The history of Body Psychology dates back to the formation of the eastern culture. Records of ancient Mongolians speak of people using body-oriented therapies for achieving physical and psychological states of well-being. Over 5000 years ago, the ancient Tibetan cultures practiced various forms of disciplines based upon the concept of the body/mind integration; among them are the well known forms of Yoga, Tai Chi, Zen and Taoism. The ancient Greeks used the concept of the body-mind-emotion-spirit being one and this reached western culture in the saying: “Sound mind, sound body.”
Human beings were part of a society that created tools and weapons. With the advent of science, the human body and psyche became the battlefield of tensions that came with living in our society.
In the Victorian era the body was covered, considered immoral, disregarded as a vehicle for awareness and growth; it was viewed as disgraceful. It wasn't until after the Victorian era that the body was considered as being connected to the emotions.
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There are a number of ways of viewing the body in order to read its Body Psychology. This is a brief introduction to the beginning of Interpreting Body Psychology (the classes will give you a deeper understanding).
The Five Major Body Splits
One way of viewing the body is to imagine a line dividing the body in half straight down the center. This is referred to as the "left-right split." The left side symbolizes our mother's influence and our female energy; it represents passive energy. The right side symbolizes our father's influence and our male energy; it represents assertive energy.
Another split is to imagine a line dividing the body in half at the waist. This is referred to as the "top-bottom split." The lower half is connected to the ground (being supported by "Mother Earth") and represents our mother energy, and how our mother nurtured us. The upper half represents father aspects. The job of the arms is to reach out, pull things in and get things done (father teaches us about going out into the world to work, carrying the load on the shoulders). So, the upper half relates to father and father influence, and the lower half relates to mother and mother influence.
The next way of viewing the body in order to read its Body Psychology is to imagine a line dividing the back half of the body from the front half of the body This is referred to as the “front/back split.” The front side reflects our emotional patterns that we project as our social “self.” The back part of the body is where we hide the issues we do not want to deal with or that we do not want people to see. It is therefore where we experience most of our aches and pains: the neck aches, low back aches. When growing up, we learn it's usually “safer” to hide, to deny, or to “put it behind” us.
Yet another way of viewing the body in order to read its Body Psychology is to imagine a line dividing the torso from the arms and the legs. This is referred to as the “torso split.” The torso contains our “being,” our emotions (the heart, the stomach and intestines, the respiratory system). Whereas, the limbs are involved with “doing,” with moving rather than feelings.
The head being away from the body and leaning forward is the "head-body split" and represents a person that is unable to feel their feelings. This disconnection of the head from the body means the person is always in their head (scheming, planning, thinking, etc). Because of this, they can't feel their body (which houses the emotions) so they would not have a sense of themselves; they are not grounded.