My body is not a thing, not a temple, not a wonderland. My body is who I am. Through it, you can see my history, my culture, my experiences, my successes and my failures. It tells my story more clearly than any words I can speak. There is no separation between my body, my mind, and my soul: they all are one and that one is me. 

I got separated to understand the different aspects of me, what they each need and how to live through them all. Unfortunately, what happened is the opposite; instead of wholeness, there was neglect. For the longest time, I neglected my body and the vast intelligence it possesses. I transformed my body into a thing, an object, a nuisance. It neither looked, behaved, nor performed well enough. It was just a thing to take me from one place to another, following the mind’s orders. After all, that is what we learned at school. The brain on top is the controller of the body; it is the head of the body. I separated my body from all aspects of life. We got disconnected, and I deprived it of aliveness, in short, I killed it.

Until the day I took my shoes off at my first Nia class and stepped onto the dance floor. 

I reconnected with my feet. What a wonderful part of me my feet are! They carry all my weight on those tiny bones – 27 in each – that work in harmony and intimacy to allow so much movement and freedom. Imagine our feet to be one solid bone, without mobility and flexibility, how would our daily life be altered? 

Between the head and feet of any given person is a billion miles of unexplored wilderness.

– Gabrielle Roth

My body is a verb, in fact, a continuous verb. It is breathing, digesting, walking, talking, tensing, relaxing and sleeping. As one of my teachers, Paul Linden, says, “You don’t become angry, you do angry, you are angry-ing.” My body is in constant motion and continuous movement, the day it stops is the day I die.

The journey I started over ten years ago is the journey back to my body, to come home again, to be aware of being in a body, to be embodied

Embodiment means we no longer say; I had this experience; we say, I am this experience.

– Sue Monk Kidd

Manal Aldabbagh is guided by her curiosity and love for learning. Currently, she is a coach, dance and movement facilitator and Embodied Yoga Principles teacher. Manal’s passion is to support individuals on their journey to wholeness. 

You can find Manal on Instagram here.

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