To turn the important qualities of sensitivity to nuance and deep processing into the gifts they can be, we need the skill of discernment. Sensory Processing Yoga is a practice that helps us develop it.

What In The World Is Sensory Processing Yoga?

Sensory Processing Yoga is the practice that helps sensitive people transform their sensory awareness and turn it into a sophisticated awareness and wisdom. It is the practice of connecting: sensory information, frameworks, energetic intelligence, personal experience, and perspective so that one develops a sophisticated understanding of what one is experiencing and what is going on.

Sensory Processing Yoga integrates sensory, conceptual, emotional and mental realms in a way that provides an empowered perspective. It turns sensitivity to nuance into a source of great wisdom and creates a pathway for living from an informed spontaneity. It helps make boundary setting feel natural and helps you find an inner harmony because you have greater insight into how to connect in a meaningful way with the world.

It All Starts With Awareness

Awareness is the natural gift that sensitive people have. Often described as sensitivity to nuance, one of the elements of the DOES model created by Dr. Elaine Aron, nuance is what provides sensitive people with the large amounts of awareness that they have. The awareness in its natural form can be described as raw energetic data. Like all data, we need to be able to work with it, understand it, and figure out its value. What Sensory Processing Yoga does is provide the tools that turn the sensory data of highly sensitive people into extraordinary insights for gifted contribution to the world.

Connection Is The Key

Where sensitive people often struggle is in understanding the context for what they are noticing. Naturally our sensory perceptions do not come with an instruction manual. We do not always know what the context for something we are seeing is. In a world of infinite variables, it can be hard to process what we are experiencing so that we know what is ours or not and whether or not to take action. When someone is expecting something from us or reacting to something, we cannot always tell what it is all about.

The key to making that easier is to learn the frameworks of culture and human development so that you have an independent resource that will help you discern what is happening. Frameworks are the patterns of human development and culture, the often hidden roadmaps of life. They help you keep your feet on the ground by keeping you in touch with evolutional reality.

One of the great accomplishment in the last half century (c.1950-) has been the exploration of structures and the investigation of hidden patterns in human life. Perhaps because computers let us process so much more data now, it is easier to spot patterns and perhaps, because many people have developed to the point that they want to master these patterns, we now have wonderful framework tools to help us live more effectively and authentically.

The world is undergoing a transformation. More and more people are upleveling their ability to handle diversity and complexity in order to advance what Joanna Macy calls The Great Turning. According to EcoLiteracy, The Great Turning is “a name for the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the Industrial Growth Society to a life-sustaining civilization.” This change is about more than ecologically sustainability. It will broaden our perspectives to value sustaining all of life not just the lives of a few. It will, as a result, shift us out of a war-based world into a friendship-based world so that we are supporting all of life. We will be getting serious about sustaining a healthier world and all the life on it. Understanding frameworks lets us participate in this great adventure by showing us how to harness the past effectively to build a new and brighter future.

Finding Perspective Through Sensory Processing Yoga

When we learn frameworks we have a wise window on the history of the human race with all of its gifts and failings. We can recognize more easily what is of value today and what is not. We can begin to respond to others and situations from a wiser place. We are able to connect our energetic perception with the patterns of human life and start to make sense of our experience in a way that lets us claim our natural wisdom and validate our natural empathic nature.

Connecting the dots between cultural and human developmental patterns with our naturally rich energetic perceptions helps us bring our rich gift to the world and do so in a way that can more easily be received by others. Frameworks also help us enjoy our sensitivity more by making it easier to live from a place of friendship with the world.

Sensitive people often look for a big picture perspective to put their sensitivity to work. They often integrate spiritual values into their lives and that can help sometimes in making compassionate decisions. Neither of these strategies, however, because they can be hit or miss, provide enough support for maximizing our ability to be constructive. Mostly this is because one of the big challenges sensitive people have is that they do not connect easily with culture and cultural structures so often they do not know how or when they should use their perceptions.

Many sensitive people develop a hesitancy about their perceptions, a kind of ongoing self-doubt and without frameworks it is hard to know when to be confident about one’s intuitive awareness. Frameworks help us to be more constructive because they help us gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of the patterns of culture and human development. They give us the “why” behind these patterns and a fresh understanding of our experiences. As a result, we not only can let go of past difficulties in a self-compassionate and self-affirming way, but we also can discern how to harness the good that is there from the past in constructive ways. We get clarity about harnessing the good in us and the world. Understanding patterns gives us more balanced and truer perspective which helps us stay both grounded and constructive.

