Interoceptive awareness and the daily Dyad meditation

The Eight Human Senses

Pop quiz! What are the eight human senses? Yes, eight. You can probably name the most well-known off the top of your head, sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. Then, there is the lesser-known vestibular, which helps us balance and orient ourselves in space, proprioception our sense of body position, force and self-movement; an important neuromuscular sense; and then interoception, our ability to sense what is going on internally, like when you’re hungry. In this article, we will discuss interoceptive awareness and how it relates to the daily Dyad meditation.

What is Interoception and Why Does it Matter

Interoception, our internal sensory system, lets us understand and respond to our body’s needs. Receptors inside organs and skin send vital information to the brain, regulating functions like temperature, hunger, and heart rate. This overlooked system significantly influences how we perceive and react to our bodily states, shaping our overall well-being. How can you tend to your beautiful self and meet your needs when you have no sense of what’s happening inside?

Interoceptive awareness is crucial for helping you take care of yourself. When you feel hungry or thirsty, your interoception signals that it’s time to eat or drink. It also lets you recognise when you need to use the bathroom or feel too hot or cold. Imagine how challenging life would be without this internal guidance!

But, did you know that interoception goes beyond just keeping you “in the know” about your body’s physical state? It also influences your emotions and thoughts. For instance, when you feel anxious or scared, your body’s internal signals might change, and your brain picks up on these changes, affecting your emotional state.

The cognitive response to an internal sensation greatly impacts your emotional wellbeing, but before you worry about how you appraise the signal, let’s start with developing awareness of the signals. Unfortunately, many of us go about our day unaware of or not wanting to be aware of our internal landscape and become disconnected. How can we cultivate true and lasting connection with others, if we haven’t done so with ourselves?

Scientists continually study how interoception works and interacts with the brain and body. They’re discovering how it affects our emotions, cognition, and perception of the world around us. The more they understand this fascinating internal system, the better we can appreciate how it shapes our thoughts, feelings, and overall well-being. Check out our upcoming blog posts where we’ll explore some of this, and why you might want to develop your interoceptive awareness (increased emotional regulation). Right now, however, I want to tell you how you can cultivate your interoceptive awareness and capacity to sense the inner landscape of your body.

Dyad Meditation: Cultivating Interoceptive Awareness Together

In the daily Dyad practice, you’re invited to reflect on two specific times in the last day and explain to your partner how it felt in your body. Some participants tell us that they found this challenging in the beginning. This is totally understandable, not many people were taught how to observe their internal landscape, much less verbalise it in the presence of another person, but that’s precisely what we do in the Dyad practice. And it is a practice, that you can get better at. We practice noticing, giving space to, and acknowledging a larger spectrum of our daily experience. Then, we develop the vocabulary and grounding we need to share this with our partner. 

You practice with the support of one of our highly skilled Humanize facilitators who guide you through the Foundation Dyad Program, so you can ask questions, share your experience, learn from your peers and get coaching to support you on your journey. They help you navigate this new internal landscape. Over the weeks, participants tell us they were able to develop their ability to notice and share ‘how it felt in the body’ with their partner, and in doing so, develop their interoceptive awareness and confidence in their abilities.

How to Get Started with Dyad Meditation

Your journey begins with participating in the 9-week course where you will partake in a live training cohort with one of our expert facilitators. Each week there is a 90 minute live session combining scientific research, interactive learning, and skills coaching to deepen, refine and enrich the practice. You are paired with another course participant each week and will have the chance to train this skill in your daily Dyad practice through the Dyad app.

In Summary

The power of interoceptive awareness through Dyad meditation offers a transformative journey into understanding and responding to our body’s needs. The often-overlooked interoceptive system significantly shapes our emotional states, thoughts, and overall well-being. Cultivating this awareness together in the Dyad practice allows individuals to develop a deeper connection with their internal landscape, leading to increased emotional regulation and a profound sense of self-awareness. By participating in the 9-week course guided by expert facilitators, you can embark on a rewarding journey of self-discovery and personal growth, ultimately enhancing your interoceptive awareness and enriching your life.

Photo Credit: Franziska Schmitt