Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Feeling vs. Sensing

Posted by terrepruitt on May 12, 2011

I learned through Nia that feeling is different from sensing.  Feeling is how I feel.  It is an emotion.  I feel happy.  I feel sad.  I feel emotion.  Sensing is touch or a sensation in the body.  I can feel happy, yet still sense discomfort.  I can feel sad, yet still sense or experience a sense of Joy with my body.  I try to remember to make the correct distinction between feeling with emotion and sensing with the body. I do continue to say “I feel” when I am talking about a sensation, but when I am paying attention I correct myself if I am able.

Recognizing this difference can help with really giving the body and/or the spirit/emotional self what it needs.  If my body’s sensation is soreness do I need to rest it?  Well I might feel like I need to rest because “I worked hard so I deserve to rest.”  But I know, that for me and my body I need to move otherwise the soreness will just continue to get worse.  If I feel I need to rest, actually in my spirit/emotional self then I might examine what it is I really need.  If it is a feeling of requiring rest then maybe just not being physical is not enough, maybe I need a mental break.  So just sitting at my computer working while not being physical won’t give me the same satisfaction.

While spirit and body ARE connected sometimes they need different things.   Sometimes we don’t separate the two when they need different things.  Sometimes we might assign emotion to a physical sensation. Sometimes our emotions might get in the way of giving our body what it really needs or vice versa.  We might have a sense of discomfort, but we call it pain due to an emotion.  There could also be the opposite, we feel happy and joyful so we push our physical body further than we should and with that comes the risk of injury.

Fascinating this journey we are on.  I actually started typing this with a vague idea of feeling vs. sensing leading somewhere else.  But this is where I ended up.  Makes me think I will be re-visiting this feeling vs. sensing.  For now, this is what I am sharing.  Any thoughts you care to share on this?

6 Responses to “Feeling vs. Sensing”

  1. suzicate said

    I also have a difficult time separating the two.


  2. niachick said

    Awesome post Terre. You’re so right…”feeling”, in Nia, has to do with the emotional body; “sensing” has to do with the physical body. I still say I “feel” something when it relates to the body, too. It’s really how we’ve been conditioned, isn’t it? I do catch myself and correct myself, too, particularly in class. “Everyone feel your shin bone” vs. “Everyone sense your shin bone”. It’s a matter of unlearning and relearning.

    Sensations, in Nia, are Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Strength and Stability. Everyone sense your flexibility, sense your range of motion. Everyone feel delighted in your flexibility!

    Thanks Terre!!!


    • Yes, it is how we have been conditioned and the way we use the word. We do that a lot with the English language and society. It’s kind of funny sometimes.

      We’ve been visiting with Humanity the past few weeks and exploring FMASS often. There is so much Free Dance in that routine I use the five sensations to inspire movement for those that like to have something to play with.

      Thanks for sharing, Jill!


  3. Becky said

    Yes, exactly. I do this a lot and you’re right, it’s difficult (for me) to distinquish between the two. Perhaps knowing the two aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive — I can feel one way but sense somehting else.
    Would love for you to explore this further!


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