Tag Archives: Movement

Touch. Move. Feel. Move. Magic in Relationship. 1

Stone Arch

Saturday’s practice had a different feel. This morning, not unlike many or even most of the classes and practices I lead and share, held

My classes and practices, much like my kitchen, are laboratories, teeming with curiosity and possibility. I’m never completely certain how the process will turn out.

My personal practice yesterday focused on sensation through emotion and how emotion shapes the way I move and in turn how sensation shapes the way I move.

This morning was a continuation. The stimulation was touch. With a variety of objects, we moved like the squishy pig, like the poky bouncy ball, we differentiated between moving like a string of Mikimoto pearls and a string of Michael’s (craft store) clearance bin pearls. I discovered that a string of 2-inch wood dowels are more mobile and flexible than I imagined from looking at them.

I noticed how moving with squishy pig changed the relationship between my bones in a way unlike moving with a squishy weighted 5-inch ball. Then moving with a small “school yard” ball changed the relationship between my joints and the music in yet another way from the squishy weighted ball.

And in this, how was my mind and mental energy in relationship? To my body? To the music? To the objects? To the concept of practice as laboratory? How, where and when did my attitudes and beliefs join the party and what was their contribution? How did – how do my attitudes and beliefs arrive and dance in relationship to my desire?

Moving what I see can be a vastly different experience than moving what I feel through touch. I find that my movement can be directly affected by what I touch. I am a highly tactile human (as the guard at the Phoenix Museum of Art will attest to!) and I spend a significant amount of time present to what comes under my fingers. I’m drawn by texture. Not so much to get a closer look but to experience it more deeply. My visual sense isn’t enough, I want to “see” it with more of me and in texture there is movement. Give me texture, I’ll give you movement. Inversely all movement has texture.

When we went down to the floor (or deck as the case was), the Five Sensations showed up…

for tomorrow’s post.

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Squirrel Tennis

Squirrels and Tennis

Tennis lesson with my daughter this morning; giving her the opportunity to more deeply embody and use the skills she worked on in her formal lesson last night and me a chance to practice everything.

My lesson today, another step in embodying tennis:

Move with the ball

Have my racquet back as I approach the ball

Back hand – pull with my front arm to midpoint then finish with a push from my back arm

Smooth, long swings.

I did not play racquetball the way I dance today in Nia and in my personal practice. I was a force of nature; frenetic energy and power, emotion and speed. All nerves and reaction or perhaps “reactivity” might be a better choice. Being in this new way of moving for me right now is an interesting metaphor for the changes that have been occurring  within – the new ways of moving energy from the inside out.

On the court this morning, Rachel took time to run drills with me. Doing this, she could better see how I was organizing and bringing myself to the task and make suggestions for improvement. It was also an opportunity for me to track my experience and observe where I am in the embodiment process. The tennis racquet still feels a bit long to me and my muscle memory reminds me to pull my elbow in to hit the ball with the shorter racquetball racquet that had become a part of my hand.

After a few minutes of hitting her serves from various spots on the court, we both confirmed what I suspected: I’m playing Squirrel Tennis!

Ever see a squirrel run out into the middle of the street, see the cars, begin to run back to where they started, change their ‘minds’ and run to the opposite side of the street? Yep, I’m the squirrel and the ball is the tree, but I can’t decide which tree it is! Is it the tree I just left or is it the one I’m running to? I know where the ball is going but I no longer know what to do with my body once I get to it.

After Rachel’s lesson last night, I watched some guys who were warming up to play doubles. I observed one man in particular who touched the ball almost absentmindedly as his joints became more relaxed and willing to do what would be asked of them. Warming up, he and his racquet moved with efficient, fluid motion. Soft shots dropped where he wanted them to; muscle memory ensuring that he was where he was supposed to be and energy would be conserved.

Moving over the court, I could feel the whisperings of new skill as long as I was fully conscious and present to it. As I added a new reminder, the previous one would almost entirely desert my body; not enough to be completely lost, but enough to confuse my nervous system. I’m not where I was. I am no longer a racquetball player. I am not where I am going to be. Nor am I a tennis player. I am at that “awkward stage” of learning; clumsy, unpredictable, not completely in control and inefficient.

I love the awareness. I tell my body what to do, “racquet out as soon as the serve is executed and swing down to up” and my body does it. Like a squirrel. Yes, I moved through the drill and the result was a better shot. However, the reality was that I overran or “charged” the ball and when I made contact I had so much momentum that I hit it out of the court. I did get off a better shot (perspective: better than what?) but the other skills I’m learning fell temporarily away. My body could only manage to utilize the racquet form. One thing at a time.

