A look at interoception through the spectrum of The Franklin Method®
Have you ever stood still for 60 seconds and thought of nothing? Go on… try it… I’ll time you.
Ok, times up. How did you do? Tougher than you thought? Most of us will find ourselves listening to the chatter in our mind or being distracted by the noise of traffic, or thinking about something that happened yesterday. It’s a challenge to keep your mind in the present and really notice your own being. This is called interoception, it is the sense of what is going on in your own body. In a technological era where advertising is everywhere it becomes more and more difficult to listen or notice our own body. Sometimes the only thing that can really make us feel our own physical presence is when it goes wrong.
So why is it important to improve interoception when you consider movement? The answer is relatively simple… change.
In order to improve our experience of our body, we need to figure out a place where we are starting from. It’s a bit like if I gave you directions to a place but left out the starting point. We must understand our own status quo in order to recognise change when it occurs either for the better or not. So often people find easier to describe the feeling of their body in the past than how they feel right now. You cannot change your experience of the past but you can change how you feel right now but only if you can feel it.
This is particularly relevant in January when many of us are setting new goals and fresh intentions for the coming year. The first thing to do is stop, listen and notice where we are right now. When we do this we can start to set achievable, relevant goals that will easily breed lasting change.
Interoception during exercise can also help us to avoid injury. If we can feel and recognise our limitations we can choose manageable and relevant exercises that will make us feel better and not worse.
The good news is it gets easier.
Start standing and just scan the feeling of your body. From the weight in your feet, right up to the crown of your head. Notice things like your balance, your weight, your temperature and tension levels. Do this without judging whether what your feeling is correct or incorrect. Try not to analyse why you are feeling these things, just notice them.
If you start to think of other things or get distract by other thoughts just gently draw yourself back into the physical sensation of your body. A good place to focus is your breathe. See if you can visualise it travelling in and out. Notice what moves and what doesn’t.
To challenge you interoceptive practice try noticing your body when you are out in more stimulating situations, where you feel it is easy to get distracted or harder to stay calm. See what affects it has on your experience of this situation.
Practicing this minute of interoception has become a key part of my own journey of teaching pilates and learning the Franklin Method® .
Charlotte teaches @ The Body Workshop Pilates in Cirencester and Bristol. Follow Charlotte on instagram @mindyourmoves For more information on the Franklin Method® you can visit http://www.franklinmethod.com or to find out if I am teaching a Franklin Method® workshop email me at firstname.lastname@example.org