Growing Your Body Intelligence

What Does Your Yes and No Feel Like?

By Heath and Nicole Reed
[Savvy Self-Care]

Have you ever had the experience of a full-body Yes or a full-body No? When we can recognize and respond to the body sensations associated with our inner Yes and No, we cut through the fog of competing thoughts and feelings to reveal our core truth. Our mental, emotional, social, and body intelligences all express truths that shape a whole picture and a whole story so we are able to create more of what we want and let go of the things that don’t add value. Accessing and including as many pathways to our truth allows for more possibilities, more joy, and more vitality. Learning our full-body Yeses and Nos is a revolutionary act of self-care. It adds a new dimension to how you care for your family, friends, clients, and, most importantly, yourself.

What is Body Intelligence?

If you’re like us, you probably laugh when your clients or others ask in amazement,“You can really feel that knot?” Our ability to sense what’s happening in the fascia and respond to it improves our therapeutic results and also provides a glimpse into some of the heightened body intelligence (BQ) skills touch therapists already possess. Accessing and activating your BQ is as simple as using your body sensations to know what is true for you and what best supports your well-being. Practicing bodywork is an active form of growing our BQ because touch therapies invite us to regularly interact with disorganized fascia, muscle memory, or held breath. But, we can expand our BQ skill set even further, both at the table and in all areas of our life. Especially when we reliably practice following our inner Yes and No.

Discovering Your Full-Body Yes

First connect with your BQ by taking three deep breaths and performing a body scan, noticing the sensations that are currently being expressed. Once you feel present in your body, begin to list aloud or silently as many Yes moments and Yes choices that come to mind. For example: Yes to that cup of tea. Yes to spending time chatting with a friend. Yes to hugging my child. Yes to that color. Yes to that car. Yes to that smell. And so on … (To get the most value out of these exercises, you may want to write down or record your responses to review later.)
As you allow your Yeses to roll through you, notice how you experience Yes in your body. What body sensations come alive or become awakened? How does your breath respond? What happens to your shoulders, low back, or neck when you say Yes? Do you feel warmer or cooler in your hands, feet, or whole body? For example: I notice my eyes get watery, my whole body relaxes, and I feel myself smiling. Some might notice a fluttery feeling in their belly, their breath getting shorter, and their head lining up over their shoulders.
As bodyworkers, we can choose to see the body and all the messages being communicated as valuable. We can choose to see our bodies as a reliable consort that includes all our feelings, thoughts, and body sensations. We can become genius at hearing the messages being communicated to ourselves and from our clients and respond in ways that favor our truth.

Befriending Your Full-Body No

We realize that feeling and saying No are two very different experiences. And for some of us, saying No may be more difficult, especially when facing someone you love or someone you want to help. That’s why we suggest starting small and beginning with yourself. According to Adam Grant, author of Give and Take (Penguin, 2013), “The ability to say No is one of the most important skills one can have, particularly for givers.” And Gay Hendricks, author of The Joy of Genius (Waterside Pub., 2018), says, “The power of my impact in my world is directly related to my ability to say No.”
There is risk when saying No. Your No may result in conflict, tension, or disappointment. But it has been our experience that the risk is well worth the reward! Saying No is not meant to hurt anyone; rather, it’s an opportunity to protect yourself, maintain your boundaries, create space, and support a balanced life. We also see it as an integrity move, an opportunity to be clear with others and the universe about what you really want.

Practicing No Is a Launchpad for More Yeses

This time, after giving yourself a few generous breaths and a body scan, begin to list all your Nos, and catalog all the sensations, feelings, and experiences your body has when saying No over and over again. No to hosting dinner. No to one more session. No to lavender essential oil. No to that color. No to that drink. No to that shirt. If you notice resistance in saying No, create a little fun saying No by changing your intonation or even giving yourself an accent. What are your body sensations when you say No? For example: I feel my body stiffen, my hands move a lot, and my head tilts to the right. Or others may feel themselves scowling and pushing their hands away. Keep saying No until you get clear sensations from your body that you can describe.

You Are Growing Your Body Intelligence

Continue to grow your BQ. Spend the day practicing and feeling how your body does Yes and No. Practice at the grocery store, the next time you’re deciding what you want to eat, the next time you’re getting dressed. Have fun building and expanding your capacity to listen and trust your body cues.

Your Yes and No at the Table

Often our bodies are expressing our truth long before our mind knows or understands what’s happening. As you build trust in your feelings of your inner Yes and No, you can start playing with it at the table. You can ask yourself questions like: Do I start on the right leg? Do I finish at the feet? Or head? Let your body inform your choices and see what happens. What are the results from following your body cues? Is your client leaving happy? And are you feeling energized with your choices?
It’s a false dichotomy to think of Yeses as positive and Nos as negative. As we have befriended the practice of saying No, we spend a lot less time feeling mad, bitter, regretful, or weary because we are actively choosing and honoring our personal truth. Saying No leaves no room for confusion, unmet expectations, or feeling burdened. And we get to participate with the world in a way that matches our wants, needs, and desires.
The next time you are offered a choice, settle into your body intelligence and notice whether your sensations are more in alignment with your Yeses or Nos. And then express your truth! The resounding energy and vitality that result for a full-body Yes or a full-body No may surprise and enliven you! And, the more you practice, the more you get to use the powerful, resourceful synergy of your mind, your heart, and your body intelligence.

Heath and Nicole Reed are co-founders of Living Metta (living “loving kindness”) and want everyone in the world to enjoy the experience of befriending their body. The Reeds lead workshops and retreats across the country and overseas, including Thailand and Mexico, and have been team-teaching touch and movement therapy for 16 years. In addition to live classes, the Reeds offer massage therapy and self-care videos, DVDs, and online trainings, which may be found at