The next time I move with the ball and it feels like floating, but I forgot my racquet form and smacked it with wrist and bent elbow. Each shot is like that. My daughter is patient and frustration is not coming up. She knows me and is giving me the space to be curious and enjoy the journey.

I discovered that when she can’t quite find the words to describe what I did to get to the ball and get it over the net (or not), it’s “scary”. Squirrel on steroids! All form got lost in that translation!

One thing at a time.

I get to spend time with my 19 year old daughter doing something she is falling in love with, we’re running around and we’re outside.

Life is good.

That Secret, Part 2 of a 2-Parter

Yin Yang B 5 Sun Moon

What’s the Best Kept Secret to a Balanced Life?

Part 1: Movement.

The thing about moving is that you have to keep doing it to be able to keep doing it. Do you still do the things you did when you were 12? Why not? Because you’re older? Aging is not a pathology, but we’ve made it into one.

When I say ‘movement’, I’m not talking about a walk around the block while you hold a conversation so you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. I’m also not talking about creating movement at so high a level that all you can think about is not dropping to the floor in exhaustion.

My dad is 87 and moves like he’s 30. It’s no accident but he didn’t fully realize the value of what he has been consciously doing throughout most of his life. I have a friend who is close to 90 and she gets up and down from the floor all the time with as much (or more ease) than her children!

So what does that mean?

It means cultivating a fully connected relationship with your body. A relationship the likes of which you may not have had before. And here’s where the second part comes in: Awareness.

Part 2: Awareness – paying attention.

When I suggest ‘cultivating a fully connected relationship with your body,” I’m not talking about a relationship in which you relate to your body through your thoughts and ideas about your body. I’m talking about a relationship with your body through your body.

This means flat out paying attention all the time. This means being present to yourself as body and others all the time.

Being Present means that you bring all of you every time. It is a practice.

Being Present is a way of taking care of yourself and only when you are taking care of yourself can you truly take care of others or your obligations.

Not taking care of yourself or sacrificing your well-being “for others” is not noble, interesting, attractive, medal-worthy or brave. It’s self-defeating, demoralizing, manipulative and it hurts everyone around you. I know this from doing it and experiencing others do it. Being Present allows you to care for yourself in any relationship and still be there for others.

What is the most efficient way to learn to Be Present? This one is easy.

Movement.

Go ahead, try it.

Why? Movement causes Sensation and we are never more present than in Sensation.

Any Movement?

Any Movement that does not cause pain and harm. That defeats the purpose. Technically that can almost be a ‘yes’ answer. Without opening it up to movements such as hitting yourself in the head with a hammer, the idea is that whatever movement you choose can be done without causing pain and harm. Make sense?

We are never more in-the-moment then when we are moving in relationship with everything around us; moving as connected BE-ings. That excludes texting while walking or reading while eating or eating while watching tv. Most of us do it, it just doesn’t count as moving as connected BE-ings. It is moving while we are paying attention to ourselves moving.

It is moving while we are paying attention to ourselves moving.

Encourage and develop our ability to move with increased sensitivity.

 Move as a connected part of the space and in relationship with every object,  not as a separate body moving through space and around objects.

Rather than moving ourselves as though we are individual objects moving through space, we move as part of the space.

Movement brings us into deeper relationship with our world. It is not the world “around” us, it is the world within us and we are within it.

If you really want to make positive changes in your life, this the secret.

Easier than it may sound, and more difficult than you might think.

It is moving while we are paying attention to ourselves moving. And feeling. And thinking. And creating. And…

Why is Movement, Awareness, BE-ing Present, paying attention, and cultivating a deeply feeling relationship with your body important?

How does it create Balance?

Tomorrow is another day…

Re-Define Aging? Change Your Life? R.E.S.P.E.C.T. every seond lived in your Body.

Little Dancer

A wise guy I know has said to me on several occasions a parent doesn’t deserve respect simply because they are parents, that was their choice. It’s what they have done since then that counts.

I wasn’t raised with that understanding of the relationship between parents and children and the first time I heard it, I had to choke back a knee-jerk argument. Over the years I’ve thought about it a lot and I’ve come to agree.

This morning I looked at that statement on a very broad scale, something struck me and I thought I’d share this ongoing lesson I’m uncovering:

We’re surprised, disappointed, frustrated and alarmed with the lack of respect that we, as a culture have for our elders.

