Yesterday, I was feeling a little stuck in my head. Nothing too crazy, just a little undertone of anxiety and maybe a tendency to worry a nanosecond longer than usual. Wednesday nights I teach a hoop class at home and I knew that hooping with everyone would be just the thing to recalibrate my brain. In the way way back I used to teach kind of begrudgingly, to be honest. But in the last decade sharing hoop dance never fails to lift my spirits. I think this is partly due to the magical effect movement has on mood and a general sense of wellbeing.
When I say "movement" I am referring to any movement that causes some sweat, causes the body to use fine motor skills and to also express itself creatively. For me, hooping and dance fit this bill perfectly. I am sure working out at the gym will produces some mighty endorphins, but when movement is combined with creativity, I find there are releases and benefits that far exceed mere endorphin surges. There are numerous scientific studies on this, but I want to share my personal experience rather than reiterate things you can learn straight from other sources.
I have come to rely on movement so much as a balm for everyday stress, malaise and purposeless, that when I am feeling any of these things I automatically KNOW that I have not been moving enough. When I first really discovered this, I tried half assing 20 minutes of yoga or hooping while watching tv. Nope, can't cheat this one... shoot! I only experience the re-centering, calmness and euphoria after at least an hour of movement with my heart ALL IN. I also find that if this is done with people (this is probably because I am fairly extroverted), the benefits increase exponentially. If I am sharing or teaching movement, the benefits increase even more. What I extrapolate from this is that its not just the fact that my body is moving that makes the difference. Here are the top 3 factors that allow movement to hold such a magical, transformative effect for me:
- Whatever the movement of choice, I find the most release when I allow that movement to flow creatively in the moment. This looks like letting my body discover new ways of flowing within the structures of yoga. This feels like saying YES to ANY way my body wants to reflect the music through dance. This results in each movement session providing a place where I can get truly lost in the moment. That my whole being and body can come together in the illusive and fleeting experience of the moment to PLAY and celebrate life.
- I am 100% committed to my movements. This means that my brain, heart, will AND body are in agreement that playing full out is the most fun thing we can do. This looks like cutting loose with the music, not caring HOW I move, just that it feels good. This feels like being a kind and compassionate ally to my innermost self by managing self talk and only feeding myself love and encouragement. This results in dancing, hooping or yoga-ing long enough to warm up my body and even break a sweat.
- Not always, but often I find the most surrender of stress and ungroundedness in sharing whatever movement du jour with others. Whether that be gathering with friends in the park for a hoop jam, going out dancing with friends or teaching hoop dance. Something about the bliss of creative movement bounced between kindred souls, causes my spirit to soar. I feel on PURPOSE, in LOVE and am reminded that life truly MATTERS.
I am curious. Do you have a creative movement practice? If not, what is stopping you?
As always, We are all in this together!
PS; If you wanna dive into movement practice like a BOSS, check out my up coming Costa Rica retreat!