How to move… I guess when we think about movement, we think about action. Moving our bodies in some way… Yet how we move internally is at least as important.
Our bodies hate tension; it stops the natural flow of things. We tense up for many reasons, often with good cause but problems arise when we continue with this holding.
Everything is connected. For our bodies to work well, everything has to move. Breath, blood, organs, muscles, joints etc. Everything plays its part. The systems of the body are so interconnected that in order to be well, we have to allow them all to move.So, this is about internal and external movement. A rhythmic flow and fluidity.
It starts with the breath, the movement of the diaphragm, that magical internal massage that sends waves of movement through the body.
Breath is key to movement within the body. How we breathe effects everything… Our bodies know how to breathe but often we have developed unhealthy holding patterns. Learning to breath properly is about learning to let go of the holding and letting the body do its thing. The breath gives us space as we inhale and lets us release, soften and relax as we exhale.
I have popped a breath awareness exercise at the bottom of this waffle…. Give it a go, see what you think… and let me know….
Many people think that yoga is about flexibility, I guess that is a small part of it. For me though, the joy of yoga and why is stands alone as a practice is its all-encompassing magic. Yoga moves everything.
YOGA strengthens muscles, increases stability, efficiency and fluidity of movement. It encourages you to be present, be aware of your body, inside and out – and that probably means changing habitual, unhelpful patterns.
But there is more, the rhythmic movements and the freeing of the breath, calm us. Stimulating the para-sympathetic nervous system, it relieves stress. It stills the mind.
A little bit of yoga a couple of times a week will help you move and feel better but really is about letting yoga spill out into your day-to-day existence. This might be sitting up in your chair, driving down through your heels when you are walking, changing the position at your computer or your car…. It might also be about practicing some mindfulness. Enjoying smells, tastes, colours, scenery. Noticing what the soles of your feet feel like when you walk. It might mean taking a few breaths to calm yourself before a meeting or just pausing to notice how you feel about something. Yoga can teach us how to move.
Giving your body space, internal space, means there is room for a flow, movement…. Space and fluidity merge with strength and stability.
Approaching this, how to move shenanigans, with curiosity and kindness frees us to enjoy the learning with an acceptance which is liberating. It is a journey that can carry on throughout your life.
One of the (many) lessons I have learnt: notice what your body tells you and then be kind enough to it to do something about it.
There is a wonderful quote….
“Listen to your body when it whispers, then you won’t have to hear it scream.”
A little breath work exercise….
Short of breath? Just a note, this is about being curious and exploring what comes up. When I first started noticing my breath, I often found myself feeling a bit short of it. At times I was uncomfortable with it. So be open and just see what happens, there is no right and wrong, just experience…
Essential background waffle…. Your diaphragm is your principal breathing muscle. It is attached to the bottom of your ribcage. When you inhale, it contracts and draws down, spreading out and pushing the ribcage out as it does so. This movement draws the breath into the lungs and creates a ripple of internal movement and messages.
If the diaphragm isn’t moving properly, you won’t be. That’s both internally and externally. The diaphragm informs everything.
I invite you to sit up straight, extend up from the crown of your head, so that the neck is long. Find space in your belly and lower back, relax the shoulders down and soften the face. Close your eyes if you are comfortable to do so. This helps to turn the attention inwards. If you would prefer to keep the eyes open, maybe look down or find a fixed point to look at and try and soften the gaze…
Turn the attention to the breath… Feel it filling the torso. Let the inhale give space to the lumbar and the belly. Relaxing the muscles there. Have faith in the natural curves through the spine. Let them support you. Effortless effort…. Allow the breath to flow, receptivity as you inhale and softening as you exhale…
Chest…Take hand to heart space. Notice the quality of touch. The hand feeling the heart space, the chest rising and falling. Even, slow, steady breaths. Releasing and softening with the exhale.
Take your hands to your ribcage. Visualise the movement of the diaphragm. Expanding out as you inhale, feel the ribcage push against your hands. Feel the drawing back in as you exhale… Can you experience the diaphragm as a band, like an elastic band, being stretched out and then slowly released? Visualise the diaphragm, see if you can experience that internally. Turn the focus to inside your body.
Hand to belly…. Let go of any tension in the belly and the lower back. Let your natural lumbar curve support you. Feel the weight of the body as you exhale, sinking…. Watch the breath in your belly. Expansion and deflation.
Pelvic floor – Now we are going to add the pelvis floor. A diamond shaped set of muscles. The pelvic floor is a dome-shaped muscular sheet separating the pelvic cavity above from the perineal region below.
The pelvic floor is also a diaphragm & it mirrors the movement of the diaphragm… So, the PF & the diaphragm move in rhythm with each other, simultaneously…
lower back. Visualise your pelvic floor. See if you can tap into the subtle sensations there. Spaciousness as you inhale, letting go as you exhale. Feel the connection with the chair. Experience the contact points as you breathe, the weight of the body. The rhythm of the inhale and exhale at the PF.
See if you can expand the awareness of the breath now. Feeling the movement of the breath in the upper chest and throat, the ribcage, the belly and the pelvic floor. Just watching how the breath moves through your body. Explore making the breath equal, observe the length of the inhale and let the exhale be the same length….
A short meditation around the breath… https://vimeo.com/522745366
If you would like to learn more about how to move…
Zoom classes via http://bookwhen.com/wildyogis
In person (yay) schedule https://www.wildyogis.co.uk/my-yoga-teaching-style/yoga-classes/