We’re surprised, disappointed, frustrated and alarmed with the lack of respect that we, as a culture have for our children.

Curiously, we are also surprised, disappointed, frustrated and alarmed with the lack of respect that we, as a culture have for the human body we live in.

Anybody see a common denominator here?

How about productivity?

If you can’t make money, what good are you – where is your usefulness?

If it requires sacrificing health, comfort and pleasure of your body – too bad – do it anyway. You can rest and get healthy when you retire. Right?

We don’t actually have a respect for human life. We have a respect for human usefulness; human productivity.

What are the messages? Forever be  25. It’s all down hill from there. And it was all up hill to get there.

Seriously? That’s it? We get nearly 100 years and all we want to keep is a year of it?

Ok, so it’s my soapbox for the week. What’s this got to do with Awareness? Sensation? Movement?

Everything.

Get into your body and live in it, moment by moment.

It is not sacrifice that makes us virtuous. Sacrifice only makes us resentful, bitter and unwell.

It is authentic generosity that makes us “virtuous”, joyful and well.

Wish for nothing else but this very moment. Everything else is smoke.

If there is pain in this moment, feel it, it won’t last long. Then do something to change it.

Don’t ever push emotions away. They are guides. They are a communication. They are teachers. They teach us about ourselves. You don’t have to act on them (or perhaps that is what you need to do), but shutting them out, suppressing your ability to feel them and learn from them is unwise.

There are no negative or positive emotions!

(Was the exclamation point overkill???)

We are not possessed by emotions, they exist for our use – to tell us about ourselves.

If you don’t like the way you’re feeling, give it about 7 minutes (that means not dwelling, not talking to yourself about how bad you feel and how angry you are or how hurt you are) and you’ll be feeling something else.

Be who, what and where you are. Don’t pretend. Except as a result of chemical imbalance, we are not anything all the time.

We are not angry all the time.

We are not happy all the time.

We are not grateful all the time.

We are not insecure all the time.

Feel it, then let it pass. Hanging onto it longer than it is intended to last (approximately 7 minutes!) turns something authentic and true into potential misery; into something forced and fake.

Change your life sound like too big a task? Then change your moment. How difficult is it to change the moment?

What sensation do you feel right now in your body? Is it pleasure? If not, do something different until it comes closer to pleasure.

Being Present in it may be all there is to changing your moment – that change your life.

Don’t let it get away.

Not Tonight

Wind Blown Woman in Black

I’m being called again.

Some are called to wander through miles and miles of rock, brush and tree.

Others to scale the many faces of Earth.

Still others climb aboard enigmatic vessels and are relieved only when there are liquid miles below them.

I am called by the wind.

Wind. Ruffling my hair and pinking my cheeks.

Shapeshifters. Changecallers. The bringers of transformation to soil, flesh and sky.

I need to be pushed; to be reminded not to stand in the same place for too long. Reminded that nothing is permanent. It is here. The wind blows. It is gone.

My soul speaks wind. Restless. Ever-shifting. Bending, rattling, cracking. Pressing to be let in and gone before an answer.

She blows. He blows. Both and neither. My response is pure sensation – gut startling me to attention. Chest inhaling to take him in and exhaling to join her ride – anticipation like a laugh in the distance I strain to hear.

They call and I am less flesh and bone then flight and fluid.

Excess falls away; where I’m going I won’t need it.

Clearing away.

Scouring the mess.

When they’re gone I will be less. And more.

I still haven’t gone out to meet them. What am I waiting for?

It is dark and I can’t see the trees dancing anymore but I know they are; I feel them seductively leaning in and coyly pulling away.

I peek out, into the ice and horror flicks at my chest. That’s not my wind.

I smell of it as I sit here writing to you, still feeling the remnants of illusion. I don’t fear the wind.

That’s not my wind. It calls, but today I will not reply.

That’s not my wind.

Living in Sensuality – Be the Movement

FreeDance in White Dress

This morning I took a class at the Y called Tums, Legs & Buns. The class was taught by Kathy Ross, a highly skilled and gifted teacher. Kathy blends yoga and Pilates with conventional fitness and has always delivered an effective class. It’s been a while since I’ve taken such a class and there was a point or two during the legwork where I couldn’t think of anything except the movement. I think I can safety say that I was completely immersed in the movements! I was in the movement moment!

I doubt I was the only one.

After I got home, I still had little sensation reminders of the class.

