We take a journey through the fluid systems in the body from synovial and cerebrospinal fluid to fat and even breath. Also included are embodied practices to attune you to the fluid body.
Like the oceans and rivers and small village brooks, our fluid systems connect, transport, communicate and transmute into a complete ecology. Understanding and embodying the fluids we discover the wholeness of our anatomy.
Through embodiment practices we bring each fluid into our attention to better know their characteristic flows, rhythms, weight and pace and the qualities we associate with them. Some fluids seem easy to identify and familiar like the pulse of arterial blood, but the venous blood or lymph or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) may be less considered, less known.
Discovering ourselves as a Fluid Body we have possibilities to add to our self-knowledge about how we move through experiences, how we measure our ability to transition from different states, where we feel our capacity for holding, and of course where we might be feeling blocked or unmoving.
We can harvest what we learn from the practices for everyday use and we can of course bring our insights to mat practice and discover that one simple sequence can take on a totally different quality of movement when we bring a particular fluid to the front of our attention.
A sun salutation with the conscious support of the beat of arterial blood will be expressed very differently to the wave-like venous blood, for example, and to move always from one system of support is to know our movement expression in an unnecessarily limited way.
How do we do all of this?
Well, it's always good to start with understanding a bit of anatomy and physiology and then getting that information off the page and into our imagination where we can begin to visualise and sense the fluid in our own body. From there we might practice moving from our inner experience or with the support from different types of music and little by little we bring the fluid system front and centre of our attention.
A GUIDE TO THE FLUID BODY
If you are feeling hemmed in, frustrated in any way, or just desk-bound, it sometimes shows up in sticky, stiff joints. The fluid inside is called synovial and it quite likes to be jiggled. One way to jiggle is to find something that really makes you laugh. Can you dig up a memory for a guaranteed giggle, or maybe there is someone on social media who hits that funny nerve? Or a playlist of all the daft things dogs do? It may seem frivolous, but your fluids will reward you with moments of carefree lightness.
When it's hard to get going or you need to rekindle your passion for something, tuning into the vitality of your blood can help. This deep scarlet fluid has weight and purposefulness as it courses its way to your cells with oxygen on board. Move quickly to lift your heart rate as a fast track to your vitality. Feel the warmth in your tissues. Notice if your skin grows pinker. Find your pulse and move your limbs or make shapes in synchronised rhythm. Creating a playlist of music that is a workout for your spirit as well as your body would be a great lockdown project
Feeling a bit loose, distracted, or scattered? Tune into your lymph fluid and vessels, sense it’s purpose and boundariedness. Begin by finding and inward crystalline flow of support from outer to inner, from limbs to center. Yield fully into this support and invite the rebound that clarifies your movement and presence in the space.
CEREBROSPINAL FLUID (CSF)
When you are running flat out, it’s not easy to come back to your self. Tune into your cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid bathes your brain and nervous system. Can you imagine what kind of qualities it needs to hold all that amazingness? If it were a person, it might be a horse whisperer, one who has all the time and patience to just be there.
Is your project in a rut? Are you all out of inspiration? Tune into the interstitial fluid. This is your inner sea in which all your cells and tissues abide suspended, floating, roaming. There is spaciousness here, yet a sense of weight, and importantly room for the flow of ideas to pass through you not quite yet fully formed as thoughts but rather the impulse of ideas and visions. The flow may be fast and powerful or slow and meandering, take a dip and see what arises.
FAT TISSUE FLUIDS
An often“exiled” tissue but in the world of somatics it is a tissue embodied through its many changing fluid qualities and characteristics. It’s the tissue associated with a particular potency, power and action (but different from muscles). It can feel a highly charged tissue for many of us both in its presence and its absence. Here is an invitation: just begin to think about what you might need to bring this tissue into more conscious awareness as a support or initiator of movement, what might you need to allow its place on your mat or in your movement practice?
One of the alchemical processes of our body is the transformation of breath from the medium of air to fluid. Next time you notice your breath, what you are noticing is primary respiration, that movement of air in and air out. Expand your attention while this breath continues and remember the journey of the breath in your blood stream out to your cells and back again. Your trillions of cells breathing simultaneously.
TRY THESE EMBODIED PRACTICES
These somatic enquiries should help you to attune to your fluid body.
1. Imagine you are water
If you were a body of water what would that look like, feel, smell like, sound like? Are you a rushing river over rapids or are you the quiet flow of the village brook? Are you a massive wave off the coast of Hawaii or a small clear rock pool, home to little crabs and fish. Maybe you’re feeling less connected to natural water and the image is a puddle, a dripping tap or a raindrop on a window. Let the image grow, then write it, draw it, let it move you on your mat.
2. Use music to help you listen from the fluids
One of the ways to support the embodiment of our fluid systems is to listen to music and see which fluid is responding. Obviously something rhythmic and pulsing will beckon your arterial blood, but what beckons your CSF, your lymph or your venous flow? Sit with this short playlist and notice what comes up for you. Consider your feeling and mind state and mull over the following questions.
where do the sounds lands in your body?
does the music invite you to move or be still?
how might you imagine moving?
where might you be moving?
what might you see, hear, touch and smell as a response to each track?
Explore the fluid body as part of our 3 Day Sequencing & Flow Course
Tap into the fluid systems of the body, discover the art of sequencing and learn how to design creative classes that are intentional and safe for all bodies on our Sequencing & Flow course explores.
Over three days, we explore transitions, themes, voice, and movement, and how to weave these elements together with Rachael Moore and Beverley Nolan.
Now online and in-person. Bursary applications welcome. Read more >