Somatic explorations and embodied wisdom for life in lockdown. Investigate feelings of tension, restriction and demotivation through the eyes of the body.
Life in lockdown can make us feel restricted, stuck, and demotivated. Faced with such continued uncertainty, it can be all to easy to feel off-balance. Somatics and embodied practices can shine a light on our internal experiences and offer us a some ease.
We've put together a simple 'somatic first-air kit' to help you with some of the experiences you might be visited by during this time.
TURN TO THE BLOOD
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
INVESTIGATE THE SIDE BODY
If you're feeling restricted, pay attention to the sides of your body that feel less known and less experienced than the front and back of the body. How? Be like a fish.
👣 Bring awareness to the sides of your spine and move like a fish from your head to your tail, rippling the spaces between your transverse processes. This can enliven possibilities for movement in all planes
👣 Without fluency in the sidelines of our body our ability to rotate and spiral will be limited. Try rolling on the ground more, swishing on your back like a fish through reeds and then using your limbs to reach and pull you into arriving on your front; then reverse.
FEELING OFF CENTRE?
FOCUS ON BODY SENSATIONS
If you feel you are living outside your body in these uncertain times, it might be hard to come back to a centred place. Rooting yourself in physical sensation can help. 👣 Is there only one centre in the body? Is centeredness a geographical undertaking or is it simply the settling of your attention? Can you be centred when you attend to the movement of your blood or the feeling of your eyelids? 👣 Try to find some sensation that tells you about your body. Lean into your chair. Press your feet inside your shoes. Interlace your fingers or push them through your hair
LOOK TO THE JOINTS
The spaces between your bones are probably familiar as the places where movement is happening. Your muscles move your bones and you find yourself in a different shape or place.
👣Try differentiating the organs so their individuality becomes more apparent, locate the surfaces that come together also as "joints" and remember the fluid that circulates around the organs reduces friction and facilitates freedom of movement
👣 You may also have a sense of the organs of your body providing volume and buoyancy to your frame. Improvise when you find yourself stuck in asana practice it may not be stiff joints or tight muscles that inhibit movement, maybe it's in the organs
TUNE IN TO THE BREATH
When we feel tense, it is not uncommon to realise we are holding our breath. Next time you notice that you're holding your breath, take a moment before you exhale to explore what a held breath feels like.
👣 What are the sensations? Full or firm? Controlled, alert, or concentrated? Perhaps a held breath is the right response in that moment, so it might give you a clue about your emotional or mental mood
👣 Will you sigh softly or heavily? Will you hiss or hum your breath? Maybe you will roar. Track the choice and delivery of your exhale and do another check on sensation and feeling
EXPLORE RESISTANCE IN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE
If you are self-isolating, or are a lone-bird at home, you might find that you need something more than "grounding" to feel the dense truth of your body. Think about using the wall in your yoga practice more. Used well, the wall can give good feedback on the transmission of force through your body, as well as that sense of contact and support that your nervous system may be missing.
👣 Try pressing hands into the surface of the wall for modifications of Sphynx, Crocodile, Half Forward Fold
👣 Use the wall for balances. Explore using a wall for the bent knee of your Tree, or the sit bones of your Eagle
👣 Try a headstand in the containment of the corner walls of a room