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Honoring the Individual: Movement as Therapy
On July 6, 2011
How wonderful is it that we can go to a class and stretch out our stress, or turn on music in the living room and shake out our anger? To me, this is movement therapy. Turning off our voice and going inside of our bodies enables us to connect to a wellspring of information that resides deep within the recesses of our true nature. It is in that place where peace and contentment reside. Movement as such becomes a therapeutic tool that is nothing short of beautiful.
From the time I was three years old, running around my house and wriggling to music, movement has fascinated me. It is the very essence of life; it is vital to our being and can take an endless array of forms from beautiful and expressive to dangerous and ugly. Movement is captivating! And it is this captivation that has led me to my work with dance, pilates, massage therapy, anatomy, and kinesiology; showing me how beneficial movement can be for body, mind, and spirit. However, one wrong slip or habitual misalignment and movement can become harmful- causing deterioration of bones, cartilage, and muscles. It is this lack of awareness and understanding of our anatomy that can lead to injury, and therein lies the solution: increase awareness and understanding, and you ease the body back into a state of anatomical homeostasis. I’ve seen this change happen countless times with my clients who suffer from various injuries. When we start bringing the mind’s attention to the affected area (through exercises and visualizations/meditations), clients will often have the same reaction- an excited amazement at noticing what their knee actually feels like or how the shoulder blades slide down the back, proclaiming “I can feel it! I’ve also never noticed that before”. This change in awareness and perception is beautiful; it brings us to a deeper understanding of our own selves and creates the possibility that we are able to change the habits we’ve developed, turning them into movements that are more in tune with our anatomical nature.
Once we learn to direct the body in its proper alignment, we can then relax and let movement be the vehicle to express our inner world, our fears and frustrations, our excitements and our loves. A whole world is created in which communication exists without words.
An awareness meditation to try at home:
Sitting in a chair, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and then two more. Bring all of your awareness into your feet, feeling each part connecting to the next, creating one unified whole. Feel the bones of the foot and how they stack together with such precision to support the weight of the entire body rising tall above them. Take a breath and breathe your awareness up your legs, through your hips, torso, lower/middle/upper back, neck, jaw, face, back of skull, and out the top of the head. Feel your whole body lit up with this relaxed awareness, as if in every moment you knew what each part of the body is feeling. Sit here with this feeling for another ten breaths, and when you open your eyes to stand up, notice if your body feels any different, or if your now expanded awareness of self changes the way you move through your day. As one of my mentors says, “take a minute to simply notice”. It is amazing what we learn when we do.
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