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The simple ritual form of Authentic Movement, can be an individual ‘mindfulness’ and reflective tool to support ‘integrated’ Being. When we do this regularly in our lives we get clearer to ourselves and to each other, so the clarity comes forth into our everyday mind and helps guide us.
Please note there are 3 dates for tasters, which are necessary to do to join the group. The first taster is 11 November. You will be introduced to a form of authentic movement practice, then if you wish to commit to an ongoing closed group, this will commence in Feb 2019 on Wednesday mornings 10.30-12.30pm.
Cost: EarlyBird (EB) £45 before 1 November; Full Price (FP) £60.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to book on to the taster.
During a taster session, Mari will introduce the form which is from her learning and practicing with Linda Hartley, as well as in other peer groups for over a decade. Mari and Dawn will co-hold the witnessing roles and support you in practising the form in simple ways to allow you to understand and receive the essence of this practice. You may also have a glimpse of the profound experience of moving and being seen by yourself and others, which will become more and more vivid over time in a closed group.
Mari is an accredited psychotherapeutic counsellor and body and movement therapist with a decade of experience in Authentic Movement practice, also witnessing somatic movement groups and seeing individuals as a therapist. www.befriendyourbody.co.uk
Dawn has over two decades experience of witnessing practice as teacher of 5 Rhythms and her own training and practice in pre and perinatal psychology and somatic movement practices.
Here’s a piece I’ve written which I hope will be of interest to you and help to open your curiosity about fear and safety in your experience.
What is safety in the human experience? Is it always about being free from threat? Can we ever be safe? Should we feel safe? I’ve been considering these questions myself as a human; and as a professional therapist, it’s so key to my work with people.
Feeling fearful is literally gut-churning, tense muscles and cyclical thinking, which are at the basis of anxiety and depression and so limiting of spontaneity and creativity. Feeling safe is the opposite, our hearts and breath are at restful pacing, we feel open, available in most ways.
When I feel safe, I can deal with most things myself or collaboratively, but also in this state I’m happy to sit with the unresolved things, trusting that I’ll find a way in this and I can surrender to the unfixable.
Neuroscientist Stephen Porges has researched a theory of our physiology involving the 10th cranial nerve: the Vagus nerve, which explains why we get churned up and tense, and why we also can relax and feel at ease (1). Humans have the adapted vagus nerve inherited from our reptilian and mammalian ancestors – ‘freeze, fight and flight’ when threatened by attack; and as social animals, isolation also feels threatening. The vagus nerve modulates our heart rates in safety; but in fear, it stops regulating the heart and the heartrate shoots up, and along with adrenaline and other neurochemicals, fills us with available energy to react.
In our own personal histories, we may have felt more or less fearful of animals who’ve threatened us but mainly it seems to be that we fear attack or entrapment by other humans, or fear the loss of our relationships and material resources and the ultimate fear of death. And even if we aren’t being outright attacked or pursued, we can feel as a lizard might, or a deer or a monkey… Fear, frozenness, weakness, nausea, rage… These feelings are because our bodies have felt threatened, are primed to notice threat and have evolved ‘go-to’ patterns of defence which are based on our earliest experiences of trying to survive. Our bodies remember and they are active trying to protect us.
It is complex, but feeling threatened or feeling safe doesn’t always correspond to actual danger or threat. Think of how it is to walk alone in a dark street versus how it feels to walk with another in exactly the same conditions; or how it feels to walk in that street when it’s light and other people are around. There is something about connection to other ‘safe’ humans that supports us to feel resourced or to deal with threats more quickly. Connection to others can help us feel safe. This is because, as I said above, a huge factor in our safety feeling comes from belonging and connecting with a social group. But as said previously, other humans are not always safe, and we can feel confused, perhaps preferring to deal with threat alone.
