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Psychedelic Preparation: The Power of Bodily Attunement

Enhancing body attunement through regular practice and observation is crucial for preparing for psychedelic experiences and navigating everyday life. Techniques such as breathing exercises, mindful movement, and professional guidance help cultivate a deeper connection with the body, mitigating the overwhelming effects of increased awareness during psychedelic journeys.

This article shares profound insights from Jimmy Nguyen’s personal psilocybin journey and emphasizes the vital importance of preparation for psychedelic experiences. Jimmy delves deeply into the concept of bodily attunement, highlighting how tuning into the body and building awareness are essential for creating a strong foundation for intentional psychedelic healing.

Jimmy discusses his recent life changes, including moving into a travel trailer full-time with his 17-year-old cat, Nugget, and how these experiences have influenced his approach to bodily awareness and preparation. He explains the significance of observing bodily sensations, reducing external stimuli, and practicing mindfulness as ways to prepare for and enhance psychedelic journeys.

Readers will learn how to develop the skills necessary to navigate both psychedelic and life experiences meaningfully. We share practical advice on how to start tuning into your body, such as setting aside time for quiet observation, engaging in mindful breathing, and noting any physical sensations or patterns that arise. We also discuss the importance of having a way to release energy from the body, whether through physical activities, somatic practices, or bodywork.

Whether you are new to psychedelics or a seasoned explorer, this article offers valuable tips, personal stories, and practical advice to support and enrich your experiences. 

This article is inspired by our insightful podcast episode hosted by Psychedelic Passage co-founder, Jimmy Nguyen, which you can listen to on all streaming platforms.  

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For harm-reduction purposes, we provide links to online psilocybin vendors, local stores, delivery services, and spore vendors for growing your own medicine at home.

Key Takeaways

  • Practice Bodily Attunement: Regularly observing and tuning into your body’s sensations helps prepare for the heightened awareness during psychedelic experiences and is crucial for managing and integrating these sensations effectively.
  • Universal Skills: Skills developed through bodily awareness, such as non-judgmental observation and stress release, are invaluable not only for psychedelic journeys but also for navigating everyday life challenges.
  • Preparation Steps: Incorporate practices like breathing exercises, mindful movement, regular check-ins, professional guidance, energy release techniques, and creating quiet spaces to build a robust foundation for both psychedelic and daily experiences.
  • Psychedelic Passage: Your Psychedelic Concierge — The easy, legal way to find trustworthy psilocybin guides, facilitators and psychedelic-assisted therapy near you in the United States.

The Modern Disconnect from Our Bodies

A capitalist consumerist society, like the one Americans live in today, cultivates a certain type of person. In the early days, hard physical labor would lead us to dissociate from the task at hand and the aches felt in our bodies. 

As a society, we learnt coping mechanisms to deal with being trapped in the rat race: dissociation, alcohol, socialization. Anything to distract us from reality. 

Now, as a lot of work has been transformed to mental work: our problem solving skills, what our brain has to offer, we find ourselves still dissociating from our repetitive lives just so we can press on and get the job done. 

Both sedentary workers and individuals in manual labor can find themselves disconnected from their bodies. The former due to the nature of their work and the latter, ironically, due to dissociative coping mechanisms necessitated by exhausting physical jobs.

Intentional psychedelic use goes directly against what a society like ours has been built upon throughout the industrial revolution by heightening our overall awareness, from situational awareness to bodily awareness, even our eyesight becomes more detailed with the ingestion of a psychedelic like psilocybin. 

So how does someone so used to dissociating cope with a sudden influx of awareness? The answer is practice, practice, practice. 

Our host Jimmy Nyugen uses the example of watching TV. If you are used to watching TV from a certain distance, and then suddenly you zoom in to where you’re about 6 inches from the TV screen, you’re going to have a difficult time adjusting to such a dramatic and sudden change. 

Similarly, being unaccustomed to bodily awareness can make the intense physical sensations during a psychedelic experience overwhelming. Thus, understanding and practicing bodily attunement beforehand can help manage and integrate these sensations during a journey, and in life.

“I call these things universal skills. The same skills that help you to navigate a meaningful psychedelic experience are the same skills that help you to navigate a meaningful life experience because a psychedelic trip is a microcosm of the life experience with life being one big hallucinatory experience as well. Right? 

So if you can work on these things in the context of a psychedelic container, then it actually allows you to work on these things in the context of your life container.”

The Intrinsic Link Between Psychedelics and the Body

In this section, we explore the variety of ways that psychedelics interact with the body. When we think about psychedelics, we often think of a journey into the mind, not how they can affect our mood, sleep, bodily awareness and energetic release. 

Recommended Reading: Psychedelics in The Body: A Head to Toe Guide of Effects

A common misconception is that psychedelics primarily influence the mind. While the mental and emotional shifts are highly noted, the physical aspect of the experience is equally impactful. 

A substantial portion of the serotonin used by the brain is produced in the gut, highlighting the gut-brain axis and the importance of a healthy microbiome. This interconnection means that the state of our body directly affects our mental health and, by extension, our psychedelic experiences.

