I’ve been doing a lot of authentic body movement lately. Movement has been a foundational piece to my personal growth and transformation. Many people equate movement with exercise and getting in shape, but it’s so much more than just cardio or fitness for me. It’s also an expression of emotions and a way to move energy through my body. Emotion is actually energy-in-motion (e-motion), and the best way to connect with emotion is to connect with the energy in and around me.
In many personal growth workshops and trainings I’ve attended, music is played and participants dance. Either with eyes open or closed, I can tap into feeling the beat of the music and the beat of my heart. So often, I disconnect from my body, and movement brings me back to the ability to notice, feel, and release.
At the Pathways Institute’s Personal Mastery Intensive workshop I attended in 2016, I had the experience of “Shaking The Bones.” During a 10-15 minute practice of connecting and grounding to the earth, I feel and release emotions without stopping the process. In addition, “Triad Movement” is an experience for me to connect through being a mover, witness, container. These are essential states to practice in order to be present in my life.
As a Pathways Institute scholar, I spent a week-long module focusing on love and joy through the channel of the body. Myself and other scholars experienced deepening of our connection to life as a sacred and joyous endeavor through the physical, emotional, and spiritual form. We spent time daily in authentic movement and dance in order to express and move through emotional states.
So why do I do all of this movement? According to research from the University of Illinois, 20 minutes of Hatha yoga movement helps boost brain power, which “significantly improved participants’ speed and accuracy on tests of working memory and inhibitory control, two measures of brain function associated with the ability to maintain focus and take in, retain, and use new information.”
Moreover, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction has been found as “an effective treatment for reducing stress and anxiety that accompanies daily life and chronic illness.” Movement can increase joy and happiness and allow people to live in the moment. Yoga and other movement can help improve the immune system, leading to less illness. A study from Harvard University shows that we can actually change our stress response and can lower the intensity and frequency of chronic pain and improve mental health. Not only that, but movement improves our self-esteem and increases interpersonal connections.
So today, spend time moving, whether it’s dancing, yoga, walking, or other expression of the body and movement!