In our society, even this word is loaded. This is one of the many fights of my life. I am a sensual person. If anyone has ever seen me sick or with an injury they know that I have a very low pain threshold. I experience all the sensations of the body in a rather heightened way. I’m talking about sensing. Noticing with the senses. Sensuality would be the enjoyment of this noticing. Sensuality is not by nature sexual. Sexuality isn’t always in practice sensual—though it should be, everything should be.
Society’s inability to separate sensuality from sexuality is where a lot of our problems begin. If people were comfortable finding pleasure with the senses (smell, taste, touch, sound, sight) they might not find the same drive towards an excessive sexual appetite or a food-based appetite.
I try to do a lot of partner work in my classes to encourage people to touch each other in a sensual, non-sexual way. Intimacy of touch is very reassuring to the nervous system and very satisfying for our need to connect with others, but it also is a skill set that some people don’t have. Whether it is touching the low back to feel your partner breathe into their kidneys in child pose or sitting back to back to experience the movements of the ribcage, it is obvious that these are not loaded postures. These are safe, easy postures that are very calming.
One of the ways I teach people how to stretch or strengthen is to encourage them to follow sensation. When my students actually follow sensation the atmosphere in the room changes and everyone’s postures are softer, easier and so much more beautiful. I know they’ve felt it because they walk out of class smiling.
I think it is important to have a list of favorite sensual experiences that can be turned to when you are feeling down or even stressed. So today I’m going to share my current favorite sensual experiences.
Recent Feasts for My Senses
- Bright green ground cover on all the farms in Western Mass
- Crunching of dry maple leaves on my walk to the office
- My fully recovered sitz bones that now don’t mind my bike seat
- New squishy handlebar covers that I can feel even through my mittens
- Wearing a scarf all the time again
- Pesto we made last week with all the basil before the frost hit Friday night
- How much faster and brighter a child’s pulse is than an adult pulse
- Twig tea with milk in the mornings
- Mt. Tom almost fully yellow
- Sleeping beneath my down comforter
If you need more inspiration check out this amazing article on why five senses is just not the whole truth.
Please share your recent favorite sensual experiences. It encourages people to go out and try them so the enjoyment spreads!