Every time you get a moment rescan your body, so you can start to notice when things change, the more you do this the quicker it will become and the easier it will be to feel.we spend most of our time living in our minds, thinking, solving problems, doing, day dreaming, wondering, and busy. This isn't all a bad thing but what it can lead to is a lack of feel, our mind is so focused on the external world and the problems we face we loose a connection to our own bodies, and its only when something is really wrong do we feel, pain, illness etc.
When riding and handling horses the predominant place of communication is through our bodies, we send signals to them through our bodies and we receive signals back from them by feeling what they're doing. So to feel is so important.
A good place to remind ourselves how to feel our bodies is by doing a body scan, this can be done anywhere and the more you practice it like the breathing the easier it becomes. On a scientific level what you're doing is recharging the pathways of the nervous system that connect the body to the brain, and the more you use the pathways the clearer and easier they are to be used.
First do this whilst sitting down,
Take your focus to your head, feel your scalp muscles relax a little, and the forehead soften, become aware of your jaw and consciously allow it to release.
Then bring your attention to your neck, allow it to lengthen but at the same time release any tension that has gathered there, allow your shoulders to drop a little maybe even roll them and feel them become heavier, notice if they are level or do you hold one higher than the other, do this just by feel.
Bring your attention to your arms feel them become a little heavier like they're hanging from your shoulders, become aware of your elbows weighting your upper arms down, your wrists relaxing and your fingers softening.
Drop the attention to the belly, feel it relax, maybe even feel it rise and fall with your breathing, then take your attention to your lower back and feel it soften as it sinks into your pelvis.
Become aware of your seat bones on the chair, notice if they have even weight on them and adjust slightly if they don't, feel your pelvis become a little heavier as it sinks into the chair you're sitting on.
Let your thighs relax, rest on the chair, allow the knees to soften and your calves to feel like they're dropping down, the weight trickling into your heals.
feel your heals resting in the bottom of your shoes, the sole of your foot spreading across the shoe, wiggle your toes and let them spread and relax. Feel your feet become heavy, like the whole of your bodies weight is falling into your feet as the rest on the floor.
Then slowly work your attention back up your body, still allowing the feet to be heavy, the legs to be relaxed, the hips to rest on the chair, and as you bring your attention up your back imagine your spine lengthening, feel your shoulders drop down the back of your body, your neck soften and the crown of your head sit balanced at the top of you body.
You are now fully aware of your body, this is a body scan, a way of checking in with every part of your body. Noticing where you have habits of holding tension or sitting into one side more than the other.
If you practice this whilst sitting at your desk, driving, even walking you will start the process of becoming more consciously aware, then take this practice into your riding, when you first mount up instead of immediately adjusting stirrup do a body scan first, check you're sitting evenly and that you're aware of your whole body and then make adjustments accordingly.
Everytime you get a moment rescan your body, so you can start to notice when things change, the more you do this the quicker it will become and the easier it will be to feel.
Let me know how you get on and what you noticed.