What’s On Your Mind? Part 4:
Touch, The Breath & The Mind

By Elizabeth Sullivan

Be Comfortable In Your Own Skin – Touch

Ever wonder where the phrases being comfortable in your own skin come from? Or when someone says they are thick skinned? Or thin skinned?

Want to develop your sense of touch? Want to nourish the impulse to reach, grasp, grab, hold onto something? Ever curious how to support this in children so that hands are for helping and not for hurting and how this sensory motor loop continues to be stimulated into skillful action in adult years for self-care, self-sufficiency, and self-expression?

Artwork by Autumn Skye “Genesis”


Read on, and choose o​ne daily practice and one question to journal from to better understand your brilliant system!

Sense Organs & Organs of Action aka Sensory-Motor Loop

Try sensing and feeling the connections to the sensory motor loop between the skin and the hands within your system and see what happens when you give it the just right stimulus to focus and receive information and act well. Exploring this sensory motor loop is a way to be in touch with the element of air and all of its qualities.

Sense of Touch:

  • Input sense organ – skin (feeling)
  • Output organ of action in the world – hands (grasping). Reaching, grasping, holding, letting go.

What we feel on our skin and touch affects what we grasp, hold onto, or let go; what we hold, reach and grasp or let go affects what we touch and feel.

Daily routines also known as Dinacharya in Ayurveda, can keep the senses clear, and the mind and breath be well supported.

Daily Routine Invitations:

Simple Daily Routines (Dinacharya) to support the sensory organs (sense organs are the way our mind receives information from the world).

Skin (touch) –

  • Dry brush or use a dry washcloth.
  • Oil the skin before showering. Let it absorb into the tissues to nourish and detoxify, experience the self love that daily oiling brings. (Abhyanga)
  • Whether self massage, or a professional one, give the gift of touch to the skin.

Simple Daily Routines to nourish our motor organ of Hands/grasping, reaching, holding, letting go (motor organs are the way we act/impress upon the world).

Hands (grasping) –

  • Oil the hands before bed to help the ends of our nervous system wind down for rest.
  • Hold different textures in the hands to expand our sense of touch. Go out and nature to experience this.
  • Mudras— there are many, with different intentions. Learn how the hands express themselves, and help direct and refine energies within your system and outward.

Invitations for Self Study:

Simple Daily Practices to Nourish the Sensory Motor Loop with the Mind & Breath –

  • Notice your breath ​How does your inhalation feel? How does your exhalation feel? Where do you sense their touch? What temperature is the inhalation and the exhalation? What does the element of air feel like as you explore the sense of its touch?
  • How does air register as touch on your skin on the outside and on the inside of you?
  • What about your breath’s texture? When your breath is rough, quick, sharp, short, how it impacts your sense of touch and what you reach for, how you grasp something, what you cling to…verses when the breath is smooth, subtle, soft, slow, how you reach, hold, touch something or someone. Also pay attention to how sensations touch your skin, and how this affects your breath.
  • Notice your mind H​ow it is shaped by what you feel on your skin: a gentle summer breeze? The warming of the sun? A soft blanket? When you brush up against poison ivy? A cold winter wind? How do these sensations of touch inform what your hands reach for? If there is a cold, winter wind chances are you reach for a warm, winter jacket.
  • What happens to your mind when you feel comfortable in your skin? What can you create with your own hands and what do they reach for when you are well seated in your own skin?

Get a feel for how air moves within you and around you, how what you feel on your skin informs the qualities that you reach for and how these habitual patterns affect the breath and the mind over time.

Journal your observations and findings as you open this magnificent sensory motor loop of the skin and the hands—the touch with the ability to hold.

Elizabeth Sullivan

Elizabeth Sullivan is an expert instructor, certified yoga therapist, and practitioner in Yoga, Energy Work and Ayurveda. She supports the body to optimally function using neuromuscular reeducation and working with energy patterns. By integrating and aligning body, mind and spirit energy, she creates relaxation, increased energy flow, optimized sleep and a clear mind for her clients. Her work helps people hold higher consciousness to live their optimal lives. Elizabeth offers private lessons, group classes and workshops, and online programs for health practitioners, and also writes for health publications. She holds advanced degrees in Dev. Psychology, Education and Writing, along with certifications in each instructional area. To learn more, visit elizabetheilerssullivan.com.


Elizabeth SullivanElizabeth Sullivan, MFA, MA, BA, Certified Yoga Therapy, Energy Medicine

Founding member, Community for Higher Consciousness
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