We humans struggle to feel safe a lot of the time. Feeling fear often generates a lot of uncomfortable intense sensations and behaviours, which are hard to come out of without help. Deb Dana has written about the application of this theory to therapy (2). She enables therapists to explain and support their clients to recognise how their body detects threat and translates it into the way they feel. She also shows how we can seek safety signals from people around us, and the environment which will help us settle our bodies and thoughts, and how we can repattern strong, unsettling body responses when we are not actually being threatened. Primates are ‘pro-social’, which means they utilise social connections for their safety strategies. They use warning strategies, negotiating and gradual escalation of reaction to threatening ‘others’. So as primates we humans need social connection and a sense of belonging to put these strategies into effect. Feeling safe is also about how our nervous systems are supported to settle, to soften our muscles, to rest; and to enjoy being awake, active and expressive of who we are together with others as well as alone.
Soothing behaviours involve touch, laughter, good food, warmth and comfort, a nice bath etc, which bring our bodies into release of tension, shared mindset and relaxation. There are many ways we feel the threat to our lives and our wellbeing: experiences of trauma, accidents, loss of loved ones, abuse and captivity. Anxiety/fear also lurks when we feel we may have more to lose. As individuals and as a collective, we forget how to just be, to rest and digest, and receive nourishment. We forget that in order to rest, we need to feel safe. This is also reflected in ways we undermine our own needs for balance in order to ‘keep up’ with the echelons of society we strive to be a part of – our need to belong, and our need to generate resources for our own survival. The irony is that a lot of energy goes into ‘gearing up’ to survive, and if we could recognise resources and resourcing relationships whereever they are in our lives, we could reclaim a lot of our energy and feel safer more of the time.
So I come back to the point that feeling safe is not about being safe. It is about feeling resourced to respond to whatever presents itself and feeling at ease with how things are. How to feel safe is about how to regulate our internal responses once we’ve determined that there is no threat. ‘Grounding’, breathing, heart-centred meditations are all about reminding our nervous systems how to guide us to draw boundaries that feel safe enough and with these, to open to connection with others and feel resourced by these connections. We should never try to rid ourselves of fear, however, we do need to know how to balance it enough with feelings of safety and resource.
It’s also important to know that when you feel calm and resourced, you offer that to others in your state of being. In a similar way to how we can stress each other out, we can also calm each other down. Maybe you will notice this more and more in everyday life: the moments you feel calmed by another; the moments you feel wound up by another and the other way round: how you influence others with your state of being excited/anxious or calm.
 The Polyvagal ~Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-Regulation. Dr Stephen Porges. 2011. Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology. USA.
 The Polyvagal Theory in Therapy. Deb Dana. 2018. W. W. Norton, Inc. USA
Tuesday evening classes continue from 30 October til 4 December. Please check if you can come to the afternoon workshop I’m offering on Sunday 9 December! See flier for details and Please book in advance. This is for regular Tuesday movers and those who can’t do Tuesday eves or who want to dip a toe in..!
The focus for Sunday 9th will be on the physical processes by which our cells offer us life: containment, fluid, presence of being, nourishment, release, activity and rest, birth and death; and how these basics evolve in our skin, our bones and our fluidity. We cannot access more than we already have within us, but for most of us, what we have within is not well understood by us. There is support here for going there, receiving ourselves more fully and walking out more aware of this wisdom that is there for the harvesting every moment!
“The class gave me space to really feel into my body systems – creating a sense of whole-me; as well as a reminder that I can really slow down in my interactions with my body. That led to a profound interaction between myself and an incredibly neglected part of my body later that day.” – recent participant
I’m aware how many more of us are still seeking ways to engage more deeply with our bodies as fundamental to our experience of ourselves in the world: intuitive and instinctive authority, as well as our patterns and habits, our amazing resourcefulness and resilience and our longing for connection more broadly to life. In my classes, I offer a safe, contained space to practice exploring opening our bodyminds together, sharing and learning from each other in enquiry… not fixing, not being right or wrong, just being more engaged.
Wouldn’t the above be a great National news headline?! It could be now..! A dream being lived and a practice to help you live it! Can you feel your body on this Earth, here and now, as you read this…
The story would be about people across the colonial Westernised influenced world realising that bodies are sensitive for a reason, so we can respond to them! To me and maybe to you also, this isn’t just a fanciful thought, it feels important for the whole of life as we know it and don’t know it.