Rethinking Harmony

We are encouraged to get along with others and to conform to our culture’s needs which have some merit but are not necessarily the best measure of harmony.

Harmony means many things to many people: respecting authority, obeying rules, fitting in, etc. These are activities that enable us to do our part in a world that we share with others. Sometimes these are wise activities and sometimes not.

There is, however, a larger harmony that as sensitive people we can intuit based on our energetic experience. Because sensitive people feel most at home in nature, we connect with the harmony of nature and recognize that natural rhythms are not the same as cultural harmony and we can have difficulty reconciling the two. In addition, many of us are very aware of the disharmony in the way humans are living that is creating environmental degradation. So it is natural for us to notice the disharmonies in our world. For many sensitive people, the conflicts create distress.

There is a larger harmony as mentioned above and it is an ecological one. What that means is that we are naturally embedded in and a part of nature as one living species among many and that culture is the support system that we use to work together but that culture is also embedded in and dependent on our natural world. This is a right harmony of friendship with the world. Currently many people treat human culture as if it is above nature and that is a mistaken idea about the relationship we need to have with our earthly home.

Thinking ecologically helps us be more constructive more often. It helps us take into account the past, present and future while focusing on what can be done right now using our unique gifts. Ecological thinking provides us with the ability to sustain ourselves while working with others also aligned with the evolutionary imperatives of our time. This perspective is the easiest one to have so that you do not sink into despair because of our current life challenges. Frameworks offer us the ability to achieve this kind of perspective and therefore more easily sustain ourselves in spite of difficult challenges..

Sensory Processing Yoga: A Practice And A Tool

Sensory Processing Yoga is the practice of integrating framework models, our sensitivity to nuance, and life experiences that helps us convert our sensitivity to nuance from raw energetic material into a sophisticated skill. We can use frameworks to achieve an ecological perspective and have the processing skills to support ourselves in working with others every day successfully. Sensory Processing Yoga provides a pathway to integrate many disparate parts of ourselves and human history so that our sensitivity, nature and human culture become rich resources we can use to improve the world. It is a path not only to effectiveness but also to wholeness.

Sensory Processing Yoga makes sense of the things that do not make sense so that we can release past events and disconnects with new understanding and feel good about ourselves. We can see the beauty in our natural friendliness and adjust our expectations to use our energies wisely. Sensory processing yoga provides the conceptual supports for the mind that keep us from sinking into rumination when we run into disconnects and frees our minds to ruminate creatively.

Sensory Processing Yoga is a processing of connecting with the hidden patterns of the world, learning about them, freeing yourself from the past and then harnessing the information as a tool to guide yourself effectively in the directions you decide are best for you. You will be able to guide your life without being over controlled. You will be able to live in a spirit of friendship and naturally protect yourself from the more toxic forces in the world. To learn more, visit us here.

About Maria Hill

Maria Hill is the founder of Sensitive Evolution. She is the author of The Emerging Sensitive: A Guide For Finding Your Place In The World. In addition, she has created the immersive Emerging Sensitive Program of "sensory processing yoga" using frameworks to help sensitive people master their sensitivity and turn it into the asset it can be. She also offers the Emerging Sensitive Movie Club focused on movies and discussions about living in the world as a sensitive person and navigating the challenging cultural shifts of our times. She is a longtime meditator, reiki master, student of alternative health and Ayurveda. Maria is also an abstract painter whose portfolio can be found at Infinite Shape and also very interested in animal and human rights and the environment.


  1. Erica on September 27, 2019 at 4:09 am

    I related to this more than thought however I was left dangling to what exactly is the practice? What does this actually involve doing? Maybe I am misunderstanding something. Can you expand upon the practical side of this yoga please.

    • Maria Hill on September 27, 2019 at 6:49 am

      Thanks Erica.
      The practice is not like a yoga practice where you set aside some time each day and you are done. The frameworks act like an inner library to support your inner self better and an energy field that help you set boundaries naturally. The contexts of culture are often what sensitive people miss and as a result they struggle out in the world. This inner library becomes a processing tool and using it in your life as a reality check, source of wisdom, expectations setter and cultural navigator. I hope this helps.