For example, some psilocybin users report feeling sleepy after taking even just a microdose due to it’s effects on the serotonin system. 

Another reason one may feel drowsy is because you were already tired without realizing it, and the heightened awareness from psilocybin makes you more aware of your bodily state. 

Physical Components of Trauma and Emotional Release

From life-threatening or near death experiences to an accumulation of trauma over time, trauma can get “stuck” in our body without us ever realizing it. Due to our western societal pressures we’re taught to repress these emotions and our bodily responses to them. 

In previous articles we have mentioned how animals discharge from trauma, using the example of a gazelle’s entire body shaking after almost getting eaten by a lion, as a way of working through it’s experience and being able to move on without their trauma inhibiting them. 

As Americans, we’ve become disconnected from the ways of traumatic residue release using our nervous system, and in turn we carry our trauma with us. 

One of the most prominent examples in our society is military veterans returning home with PTSD. There is no time to work through trauma on the battlefield, and even after returning home help has been notoriously severely limited for them. 

Luckily the psychedelic community has discovered the lack of resources for veterans suffering from PTSD and mental health problems due to their military experience and people like Jesse Gould have begun building resources for them like the Heroic Hearts Project.

As you can see there are many different ways that psychedelics interact with our bodies, through heightened awareness, chemical interactions, and physical components of trauma, which is why getting attuned to your body will greatly benefit your psychedelic experience. 

Preparing the Body: Practice Rounds for a Psychedelic Journey

Preparation for a psychedelic experience can be likened to “practice rounds” in sports. These practice rounds involve observing and attuning to the body’s sensations and rhythms, similar to how an athlete might practice shooting hoops before a game. 

By doing so, we create a container for the experience—a foundational stability in sobriety that allows us to navigate the psychedelic journey more effectively.

Recommended Reading: 8 Ways to Enter the Psychedelic Realm Without Drugs

Observation: The First Step

Observation is pivotal. Most of us go through life with an autopilot mindset, rarely pausing to truly listen to our bodies. 

“The ability to tune out and observe what’s going on in your body can actually be a natural antidote to this dissociative state that most people find themselves in as it relates to their relationship with their body.”

Nyugen shares a personal story of rediscovering his physical aches and pains to illustrate the transformative power of simply paying attention: 

Jimmy had been used to living alone without anyone else observing his habits or quirks, until he had made the move across the country to move in with his partner. 

She first asked, “Have you always wheezed like that?” in which he replied, “What are you talking about? I’m breathing normally and totally fine.”

“No, just breathe and listen.” she said. As he was breathing he noticed that on his exhales he had a small whistle or wheeze he hadn’t noticed before. They dove into it further to discover his nose was mostly blocked and he had also never noticed.

This was the first instance that sparked further observation of himself, which led to the discovery of pain in his ankle that in turn affected his gait, his knee and his hip.

When we learn to observe our bodies, we can identify and address underlying issues that might otherwise disrupt a psychedelic experience. Not only that, but it helps us overall in life as well.

Being out of touch with our bodies not only includes lack of awareness of physical pain but also areas where we hold stress and tension. 

A keen observational practice can reveal chronic issues that might need professional medical attention, further underscoring the importance of bodily attunement as a preparatory step.

While observation is the first step, it should continue through the process with you. Be observed through this process, use documentation, and it will lay a strong foundation for intentional psychedelic use. 

Building Body Awareness

Enhanced body awareness can prepare us for the heightened sensations often brought on by psychedelics. This increased awareness can be both a blessing and a challenge; while some might find it enlightening, others could find it overwhelming. 

The expanded awareness provided by substances like psilocybin should be honed over time through integration processes, allowing it to bring physical problems to light in order to dispel both physical and emotional ailments.

The concept of “universal skills,” serves both psychedelic and life experiences. Skills like body awareness, stress release, and non-judgmental observation can navigate and enhance both psychedelic journeys and everyday life. 

Practical Steps to Attune to Your Body

Breathing Exercises: Simple yet profound, paying attention to your breath can ground you in the present moment. Deep, belly breaths help connect you to your physical self and can be a precursor to deeper body awareness.

Mindful Movement: Practices like yoga, Tai Chi, or even mindful walking can enhance your connection to your body. These activities encourage you to pay attention to subtle body signals and improve your overall awareness.

Regular Check-ins: Like Nyugen’s observational anecdotes, make it a habit to regularly scan your body. Notice any discomfort, pain, or unusual sensations and contemplate their origins.

Professional Guidance: Sometimes, having an external observer, like a therapist or bodyworker, can help highlight what we might miss on our own. They can offer new insights into your physical state.

Energy Release Practices: Nyugen suggests integrating practices that release stored energy in the body, such as through vocalization, physical exercise like using a punching bag, or engaging in somatic work, ecstatic dance, or body manipulation by a professional.

Creating Quiet Spaces: Reducing external stimuli can help focus on internal bodily sensations. Whether it’s spending time in a sensory deprivation tank, meditating, or simply lying down in a quiet room, these practices enhance self-awareness.

