WHY The living organism expresses itself in movemBent more clearly than in words But not alone in movement in pose in posture in attitude and in every gesture the organism speaks a language Which antedates and transcends its verbal expression? The connection between mind and body has long been a contentious point of debate and our understanding of it remains shrouded in mystery but whatever its true nature this connection is extremely powerful and it is one in which causation runs both ways our Mind can help heal an ailing body while our body can do the same for an ailing mind in The West this latter approach is underutilized mainstream psychologists and psychiatrists are far more Oriented toward techniques that work at the level of our thoughts or emotions or to altering the chemistry of our brain with drugs Than they are to helping us resolve our issues with techniques that work at the level of the body But for many of us change at the somatic level may be the change We need to unlock a better life in this video relying on the work of Alexander Lowen a 20th century psychotherapist and medical doctor We are going to explore how our bodies can be used to promote our psychological health in the development of a great character So intimate is the intermingling of bodily and psychic traits wrote Carl Jung that not only can we draw far-reaching? Inferences as to the constitution of the psyche from the constitution of the body But we can also infer from psychic peculiarities the corresponding bodily characteristics The etymological root of the word character stretches back to the ancient Greek word for a stamping tool Our life experiences stamp their imprint on us and in conjunction with our genetic dispositions help shape our character This stamp of experience. However operates at both the level of the body and the mind and for this reason our Character is expressed as much in our bodies as it is through our minds or as low and explains Psyche and soma are two aspects of a unitary process one mental and the other physical Much like the head and tail phases of a coin whatever one does with the coin affects both sides simultaneously An example can clarify this point suppose in our childhood We had role models who demeaned or ridiculed us rather than teaching us how to live and how to flourish Such an experience will undoubtedly influenced the development of our character Self inhibiting thought patterns and negative emotions such as hate anger and anxiety are likely to shape who we become but these negative thought patterns and maladaptive emotions are not hermetically sealed off in the mind our Thoughts lead to action or abstention of action and action is a bodily phenomenon Emotions are felt in the mind, but they also have a somatic form of expression and this expression influences the structure of our body the Baggage of our youth will not just weigh us down psychologically but it can also weigh us down physically and inhibit the functioning of our body whereas Lowe and explains if A person has a strong and secure sense of himself He will naturally stand erect if he is frightened He will tend to cower if he is sad or depressed his body will droop If he is trying to deny or compensate for inner feelings of insecurity He will stand like a martinet and his posture will be unnaturally rigid that a human body is an expression of its character is Intuitively known by each of us as it forms the basis of our ability to read people by their body language wise men wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson read very sharply all your private history in your look and gait and behavior the Whole economy of sure is bent on expression. The tell-tale body is all tongues We also pay homage to this connection between character and body in the many somatic metaphors We use to represent psychic conditions. We call people pushovers We say they lack guts that they are spineless always on their toes or incapable of holding their ground But while we may rely on the bodily Instantiations of other people’s character to help us interpret who they are and how we should interact with them Relatively few of us. Take a serious look at our own body and the somatic expression of our character flaws But ignorance is not bliss in this regard for as Socrates stated long ago It is a disgrace to grow old through sheer carelessness Before seeing what manner of man you may become by developing your bodily strength and beauty to their highest limit Developing our body in the direction of its highest ideal is one of the surest means to the cultivation of a great character For just as our thought patterns and emotions affect the structure of our body How we hold and move our body alters how we think and feel if we want to be courageous? For example, we can change how we relate to our emotions But in addition to this we can also start holding and moving our body in a manner that reflects and promotes courage But in order to make use of this bottom-up approach to character development We need to understand the bodily ideal toward which we should aim for only with such knowledge Can we begin crafting experiments to help move us in this direction? The first thing we need to recognize is that with the rise of anxiety disorders and depression in the modern West The bodily expression of increasing numbers of people is likewise becoming pathological Normality should not be seen as a representation of health Rigidity immobility and awkwardness and movement and either compulsivity or impulsivity in action Typify the somatic expression of the normal man or woman these days and all these traits are ones. We need to move away from Broadly speaking right slowin the emotionally disturbed person moves compulsively or impulsively The compulsive person is rigid his ego restraints are so-so that his movements take on a mechanical Patterned quality and spontaneity is missing the impulsive person is hyperactive He can neither sit still nor channel his energy into constructive activities His inadequate ego is constantly being overwhelmed by his feelings At the same time he is constantly frustrated since his feelings spill out without achieving anything The compulsive person is afraid to let go of his rigid control. The impulsive person is unable to maintain control in contrast to this picture of the emotionally disturbed the healthy body the body that is the reflection and promoter of a well-developed and High functioning human being can be defined by two main traits gracefulness and aggressiveness Gracefulness is perhaps the most obvious sign of a body That is the home to a flourishing mind the graceful individual naturally catches our eye and not just because such people are rare But also because this type of movement is inherently attractive Graceful individuals are not self-conscious about their bodies and they move with a natural ease Lowe and suggests that gracefulness is found at the golden mean between spontaneity and control Too much of either contributes to psychological disturbance but a healthy dose of both is the recipe for grace Spontaneity is a function of self-expression. The more alive a person is the more spontaneous are his movements The body is naturally Expressive it is constantly changing to reflect its inner feelings in this respect It is like a flame which is never the same at any two moments While the body is more structured than a flame. It is not as rigid as a machine It has a fluid quality and responds to the play of the inner forces When control and spontaneity are integrated in the body’s movements, the result is coordination coordination reflects the degree to which the ego is identified with the body and yet is in command of its movements a Healthy person is well coordinated in his movements. He is spontaneous and yet in control But the flourishing human being is more than just graceful in bodily expression He or she is also capable of aggression Not aggression in the sense of committing hostile acts against other people but aggression as the opposite to passivity The aggressive manner woman does not sit idly by waiting for the necessities of life to be delivered on a platter Rather he or she is proactive such people move forward into life in search of what they need Aggressiveness is a trait naturally embodied in all living creatures and necessarily. So for without it survival would be impossible man is the only creature who can deceive himself in the belief that passiveness is an appropriate way to live a person’s natural aggressive impulses can be suppressed but they cannot be eliminated right slow in life itself is Aggressive in that it is a forward moving ongoing process that seeks to overcome all obstacles a sprouting seed pushes its way very aggressively upward through the earth to reach the light as long as the metabolic activities of life continue Energy is produced to power the aggressive impulses when these impulses are blocked from expression The normal flow of energy is dammed creating an explosive situation How does one embody the aggression that promotes health? according to Lowen aggression is primarily a function of our legs our Legs are what move us forward into life and so limited strength or flexibility in our legs and a more sedentary Existence will inhibit an aggressive mindset Standing with the weight shifted to the balls of our feet and knees slightly bent is a pose that can imbue the mind with increased Agressivity but aggressiveness is also promoted or hindered by our connection to the ground or as low and explains Having some ground to stand on has both the psychological and a literal meaning psychologically It means that a person has a good reason or cause for his aggressive action Without the inner conviction right or wrong. That one’s aggression is justified It would be difficult to move forward effectively in another sense the term having some ground to stand on Means that a person feels he has the right be on this earth and to share in the life of the earth He feels that he has the right to be to want to move towards and to take To evaluate how strongly a person feels this right? We can measure how strongly he can hold his ground Broadly speaking We can say that the more grounded a person is in his legs the more strongly he can hold his ground He will feel that he has some ground to stand on and therefore some standing as a person aggression and grace These are the traits of the flourishing body and the more we can mimic such forms of expression The more we will develop in both body and mind in our next video We are going to explore some practical ways to promote the bodily ideal We just outlined and one man, we will turn to for guidance is Friedrich Nietzsche for Nietzsche Well understood how important the body is in the promotion of a flourishing life so much so that he made the following bold Proclamation You say I and are proud of this word? But greater than this in which you do not want to believe in is your body and it’s great intelligence this does not say I but performs I You

