This place – SOMASPACE – is a place to experience life through the lens of the bodymind continuum. Ooh, I love how that sounds. Surely, I am not the first to coin the expression – but that is what I am calling in for my life, my family and friends, and my client’s lives. If we can really unite our body-mind, we can experience life more fulfilled with less pain and suffering. The body is the mind and the mind is the body. I don’t see these as separate entities – but rather as interweaving continuously and infinitely – creating the fabric of our existence.
Bodywork becomes a space in which to truly experience and feel every part of our bodies. I ask clients to get quiet and use the time to feel the breath and energy moving and to feel the sensations so they can help release the tension within the tissues.
Any movement practice which encourages the communion of the bodymind is welcome at SOMASPACE. Dance, pilates, yoga are all ways to strengthen the web between what we feel and how we act, what we feel and think and how we move. Sending energy to all parts of our body helps us to repair cells and fight illness and disease.
However, we don’t have to go to a class or get bodywork to be mindful of our bodies. We can start right now, at home, next to our dirty kitchen or unsorted laundry.
Start with just this:
Find a comfortable place to lie down. Having foam or yoga mats or a rug might make this more comfortable. Breathe deeply and try to quiet your brain. As thoughts arise, let them drift away.
Breathe deeply and roll and move so as to give each and every inch of your body space to press into the floor. As your right ear, left heel, right thigh, tailbone, your belly, sides of your rib cage – all the different parts pressing into the floor one at a time, breathe into every part. Try to get to all parts of the body. Make your own dance, from this rolling and pressing. You are giving each part a chance to release and a chance to be felt. See if you can let your body lead you – what wants to move, what wants to be still. The movement doesn’t need to be big. Even tiny movements or even thinking about movement stimulates the fibers to contract and release on the micro-level.
Why is it so hard for us to just be with ourselves? I ask this of myself, as well. It often feels like there is no time, to just be. Whatever little time we give to our bodies, we feel like we have to get our “cardiac” in, to strengthen, to improve. But what if we just gave ourselves five minutes to just be. To listen to what the different parts of our bodies have to say. To feel each and every part?
We might just be able to start hearing that “still small voice” of our true Self. We might just be able to feel our whole Self.
So, let’s say, we start giving ourselves a 5, 10, or 15 minute movement meditation daily. That would be revolutionary! But what would be even more amazing is we could take this mindfulness of movement into our daily lives.
Next time you are cooking in the kitchen, try and be mindful of your movement. When you have to get a pot from the low cabinet, squat slowly. If you can, take some deep breaths and stay here for at least 30 seconds. Try to stretch your arm into the cabinet – feel your arm connection to your back (the latissimus dorsi muscle). Basically, slow down your movements, making stretches happen where they can. The squatting and arm stretch is just an example, but all kinds of movement potential happens when we do everyday tasks. Put on music while you cook. Move your hips, lift on the balls of your feet when you need to reach something high.
These are just ideas to jump start you thinking about the everyday tasks you do that are ripe opportunities for paying attention to your body. Let’s start being mindful of our bodies more often than not. It will feel awkward at first, but just like anything, it can become an automatic response.
As a qigong teacher once told me, where the mind goes, qi (chi) will follow! As you are mindful
(purposeful) with your movement (slowing down, stretching and breathing at opportune moments) more energy will flow through your body – making you a happier family chef, dog feeder, laundry sorter, kid-carrier, or whatever task the moment requires!