Reflection

sunset relection

This is a good time to reach out to you now that the Winter season is here with lots of people having problems with seasonal low moods and depression. This is a time for slowing down, inwards reflection, and taking care of yourself. As we tend to forget that we are part of nature and affected by the cycles of the seasons, even in our insulated modern lives.

Throughout the hustle of the year, we tend to accumulate stress and resistance inside the brain and nervous system that become apparent in the winter months, when we feel tired and exhausted. That’s because the fluid that flows inside the body becomes slow and stagnant and how we are really feeling comes to the surface.

One of the ways to release this stagnant build-up inside to improve our mental and emotional wellbeing is through a regular practice of movement. Somatic Pilates is a practice that allows you to deeply connect and listen to yourself by feeling, sensing, observing, and paying attention to what you are doing.

It is by connecting to self that changes to our mental, physical and emotional state can flourish and improve to leave us feeling more resilient to cope in the winter season. This is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has passed or on your life in general by being curious as to who you are and what you would like to do next. Listen, be curious, and playful with ideas that emerge to move forward.

This poem by Mark A. Leon captures the intention of self-reflection:

Winter is a subtle nudge to remind us to reflect on our lives. Though we are surrounded by the chill in the air, it is also an exercise in cleansing. With each snowfall, we are given a clean slate with the innocence and beauty the white powder brings for change and renewal.’ 

Image-Seb Mooze via Unsplash

Potent Flexibility & Strength

Potent flexibilty

Flexibility! What image do you have when you think of flexibility, a dancer, a gymnast or just being able to do your everyday task without struggle. This is an important aspect that is important in the Feldenkrais Method but not in the way that you may be thinking.

Moshe Feldenkrais once stated that he wanted Flexible minds, not Flexible bodies and what was meant by this was by learning to create choices in the movement to sense and think how we perform the actions we are able to produce more effective ways of moving. By taking time to be aware of our sensations, we can consider other alternatives. That is why the simple act of slowing down is essential in the Method and can dramatically change one’s life.

The idea of choice is an important concept in the Method because it creates learning situations for ways to discover new possibilities of movement from which we can make new choices. One way of doing things offers no choice; two ways offer limited action; however, three ways or more offers the probability of making an intelligent choice that allows you to move more efficiently with ease. Just for fun begin to experiment by being playful and curious in finding other ways of moving!

Strength! Our cultural idea of strength tend to refer to the abdomen as the core but Feldenkrais offers a different perspective. Moshe talked about the fact that muscles never work independently, the nervous system constantly coordinates muscles throughout the body. Real strength involves all the muscles working harmoniously together. By working solely on the abdomen impairs our overall movement and results in weakness not strength. And when we use excess effort or set specific goals we are less able to sense differences to prevent or relieve discomfort and injury.

Moshe stated that ‘Awareness of  Movement’ must come first for fitness and healing to be able to move better and feel better. To improve your fitness and exercise practices use the opportunity for learning and here are some recommendations to use next time:

While you exercise pay attention to how you breathe and notice any holding of breath, try and breathe freely and easily.

  • Sense and think about the way your ribs move on the inhale and exhale.
  • Actively scan and sense your whole body throughout the exercise and note any areas of tension or effort.
  • Do less if that is the case.
  • Seek to make the movement smaller, slower and pleasurable.
  • Any area of pain, seek to protect and seel to move more freely from elsewhere.
  • Above all be curious like a child!

The Fascia and Movement

Woman on floor hands streched. Legs bent, one on the other.

Fascia is connective tissue located under the skin. It wraps around every nerve, bone and muscle in the body; and all the structures of the body are surrounded, protected and supported by the connective tissue.

This continuous sheath is an elastic matrix, a web of tiny filled fluid globules that exist in different layers throughout the body. The tissue can become restricted due to injury, overuse or inactivity which results in muscle tension, reduced blood flow and pain.

Indirect myofascial release involves gentle stretches which allow the fascia to unwind itself. This allows the body to regain balance and eliminate restriction and pain. By combining fascia release, body movement and breathwork the body is able to become resilient, flexible, functional and strong.

What is Fascia

Fascia

Fascia is a three dimensional web of connective tissue that covers and connects every single organ, every muscle, every nerve, and tiny muscle fibre.

It fits like a giant body hugging ‘T’ shirt over your whole body from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, and criss-crosses back and forth, through and back over again.

Every bit of you is encased in is protected by fascia, connected by fascia and kept in shape by the fascia. The fascia net is a single connected network in which the spine, muscles and bones float.

Fascia in its healthy state is smooth, supple and elastic; the layers slide and glide, easily over each other. It is this that allows the body to move and stretch to its full length in any direction. Problems occur due to lack of activity, injury, poor posture and stress. These cause fascia restriction which pulls the fascia into different patterns resulting in pain, discomfort and body misalignment.

The fascia responds best through either direct manual therapy or fascial movement. Move it or lose it – is the truth!

Importance of the Breath

Importance of Breath

Breathwork is the most powerful healing mechanism we have to calm the body and mind; and yet we rarely give it a second thought. It is the key to the movement and rhythm of life. The Breath is influenced by and affected by the changes in our thinking, feelings and thoughts which cause a change in the breathing process can result in poor breathing habits.

The western culture is so mentally orientated that the vast majority of us live in our heads‚ causing our energy to become trapped in the top half of our bodies; this results in over stimulation. Conversely, the lower half of the body becomes under stimulated resulting in an energetic imbalance which leads to a separation from ourselves.

Tuning into the breath confirms your life connection.It allows you to experience the inner shaping of the body by opening and closing with the breath. It allows you to process built up tension and stress, leaving you calmer and clearer in yourself.

Spiral Movements

Nautilus Logarith

The spiral pattern is imprinted in all life: and every part of the human body carries the same pattern through the fascial system, which connects the entire body in a seamless web of spiral movement. The body needs spiral movements to create permanent change.

Movement Meditation

Movement Meditation

For too long we have been led to believe that pushing the body to the limit is the best way to achieve results. However, there is a better way of treating the body, with gentleness through awareness. In this book on Vanda Scarvelli  it reveals the beauty of doing less to achieve more.

As I Began To Love Myself – Poem by Charlie Chaplin

Charlie Chaplin - finger in mouth

As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.

Today, I know, this is AUTHENTICITY.

As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody as I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this person was me.

Today I call it RESPECT.

As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life, and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.

Today I call it Maturity.

As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance, I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens at the exactly right moment, so I could be calm.

Today I call it SELF-CONFIDENCE.

As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time, and I stopped designing huge projects for the future. Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in my own rhythm.

Today I call it SIMPLICITY.

As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything the drew me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude a healthy egoism.

Today I know it is LOVE OF ONESELF.

As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since I was wrong less of the time.

Today I discovered that is MODESTY.

As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING is happening.

Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it FULFILLMENT.

As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally.

Today I call this connection WISDOM OF THE HEART.

We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing new worlds are born.

Today I know THAT IS ‚LIFE!

Age Is Just A Number

Ageless male running

For too long we have been led to believe that old and decline are inevitable. My advice is to change this mindset NOW! Of course, as we age there are some physical and psychological changes that take place but these can be helped with regular exercise and lifestyle changes. These are the only youth- giving benefits needed to take us into middle -age and beyond. So, please do something for your body every day.

It does not matter what type of exercise you do, provided you are active.What is important is to find an activity that challenges you and is fun.