GET EMBODIED: The Healing Power of Breath, Massage and Movement
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Who am I? I don’t recognize myself in my life anymore.” Or do you have that feeling that your life doesn’t quite fit you as comfortably as it once did…it feels like a constricting suit that is a few sizes too small? You aren’t alone. Many people ask themselves this same question and feel these similar feelings, especially around mid-life. The “Midlife Crisis” is real, folks! We hear a lot of sound bytes and platitudes encouraging us to live an embodied life. What does that mean??? It means learning to live from the inside-out rather than the outside-in. The words may sound nice but finding time to implement a practice can be a challenge as we go through our daily paces. (You know the drill: Do the job, care for kids, clean the house, mow the lawn, buy groceries, do laundry, participate in neighborhood or school or community groups. You know…doing “stuff”.) Truthfully most, if not all, of our daily and weekly responsibilities direct our attention and energy to a place outside of ourselves.
Go Inside, Li’l Grasshopper!
Regardless of how much we thrive on outward interests and productivity, it is equally important to make time to connect with ourselves in tangible, enriching ways. Focusing inward helps us to connect more fully with ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and Spiritually. The first few tries at getting quiet and mindful might feel odd or challenging but, when you commit to a practice, the openings can come and be rewarding. If you choose a deeply involved ritual to follow…great! Deep, intentional ritual is amazingly juicy! However, if you feel crunched for time, easily accessible rituals ensure that you can make time to care for yourself in ways that you deserve and they can open the door, and help you make space, for a deeper dive when you so choose.
My go-to practices of embodiment include breath work, massage, and conscious movement. These three modalities assist me in tangible ways and, honestly, they can all be done at home.
I take time to breathe deeply every day. I take time to breathe when I’m working on clients or am concentrating on a work project. I breathe when I’m driving and notice that I’m anxious, feeling not-so-charitable toward my fellow drivers, or am simply sitting at a traffic light. I especially breathe when I’m stressed out, sad, angry, worried or am feeling “off kilter”. A few minutes of deep breathing, regardless of where I am, can truly “reboot” my system.
- The breath is a natural muscle relaxer. When we breathe deeply, we pump blood, nutrients, and oxygen through our muscle tissue which, in turn, helps our muscles to relax.
- The breath can help to clear brain fog because oxygen is actually getting into the brain, which can help improve focus
- The breath can restore your energy naturally. The breath IS energy; it’s our life force. When we breathe shallowly, we are prohibiting the intake of energy and are reducing our body’s ability to regenerate and thrive. (It’s like how you feel when you breathe at sea level versus breathing in the mountains; breathing is easier there is more oxygen at sea level.)
- The breath also helps to ground and relax us, emotionally, because it helps us to move through feelings that aren’t serving us; it helps to return us to a place of openness, joy, and compassion.
- The breath can also help us to live in the present moment, which can help us to connect more fully with ourselves. Ruminating about the past and worrying about the future deplete us of energy because one event already happened and we have little control over what will happen next. All we have is this moment; this moment is what deserves our energy.
Intrigued? Schedule a Transformational Breath® appointment with me! You will never see breathing the same way again…
Have you ever gotten a massage for simple relaxation, only to discover—mid massage—how your body REALLY feels? Our muscles automatically respond to stress, overuse, and misuse by tightening up. That tightness becomes our new “normal” even though we may not feel it. That “new normal” is what allows us to continue pushing ourselves until our bodies say, “I’ve had enough!”, in the form of a muscle tear, strain, general pain and/or serious challenges regarding coping with stress. Regular, monthly massage helps to maintain proper muscle functioning and helps to reduce stress.
Massage can also be incredibly helpful for people who have suffered trauma for these reasons:
- Massage helps to sooth an overly taxed nervous system; the nervous system is what triggers our “Fight or Flight” reflex.
- Massage helps to relax muscles that might be tight due to “guarding”, or protecting, ourselves from future harm.
- It helps us to like, love, and appreciate our bodies more fully and to see them as something more than mere “objects of violation”.
- It can help to unwind emotional energy that has been locked in muscle tissue at the cellular level. As my teachers in massage school used to say, “Your issues are in your tissues.”
Massage can also help us to trust our bodies and our personal space again because it allows us to FEEL our bodies again. It also helps us to learn how to trust others with our bodies; a good massage therapist will ask questions, read your cues, and will honor the boundaries you set on safe touch.
You want to feel more connected to your body? Schedule an appointment to see me; I’d love to work with you!
Conscious movement is creative and a kick in the pants. (Gawd, I love to dance!) I love the feel of dancing around a room and adore feeling how my body moves while in dance. But it’s so much more than simply moving my body; conscious dance teaches me how to show up for myself in my life. Not bad for an hour of play, eh???
- Conscious movement can serve as my voice when I don’t have the words to express what I’m feeling or simply don’t know how I feel; no words are ever needed or required.
- As with massage and breath work, it helps to release emotional energy at the cellular level; like the other modalities, it can serve as an “expressway” for emotional release and open up space for more joy.
- Movement can also bring ideas and dreams to the surface; inspiration in the form of thoughts or feelings can motivate us to create new experiences and/or life paths for ourselves.
- Conscious movement also invites us to lean into dancing our own dance independent of other people’s judgnents, desires, or expectations; it helps us to recognize what staying true to ourselves feels like in our bodies so that we can recognize it when we are engaged in our lives.
- Conscious movement also helps us to remain settled within ourselves when we are dancing with others. It helps us to appreciate how other people are doing their own thing, both on the dance floor and in life. It also teaches us how to step away and dance our own paths when we need to do so.
Come rock your body into juicy embodiment with me the third Friday of every month at iBody Movement Sanctuary! http://www.ibodydenver.com