100 thoughts on “The Ideal Body: How our Body Shapes our Character”

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  2. When I started fasting and losing weight my mind and emotions didn get better and I have a positive outlook on life and I feel I cant be stopped. I think better and my words are powerful.

  3. Well for other reasons most people want to be physically strong because they want to look good and overpower others with their strength, they want to feel dominant and feel important. But mostly for looks, it's better to train, not vanity. I would understand if you are in a sport and need your body to look more bulky or tough. But others really dont need to be so bulky or muscular whatever u call it, for the common people. Anyways I heard its the self esteem they get from working out and to be as strong as possible. But also, men who are physically more strong tend to have more sexual partners and usually isnt seen as a family type guy. Otherwise, you can do cardio exercises and aerobic exercises or yoga, that will keep you fit regardless and doesnt make you too bulky, at least for the common people who dont play sports, or is not in any form of competition. It makes sense.

  4. Thank you so much for this video. It has put the perfect words onto some profound intuition I have been having lately. And thank you Alexander Lowen!

  5. excellent work. When doing 'body work', such as yoga and tai chi and other movement arts, I learned about how these are connected. To sit alone with the mind and body, is the 'ground to stand on'. I experienced the 'runners high', when my body released the endorphins on schedule. When doing the same exercises daily, in the same order, at the same time, my body released endorphins without the pain. They were released at the time I would get into a stretching position. Amazing discovery that my body knew what time it was; it was time to release endorphines. This came by being consistent. Maybe runners have done this, without even running!? I'm sure they have. Since then, I never underestimate the power of the body, mind connection.

