Read Part 1 here
Real Life Story of Mindfulness in Practice/Relationship to Body:
In a practice with a private client, I was inviting them to bring their head back in a pose so that there would be no tightening of their throat and neck; the chin was jutting forward too far. It felt channeled to experience this moment…
“Bring your chin back so that the tight throat is not cutting you off. You actually have more space, more wiggle room. This is that mindful movement in practice where something’s not so overly tight that it’s blocking us, but we can actually soften it and then we have more mobility and other areas of the body. I mean how beautiful is that as embodiment! As it translates off the mat, that when we can be vulnerable when we can open ourselves, when we can be “soft”, whatever ‘soft’ means for you, and it actually empowers us and gives us the strength to live more authentically and with that freedom and with joy! When your chin came back, your chest opened wider and your shoulders had more strength behind you!”
Mindful movement also supports us into a way of being that is very subtle. It invites us to slow down; though not to say that we can’t still be mindful when a physical practice picks up. However, the pace of the body is slow! Remember my blog about the pace of the body, read it HERE.
Slowing down supports us in those moments when the thoughts pick up, when our energy picks up, whenever breath picks up, or an emotion feels like it starts to take over us. Whether it’s something like anger and frustration or joy and exaltation. Learning how to be mindful of the body when we are slow and intentional prepares us for moments of speed, chaos, or struggle.
Practicing mindfulness intentionally can help us in life when we are feeling out of sorts. When we don’t feel embodied in a moment, we can resource our practice.
The one thing to do when we don’t know what we need or what to do:
- When we don’t know what we need or what to do in our physical practice, let alone our life, we can just roll out the mat, or take that walk, and open ourselves up to our immediate experience. To feel what our body is needing, to feel what we are needing.
Oftentimes we will discover that we do know.
It’s not always pleasant, but it’s profoundly beneficial. Sometimes we discover that we do know that we are grieving and we need to take time to process and heal, so we do. Sometimes we discover that we do know we are in need of making a great change in our life, and so we commit to ourselves.
Sometimes we do know just how happy we are, so we laugh out loud. Sometimes we recognize just how grateful we are, so we weep tears of appreciation.
Sometimes in mindful movement we also hear the whispers of our heart. Sometimes we will see the Knowings of our intuition. We might experience that Oneness for a brief moment in time; when all is moving with us, and us with all of life.
Sometimes in mindful movement we experience a feeling of love and connection. Sometimes we find nothing.
So, mindful movement invites us to become open to noticing that, nothing; what does nothing feel like, and what is my experience with noticing nothing? To feel the breath moving in our bodies with a neutral equanimity, because usually something then shifts.
Mindful movement allows us to live inside the ebbs and flows of life, the ups and downs, the good and the bad.
Mindful movement is really beautiful in the way where what’s being spoken to you, you can hear because you are listening with loving-kindness. We just meet ourselves where we are at.
Real Life Story of Mindfulness in Practice / Meeting Yourself Where You are at:
“You can play with mindful movement. It’s a realization of play and playfulness that you can implement things from the first side, but maybe in a different order on the second side, but you’re still creating touch points of the same postures and exploring in each side of the body, or different areas of the body. What you notice from one side to the next.
Mindful Movement brings us into awareness of how we can create physical balance within the body and how we can create physical stability, mobility, flexibility. A healthy, balanced body. For example, you might hold a posture longer on one side that feels a little less stable and develop the stability over time and vice versa and all the whole spectrum of things in between.”-Me to a private client.
The embodiment above, though spoken to on the physical body level, CAN, and dare I say, NEEDS to be applied to life at large! To play, to try without attachment, to explore and be curious, to feel what happens; this is all the meaningful learning in life that transforms us!
Mindful movement, here again, brings us into the subtle body and slows us down so that when we do switch sides in a physical practice, or as we move from any position into a different shape of our body, we’re going slow down enough so that we can feel adjustments that might need to be taken, whether physical or otherwise it might be an adjustment of thought that’s most needed… so, instead of “I’m not good at this,” and “I can’t do this,” it becomes… “I’m going to do the best I can. I’m going to try this,” and “what does this feel like in my body?” Then we release the comparison right!? We’re just here, present! If we want we can even blossom that further until it becomes a dedication to oneself and to all beings; it changes the entire experience, and then you might find that that entire experience just changed your body.
What does it feel like when we move mindfulness into the body?
As I spoke about earlier, we can send messages to our body. And, we can be mindful of the messages that we are receiving from our body. You might feel the message when you, for example, take a plank pose. Maybe you really hear the core telling you you’re strong! Maybe not! It is the shape, the pose, the move, the walk, the swim, the dance that can reveal back to us our True Nature. Shapes of our body can be used to practice deep listening to our hearts and souls as much as our bodies; it IS all one.
Breathe here, what do you notice right now in your body? You can create change!
That experience when felt in the subtlety of mindful movement, how we feel when part of the body energizes or softens and you become aware of your whole body because you’ve been able to be more mindful is wonderful, it’s something to notice and celebrate as a marker, a touchstone in your life. You can experience in real time how strengthening one part of your body supports a different part of the body. Or how softening or relaxing one part of the body will support that energy throughout the entire system, and you can experience real peace!
You can see how also strengthening one part of the body enables and invigorates another part of the body, like in that plank pose, and feel the core, but now we realize “oh, we don’t have to clinch our jaw”! We can transfer, we can transmute energy and concentration, and we can start to shift our energy for whatever we wish… our own healing, our own transformation, and it’s on all levels of being, not just the physical…
This is how mindful movement becomes more than a practice, but a way of living.
I have just the place and time for you to practice on the mat so it will support you off the mat and off the cushion.
I am looking forward to the June workshop series here in Inwood, each Wednesday evening. We are going to use mindful movement in practice to connect to our:
- Breath and body / week one
- Soul and intuition / week two
- Heart / week three
- Mind / week four
This is meant to be experiential. This is a place to come to move and just simply be. Releasing expectation, we will step into movement just to listen to our body, to connect to our true nature, and to relax and release together.
The beauty of it all is that we will be doing it in community. So many cultures and ancient traditions from around the world, let alone recent scientific studies, have proven that when we dance together, move together, breathe together, that the subtle energies within us and around us become more positively charged. It changes our energy and brains for the better!
It is in that collective reverberation that you are invited into. And truly, beyond invited, here, you belong. For when we move, breathe, and stretch together, we experience what is said in yoga that we are ‘not the body’, ‘ not the mind’, and that we are so much more.
As this is a new location and a new focus upon an inside my offerings, and to create the reverberation of the collective, I’m seeking no fewer than seven, and no greater than 12 participants.
A closing poem by Terri St. Cloud:
it was when she dipped deep inside,
and scooped out her very essence-
and then stretched her arms outwards
with her hands full of stars-
it was when those stars passed through
her fingers and out to the world-
it was then she understood she was a sacred vessel.
that we are all sacred vessels-
with the entire universe flowing thru us-
and all we need to do is open and be.
Mindful movement can also help us to discover what relaxing muscles and releasing and what rest can truly feel like.
All my love,
Breathe and Believe.