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Lesson 3, Chapters 13-17


Nicole
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Q. Read the “Body Practices to Do Together” beginning on pg. 184, at the end of Chapter 14. Complete the practices that you wish to engage in. What does this do for your own body? How might this benefit other bodies?

This topic was modified 11 months ago by Nicole

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David Westlake
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I just love rubbing the stomach and humming with exhales. It is soothing and so simple. Already I started sharing this with my students both in the studio/gym setting as well as the service classes still being offered. It helps break the immediate awkwardness. 

 


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Shawn
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I love these practices! I've been fortunate to experience many of them with friends, partners and some in group classes. Among my favorites is rubbing the solar plexus or breast bone. I offer this in my classes sometimes and it always seems to soothe. I notice when I watch my friend's baby, singing a lullaby and rocking back and forth always calms him, and myself. My husband and I will sit back to back and will breathe in sync which always raises our coherence and calms us both. And, many times if I am with my mother and her energy seems intense (as it often is), I will offer to rub her feet. You can feel both of our bodies settle and the intense energy dissipate while doing this. Many of the practices remind me of the things we do in Bhakti yoga as well; the chanting in unison and many times holding hands as we sway side to side together in a circle and sing a lullaby type song. It almost always raises the collective coherence and creates more settled bodies and a more connected group. 


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Caroline
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Due to COVID, I wasn't able to do these practices in person, but reflected on past interactions or recent situations over video.  I loved om-ing during yoga classes because it was a way of connecting with one another and sharing an experience.  I appreciated hearing the different sounds and vibrations from the other people practicing around me, it reminded me of connection with difference.  I also remember noticing hearing others' breath during class and that again supported connection.  It also prompted me to more fully engage in my own breath.  

As a therapist, I've recently had telehealth sessions when a client will begin to cry.  I allow space for the tears and sit with them through their process.  When the timing is appropriate and safe, I ask what just happened, what do you notice in your body, what sensations are you picking up on.  Then we explore the physical aspect of the tears, allowing the client go where they want with the reflection and conversation.  I think allowing another person to sit and cry without interjection can be cathartic and freeing.  There's no rush to stop them or hand them a tissue (if in person), simply sitting with someone and bearing witness to their pain creates connection and authentic support without judgement.  


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Nicole
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@carolinecl So beautifully said! We refer to this moment where you were witnessing your client cry as "holding space." 


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Joanna
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While it is currently challenging to do these body practices together, we can recall a time we OM'd together in a class for example and that collective vibration soothing us all as one, uniting us in the harmony. As a cross country coach we have an exercise where I space the runners out about a minute apart so they are running silently and alone. I ask them to tune into their surroundings and then share what they noticed and observed. Often we are chatting or listening to music while we run and in our distraction we miss out on so much of what is around us. Just listening to the sound of the footfalls and the microsecond in between steps where silence exists is a powerful place to let our minds rest. Recently I attended a ritual cacao ceremony where we had to stand in a circle and gaze into the eyes of the person next to us. It was not easy, it was awkward and uncomfortable but strangely it was also reassuring and created a connection where none existed before. I will likely never see those people again but in that moment we found our human bond regardless of everything else around us. Even in the midst of a football stadium filled with thousands of fans, putting arms around each others' shoulders and swaying side to side as we sing the alma mater is creating a sense of community soothing. 


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Nicole
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@joannathurmancomcast-net I am so curious to know their experience of running alone versus running together! 


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Joanna
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Yes running alone can be almost a spiritual experience for me. We may think we need the outside motivation from music or podcasts or other distractions, but all that really detracts from our ability to be present in the moment, not only to experience all that is happening around us but to also embrace the discomfort that is a natural part of running. As we are alone with ourselves and the inevitable pain that arises - physically as well as mentally - we can move into it and find a new place of becoming in relationship with these feelings. I know it's not a great sounding term but I like to tell my runners to "embrace the suck" it is actually a wonderful place to be! As an active triathlon competitor, the use of headphones has always been restricted at races as it was thought to give athletes an advantage, I've found the true advantage is being in relationship with ourselves in the discomfort, recognizing what we are experiencing and deciding how we are going to deal with it. All of that keeps me quite engaged!


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Marjorie
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That practices are really interesting. I have done already some of that exercises during classes of "expression and movement" and it gives an incredible feeling of strength.

Singing, humming, or to do the Om give me the feeling to be connected to people, and a feeling to be confident, to feel safe with them, even if I don't know the people. I could have difficulties to have that feeling of confidence, with strangers, in other circumstances.

It is interesting to see that a part of that practices are similar to some traditional habits : singing together or traditional dance, which are often in circle. T


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Kristin
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This is my favorite practice in this book so far! I am so grateful to see this in this course. This is the fundamental stuff that brings us together in our shared humanity. I have a retreat company for women, and we regularly incorporate many of these practices, such as singing together, self-massage (abhyanga), silent walks (in nature), hand and feet massages, and practicing holding space for each other instead of interrupting and trying to fix something or someone. Many of the women who attend our retreat are on some level, traumatized in their interactions with other women. We have found these profound practices to be incredibly healing, and I love these practices in the context of this book, for those who are traumatized by their experiences with racial aggressions.  


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Sarah
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Q. Read the “Body Practices to Do Together” beginning on pg. 184, at the end of Chapter 14. Complete the practices that you wish to engage in. What does this do for your own body? How might this benefit other bodies?

These practices are many that I've practiced for a few years. I have a few very close friends who I was able to work through my trauma with together. I am also able to practice these with my husband. For me, it was quite a feat to be able to be vulnerable and empathetic, and compassionate toward another human being for a long time. I was unable to accept love because it felt like an attack. I can promise you, ten years ago if someone attempted to do any of these with me, I would see it as a romantic gesture or an attack - I always confused those two. Now, since I've cleared those up, I can understand the power of healing behind it. I also understand the extreme need for safety in such a vulnerable situation. 

 


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