I watched Out of Focus, a documentary about Ohad Naharin and his creation GAGA, while I ate lunch. GAGA is an improvisational practice and what I’ve been able to pick up has greatly influenced my dance – and my body. A little later I went through my freedance/improv practice, inviting some of Naharin’s comments to settle in. “Be cool,” he suggests to a repertory group of dancers he’s working with. “Enjoy your body going into the movement.”

“Enjoy your body going into the movement.”

My body relaxes just saying it to myself.

Tense, self-conscious, perfection or technique-driven movement didn’t work for the Tin Man and it doesn’t work for us either.

Last Friday morning (2am or so) I woke up unable to roll onto my right side. My shoulder was too uncomfortable. When I got up for the day, I discovered that the range of motion in my shoulder was compromised, most noticeably by pain. By Sunday I had almost zero internal and external rotation and little extension. I have no idea what I did to piss off my shoulder. I went on to teach 2 classes in a sling and planned to not only visit my favorite Feldenkrais practitioner, Julie Francis, but to also consult an sports medicine specialist. For 2 days I protected my shoulder, adjusting my normal body flow to accommodate my new restrictions. Ice. Heat. Ibuprophen. Arnica oil. No relief.

As I was getting into the shower after class, Monday I noticed just how hard I had been holding myself. Getting in and out of shirts and exercise tops was practically a tear-jerker. I took a breath and drew the exhale throughout my body, with particular attention to releasing in my shoulder. Immediately it hung more comfortably. Another couple of breaths and conscious releasing exhales and the shirt came off with less pain. I taught Tuesdays class without the sling, relinquishing level 3 workout intensity for level 3 consciousness. By Wednesday morning I was again able to hook my bra like a big girl!

I still don’t know what I did, but the two experiences brought me around to considering how easy it is to be aware of what is challenging. Often our activity can be so difficult that we cannot be anywhere else. If we’re injured in such a situation, we’ll probably remember what we did, to tell the doctor. It’s the rest of the time that I’m getting to.

How many times have you heard someone tell you, in embarrassment, that they hurt their back getting out of the tub, or getting out of the car? How about getting out of bed? These are the movements we go through without thinking. These actions are a means to an end, they’re not the main event. They’re so not the main event that most of the time we don’t have any memory of doing them – mmm, how did I get here?

I watched as Naharin’s advice to the dancers changed their movements from technical and detached to expressive and connected.

Be in the movement,” applies to everyone. Hindsight only helps in the case of accidents involving things like planes, trains and automobiles. If we weren’t paying attention otherwise, we won’t have anything to reference in hindsight.

Credits: Out of Focus is a Heymann Brothers Production and is available for $35 through http://www.heymannbrothers.com

Move. Adapt. Heal.

Keep moving like a kid long after you aren’t a kid anymore!

Fire in the Soul Fire and Moon

Movement Alchemy, My Tool Box

I can Help you  Reconnect to your  Body Through Movement and Awareness   

     

60-Minute Interval Classes:

  • Alternating periods of High & Low intensity work
  • Nia-based simple Dance choreography designed to be personalized by You.
  • Strength Training Toys & Techniques

60-Minute Dance-Movement:

  • Simple , Nia-based choreography for Movement Variety
  • Improve Balance and Coordination

Body Healing & Body Giggles:

  • Unique 30/60-Min. Body Healing Movement Classes  with an   emphasis on  learning to create body connection, flow, and release through Awareness.

Nia classes:

  • an energetic, fun way to get fit, connect to community and get your dance fix! 52 Moves fuse the energy of martial arts, dance arts and healing arts for a perfectly balanced fitness program.

Labs and Workshops:

  • that are perfect if you are new to movement or Nia. Labs and Workshops that are also rich opportunities for all of you veterans and teachers to dive more deeply into your somatic practice with others in the Nia community.

Sole Practice:

  • Keep moving like a kid long after you aren’t a kid anymore!
  • Play with a variety of toys: bands, balls, scarves, music, BrainDance to stimulate your nervous system.

Benefits:

  • Increased Strength, Agility, Overall Flexibility, Joint Mobility, and Functional Stability for Movement Longevity
  • Improved Balance and Coordination
  • Sole Practice is one-on-one sessions that incorporate your personal body history and natural movement style. This information is a treasure map that will lead us on a journey of mind, body, spirit and emotional fitness, well-being and pleasure.

Nia is much of what I share, but Movement Alchemy is how all of the tools fit in the tool box.

