"KimJoy is a hugging adept whose love for the art form has led to this sweet heart offering. She has designed a simple, elegant practice for moving into the mystery. Using parameters of care and safety, she creates a finely tuned container of light to relax into the embrace of the Beloved. I arrived not knowing hugging as a spiritual practice. I left serenely walking on air. Thank you KimJoy! "  

Micheal Zieve, Sebastopol

The Art of Hugging Practice was a sweet and deep experience. The Practice was lovingly presented and we were guided through it seamlessly. I felt quite comfortable while exploring new levels of shared, heartfelt presence.

Since then I've found myself comfortably dropping into a calm and timeless place when hugging opportunities arise. I've also sensed my own energy being settled into an easy abidance in my belly and solar plexus. I'd call this feeling grounded in a deep and satisfying way. 

Ananda, Sebastopol

What is this?

I am incredibly excited to be offering the monthly practice of The Art of Hugging, a Practice in Presence!

We offer this Somatic Awareness Practice as an opportunity to come into presence and bring awareness to the moment and all it holds for us. When we are willing to slow down, notice and allow what is here, we can then turn our attention to and make room for all that is moving within, in all its flavors.

The Art of Hugging is an opportunity to experience our own connection to ourselves while connecting (hugging) with another.

What a great way to practice presence and get all the benefits of hugging!

This practice opens us up to the possibility of standing in our own selves fully while meeting another, who is standing in their full self, and together relaxing and breathing into an open space of connection and resting there.

Why Practice Hugging?

Where else do you have permission to do something that feels so good and is so very good for your health while giving you the  powerful opportunity to practice moving into the present moment and resting there for a little while!

A heart to heart hug can have significant benefits on our mental and physical health and happiness in the following ways:

Hugs can increase your self-esteem

From the moment we’re born our family’s touch shows us that we’re loved and special. During our childhood the loving cuddles that we receive develop into our sense of self-worth which we carry into adulthood at a cellular level. The associations of self-worth and tactile sensations from our early years are still imbedded in our nervous system as adults. That is why when we are feeling down, unsure of ourselves or confused a hug can often transform those feelings back to one of self-worth and a positive attitude.

Hugs enhance Relationships

A good hug increases the feeling of safety, security, trust and belonging. These are the foundations of all healthy relationships. Research has shown that relationships in which hugging and touching are present tend to be stronger and longer lasting.

The energy exchange between the people hugging is an investment in the relationship. It encourages empathy and understanding. And the whole is more than the sum of its parts: 1 + 1 = 3 or more! This is more likely to result in win-win outcomes and longer lasting relationships.

Hugs can lower stress

Getting a good squeeze before going into a stressful situation can help you relax and calm down a bit. The hug could even help you stay calm, cool, and collected during the event. The reason for this is that when we hug or kiss a loved one, our oxytocin levels go up. This powerful hormone is often called “the bonding hormone”, because it promotes attachment in relationships, including between mothers and their new born babies.

Oxytocin is made primarily in the hypothalamus in the brain, and some of it is released into the bloodstream through the pituitary gland. But some of it remains in the brain, where it influences mood, behaviour and physiology. It has the ability to alleviate social anxiety and produce feelings of trust. It also has the peripheral ability to reduce stress.

Hugs can lower the risk of heart disease

The hormones that are released in the body after a hug aren’t just good for happy feelings — they can also help your physical health. When someone touches you, the sensation on your skin activates pressure receptors called Pacinian corpuscles, which then send signals to the vagus nerve, an area of the brain that is responsible for (among many things) lowering blood pressure.

Human-to-human contact also lowers your body’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And that in turn helps ease your blood flow and lower your heart rate.

Hugs can boost immunity

It’s been shown that people who are under stress and in conflict with others are more susceptible to viruses like the common cold. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University set out to determine whether social support, such as hugging, might in turn be protective against such infections.

It turns out their hypothesis was right. Among 404 adults, those who had greater social support and more frequent hugs during conflicts were less likely to “catch” a cold after they were exposed to the virus. The hugs, researchers said, were responsible for about one-third of the protective effect.

Hugging is important for adults too

Physical touch and hugging can combat feelings of loneliness that arise as people get older. A retirement home in New York conducted a study in which they implemented a program called ‘Embraceable You.’ The idea was to encourage cross-generational contact and touch between residents and staff members in order to improve the residents’ wellbeing. The results were conclusive, with residents who were touched or hugged three or more times a day having more energy, feeling less depressed, better able to concentrate and more restful sleep than their less-hugged counterparts.

So what’s not to love? Hugs make you happier, healthier and more relaxed – AND improve your relationships!

There’s only one catch: It has to be a GOOD HUG! Which means, it has to last at least 20 seconds.

(Thanks to https://www.spa-in-spain.com/blog1/2018/01/20/health-benefits-hugging/ for this great article)

Is this for You?

Well! Maybe it is and maybe it isn't.

Have you had the opportunity to hug me (KimJoy) or someone who attends the Art of Hugging Practice? Did you enjoy that hug? Do you want to learn to be an amazing hugger yourself?

Do you consider yourself a good hugger? Do you want to take your hugging to a new level?  Would you like to continue to offer amazing hugs to others while at the same time deepening your own personal embodiment practice?

This Practice is for newbies to advanced hugging practitioners! Everybody benefits!

And if the Practice is not for you, you will know it and are welcome to excuse yourself from participating. No worries.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!


Currently, the Art of Hugging is not available in person. Soon I hope to be offering an on-line version for Couples and Covid Pod mates. For more information about these offerings please email me at kimjoy@claimyourjoy.com. I look forward to gathering together (even if it is online) to look within!