the two results (in case you get a different count)

  5. Take the difference between the two counts. If, for example, the estimate heart rate was 60 and the pulse average was 80, the difference would be 20.

  6. Divide that number 20, by the average pulse number 80. In this example the answer would be 0.25.

  7. Subtract that number from 1. In this example the scores can be interpreted as follows:

0.80 or higher= very good interoception;

0.60 - 0.79= moderate interoception;

0.59 or lower= poor interoception.

Improving Interoception

Any physical activities that require our focused/conscious/mindful attention, as opposed to using the treadmill while watching videos, have the capacity to increase interoception; such as meditation, especially walking meditation, mindful eating, yoga, tai chi, Qi gong, practice body scan, yoga nidra or any other mindful practice.

You can even try a mindful hug !!

I would love to hear you results on the interoception test! Let me know on the comment section below =)

#interoception #mindfulness #feel

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