effects of this work – For many people these practices bring about calm-vitality. They often soften emotions, calm nervous systems, bring about more fluid thinking, foster resiliency, soften past trauma, bring more ease with/in your body, and they tend to bring forth a sense of spaciousness. A feeling of alive-peace.
After awhile, people often experience slow changes in their daily-life behavior. This happens at about the speed of plants. Your eyes might not see the change happening – but the slow moving-ness does it’s thing.
what is it, though, what do we do? – My best-favorite answer to this question is not words but instead, trying a short practice.
For a word-oriented response – We start our session by talking a bit. Once I have a little sense of you/your life situation, I propose a practice. Depending on who you are, we might work with a breath practice. Or we might work with imagination-visualization-memory. We might work in a lot of different ways. No matter what we are doing, I work as a guide, inviting you to ask yourself questions and I help you listen to your bodily sensation responses.
As we explore bodily sensations – thought and emotions begin to change. It often feels a bit like magic; changes just unfold themselves. We work at a pace that seems to fit you exactly where you are. If all of this is very foreign to you – or you do not feel much of anything – then we tend to work very slowly. If you are familiar with this work, we work at a pace that seems like a nice fit for the whole of you.
I help you sense your inner experience – and – we work so that you can feel how you are in relation with the world-others around you. We work on sensing into the world, relationships and situations around you – noticing how do you respond to different environments/people. Then, as you gain skill in listening into yourself – these same listening skills are then applied to sense/listen to other creatures around you – be they humans or trees. Thus, these practices might be referred to as learning, healing, emotional intelligence, communication skills, or so forth.
Broadly speaking about embodiment-mindful-somatic work – Some practices, like sitting meditation, yoga or kung fu have a general name, with a variety of specific styles (such as Vipassana meditation, Iyengar yoga, or Shaolin Wushu kung fu). Some practices are integrated into cultural ceremony. Some practices are trademarked (such as Rolfing). Some practices never even needed a special name – people just do them. This sort of work is not so much defined by what one is doing. Rather it is more about how one is doing.
One can do this style of work in a variety of ways: in solo, in one-on-one settings, in groups, in formal practice, or woven into everyday life – such as having sex, talking politics or washing dishes.
The way I work with these practices aim towards “elastic terrain”. That is, rather than trying to force change, such as in boot camp environments – this work is characterized by mental-emotional-physical stretching, encouraging, allowing – not forcing. Sometimes we work hard, we lean-in towards difficult, edgy terrain. Sometimes we rest in a restoration practice, or sometimes we ‘work’ by doing nothing particular.
how does it work? – One way I think about it is that there are many parts of you. For various reasons, over life, some parts of you can get shoved down or go sort of dormant. When people do these practices, often times some embodied intelligence – or something – often emerges. When these parts that “speak up” are given space they come into more integrated conversation with the more heady-thinky parts of you. I sorta feel like all the parts of me come closer to being on the same page, so to speak.
Neuroscience, psychology and more academic disciplines study and sometimes provide science evidence about how this sort of work effects your physiology. Many cognitive scientists talk about your various body systems being in feedback loops with one another – and in feedback loops with the world around you. Aka, all the parts of you effect one another – just like it is for all ecosystems. I find science study to be extremely supportive of this embodied-doing work – so much so that I am now pursuing a neuroscience degree.
Simultaneously, many cultures, throughout time, throughout the world, have worked with these sorts of connections in a variety of ways. A variety of cultures have a variety of answers about what is happening and how it works.
At the end of the day, I myself could not say I know. I do know that – whatever is happening – this work consistently brings forth a vital-alive and calm feeling.