I´d like to share with you all what one of our community has graciously shared. Tom shares his experiences with mindful movement and how it helps him to move and balance with greater awareness, ease and kindness to his body.

Dropping into freedom

By Tom Camel

I chopped weeds yesterday. As I moved while chopping, I tried to balance the amount of effort in my movements—left and right, up and down, side to side. I tried to loosen all the muscles I had tightened with one movement and shift that effort to the muscles on the other side. I tried to pay attention to my feelings of balance so as not to be totally in one part of my body. Moving my energy back and forth, I was mindful.

I also wanted smoothness and flow as I shifted my attention back and forth from being mainly within in my body and out in the world around me. I took time to come to a stop, to let go of muscle tension that was not needed, to sense my body fatigue, and to use that information on my decision to change what I was doing and how I am doing it. It is helpful to have an awareness of excessive tightness in your muscles and awareness of muscles that are working too much or muscles that don’t need to be working now. Awareness of a sense of direction in parts of my body as well as the whole body helps me stay balanced.

I learned all this in the Mindful Movement class. I learned (and continue to learn) to have a relationship with my mind and body that’s kinder and more respectful. The education and mindful movement practice helps me find more ease and less pain and I use the activities, education and awareness to find my whole self over and over again. With Mindful Movement, there is an unlimited amount of movement I can have, there’s always ebb and flow happening. The class helps me move in ways that move away from tenseness and pain. I have even learned how to better be in stillness. At the end of the class we lie down and come to quiet. Sometimes when Mari says something about the class that we just experienced, she says it in a way that pulls the activities together in a way that sounds like poetry.  She asks us to visualize animals and how they move.  It’s like the Native American Medicine Wheel.  The Eagle is vision and perspective the wolf is courage and fierceness when necessary to protect ourselves.  Imagining these animals and being like them helps me.

As a veteran with an artificial leg, I find ways to move that uses my inner awareness to find balance that is in a different place than if I had two legs. I don’t have to wear my artificial leg to benefit from the Mindful Movement class.

The ways of Mindful Movement gradually soften my body and moves it away from holding and tightening and the principals of balance and wholeness reminds me of Native American ways of the Medicine Wheel. I have learned about being kind to my body and how to have more freedom. I have learned I can do much so more with much less effort using these practices.