The story continues: people would grasp the concept of ‘soma’ – as the ancient Greeks (who lent us this word) did and many present-day Earth-respecting (often indigenous but also somatic revolutionaries!) people do – which is that the body lives us, adapts us, creates responses to environments and relationships and receives and processes more information than we can ever hope to know about.
But we would be collectively realising that we can relate in life huge amounts more, through our bodies, than we currently do! Soma-tic connection and movement would be valued as a practice that connects us into that intelligence. Consulting our somatic consciousness regularly would be supported rather than labelled ‘self indulgent’ by our cultural media and championed for health and wellbeing as much as our ‘keep fit’ practices.
Somatic language would be becoming more commonplace, for communicating our bodymind experience, rather than remaining a mystical concept of ‘intuitives’ or ‘psychics’ so that more and more we’d be sharing our experiences in conversation and supporting the somatic balance with and around each other for more gentle and respectful balance of expectations in life. A kind of ‘quiet’ revolution – or maybe not so quiet…
How do you check in and begin receiving yourself in this way? You may like to try things I’ve offered on my previous blog posts, or something you know works for you. Then just receive the first signals you recognise from your body, your senses, your feelings? And now is there more?
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Moving Body Mind classes aim to uncover a less-explored realm of ourselves: the mind in our bodies, which evokes our animal nature and is also deeply wired into our humanity. We explore the ways we can attune and engage more carefully with our nervous systems, discovering the subtle transitions between rest and movement, following the unique and authentic cycles and rhythms within our own body. We explore our anatomy through touch and movement to find out more from our amazing alive embodied selves!
Mari’s training and her lived experience inform her approach to facilitating and she’s very keen to offer a feeling of mutual support in the group as well as her own presence and attunement to wellbeing. Advance booking essential as places are limited! Contact me here
Forthcoming Bodymind Movement Classes – next series starts 12 June 6-8pm!
The story so far…
Many times upon a Tuesday evening… within the sensually uplifting, warm and bright yoga studio off the Slad Road… A curious, warm-hearted and supportive group of people gather, to immerse themselves in connection with their amazing bodymind! The aim of the classes is to give time to rest into connection with your inner sensations, let go of the usual ways you treat your body and become receptive to the instinctive and creative mind of your physical body, re-balancing your relationship to your authentic self… Please message me to book on – details on the flier!
Simple self care is a revolution slowly happening in the over-stretched mentally identified, burning out ‘Western’ culture.
My blog posts are aiming to offer small ways to join this revolution and here, I’m making it really simple!
Would you like to take a quick break now? What is your normal break-time pursuit? Maybe, like me, you normally try to do stuff in your breaks which is about catching up on personal needs and life? Which means meeting overridden needs like checking social media! following up communications… topping up the food/drink consumption, discharging stress with exercise… thinking thinking thinking… These habits are endemic to my life in a culture which likes to tell us what we need but doesn’t place value on us taking time to connect to our deeper personal needs!
I’m always looking to tempt myself and others into a deeper self connection before I do any of them… would you like to join me in this personal revolution? At least, once?!
How about next time you take a break, first click on this image (right) to get the picture! Then try putting your hands on your body and taking a few breaths… Next give some attention to your body’s inner sensations to show you how you are? And then the choice is yours and you can bring this bodymind awareness into the choice you make about what you need in your break.
Change doesn’t have to be a big effort… each breath is an opportunity for the soft revolution!
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Do you get sore eyes or tension headaches at times due to straining your eyes at a screen or having a bit of a ‘social mask’ on during the day? Take your attention to your face as you read this, do you notice how your eyes are feeling? How your brow feels? Your jaw? You may notice some tension or strain as you read this. I wonder what you might notice if you stopped reading, close your eyes for a minute and if you would like it, I’ve recorded a 3 minute audio track to guide you; click below:
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Is this how you feel after a few hours at the computer, or thinking about worrysome issues? Or do you have a lingering or chronic pain in your shoulders and neck? Time for some body self care right here right now! Breath, ground and attention inward may help to slow down your thoughts, loosen some tension and regain some connection to your whole body resources.
I invite you now to take about 6 minutes or longer if you can, for an exercise that I’ll guide you through. You can do this exercise sitting or standing, but just please don’t do it whilst facing the computer!