I just went on a walk outside my office during my lunch break. I noticed that there were lots of people running or jogging or biking. A lot of the people running looked at their watches or seemed to be on some kind of mission. There were very few smiles and a whole lot of serious faces. It reminds me of a yoga teacher that would instruct the class in advanced poses. She would give instruction for the basic pose and halfway through she would give the option to increase the speed at which we were moving. She would then give instruction for the advanced pose; she would say you could lift the corners of the mouth. Basically smiling during the pose was always the advanced version. It was an interesting practice to smile while holding a particularly difficult pose for my body. I liked it though. I can be a very serious person and smiling reminded me that you can enjoy almost anything; even something that seems “hard.” The very act of pulling the corners of the mouth up, triggers the mind that something is enjoyable. It has the potential to shake up our habitual ways of being when exercising the body. It’s possible that I saw in those joggers’ faces what I wanted to see or projected my typical emotional response to jogging onto them. I’m not a runner, so it’s not always pleasurable to go on a jog for me. That being said, I know it’s true that humans as a whole take exercising very seriously. I’ve also found in my practice with clients and personal healing journey that the body responds well to invitation, not force. When we are being very serious, sometimes we can try to force things to happen during our exercise routines. Our bodies aren’t machines. We are intuitive living organisms and typically, living organisms do not respond well to force; we love invitations.
Invitation, when done with genuine kindness and openness allows the body to respond.
So what would an invitation to move the body look like? Well, I usually start first with even noticing that my body wants to move. I’ve become familiar with my particular sensations and cravings for movement. Sometimes I notice constriction or lack of energy and this cues me to invite movement. Other times, I notice that I don’t want to sit at the computer anymore and need different visual stimulation (this happens when I’m writing blogs like this!) Once I am aware of the craving for movement, I typically then think or feel into what movement I want and also what is available to me in the moment. Sometimes I want to walk, sometimes I want to stretch, sometimes I want a whole class of guided postures, sometimes I want to dance. I notice that dance for me is a mixture of a craving to move my body, craving for physical expression and craving to have fun. Dancing is pure fun to me. Sometimes I want to dance alone and other times and crave to dance in community. Once I know what kind of movement I’d like to do I then make space in my life for that, before work, after work or on lunch breaks.
My invitation includes acknowledgement of the craving and movement wanted, making space for that to happen and then while I’m moving, keeping an open mind about how it feels. Do I need to increase or decrease my speed? Go deeper into the pose or pull out? Would smiling or reminding myself that I can have a good time help? Do I want to connect with others (if I’m dancing or in a community space)? Part of the invitation is posing the questions to myself in a genuinely curious and kind way.
Moving our bodies doesn’t have to be all about technicalities, time constraints and force. It can be fun, pleasurable, nourishing and build connection.
What invitations in movement can you give to yourself? If you’re interested in embodiment or finding pleasure in the body, schedule a 15 minute free phone consultation to see if we are good fit to work together.