Movement Alchemy describes the transformation through movement that is accessible to every body.  Transformation that honors every body in its uniqueness and life history. Movement Alchemy is the culmination of the work I’ve done; the different disciplines of movement I’ve delved into, the variety of injuries I’ve befriended as well as the various methods of healing I’ve explored.

Awareness is the key to everything.

Are You My Dance?

I am a movement chameleon.

Nocturnal. Dark dweller. Shadow nimble. Twilight agile.

It is with unabashed curiosity, pleasure and the barely-contained, irresistible urge to slip into the danceskin of another that I lose myself for a moment. Here, lost in another, I am never more fully in my own.

Mmm, it is walking with feet of melting rubber that bring me closer to the brilliance of “us” that I so desire. The angle of the sternum. Bridge of spine. Liquid chain. It is coming.

The world you stand in melts away as I see into another. This one vestibular; symbolic and code.

Hollow, transient, rushing, dark, rigid, yielding, engrossed and divergent comes the whisper “dance that!”

Head. “Heart.” Pelvis/”Gut”.

Head. Pelvis. My dance is here.

The world of detail breathes softly in the background until I lift the veil.  Heightened sensation tells me a story and  I am reminded of my body history.  Within the discomfort of illumination come new lessons in my design and how to use my energy. Sensation pours around me and through me, giving me subtle and not-so-subtle cues and clues.

Cues (head) transmit information bites that are pure and without judgment. “Sharp pain”, “loose”, “unstable”, “flow”, “stuck”.  Clues (pelvis) nudge me to zoom in more closely to receive the chance to unravel new moves. “Revisit that arm and shoulder move and notice where you hold the head of your humerus in your shoulder joint.”

Immersed in this ocean I can swim, decisively moving my body through liquid sensation or I can float and be moved.

Swimming charges me past in order to land me forward – a-head. I don’t know what there was. To feel. To hear. To see. To learn. To love. I don’t know what I might have received.

In Being moved I find the new places. In Being moved I feel the swells – I am the swells as the ocean changes her mind. In Being moved my dance, my life moves through me. Connected. Deeply interwoven. One.

In partnership, in collaboration and with agreement: my life will not go on without me and I will not go on without it.

The trying-on is done. With small, fascinated touch or too-big, ungainly attempts at what is not quite mine, it is sensuality that leads me to wholeness. It is this work, this pleasure, this stirring connection of cells in conscious symphony that bring me back home…

Not to be lead by my head or “heart” or pelvis – but by all.

From the mud, coal-black, sticky, warm and pungent comes

my whole

my own

my spirit

my joy

I Am My Dance.

(Photograph by Daniela Paunova)

When Is Enough, Enough?!

I’ve been in college 3 times. I’ve majored in English, Education, Psychology, and History. I’ve studied Journalism, Sociology, Music, Dance, Anthropology and Egyptology. I like school.

I have or have had certifications in group fitness, personal training, water fitness, senior fitness, fitness for special populations, Pilates mat work, fibromyalgia self-help workshop facilitator, yoga, 5 belts in Nia, Reiki and phlebotomy. I can’t read enough and I am able to apply what I read.

I have a least a dozen books on human anatomy,  movement, kinesiology, physiology, a full-sized skeleton, 4-5 books on various aspects of business, and a multitude of books designed to teach me how the body, mind, spirit and emotions integrate.

I’m running out of shelf space.

I’ve just started a business based on what I’ve been actively practicing for 20 years.

I’m getting ready to take a 3-part anatomy series.

I’m going to visit a Feldenkrais training. I’m seriously considering taking this training.

I’m planning on taking David Berceli’s Trauma Release trainings.

I’m not bragging and I’m not an overachiever. Nor am I independently wealthy!

When is it enough?  “It” or me?

What is Movement Alchemy selling? Am I selling a product in a box? Am I selling a method or technique? A name?

What I’m selling is me. I am the product.

I’m selling my love of movement and my belief that the path to wholeness and balance is, indeed through the body (the mind is too easily influenced, this post exists as proof ). I am selling my passion and reverence for the human body in its various forms and conditions.  I am selling my desire to learn everything I possibly can about as much as I can and share it all.

I am selling my love.

Fitness-wise, I know how to do everything I need to do to make a start at this business. I am acutely aware of what I don’t know and what my limits are. Where I have the least experience, I have strong business resources in wonderful friends. So why the hesitation? I am no longer an anxiety-prone woman, yet I find myself managing anxiety more often than I like.

Why the hesitation? Why am I holding back?

Enough. I think I’ll step off the wheel.