The Body as Teacher

This article includes excerpts from Living an Extraordinary Life by Christina Grote and Pamela Kramer. Find more information in the book.

The body is always in the present, reflecting our overall health and mental and emotional states. In “body language,” we communicate with each other consciously and unconsciously, giving subtle or not so subtle cues of our inner states or intentions. The body can tell us things that our thinking minds cannot. By paying attention to our physical experience—noticing the rhythm of our breathing, our heart rate, tension in our necks or bellies—we can become aware of how we are reacting to any given situation. The body reacts faster than the brain, and through attending to its many processes we can truly become “embodied” beings, finely attuned to ourselves and our environment. Mindful embodiment is fundamental to fully inhabiting ourselves in this world.

In order to thoroughly assimilate lessons from any learning process, we must bring what we have learned all the way into the body. The Leonard Energy Training exercises developed by George Leonard are a tool for doing just that, and thus are an important part of ITP. Relying on the wisdom of the body, these exercises call upon the body as teacher to not only show us how to live a more balanced, vital, and healthy life, but also to guide us in transforming our relationship with ourselves, with others, and with the world. Where deep-down human change is concerned, says Leonard, there is no more effective teacher than the body. By increasing bodily awareness with practice and by tuning into the fascinating information the body is continually broadcasting from our physical and subtle senses, we can increase awareness of the world through every domain of our existence, and create a harmonious relationship between our many parts. We can also follow the body’s guidance and develop new ways of dealing with everyday problems and, beyond that, develop extraordinary capabilities we may not even know we have.