    Connecting works of great thinkers, is what makes this a video worth saving. Thanks!

  6. I recently went vegan (really good for me personally because I'm gluten intolerant and associate meat/cheese with bread/crackers). The diet, and the way it has me constantly moving have done wonders.

    I lost almost 40kg in two months (my PCP says I'm the healthiest I've ever been, for any armchair physicians reading), my energy levels are back to what they were as a child (not always a good thing).

    I had the confidence to leave a narcissistic abuser after barely a month of his drama. I finally adopted a dog to train to be my service dog after years of anxiety. I only spent two days crying this holiday, instead of weeks, and I'm already working on my art/business on the 26th (last December I ended up not doing anything for months).

    My eyes also changed color in the other ring (central heterochromia – they're 3 colors) but I'm not sure how to feel about that one because it went from brown to blue.

    Anyway. I wish I had seen this video a decade ago. Maybe I would have made the change instead of dealing with years of pills that did nothing but make me gain 40kg. I'm off the pills now.

  7. I workout and have a good diet but due to my weird body proportions; have extremely long femurs relative to my shins,torso and arms. I'm always hunched over, not only this ruins my posture but causes tight hamstrings, shoulder and back pain. I cannot find a solution to this, I do stretching and mobility exercises as specialists recommend but no improvement

  8. This makes so much sense, both intellectually and intuitively! I wonder, where is the breath in all of this? Antonin Artaud called upon one to develop one's breath – in acting, in poetry, and in language and the body.

  9. The scientific materialism of mind over matter was a natural follow up to a rising patriarchal notion of man over woman. Matter comes from the Latin, mater, meaning mother. And Mind is usually associated with spirit, which is what the masculine sky-God is made of, that heavenly celestial being who is free of any filthy feminine earthiness. Conclusion: of course body and mind are irrevocably interconnected! All things are–and the age of Cartesian dualism really should be put to rest now.

  10. "Man hath two ears and one tongue so he should listen twice as much as he should speak" Plato

    Everyone thinks they are a genius until they get a punch in the face.

  11. Do you have any more information or a video on nutrition and it’s affect on the psyche? I recently fasted for 5 days and changed my diet. The anxiety and intrusive thoughts I was experiencing almost vanished to nothing. It’s been incredible. Does this Alexander fellow that you quote speak of nutrition? If so, I’d like to read his work. Thank you.

  12. It's wild, I didn't know anything about body language until I was about 18-20. I thankfully studied psych and soc in college and it gave me a new way to look at things. That coupled with working in restaurants for the 7 years I was in college gave me a wide array of people to study. Body language says WAY more than people may want to admit about themselves. I've gotten to a point where I've realized that people have body language in their cars too. They have a tendency to do the same things before they do something particular. I travel a busy ass highway at least to and from work once a day if not again after and I have been studying people's movements and they usually give themselves away before doing something stupid or crazy or even just changing lanes. Sometimes it's a situational issue where no one pays attention to the signs telling them their lane is ending or their lane is an exit only and they all do the same thing, but it's like you can tell which ones are coming over even without a signal just by watching the minute details of their car. It's a great thing to watch people. It gives you a huge insight.

  13. Clearly this supposition doesn’t take into consideration the power of passivity. Stubbornness and excess weight in the body is very powerful counter-weight, which is why the ‘feminine’ aspect is increasing in power, and will stay there, b/c no amount of agility will get ‘her’ to move, only brute force, which ‘the system’ has insured we repress. Try to move an elephant with reason, that’s what happening here.

  14. Love love love this video. It reminds us that life is a partnership between our minds and our body; we speak, act, and imagine ourselves into existence.

  15. Your channel is extremely helpful to my mental health and I appreciate every video! Thank you so much keep up the amazing work

  16. This is a load of shite, you can see grace in evil people and robotic movement in well meaning individuals, this archaic point of view is limited and simplistic, these modes of thinking don't even take into account technological advancements and the weight of their impact on both the human body and mind. Things aren't as they were, so why follow a model that no longer applies ?

  17. I love this kind of philosophy. The side of philosophy where all they do is try their hardest to debunk creating, God – gets boring and old.

