We start to move in the womb before we’re even born. No one teaches us – it’s an innate ability we all have. We just know how to wiggle our fingers and toes and when the time comes, how to walk, how to run, how to play, how to move whichever way we want to.
In fact, in a study of 120 babies by the National Academy of Scientists, the scientists wanted to discover what babies naturally respond to without any conditioning from society. They played Mozart to the babies – nothing happened. They played Melodious Voices to the babies – nothing happened. And then they played creative, rhythmic music and all the babies started moving, however they wanted to – some slowly, some fast.
But all too often in today’s society we lose this ability to move and express ourselves. It gets repressed or distorted by our busy lifestyles and the environment we live in. In fact, over time, many of us also even lose the ability to breathe properly. Our overactive minds and the stress we encounter on a daily basis means we forget to focus on inhaling and exhaling and we succumb to fatigue and respiratory problems.
However, all is not lost. Exploring more natural ways of moving through Somatic Movement explorations and Free Movement Therapy can help us to rebalance, become more aware of our bodies and teach us how to move naturally and breathe correctly through postural training, stretching and breathing exercises.
It helps balance the neuromuscular system and heal movement related injuries, reducing muscular tension, improving posture, restoring full movement to all body parts and helping the mind to tune into the body.
Fear doesn’t move – we’ve all heard the saying, “I was frozen with fear” – so simple movement can also help you to overcome anxiety and depression, and as a former dancer, I can vouch for the power of dance in creating joy and a feeling of liberation, especially if you just go with the flow.
In her TED talk, Tending the Sacred Fire, Shiva Rea explains how all 6 billion of us on the planet are creative, rhythmic, dancing beings – it’s worth a watch.
In Yoga, the Shakthi Bandha group of asanas consists of seven poses that help to improve energy flow within the body. Ideally, energy (Prana), your life force, should be free flowing around your body but often blockages occur that can result in stiffness, tension or hormonal problems. The Shakthi Bandha asanas help to eliminate energy blockages, activate the lungs and heart and improve endocrine function. They are ideal for those who are feeling ‘under the weather’ and are especially useful for women suffering with menstrual problems due to the toning effect on the pelvic organs and muscles.
The seven Shakthi Bandha poses are
- Pulling the rope (Raju Karshanasana)
- Dynamic spinal twist (Gatyatmak Meru Vakrasana)
- Churning the mill (Chakki Chalanasana)
- Rowing the boat (Nauka Sanchalanasana)
- Chopping wood (Kashtha Takshanasana)
- Salutation pose (Namaskarasana)
- Wind releasing pose (Vayu Nishkasana)
Why not explore this group of poses and work with them, moving in and out of them in a way that works for you and your breath, maybe slowing things down if you’re tired or picking up the pace when you have more energy.
Here is a video of my version of churning the mill:
If you’ve been practicing Yoga for a while and you no longer have to concentrate on getting into or out of the poses, you may want to try experimenting with your Yoga practice staying a while longer in the space you’ve created, starting to really feel into it – closing your eyes perhaps, to help you bring your focus to the felt sense of the body and all the sensations, the feeling of stretch, the tension, the joy, the challenge, the areas of softness and release, of holding. And then you could perhaps begin to creatively move between the poses expressing your own inner feeling and the desires of your own body through movement, the shapes you make with your hands, the flow of your arms and your breath moving into the corners of your body and out through finger tips as your whole body becomes one with the movement.
Would you like to experience the benefits of a more creative and playful free movement practice?
I offer Free Movement classes.
As the name suggests, my new Free Movement class will be all about movement – both free and structured. This slow moving fluid style of yoga will have a different focus each week, starting with a movement practice designed to open the body and make space. We will then explore together the body and various movements and poses in a more playful, creative way to enrich and enliven, inviting inner enquiry and quiet.
By combining both traditional yogic teachings with an acceptance of our own innate body wisdom, classes will focus on developing mindful breath and inner body awareness through a quiet, creative practice working from the inside out enabling you to develop your own self-expression and openness through deepened body awareness and connection. You’ll be invited to discover more of yourself, cultivating a deeper sense of trust and wholeness that can ripple out into your whole life.
Contact me for more information.