Seeking Knowledge from the Ministry of Silly Walks

Credit: Jazeen Hollings (User talk:JazHol) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=71148240

Breaking down old habits that we sometimes don’t even know we have can be awkward at best, and downright uncomfortable too. We keep adapting and changing throughout life, sometimes to find ourselves walking funny (or sitting funny, or standing funny). Adaptation is GREAT – it keeps us growing and it’s what can make life exciting. It also brings challenges, especially when those adaptations don’t serve us in the healthiest of ways. It can be very uncomfortable to 1) discover that you have a habit that doesn’t serve you, and 2) start to really shift that habit into something else. That is the point when a lot of people throw their hands up, shake a fist at the sky, and decide it’s better to stay in the more familiar place rather than face any uncomfortable growing pains (oh man do I know this feeling!).

I have a colleague who has had a long road trying to figure out this tweak about her walking. She’s tried to unravel it – is it in the right hip? Oh – it may be the left hip. Is it how my shoulders are swinging? My head isn’t screwed on right! She has explored with a lot of stuff – which is what having a Somatics practice is all about: Using your life as a laboratory or sand box to experiment and play. She walked in different ways, different directions, tested the weight on her feet, felt how different muscles tighten on each side of her hips. It’s a process that sometimes takes a long time, or not much time at all. But it is all about exploring in a curious, non-judgmental way in order to open the opportunity to change.

This has been the challenge for me in the past week – not specifically with walking, but with other habits, both muscularly and emotionally. Staying curious, experimenting, playing. Accessing and learning from Silly Walks. What if we could all think of life this way? What’s in your lab or sand box?

For this week’s class, the 3rd in the Walking with Ease series, we’ll see how the length in the waist helps to free the hips & legs for more easeful walking. We’ll bring in the shoulders to “help” the hips move more freely. We’re going to contemplate “silly walks” by applying what you do on the floor to your upright walk too.

Here is the link for this week’s class: Walking with Ease, Lesson 3 – Thursday at 12pm noon eastern time. Register here for class.

Classes run 35-45 minutes. Make sure you have a yoga mat sized space for the practice. Your video and audio will be off when you first get in the “room”, you have the option to turn both on. I’d love to *see* you, but feel free to remain off if you’re more comfortable that way 🙂

Tat Tvam Asi – You Are That

One of my favorite bumper stickers

One of my favorite phrases is “Tat Tvam Asi”, or Thus thou art. A more common English way of saying this is “There but by the grace of god, go I”. I love this phrase so much, because it reminds me that I could be anyone. I could have been born into any circumstance, with different parents, in a different part of the world, with a different skin color, or a different economic place. This phrase has helped me to be less judgmental, and aided me when I completely and utterly cannot for the life of me figure out a viewpoint that I don’t agree with. “That could be me”, I say to myself. And at the very least, it helps me not be so shut off from hearing another point of view.

As a Somatics practitioner, I was trained to try to see things from the perspective of my students, not just from the outside. It helps to be able work with someone as a whole soma (body/mind/beyond) and consider what it’s like to walk in their shoes, rather than see them in one dimension. It’s a helpful practice, not just in my work, but in my daily life. These days, there are plenty of people to disagree with and polarize. Repeating “Tat Tvam Asi” could help bring more compassion and understanding to this current divisiveness we are experiencing right now.

Happy December (and upcoming classes, videos, sessions)

I have a great class series coming up in January at Happy Body in Asheville. It’s one of my favorites: a 6-week Functional Somatics Series. Each week we will have an everyday movement as our topic (listed below). We’ll begin with an assessment of that movement, and then spend the class exploring how to improve that movement. We end each class returning back to that original movement, and see how it’s changed for us. I get really excited about these classes – it’s so much fun to see how everyone has changed after such simple and gentle movements. Below find more information on the series, and how to register.

6-Week Functional Somatics Series

Starting January 10, 2017
Tuesdays, 9:30am

Week 1 Reaching to the Top Shelf
Week 2 Twisting to Look Behind Us
Week 3 Getting Up & Down Off the Floor
Week 4 Improved Walking
Week 5 Better Breathing
Week 6 Bending Over to Touch Your Toes

Happy Body, Biltmore Village
25 Reed St, Studio
$99 for the full series
Register Here.

I finally got around to making some videos:

After much procrastination, I have started a YouTube channel with video talks and some basic movement explorations. Check that out here.

Private Sessions

As always, I offer private sessions in my office at 25 Reed St in Biltmore Village, Asheville. If you’re in the Asheville area, I would love to meet you. More information about private sessions can be found here on my website.

Blessings to you and yours, and I look forward to seeing you next year.