The body is an ideal, highly visible medium for transformation… when we relax the body and release tensions, the mind and emotions tend to reflect this change (and vice versa). Conscious physical training is using the visible to mold the invisible
Dan Millman, The Inner Athlete
I like this quote. It suggests, as does my experience, that a body-mind movement practice can be a powerful personal development tool, through which we are able to affect and change our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing in profound and enduring ways.
movement is usually considered to be an activity of the body, but could more accurately be seen as the brain visibly expressing itself
Joanne Elphinston, Power and Grace
Our posture, both static and dynamic, is habitual and a reflection of our emotional state. Movement that encourages smoothness and ease, that teaches us greater awareness, stability and relaxation, benefits our nervous system and brain development. Less energy is expended working with the body, rather than against it; learning to breathe well, to walk, to stand, to sit and move in ways that centre and align our bones is vital for good health and relaxation:
a body freed from nervous tension and over-fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well-balanced mind that is always fully capable of successfully meeting all of the complex problems of modern living
Young children are masters of relaxed movement. They have yet to develop the habitual tensions, imbalances, comparisons and limiting self-beliefs that can plague us as adults. They progressively, playfully, yet determinedly persist in exploring their movement potential every day, and as adults, there is great benefit to be gained from restoring and refining fundamental movement patterns.
Thankfully, most of the body’s tissues, including the brain, have a remarkable and lifelong capacity for change. Becoming conscious of the habitual tension we carry is the first step in releasing it, however, as with any change there is likely to be a period of discomfort. As we become increasingly aware of our stiffness, tension and weakness our in built defence mechanisms are triggered, and unless we persevere, we remain stuck in old patterns that no longer serve.
the mind’s first step to self-awareness must be through the body
Perhaps, the crux of any body-mind movement practice is to develop our curiosity and awareness sufficiently to be able to recognise, observe and evolve our own habits and patterns, particularly those that literally constrict us within our own body.