If I asked you right now, how do you feel inside your body, could you answer?
How is your heart beating? What does the sensation feel like?
Are you tense or relaxed?
These are basic questions to know how your interoceptive (internal body awareness) is.
In our quest to maximize our potential through concepts such as neurohacking, we have core tenets that will give us that boost we need to optimize and maximize ourselves. One of these principle practices is exercising our interoceptive awareness.
Interoceptive awareness creates more sensitivity. Interoception is defined as the sense of the internal state of the body. This is one of the goals of White Tiger Qigong as it was one of the ancient Taoists through their practice.
This is one of the key ways to get into a flow state. Being in a flow state is like getting into the zone and can be for many people a state of total focus in which successful people in their respective fields are able to enter frequently.
Beneficial effects on the brain from interoceptive mind/body practices:
- Scientifically proven emotional regulation
- Stimulate different areas of the brain so you get more “brain exercise” (see image below)
- Norepinephrine is released, improving attention, perception, and motivation.
- Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is released, protecting and repairing neurons from injury and degeneration.
- Hormones combine with BDNF to grow brain cells, regulate mood, and provide mental clarity.
- The hippocampus, a part of the brain concerned with learning and memory, grows in size with regular, mindful exercise over time.
- Serotonin is released, enhancing mood.
- Blood flow to the brain increases, delivering more oxygen and nutrients, and improving waste removal
- Dopamine is released improving motivation, focus, and learning
Many modern ways can damage your interoception/internal awareness.
Many people exercise while watching their phone or a TV screen. This act removes your mind from your body. Some kinds of drugs and painkillers are damaging your interception. For example, you take medicine for heartburn so you are not able to feel what the burn and then you will continue to eat the foods that are causing it leading to potentially greater health problems. Taking antidepressants will suppress the emotions so you won’t have the opportunity to look deeply into some of your life’s powerful lessons and lose the chance to grow. I am not saying these pharmaceuticals are all bad and wrong as in some cases people need them, but we must be aware of the long-term consequences.
We want to be able to feel and become sensitive to what is happening in our bodies. This is how we can become aware of what is happening in our bodies. We can begin to intuitively know how to balance our body’s and thus we become less reliant on medications, doctors, and hospitals. One trait of a master I trained with, is he could know each day if anything was off with extreme awareness and acute sensitivity. If anything was off, he knew how to adjust his practice. It is in our Prescription Qigong course that we learn how to balance our body and spirit, but the underlying foundation to be able to prescribe yourself Qigong exercises is to have good interoception, giving you true body awareness. When we look at this from a Taoist and Qigong perspective we are cultivating the spirit, because we are exercising our awareness of ourselves. Exercising your awareness is just like exercising a muscle.
Methods of increasing your body awareness/interoception:
- Daily movement practice such as:
- Bending, rolling, stretching, conscious movement
- Meditative walking
- Mind/body fitness practices that have intentional movement at their core
- Common calming sensory techniques:
- Heavy manual work
- Swaying, swinging, rocking like a mother rocks a baby to sleep
- Mindfulness activities
- Awareness exercises such as Melting Into Nothingness Qigong where we bring the awareness to each part of the body and consciously relax it
- Organ Qigong where we bring the awareness to each organ, the sensations of the organs and balance them
- I personally love the
Primordial Breath Qigong, White Tiger Breath, and Lung Qigong
- Other types of breathwork such as Holotropic breathing, Wim Hof Method, Tummo Breathing, Breath of Fire, and more
A skilled White Tiger Qigong practitioner has deep interoceptive awareness. We take the questions at the beginning such as can you feel your heartbeat, to a whole new level. We sense each one of our organs, we sense the entire facial matrix and also small pieces of it. We discover how to feel our meridians within the body such as in our Qigong online intensive and teacher training, and much more.