Practices for meeting your playful side…Aug 23, 2023
The movement practices that accompany this Reconnecting with Playfulness series have a playful attitude…. Not insisting that you move or experience in ‘right’ ways, but rather from a deeper sense of connection. Listening to your body tissues, rather than simply placing them into instructed places. Yes, this within a framework of instruction and suggestion, but there is explicit permission to listen inwardly and respond how feels right for you.
A framework can be helpful to begin this process so we can derive some sense of safety from containment and a place to begin. From there, we can cultivate curiosity about a relationship with ‘less is more’. This is where these practices can be an important foundation for any other stronger bodywork we do. Whether a more dynamic yoga practice, running or gym work, when we need to move into stronger postures or movement, strength that is sustainable and doesn’t injure needs the capacity for us to relax, breathe fully and keep a soft attitude within – otherwise it is brittle and stress-evoking. If you watch a top dancer or athlete there is a sense of ease to their movement that however hard-won, comes from mind-body connection and knowing how to regulate breath and energy.
Creativity and playfulness within our practice also keeps it from attaching to habit. Any repetitive movement can be physically unhealthy and does not allow us to response anew proprioceptively - playfulness. New neural pathways always need to be made or we are simply traveling the same paths and avoiding new viewpoints and experiences.
The nature of these practices and the Somatic & Mindful classes within Whole Health…
Using different approaches that are included within the practices we offer - such as primal movement, somatics and Feldenkrais - feed into an embodied relationship with our whole beings. They are more about the attitude and space we bring than the form, so hopefully that can provide you with the permission to explore and teach what feels appropriate in any given moment.
Somatics is a term used to encompass movement practices that emphasise internal physical perception and experience, ie phenomenology, how we feel in the moment, based on actual experience, not projection or how we think we may (or should) feel. Somatic practices often remove a sense of form and allow us to feel a more fluid, fascial identity, rather than moving from muscle and strength. Interspersing directed movements with spaces of pausing and also exploring what feels congruent in the body, fosters a sense of autonomy. Rolling, rocking, pulsing, wriggling and free-form moving into arms and legs hands over trust that this is your body and you know what it needs more than any imposition upon it. This playfulness is like meditation – it needs no purpose.
Taking these into the freedom of play…
The weekly classes can be helpful to unlock your own ease with play by reminding your body of the shapes and expressions it was designed to make. The videos in the Play series are less ‘taught’, more suggested as starting places and rough movements to let your own needs arise and emerge. Whatever suits you most, you have time to switch between times you may need more framework and containment, and others when simply feeling and moving feels right.
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