This week was Mental Health week across the UK, something of a hot topic after a year of isolation, non-touch and Covid-19 complications.
When we’re under physical or mental stress over any long period of time, our nervous system responds by preparing: to run, to fight or to freeze. In all of these there is a certain body pattern that we create – pulling the head downwards, and forwards, restricting our breath, back, neck, shoulders, pulling in the belly, and even the vision changes. It’s all part of a physical pattern that’s completely normal for any mammal. Often they come with correlating emotions attached: fear- so you run, anger, to prepare you to fight, and numbness so you can freeze, or not feel yourself get eaten! And of course, we’re not running across the savannah anymore, but those instincts, our inbuilt universal responses are still there.
The main problem is we often habituate to this physical pattern, and as I’ve discussed in earlier posts, our physical patterns strengthen the emotions we feel. So when we keep a certain physical collection of muscular constrictions (or tension) we feel like we’re still under threat, even if the situation or difficult event is long gone. And over time, we forget what feeling fine or what ease of movement and posture feels like. We lose touch with an easier way of being and breathing.
And this is where I can help. Through working gently, non-judgmentally, in movement, you’ll be reminded of how an easier healthier ways feels, we’ll remind your brain that it can feel better, that it is in your range of options. The brain naturally chooses the most optimal possibility, so the better our options, the more spontaneously we can improve and learn, with results that feel unconscious. I have had a few clients recently whose friends have noticed that they look different, stand a little taller, have longer necks and lower shoulders. Not through conscious arranging of our limbs, but through learning via our unconscious, in this inbuilt mode of learning we all have.
Through working in our first language, (movement) we can learn to organise our systems better, both muscular, and breathing. In understanding the patterns we go into under duress, and learning new options, in my weekly lessons, we can create the learning situation for you to connect to your innate ability to learn and grow.
This week. I’d like to suggest that you notice when do you feel yourself under threat as you go through the week? And which of the emotional responses do you habitually choose?
We’ll be working on our posture this week, how we can find more openness, more sense of connection through your whole self. But not through forcing, rather finding a gentle way back to a healthier dynamic posture of yourself.
I’d like to share a lesson with you on breathing, on finding easier breath to ease your patterns of anxiety.
It’s an hour long. You can of course do it in smaller chunks. Feldenkrais in groups isn’t taught by demonstration, rather by verbal instruction.
NB: As I am not there to help, or give feedback, if you choose to do it, you take responsibility for moving yourself safely. Move only in an easy way, where you don’t strain or effort. Stay within your easy limits, your comfortable range. If something hurts, stop. You can imagine the movements, make them slower, smaller, do them less often. Pace yourself, and be gentle. Pause when you need to rest, not when I say. Listen to yourself, and move in a way that feels good.
If you discover something, have an opinion, or would simply like to share your thoughts on the matter: write a comment, or drop me an email, I’d be pleased to hear from you.
If you’d like to try out a live class online, I invite you come to your first for free. Sign up here (the weekly email goes out on a Saturday) so if you need the link closer to the lesson times, get in touch.