By Leslie Blackburn
Welcome to Month #2 of a practice series adapted from my upcoming book, Sacred Sexuality: Listening to Our Bodies. These practices encourage a more fully embodied, conscious, and lovingly connected way of being with ourselves and others. (Find Month #1 and a longer introduction to the practices in the March 2023 issue, p.20, or online at https://tinyurl.com/2h325xy9
For all these practices, I suggest setting a regular time aside and sticking with it for at least 21 days as you explore and navigate toward a more vibrant way of being in the world.
Title: Body Brushing Time to Allow: 2-3 min
Description & Benefits:
- Dry brushing the skin can help stimulate the lymphatic system to clear toxins.
- Smooth skin.
- Invite body connection.
- Integrate and regulate.
- Energetically connect with and increase a sense of physical safety.
Essential ingredients: 1. Body dry brush with firm bristles – purchase at health food stores or online. 2. Comfortable, safe space to be naked.
Body brushing is an important part of my daily body care ritual. When I began the practice, I was surprised to notice the energetic clearing and connection that I could feel in the circuits of my body. Through Body Brushing, I experience coming into myself and remembering all my body parts. I acknowledge to myself: “Yep, here I am. I am a whole being.”
I offer my own version of this practice as an invitation for you to explore. I do Body Brushing first thing in the morning while I am still naked, before getting dressed, and before a bath or shower.
First, separate the brush head from the handle.
Begin brushing from the limbs and extremities toward the body’s center at the heart. I have seen it taught to stop at the heart center. However, I encourage much more overlap. Brush so that
the downstrokes from the raised arms and upper body fully overlap with the upstrokes from the legs and lower body. Also, be sure to cross the midline. For example, move from your right hand and arm to your shoulder and across your body to left belly, hip, and thigh. This crossover invites physiological balance and healthy right–left brain connection.
I start at the tips of my fingers and hands, using short brush strokes to bring the yumminess down the arm and into the armpits, along the breasts, and give a jiggle (super helpful for breast tissue and moving fluids). Be gentle at nipples. Bring it all the way down into the center of your torso and deep belly area, then from the neck and along the shoulder and down. Then repeat on the other side.
Feels AHHH! I notice my arms are expressions and extensions of my core. My arms, which had sort of felt “attached” to my torso like a marionette, became a PART of me, a wonderful, energetic feeling.
After I complete my upper body the best I can reach, I move to my feet. Stroking along the feet – toes, soles, tops – brushing up the legs, draw the brush up the butt and into the core, and repeat on the other side. Be gentle with the groin area, where the skin is thinner. Check-in on what your body likes.
Next, reattach the handle and explore the back body to reach places that were hard to reach without the handle. Brush up from the sacrum and down from the back of the neck.
I then set the brush aside and use my hands to brush through my scalp and face and down my neck and into my chest. This completes the practice.
Your brush may feel a little intense when you first use it, but it will soften and feel better over time and as your skin gets used to it. Many folx I’ve shared this with have found this revitalizing – with little zings waking up our skin.
A term used in some shamanic practices is that we “re-member” our body. In addition to the traditional definition of “remember,” this also implies the opposite of “dismember.” We are putting our parts back together. In the course of our day, we sometimes scatter our energies as we put ourselves out in the world, and we may not even realize it. This is a chance to experience: “Oh! I remember I am here. I remember these edges.”
You can also do this without a body brush, using your hands only…getting comfortable to touch and be in connection with your skin and strengthen that feeling of connection. Touch yourself, inclusive of your butt, genitals, and breasts. Notice if you find yourself trying “not” to touch certain areas…it’s really common. Let yourself have that contact. Remember that this beautiful physical form that you are in is a gift—delight in being in your body.
Leslie is a queer, white, omnisexual, polyamorous, ecosexual, kinky, genderqueer supporter of all beings to be authentically who they are, and uses the pronouns they, them. Their work blends Sacred Sexuality, Ancestral Healing, Grief & Emotional release, and Anti-Racism work to support collective liberation, self-awareness, vitality, empowerment, and joy. Leslie stewards the land at One Space: a private sanctuary, home, Temple, and community space on four wooded acres in Ann Arbor, Michigan. www.LeslieBlackburn.com