Feeling (Updated: 9/21/17)

In order to use our body as an instrument for life resonance, we need to be able to feel in the first place. It is recommended to inquire about these senses while the participant is already in movement or walking in space.

Felt Sense

Felt sense is a term coined by Peter Levine, and this list is influenced by him as well. He is a pioneer in trauma work. He proposed actually feeling the intricacies of the bodies as the first step toward healing.¹

Pressure – even, uneven, supportive, crushing, cutting off circulation

Air current – gentle, cool, warm, from right, from left, stimulating, overstimulating, misty

Tension – solid, dense, warm, cold, inflamed, protective, constricting, angry, sad

Pain – ache, sharp, twinge, slight, stabbing

Tingle – pricks, vibration, tickling, numb

Itch – mild itch, irritating itch, moving itch, subtle itch, large area itch

Temperature – warm, hot, burning, cool, cold, clammy, chills, frozen, both hot and cold

Size – small, large, medium, both large and small

Shape – flat, circular, triangular, irregular

Weight – light, heavy, both light and heavy

Motion – circular, erratic, straight line

Speed – fast, slow, still

Texture – rough, smooth

Element – fire, air, earth, water, wood, metal

Color – various

Mood – rainy, cloudy, sunny, stormy, violent (e.g. earthquake, tsunami)

Sound – buzzing, harmonious, noisy

Taste – sour, bitter, sweet, astringent, salty, oily, pungent

Smell – pungent, sweet, like rain, like trees

Presence – empty, here, distracted

Qualia – various

Exercise 1: Body Scan Roll Down

While on your back and standing up, slowly roll your spine up then back down (or vise versa) vertebra by vertebra. Scan slices of your body (like the axial slices of a hospital cat scan machine) and be aware of any sensations.

Exercise 2: Hand Body Scan

Hover your hands around every surface of your body. Imagine your hands have extra senses to feel wherever it hovers, whether many eyes, ears, nose, or even tongue.

Exercise 3: Part Shift

Have the participant locate a particular feeling in the body and to express the feeling with movement. Signal the participant to relocate the exact movement expression but to various body parts in varying subtleties.


“If you place the beauty of … [the] flower and the emotions which are evoked by it into your dead body, then the flower you create will be true and unique and the audience will be moved.” – Kazuo Ohno²

It is recommended to identify emotions past the basic happy, sad, and angry. There are many more:

Affection, anger, angst, anguish, annoyance, anticipation, anxiety, apathy, arousal, awe, boredom, confidence, contempt, contentment, courage, curiosity, depression, desire, despair, disappointment, disgust, distrust, ecstasy, embarrassment, empathy, envy, euphoria, fear, frustration, gratitude, grief, guilt, happiness, hatred, hope, horror, hostility, humiliation, interest, jealousy, joy, loneliness, love, lust, outrage, panic, passion, pity, pleasure, pride, rage, regret, remorse, resentment, sadness, saudade, schadenfreude, self-confidence, shame, shock, shyness, sorrow, suffering, surprise, trust, wonder, worry.

Important: To not get lost in the outer form (especially facial expressions), once a particular feeling is recognized, swallow the emotion and then resonate with how the body reacts while also being mindful of typical gestures associated with the feeling. This is not repression of emotion, but the opposite. If after this, the facial expression or gesture still comes, resonate with that too.

Exercise: Emotional Jumping Wild

This is a jumping wild exercise where somebody calls out one emotion after another and the participant is to shift through them. First, the emotions can be acted out in the face, but and then they can be acted out without the facial expressions or gestures associated with them.



¹ Levine, Peter A. Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma : the Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences. Berkeley, Calif: North Atlantic Books, 1997. Print.
² Ohno, K. (1988), “Notes by Kazuo Ohno”, in Viala, J. and Masson-Sekine, N. (ed. ), Butoh-Shades
of Darkness, Tokyo: Sbufunotomo Co., Ltd. pp. 176-183.