Welcome to Week Two: Going With The Flow
THIS WEEK’S CLASS
IN THIS WEEK’S COURSE:
- USE IT OR LOSE IT
- FEEL IT TO HEAL IT
- WAKE UP AND SHAKE UP
USE IT OR LOSE IT
When we are in pain, physical or emotional, the tendency can be just to stop, and whilst rest is beneficial, it’s important to keep moving.
This week we are specifically looking at the spine, and how we can keep the spinal fluid flowing, and the structures of the back well hydrated.
We do this by keeping moving, and moving in many different direction, including lots of arcs, spirals, and waves. Any natural movement will be beneficial; we want to bring the body back into it’s biomorphic state.
Biomorphic. Which means resembling all life form.
Simply put, we are creatures of nature, just like animals, trees, plants, fish, and amphibeans, and like all these other creatures, we have an ancient, primordial wisdom that courses through our tissues.
So when we move in the way that nature intended, we tune our body and mind in a very different way, a way that brings us back into a state of balance.
When we work with the element of water, we want to use movements that are more fluid, undulating, spirallinhg, and arcing, movements that we would associate with amphibians, hence the inclusion of the Iguana in this sequence, all the movements we do on our front, low to the ground.
Take a look at this video, and you will see what I mean. I’m not expecting you to be able to do this (yet!), but it will give you an idea of what is possible. It’s also quite meditative!!
Our body really is miraculous, but we have to use it or lose it!
Our modern lives have meant that many of us aren’t using our bodies “as nature intended”, rather we tend to be stationery for long periods of time, we sit in chairs, which we weren’t designed to sit in, and when we do exercise, that tends to be a repetitive action, which just means the same old patterns.
It’s interesting, I can often tell which sport or exercise someone does a lot of, just from looking at their bodies. The runner, the cyclist, the swimmer, the weight lifter – many lack the freedom of movement required to maintain a fluid body, and can develop postural problems, as well as injuries if they only do this one style. Even some yogis, if they are just doing the same moves over and over again, patterns (not becessarily) good ones are going to develop over time.
We literally get “stuck in a rut”.
The water element is the antithesis of this. It’s going with the flow.
I’d recommend the following for helping bring your body back into it’s fluid state:
- Dancing, preferably wild and free, like no-on’es watching!
- Moving in water, just play , but include twists, and arcs, or get to an aqua-fit class, great fun!
- Martial arts – something like qi gong, or even Capoiera!
- There are also some great somatic movement classes on YouTube, including a chap called James Knight whose work is very accessible
Think of which times in the day you are stationery for long periods of time.
What can you do to remind yourself to move around?
What kind of movements can you do and where?
FEEL IT TO HEAL IT
It was actually through my journey with a therapist, which included Somatic Experiencing, that I learned this one.
If we don’t allow the pain, whether it’s the physical or emotional pain we are in, it’s never going to get processed.
Oh yes, I know, it’s easier to take some painkillers, or distract ourselves getting “busy” instead of acknowledging our difficult emotions, but really it’s just putting a plaster on the wounds.
If you have been struggling with anxiety for a long time, then I would highly recommend finding a skilled therapist and “doing the work”. There is no shame in it, in fact, I believe that most people would benefit from this. If we don’t get to the root of our problems, really we are just “managing symptoms”.
There are ways, however, that we can help ourselves, and that is by allowing, acknowledging, and accepting our pain. Instead of running away from it, we need to look it in the eye, go into the sensation, and ask ourselves what it might be trying to tell you.
When you are in discomfort, ask yourself where you are feeling it, and just sit with it for a moment, and ask yourself what it has to say to you.
There is no hurry for you to get to the answer, but just by simply being aware of your pain, noticing it, and being gentle with yourself, you can start to relieve the discomfort. Use the technique that many therapists use, but turn it on yourself – hold space for yourself, allow yourself the time you need to heal.
Learn to “self-soothe” rather than “self-medicate”. If you’re unsure of what that means then take some time to watch this video from Teal Swan
ACTION STEPS* On and off the mat try to tune into your body’s whispers. When you experience any discomfort or resistance – physical or psychological – ask yourself “what is this experience trying to tell me?”
* Take a pause now and reflect on some of the ways you avoid your pain and what “plasters” you use
* What else could you do instead of sticking a plaster on it?
WAKE UP AND SHAKE UP
Shaking is the natural way to release tension and return the body to its normal homeostasis. It is a primal impulse to a stressful situation. Animals naturally shake to release tension after a life-threatening event.
However, we human’s have been socially conditioned to stoically grin and bear. We pretend that all is fine, put on a brave face, and “just get on with things”.
Sadly, this unnatural demeanour that we adopt traps the stress in our bodies. This negatively influences our physical and emotional health.
After all, the body keeps the score.
I discovered TRE (Trauma Release Exercises) thanks to a wonderful yoga teacher called Jo Hamilton, who is based in Exeter. It is based on the work of David Bercelli, and is a simple process you can use at home, although I would recommend starting out with a few sessions with a practitioner.
Take a look at how it works here.
Other simple and easy ways to shake out the stress and trauma in our bodies:
Pick one of these to do when you wake up or throughout the day when you need it!
1) Ping Shuai Gong – Swing Hands Exercise: This simple swinging-hands exercise improves Chi (qi) and blood circulation through the theory of “Ten fingers connecting the heart” opening all our body meridians and stimulate bone marrow, to rid toxins from the human body.
2) Kim Eng – Shaking Practice: This simple shaking can be done anywhere, just shake out the part which feels tense. Jump, kick and throw your hand up. Surrender to the shaking. Let out any sounds that want to come out. You will feel the release of tension
3) Crawling – The Best Mind Body-Exercise: Just get on fours with the kids and crawl and shake away your tension.
4) Wild Dancing!!! – My absolute favourite healing modality! Put one of your favourites tunes on, and do whatever comes naturally, allowing your body to shake, rattle and roll, and release all that it needs to!!!