I stumbled upon embodiment coaching in 2019 when I needed clarity around whether to go into business with a physiotherapy clinic in East London. My Pilates colleague Liz Bussey had qualified as a coach and I heard great results from her sessions. And it was an absolute game changer for me!
I’ve since seen Liz regularly and the clarity and straight up ability to get out of my head and connect with my belly, whenever I want, has shaped my decision making and as a result literally changed my life for the better. This article is not for me to talk about myself, it’s to help share information about this relatively new style of coaching that I think will be very popular in years to come within the therapy, coaching and even class space, just like when I discovered Pilates, back then a relatively obscure practice that hardly anybody knew about.
Through neuroscience and mindfulness we’re getting a clear picture across the health and wellness industry that calming the mind and regulating the nervous system are key to moving through trauma and working towards greater well-being. Embodiment, or presence-based coaching, does exactly that.
A bit on coaching:
Coaching is about the now and the future and less about digging through stored memories. Whilst it can be interesting to know why we have certain patterns and behaviours, that knowledge doesn’t always help us to change those patterns. Sure, the first step is awareness, but then what…? A coach wants to work with what’s coming up today, and how can we move through it.
Embodiment, or presence-based coaching, is ‘how’ you become clear on what’s coming up for you, today. Becoming clear involves bypassing the busyness of your head (that frontal lobe) and connecting with your chest area and/or your lower belly. We do this through softening the eyes and the tongue as these organs have a direct affect on your vagus nerve that regulates your nervous system (more on how your nervous system affects your ability to think clearly in articles to come). The notion of softening your eyes and tongue seem easy enough to understand, you could even try it now as you read this article. Do it and notice how you feel. Do you soften? Or is it hard for you to let go of your eyes or tongue? From personal experience and with clients, the more stressed and burnt out we are, the harder it is to do this. And this is where the work begins.
Thats where 1:1 sessions come in. An embodiment coach will stay with you and guide you through, helping you become aware of when you are in your body or if you've popped back to your head. It’s like a practice. The more you do it, the better you get at it. It's important to say here that there is nothing wrong with being in your head, it's a necessary part of operating.
However, having the ability to choose where you are operating from and access all of the information that your entire being has to offer has significant advantages. Being stuck in any one place, no matter where it is, has its limitations. This is what I see regularly - people unable to gain clarity around what they actually want in their work, relationships and home life. Or maybe they know what they want but have fear around getting it, or don't actually know how to get it. And maybe they've tried, over and over, but never quite seem to land exactly where they want. Their decisions aren't quite the right ones. Over time this constant lack of clarity holds in the body and manifests as tightness and pain. Realising this is what lead me to embark on this qualification.
My road to embodiment took turns due to my own lack of clarity. I originally thought (key word - thought!) an MA in psychotherapy and counselling was the one. But actually I was carrying around with me an old hang up on 'university' education. That hang up that wasn't useful currently in my life. Whilst completing a year of a psychotherapy and counselling MA was interesting, I dropped it because it wasn't how I wanted to work. And the truth is, I knew deep down it wasn't right. I just didn't have enough clarity at the time to distinguish this. I'm not saying starting the MA was a mistake (nothing really is if you learn from it), I actually use it in my client sessions today, however it was a long and expensive way of getting to where I am today.
None of this is to be judged as good or bad or right or wrong, it's just noticing what patterns and behaviours are useful for us today, here and now, and identifying what's not working and then making gentle and calm changes within. This work is really about getting to know ourselves better so we can make better decisions for our well-being and in-turn the well-being for our friends, family and beyond.
My diary is open for bookings, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to book or enquire. Sessions are 1 hour long and can be done over Zoom or in person in my North Cornwall studio.
"Self clarity helps you make more informed decisions which lead to greater well-being" AC X