  18. I've been doing yoga for six months and my body feels better than ever… I am 50 and I'm now feeling very little pain, having suffered for years with my hips and legs. It's also been incredible for my mind. I feel young and positive about my life again. Yoga with Adriene here on YouTube, has changed my life. Great video 😁

  19. Yesssss👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏Brilliant ! FINALLY out of the head into the body👌 There is so much to go into here! Please do more vids on the works of Lowen and Wilhelm Reich 🙏

  20. So I’ve been aware of the psycho-somatic connection for a few years, but it never hit me until about 1 year ago when I started working on my Hunchback-of-Notre-Dame back posture. I tried everything. Diet changes, exercise, meditation and yoga and even a back training brace from Amazon that resembled a medieval torture device called The Rack that I used to have nightmares about as a child. 
    Nothing worked. Then, a friend suggested that I not hyperfocus on my spine and think in a more “holistic” way. After confirming that she wasn’t about to pitch me an MLM, I listened, and then tried adjusting my approach. Eventually, this led to an awareness of how quickly/shallowly I breathed because of how I subconsciously sucked in my stomach 24/7 (there are legit rock hard muscles hidden under the pillowy fields of my abdomen). So I started there instead. 
    Enter the extensive variety of deep breathing techniques and some improvisation so that I could incorporate my Juul (bc in truth, I’m but an asthmatic goblin with a sweet tooth and a nicotine addiction), and Holy Shit. Like Holy Holistic Mother of Miss Jesus, it turned out to be the secret to conjuring some deep sideways magic.
    Now, just starting off each day with 1-2 deep breathing techniques (and checking back in throughout the day), my life has been entirely overhauled. It not only fixed my posture secondhand, but it lessened my depression and anxiety in the most dramatic way. Both my generalized anxiety as well as my social anxiety (bc confidence tricks like the superman pose only really work for the latter, and for like….20 mins). Plus, it eradicated related issues like my chronic brain fog, chronic IBS, chronic muscle tension, chronic internal monologue/intrusive thoughts/disruptive compulsions, etc…
    I hadn't experienced such a transformation since my doctor finally found an anxiety medication to work for me and then tripled the dose. I felt like I’d shed snakeskin and emerged a different species. The final form of a Pokemon evolution.
    I am and always will be an open-minded skeptic, especially when it comes to “natural," “alternative,” and “homeopathic” solutions for mental illness. It’s 100% possible to recognize the importance of physical health and contributing factors (sedentary lifestyle, junkfood diet, etc) and still be a lifetime member of the “Karen, squats won’t cure my depression” club.
    But Holy Shit.

  21. Kinesthetic awareness really helps in bringing the mind body connection to another level. Many internal arts understand this and use the four elements of earth to break down how to “hold ground” with element of earth, element of water, element of air, element of fire. Each requires a greater degree or self understanding that allows you to break barriers you may not have even comprehended. The body has a sublime intelligence and you can build your sensitivity to how it communicates by cultivating a practice that requires you to move spontaneously. This sensitivity can carry over to everyday life and allows you to shut the brain off from menial contributions – which leads to following a flow that the brain and ego simply cannot comprehend nor follow. The result is a life that is woven through grace and infusion of the creator, something that great sages of antiquity spoke grandly of as an ideal.

    This also unlocks the psychic awareness and the many more obscure human sense mechanisms that the greats had in the past.

  22. When I did holotropic breathwork, my legs were so restless, nonstop, all the time… they started kicking up and down or sides, while laying down on the mattress with psychedelic music and breathwork got into me… Very interesting. Since I feel not grounded… and act not grounded when I panic, anxious.. which is often.

  23. Interesting. Recently started working out again after quite long. I'm gonna give special attention to my legs and see if strengthening my base brings any changes to how I feel and behave.

  24. When we exercise and exert our bodies we feel pain but it comes with a total physical transformation the body. There will be pain in spiritual transformation, too.

  25. The narrator is stiff and the source philosophies are flawed – but, there is merit to be drawn from the work of the past. Take it with salt and move in stride.

  26. I don't wanna put negativity but just incase if you read I never realised that thing sometimes happen to me is called being impulsive 🙁 It is more hard to deal with it than compulsiveness, at least for me. When you start acting compulsive you can tell yourself to enjoy and relax but when you are impulsive it is hard to stop yourself.Now that i know a name for it i can understand, question and search it deeply i guess. I am thankfull for that.

  27. This video made me read "Joy" from Alexander Lowen and start yoga. Had already 4 sessions and got more aware on my posture and what emotions are still trapped inside my body. I always focused on the mind and never really focused on understanding the body.

  28. I am certainly the compulsive type when it come to my movements. I have often tried to describe how rigid and constricted my movements can become, even the way I speak becomes confined. I’ve tried to explain this to others, but none seem to really understand. Does anyone have anymore information about this “compulsive type” and maybe ways to solve this problem?

  29. I don't think we should reinforce judging other people based on their appearances. The video is good but I fear it is being misinterpreted by those who are unaware of how cyclopean their egos really are…

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