Attend to the quality of your movements.
What do you find in yourself when you attend – when you earnestly and intently pay attention to the characteristics of your movements?
Sit down on the edge of a seat. Rest your hands on your thighs. Now move ONLY your right shoulder toward the wall in front of you (or tree or horse, if you’re outside), without turning yourself and move it back to where you started. Your right hand stays resting on your thigh throughout the entire movement. Do that a couple of times at any speed you wish.
NOTE: these are very, very small movements – very small.
How would you describe your movements?
Smooth? Gritty? Fluid? Uneven? Jumpy? Clear?
Whatever you find, don’t change it, just take in what you find.
Then, do the same movements but slow them down?
Now what would you describe your movements? Is the quality the same?
Same movements and slow them down more then before. What do you find?
Slow them down until you’re doing these movements so slowly that someone walking by might not know you’re moving! What does it feel like now? Besides frustrating?
It’s possible that as you get slower, your movements don’t get smoother or more fluid at first. They might, in fact, feel jumpy. It might feel as though it’s more difficult to control the quality of your movements when you’re moving that slowly.
If you discover this jumpiness, don’t try and change it or make it go away. Just continue to move with your full attention at this very slow pace. Your attention, itself will create change.
Pause and don’t do anything but breathe for a couple of seconds.
Now begin moving just your left shoulder forward and back to start. It’s a very small movement. Attend to the quality of the movement of your second shoulder. It’s a different shoulder with different musculature and coordination, so do not expect the same results.
What quality do you find in the movements of this shoulder? How is it different from the first movements you made with your right shoulder?
Gradually make the movement of your left shoulder slower and slower until it’s almost imperceptible.
How would you describe these movements? How are they different from when you first started moving your left shoulder AND how are they different from the similar movements you did with your right shoulder?
Pause for a moment.
This time move first your right shoulder and then your left, (still small) forward and back to start.
Are you only doing that movement?
Or is there a slight lift in your shoulders?
Slight tightening in your chest?
How do you breathe when you do these movements?
Do you hold you breath at any time?
Are your hands active when you’re moving only your shoulders?
Is there any tension in your jaw?
Around your eyes?
In your throat and neck?
The next time you move your shoulders, see how relaxed you can be in your body as you do this – only using the muscles that are absolutely necessary for these small but informative movements.
How is the quality now?
If you’re curious, you can repeat this moving one shoulder at a time back (without turning yourself) and returning to start. Take your time to be clear about what you intend to do. This is a pretty unusual movement, in and of itself.
You can also explore these other very small movements:
moving one shoulder at a time up and back to start
moving one shoulder at a time down toward your pelvis and back to start (without leaning)
small, small movements that gradually get slower and slower.
What are the differences? What changes?
Feel what you learn about yourself.