Interoception – what is it and why does it matter?

Interoception is the process by which our brain pays attention to the signals from within our body and makes adjustments to things like our hormone levels, our immune system, our temperature, our metabolism, our pain signals and the unfolding processes within our organs. Interoception happens constantly and much of it is below conscious awareness. Poor interoception can result in a lack of homeostasis in the body and the mind, and is associated with:

*Medically unexplained symptoms
*Negative emotions
*Emotional volatility, mood swings, difficulty regulating emotions
*Difficulty making decisions, or making decisions that are not in our best interest
*Disordered eating patterns
*High blood pressure
*Addictive or compulsive behaviours. When we have poor Interoception, it is harder to maintain balance within the body and the mind and it is harder to come back to neutral after a period of stress or arousal.

However, interoception is a skill that can be developed, and one of the best ways to develop it is through a slow, mindful Yoga practice. Developing interoception can result in:

*Improved vagal tone, which means your body can relax and return to balance quickly after a period of stress
*Increased heart rate variability, which is a sign that your nervous system is balanced and you can adapt well to changes in your life and/or your environment
*A sense of presence, feeling that you are here and now, not stuck in the past or caught up in imagining the future
*A sense of agency, feeling that you have the ability to take effective action in your life
*The ability to self-regulate, and to help others self-regulate and socially engage
*Resilience, the capacity for your nervous system to remain balanced and stable
*Enhanced ability to notice internal messages from your body, connect to your ‘gut feelings’ and develop your intuition or sixth sense
*Cultivating the ability to make intelligent choices and decisions, and to respond wisely to circumstances, rather than be drawn into reacting/over-reacting

Keen to develop your interoception and reap the long term health benefits?

Join me for Yoga! You don’t need to be fit. You don’t need to be flexible. You just need to show up. I have three new class series commencing 2 and 3 Sept. One focuses on mental health, one on chronic pain, and one is a general beginner’s class designed to introduce you to Yoga and teach you some of the foundations of practice. Please see links for details.


Yoga for Chronic Pain

Yoga for Mental Health