In this short blog, I wanted to start an open conversation about movement therapy and the benefits we can gain from understanding and connecting fully with our body. I always have and probably always will need a therapy of some kind and I like to embrace that, because once we start to heal ourselves, we can start to set an example and guide others onto their healing path. This is based mostly on my personal journey through movement and its therapeutic benefits and is not necessarily based on facts. I have spoken to a couple of doctors though who specialise in movement and really encourage their clients to take up these kinds of therapies.
Whether we consider therapy as speaking to a therapist, practicing yoga, meditating, making art, music, reading self-help books or simply walking in nature we have to admit that we are unbelievably lucky to have access to all of these amazing gifts, ready for us to take on our journey to self-discovery.
Always Inspired By B.K.S Iyengar
“Action is movement with intelligence. The world is filled with movement. What the world needs is more conscious movement, more action.” B.K.S. Iyengar.
I love this quote. I was enough lucky to be introduced to B.K.S Iyengar’s teachings of yoga at a very young age, thanks to my mum who would practice for hours on end in the living room. We would copy poses from his endless inspirational books that filled mum’s bookshelf. Many books specifically concentrating on alignment of the body which is the groundwork. I truly believe that movement is one of the best kinds of therapy. Through movement and understanding of the body, when we practise in the right way for us, we can start to embark on a journey to discovering and understanding our mind body and soul.
Movement, ADHD And Education
Being a hyperactive child with severe “ADHD” I was always drawn to physical activity, so I took up dance and yoga as part of my daily routine. It was through moving my body in dance and yoga that I began to find a sense of purpose, making my daily life more enjoyable. I started to become less on edge and more connected to my body. Like anyone with ADHD it was still a challenge to relax but it helped enormously.
From as early as I can remember, I like many children found sitting at a desk at school and completing mundane tasks very challenging and at times absolutely torturous. I was always getting into trouble for not fitting into the education system. As a predominantly shy child it was through movement that I started to find my voice.
“Dance is the hidden language of the soul.”Martha Graham
Dance is another amazing therapy with so many benefits, and all the great dancers had such a connection with their dance that they manage to create something so beautiful that it could uplift millions of people who were simply watching them move to create art through movement. Although when adopted as a career path it can be dangerous for some with the amount of pressure and competition the industry entails.
“Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are great because of their passion.”Martha Graham
So keep on Dancing no matter what!
Dance and Drama in Schools
Unfortunately studying dance and drama at school I lost my confidence resulting in me almost giving up as I started to lose passion. I struggled to pick up routines and stopped enjoying the process altogether. I found that both of the institutions opened me up in some ways but also shut me down. I lost much of my feeling of freedom to create, leaving me with slightly lower self-esteem and a lot less inspired. Many teachers were so strict and often put us down, rarely encouraging us to create organically. Telling us constantly that we were just not good enough. It takes a seriously strong person to take all of that and still come out and show their magic to the world. I am forever inspired and grateful to these genius creators and artists who fight through all the rubble and still manage to deliver.
I have however, recently come across some great teachers all of whom are an inspiration, intelligently encouraging students while sharing their knowledge and experience. I will include a list of some of the teachers I love in my next blog, where I will talk about some of my favourite teachers.
Finally, after taking my yoga teacher trainings in India, I became inspired by movement again and started to read more into how movement can help us heal our past traumas, which are often trapped and deeply ingrained in our body. Trapped in our, shoulders, hips, lower backs and necks causing us unnecessary pain and physical, mental and emotional blockages.
I started to read more books on the subject and realised that this has been something people have wanted to pass on for thousands of years. Yet we are still forced into a society where we are told to sit at our desks for hours on end, taking on stressful tasks, to reach unapologetic deadlines. As a result, stress develops and gets repressed and stored, locked into our muscles and bones, even causing unnecessary physical or mental illness.
Healing Through Movement
Something I noticed when teaching people who had been through a lot of trauma, (especially sexual trauma or repression), some of which found it extra hard to connect to their bodies and follow instructions myself included. Through repetition they begin to open up and enjoy the practice, resulting in a physical lightness and the increased ability to connect.
When working with a children’s charity in Cambodia, I noticed a similar thing in some of the children. Specifically, those who had been through challenges many of us couldn’t even imagine. However, they were so willing to learn and open to try poses that many adults are often scared to try such as crow pose. In just one month I noticed a significant change in the children and their behaviour, they were even able to sit quietly and find a short moment of relaxation in Savasana, which was one of the most beautiful moments.
I conclude that movement is one of the many ways we can truly express and discover ourselves and it’s for sure one of my favourite forms of therapy.
“When emotions are expressed…all systems are united and made whole. When emotions are repressed, denied, not allowed to be whatever they may be, our network pathways get blocked, stopping the flow of the vital feel-good, unifying chemicals that run both our biology and our behaviour.”Candace B. Pert
Hope for The Future
I hope one day we can introduce all children to yoga and movement therapy, especially those amazing little survivors, who deserve all the help we can give, to help them grow into the best versions of themselves without forcing them to fit into a box that is in no way fit for all.
We really need to bring more movement into corporate spaces, dedicated to those of us working office jobs. Meditation and yoga lunchbreaks are up and coming which is a positive step!
Things in general are easier in many ways today, yet harder in others. Not that I really know how things were before as I’m only just about to hit thirty. But keeping a healthy body and mind and becoming more aware is a great start.
I hope this has inspired at least one person to take on the gift of movement into your daily routine. Yoga and dance are great, when practiced mindfully and have really helped me on my personal journey, so maybe they can help you too. I would love to hear about your thoughts, experiences or breakthroughs you may have experienced through your personal practice.
Love From Jeneva