Embodied Learning

“We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

Embodied Programs

Improv workshops, team-building and shows

Embodiment is the study of the subjective aspect of the body. If the standard medical model and Western culture generally see the body as an object – a thing – embodiment concerns the body as who we are: an ‘I’. It is about our felt experience of the body ‘inside-out’ and the application of this to well-being, communication, leadership, stress management and other topics within business.

Embodiment is a new field (10+ years in terms of us using the term, a few in terms of wider exposure and validation by Western science and psychology). The field exists at the point where psychology (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-words/201202/embodied-cognition-what-it-is-why-its-important), positive psychology, mindfulness and body traditions (Martial Arts, Yoga, Dance, Improv, Body-based Trauma therapy) meet.

In the current climate of personal and organisational development, it would perhaps be most appropriate and useful to connect embodiment to Positive Leadership, and the foundation thereof, or more generally to performance. As an example, within the Exec MA In Positive Leadership and Strategy (https://www.ie.edu/school-human-sciences-technology/programs/executive-master-in-positive-leadership-strategy/), a pioneering program on the application of positive psychology and leadership to business, the first week module was about self-leadership, and part of that and a continuous requirement till the end of the course was the practice of Mindfulness and Yoga (Student experiences: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RE4rIkKA8fI).

The EXMPLS program was one of the first Positive Psychology programs aimed at business at CEO / MD level, and IE Business School considered these two topics, mindfulness and embodiment, very risky at the time.

In our 12 year experience of embodiment workshops in business, most recently for the EU Parliament, a local HR Forum in Prague and for Microsoft, we combine our expertise on the above, with the work on performance from Harvard (https://hbr.org/2001/01/the-making-of-a-corporate-athlete) and experiential exercises from Aikido. For the relevance of the latter to business and performance we recommend this video from Professor Juan Humberto Young at IE on the subject:

The Flow of Management – with IE Prof. Juan Humberto Young

In conclusion, while these worshops can for example form: “The Foundations of Positive Leadership: Embodied Presence, Performance, Stress management and Communication”, their application is much wider, beyond leadership alone to all forms of performance, and much deeper since many of the traditions from which Embodiment comes have life-long development paths.