What is my story on embodied movement?
It’s about presence and beauty. The grace of a dancer in motion completely unaware of anything beyond that very next step. What is it about dance in particular that makes it so compelling to behold? Is it the stimulation of our visual and auditory senses together? The musical accompaniment coordinating the dancer’s lines and flow? What is the difference between a performance that evokes emotion from within the observer versus one that does not. Is it the presence? the spirit if you will?
What happens when I’m fully inhabiting my body while I move. While I exercise. What happens in my soul and in the way my neurotransmitters spark and sizzle when I really believe I am punching a heavy bag in a gritty, sweaty Rocky-esque gym in the bronx somewhere rather than simply punching air in my living room? What happens when all thought drops away and I lose myself in the natural landscape that surrounds me until there is only me and my foot fall on the trail? Do I hear the rocks whisper my name? Do the trees share with me a message of peace and enlightenment?
Letting all the nonsense drop away, fully and divinely inhabiting my body. It doesn't happen all the time but it happens just enough. Enough to light up every cell of my being, so each one glows as if warmed by a sunbeam. Enough that I know I will return again to these movements and this space because it feels just that delicious. Pleasure in motion. A vibrational match between movement and the divine. Is this not what we truly crave? More so than numbers on a scale or calories burned, it’s about SO MUCH MORE than that. It’s bigger, more expansive and deeply meaningful when we allow it to be that way.
Movement can heal the most profound level of wounding, connecting us to ourselves and also to that which is greater than than us, moving us beyond the minutiae of our lives. As an elixir of sorts, a magical incantation that allows us to be visible to ourselves in a different way than before. Seen as both animal and spirit. Awakening the animal spirit within.
We’ve removed the sacred from our movement practices. We worship seated and still. We exercise without intention or connection. Just another task on our overcrowded to do list, void of any presence or meaning beyond the check mark. Many of us are running scared, running away from rather than into deep connection and understanding of what drives us. Of what this existence is really about.
How do you begin to create more presence in your movement? Maybe surprisingly, it begins with a pause. A moment to connect and check in with how your body is feeling as a whole, to ask it once you’re truly listening what it’s needs and desires might be in this moment. Then breaking it down and feeling your way forward as you go. This is an expression of trust in your body. I know I want to listen to music. I know I want to be outside. Once outside where am I being called to? The stairs? The ocean? The playground? Allowing my body to lead me and trusting. Sometimes I’m not sure and it starts with putting some workout clothes on. Maybe I put something in the dvd player or look at a class schedule. I begin. Maybe it feels good and I continue. Maybe it doesn’t and I stop, change direction or simply allow for my body’s needs to surface through the contrast of what it isn’t aligning with today.
Lori Race is a healer, health clinic owner and writer with a passionate message to share from her past as a fitness instructor suffering from compulsive exercise disorder.