Learn How To Read Your Body & Ready Your Mind 

Psychedelics interact with every part of ourselves: from our mind, to our bodies and our souls. Everyday life can steer us away from ourselves and turn our focus to the outside world. Use these tools to practice turning your focus back on yourself, because you deserve it.

  • Maintaining Authenticity After Integration: Understand the significance of preserving internal integrity through psychedelic integration, emphasizing the role of genuine self-reflection in sustaining personal evolution.
  • More Preparation Tools: Body attunement is one of the many ways to prepare for an intentional psychedelic experience, we’ve compiled a handbook chock full of helpful tips, but if reading isn’t your thing check out our prep workshop!

Client Testimonial:

“Michelle was awesome. I recognize her from the podcast. She was very empathetic and answered my question in a clear and accessible manner. I felt comfortable opening up to her about my struggles and truly felt she had my best interests in mind.” — Psychedelic Passage Client

Connect With Our Network of Pre-Vetted Psychedelic Therapy Providers

Hi there! We sincerely hope that you’ve found valuable takeaways that resonate with your current intentions. To explore research-based education, stay updated with psychedelic news, and benefit from practical how-to articles, we encourage you to head over to our resources page.

If you’re seeking personalized advice and are prepared to take the first step toward a therapeutic psychedelic experience, we invite you to book a consultation with our team of experienced psychedelic concierges.

This consultation is more than just a conversation; it’s an opportunity to be matched with a trustworthy local facilitator. You’ll be seamlessly connected to our rigorously vetted network of psychedelic guides, ensuring potential matches align with your needs.

Psychedelic Passage offers confidence and peace of mind by alleviating the burden of having to guess who’s right for you. If you want to discover how Psychedelic Passage can help you, we empower you to learn more about our services and check out client testimonials from those who’ve gone before you.

Your healing path is uniquely yours, and our commitment is to serve you at every juncture. Psychedelic Passage: Your Psychedelic Concierge — The easy, legal way to find trustworthy psilocybin guides, facilitators and psychedelic assisted therapy near you in the United States.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is bodily attunement important in preparing for a psychedelic experience?

Bodily attunement is crucial because psychedelics heighten overall awareness, including physical sensations. If you’re unaccustomed to being aware of your body’s nuances, the intense physical sensations during a psychedelic journey can become overwhelming. 

Practicing bodily attunement beforehand helps manage and integrate these sensations more effectively, creating a stable foundation for both the psychedelic experience and everyday life.

2. How does a capitalist consumerist society contribute to our disconnection from our bodies?

In a capitalist consumerist society, the focus often shifts to cognitive tasks and problem-solving skills, leading to a dissociation from physical sensations. 

Many cope with the pressures of this society through mechanisms like dissociation, alcohol, and socialization, which further disconnect them from their bodies. 

This detachment is exacerbated for both sedentary workers and manual laborers, albeit for different reasons: the former due to the nature of desk work and the latter due to the physical exhaustion necessitating mental escape.

3. What are some of the physical effects of psilocybin that one should be aware of?

Psilocybin can influence various physical states, including mood, sleep, and bodily awareness. For instance, some users report feeling sleepy after taking even a microdose due to its effects on the serotonin system. 

Additionally, heightened awareness from psilocybin can make one more conscious of pre-existing physical conditions, like fatigue, which they might not have realized before. Awareness of these effects helps in better preparing the body for a psychedelic journey.

4. How does trauma manifest physically, and how can psychedelics help in its release?

Trauma can get “stuck” in the body and manifest as chronic physical tension or pain without one ever realizing it, mainly due to societal pressures to repress emotional and bodily responses. 

Psychedelics like psilocybin help by heightening awareness, thereby bringing these hidden traumas to the surface. This awareness allows for emotional and physical release, similar to how animals discharge trauma through physical shaking after a threatening event.

5. What practical steps can be taken to enhance bodily awareness and prepare for a psychedelic journey?

Several practical steps can help:

  • Deep, belly breaths can ground you in the present moment and improve body awareness.
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, or mindful walking encourage attention to subtle body signals.
  • Make it a habit to scan your body for any discomfort, pain, or unusual sensations and consider their origins.
  • An external observer, like a therapist or bodyworker, can provide new insights into your physical state. 
  • Engage in activities like vocalization, physical exercise, or somatic work to release stored energy. 
  • Reducing external stimuli through sensory deprivation tanks or meditation can help focus on internal bodily sensations. 

These steps not only prepare you for a psychedelic experience but also enhance your overall bodily awareness, contributing to well-being in daily life.

References

Carabotti, M., Scirocco, A., Maselli, M. A., & Severi, C. (n.d.). The gut-brain axis: Interactions between enteric microbiota, Central and Enteric Nervous Systems. Annals of Gastroenterology. Retrieved June 3, 2024, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4367209/

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At Psychedelic Passage, we offer professional 1-on-1 guidance and companionship on your journey of healing. We simply can't sit back and let Americans continue to sit in silent suffering trying to battle mental health issues within a broken health care system, all while knowing that effective alternatives exist. We stand for the sacred, at-home, ceremonial use of psychedelics for consciousness exploration, which we believe to be a fundamental human right.

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