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Shake It Up

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danceWe all get stuck in our patterns and our habitual ways of moving. Take yoga for example: maybe you have been doing level 1 yoga classes for the past 6 months; by moving only in set ways, you might go on automatic pilot. Consider trying a new movement modality to wake yourself up. This might mean stepping outside of your comfort zone and taking a risk. Sometimes we need a new teacher, a new voice, a different perspective to facilitate further growth and development.

Recently, Octopus Garden has been hosting Trusting Movement workshops led by Taeji. I decided to dip my toe in the water and try one in January after hearing Scott Davis talk about Taeji and what we might experience. I am happy that I did. Sometimes the right teacher appears.

Taeji is a kind, gentle presence. Right away, I felt that he was able to create a safe, open, caring environment in which I could “put it all down” (his words). I love this phrase. I interpret this as emptying your cup and letting it go. Taeji invites you to sincerely participate in the best way you know how and to leave your judging mind at the door. We are encouraged to be fully in our body as he makes suggestions for spontaneous movement, often to music. Sometimes you move independently, sometimes with a partner and sometimes in a small group, often without verbal communication. It is liberating to be with self and others without dialogue. There is power in raw experience and I am reminded that I learn by doing. I often make profound connections through my body that would normally take me much longer to understand through talk therapy. I am in awe of the body’s ability to know, yet I am also aware that in every day life I can disconnect from my body. Society has conditioned me to assign high value to the thinking mind, but I do value the wisdom that is appearing through the body.

I show up at these sessions with Taeji because I yearn to connect more intimately with myself and to get out of my head. I understand that I am training myself to do this, to discover and appreciate other ways of knowing and being in the world. I experience a parade of emotions in a class, and I learn that they move through me and move on. Sometimes I feel extraordinarily vulnerable and I feel myself quivering. Sometimes I feel joyous, surprised , or have intense bursts of anger. I am NOT a dancer. But I AM movement. Sometimes a feeling of self-consciousness emerges, then it fades as I regain my flow. I remind myself to breathe, to put it all down and stay with myself. The other movers are engrossed in their own experience, yet simultaneously connected and inspired by others’ expressions of movement. We are together in doing our own dances.

 Join us on Sunday March 8th for the next Trusting Movement Workshop. You don’t have to be a dancer and you don’t have to be good at movement, you just need to feel a little bit curious. Come shake things up and feel more alive. Thank you Octopus Garden for offering these sessions. I am deeply grateful.

 Lisa teaches Mobilize and Restore a new class offering at Octopus Garden on Wednesday at 4 p.m.

By: Lisa Mitchell

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