Exploring Fluid Body Movement
How does our perception shape our possibilities for movement? What happens when we consider that we are water beings; approximately 70% water. Like our planetary home, our fluids are 97.5% salty water and 2.5% fresh water. Like other mammals, we are conceived and gestate in a watery environment.
I invite you to pause, and to notice how you sense yourself as a fluid body, a fluid being.
In what ways do you feel /sense fluidity? In what ways do you sense other than fluidity? What else are you noticing? If you do not sense or feel fluidity now, in what ways can you imagine fluidity?
As you notice this, what movement possibilities feel present for you right now?
Fascia is a liquid-crystalline component of our bodies that functions as a connective net, weaving different structures into relationship. Our fascia is responsive to our activities. Fascia also reflects our patterns or habits of movement and posture, and how we coordinate movement.
In health, our fascia is able to adapt and shift as we move. When we are able to perceive and access support at a fundamental level, our bodies are able to relax. As a result, we respond with more ease and efficiency, which leads to a sense of fluidity in our being and in our movements.
Stress, repetitive movement, or over-efforting can all contribute to confused or inefficient movement coordination at the tissue level. If we are straining in a habitual way, our system responds by engaging more fascia, more fibres, to bolster support. Consequently, we can feel stiffness, movement restriction (stickiness), muscular fatigue (sluggishness), etc. Perceptual movement practices offer opportunities to inform our bodies and to restore our inherent fluid nature.
How are you sensing support at this moment? What else are you aware of?
Here are two movement explorations with a variety of applications.
Breath wave explorations:
Like the caress of the wind in the leaves of a tree or on a still lake, our breath can gently stir our internal fluids. With each breath cycle, the movements of inhale (expanding) and exhale (release / condensing) are reflected in small, yet measurable ways in the tissues of our body system.
In a comfortable seated position, take a moment to notice your breath and to sense how you are in contact with the chair (surface you are seated upon) as well as the space around you.
Gently allow the expansive and upward movement of your inhale to invite a slight forward rock on your sitting bones (ischial tuberosities) and an opening into the space in front of you / an opening of the front of your spine. As you exhale, gently allow a slight rock back on your sitting bones and an opening of the back of your spine / opening into backspace of your body. Sense the possibility of the breath and wave motion moving you – of being moved by your breath.
Explore the range of possibility with this simple attuning to the wave-like rhythm of your breath. The undulating forward and back wave can be large and quite dynamic or so small as to be almost imperceptible. Sense how this watery movement might bring an enhanced fluidity of your spinal movement; how this movement might invite you into more ease.
After several breath cycles, pause, and notice what sensations are present for you right now. What movements feel possible right now?
Sounding / toning / singing are amplified breathing. From a simple hum, toning, or sounding, and to more complex songs or chants: the waves of sound vibration and breath stir our internal ocean – evoking a fluid response.
In a comfortable position, bring your attention to your breath and to how you sense support. On the next few breath cycles, allow a gentle hum or an “oh” sound (toning). If (when!) judgment and opinion arise about your sound, encourage yourself to attend more to the sensation(s) of your sound rather than to the volume or duration of your sound. You might notice where you have the most sensation of your sound vibration. Notice how your sound vibration comes to meet areas of tension.
After a few breath cycles (3 to 12 breath cycles is a good place to start), pause and notice whatever sensations, textures, impressions are present for you right now. In what ways do you feel /sense fluidity? In what ways do you sense other than fluidity?
With singing or chanting, the affect of the sound and breath vibration is further amplified. Whether singing along with your favourite pop song or having a regular chant practice or singing / drumming in circle – as you pause at the end of a song, what do you notice? What, if anything, has shifted for you? What movements feel possible for you right now?
How might you bring this exploratory approach to a regular movement practice?
Each of these explorations can be supportive as part of a warm-up aspect of your movement practice, and support both structured and formal movements as well as more improvisational movements.
If you have areas of habitual tensing, you might explore sounding in such a way as to direct and feel the sound vibration in those areas. You may like to continue the breath wave exploration with larger movements, in other directions / dimensions, or with different areas of your body. Allowing yourself time to move in such a way as to feel and sense the emergence of smaller movements, of movement impulses & sensations.
As a specific example, if you have a regular Pilates method practice, the leg and footwork exercise is a supportive movement to explore the breath wave. When you push out – explore how the inhale supports a sense of lengthening of your torso or an opening of the front space of your body. When you return, explore how the exhale supports a centering or an increased length and awareness of the backspace of your body. After a few repetitions – see what it is like to switch your breath pattern to exhale as you push out and inhale as you return. Notice what changes for you. Which breath rhythm best suits your needs that day?
These practices to support hydration and watery movement enable us to consciously re-inhabit ourselves (our cells) and allow an arising of fresh perceiving. May the water being that you are move with enjoyment and ease.
How Life Moves by Caryn McHose and Kevin Frank
Engaging the Movement of Life by Bonnie Gintis
The Endless Web by R. Louis Schultz and Rosemary Feitis
The Serpent and the Wave, a guide to movement meditation by Jalaja Bonheim
About Amy Kiara Ruth, BSc (Kin, Ed)
A life-long interest in movement led me to become a kinesiologist and somatic movement educator. I draw upon my extensive movement experience and training in kinesiology, dance, taiji/qigong, the Pilates method, Self-Regulation Therapy, and Continuum & Continuum Montage. I bring a grounded presence and a spirit of collaborative inquiry to my work.
My individual sessions, classes, and workshops offer participants opportunities to develop increased possibility for movement, to cultivate attunement with their own somatic intelligence, and to reconnect to their full range of embodied expression.
I’m excited to be collaborating with friend and colleague Brian Mount in offering “8 Actions for Change,” a six-class qigong and somatic movement education series this spring.
Visit Amy’s website here.