Body/Mind Dynamics

Empowering Personal and Professional Growth

Oct

15

Fostering Resilience – Part Three

By Francoise Netter

The subject of Resilience, I believe is one of the most relevant qualities that we can develop, nurture and sustain. It is a quality that we too often ignore in this fast paced, technological whiz of a life. In the next few blogs and articles, I will be addressing various ways that you can think about resilience and apply it to your life both personally and professionally.

Part Three

Those of you who’ve read my last two articles on Fostering Resilience, know that it is something I feel passionately about both personally and professionally. If we dive deep into the human spirit, we converge and meet in a similar place. All of us ultimately seek joy, ease, love, safety and peace. We may seek it in diverse ways and call it by different names but those desires are universal and at the foundation of most philosophies and religions. So if we seek all that is fun, joyous and easy why do we need to foster resilience?

Resilience is the key to not only achieving these goals, but also one of the key ingredients to sustaining them. Let’s take a closer look. If life is supposed to be easy, fun, joyous and all the things we want, then why does it so often feel challenging, chaotic and downright difficult? The answer is simple and yet complex.

Growing up in the West, many of us are taught to fill our baskets of desires by going after the things we want externally. We are taught by example that if we are able to accumulate, achieve and control certain outer conditions than our lives will look the way we want and we can achieve the joy that we are seeking. However, for most of us striving, grabbing and controlling outer conditions keep us jumping at best and stressed out and frustrated the rest of the time.

What is so true and yet understated in the story, Carrots, Egg and Coffee, is that the ability to turn adverse conditions into coffee beans invites us to shift our attitude. We don’t coerce the beans to make it happen. The beans simply blend with the water and are transformed. So often we find ourselves struggling against outer conditions that we can’t seem to change, when the change we seek is actually right under our noses. We are so accustomed to looking externally for solutions that we seldom look at our own internal state, attitudes, thoughts and beliefs.

I remember many years ago taking a three day personal growth seminar and when we came back as a group one week later, one of the participants excitedly shared, ” When I got home from this seminar the most amazing happened. Everyone in my family changed for the better!” We all smiled quietly and nodded to each other. We knew because of the work he had done and the deep inner personal changes and insights he had undergone, his perception of others (including his family) had also changed.

In our western society, we often put emphasis on how things look externally. Through that approach, we have forgotten our own inner wellspring of knowledge. Yoga and many other philosophies remind us that we may have it a bit backwards. The control we are seeking is within us, not external to us. Fostering resilience summons us to that place internally where we can reflect and shift our perception and beliefs. Then, ease, joy, true change and what we desire can occur. Through the act of shifting our thoughts and beliefs we can act from a conscious place and resolve the challenges that show up whether we are prepared for them or when they blindside us.

In my own personal experience, the more I identify with what’s wrong with my life, the more life seems to corroborate that belief and visa versa. For the next few weeks, take a few minutes daily to reflect on both your desires and your attitudes. Look within to see if you can shift a negative thought or belief and see where cultivating your resilience can assist you. Then watch as your life begins to transform like the coffee beans slowly but surely.  I always welcome your comments and observations.

On this delightful path,
Françoise

Aug

15

Fostering Resilience – Part Two

By Francoise Netter

The subject of Resilience, I believe is one of the most relevant qualities that we can develop, nurture and sustain. It is a quality that we too often ignore in this fast paced, technological whiz of a life. In the next few blogs and articles, I will be addressing various ways that you can think about resilience and apply it to your life both personally and professionally.

Part Two

My brother, Patrick, recently sent me an article titled: “Carrots, Eggs & Coffee”. I’ll reprint excerpts of the article here and then expound on the lessons and messages it conveys:

“A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed that as one problem was solved, a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word. In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘Tell me what you see.’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied. Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, mother?’ Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. ‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?’–Author Unknown

The interesting dynamic in adversity is that some people are like carrots and appear strong externally, but when they experience loss or difficulty, they wilt and lose their strength and resiliency. Others, who appear fragile like an egg, become hardened and defensive and armor their vulnerability. Some rare individuals are able to create something lucid, new and extraordinary from pain and hardship. Alice Summers, the oldest living holocaust survivor at 108, is such an individual. She was a well-known musician in Poland when World War II broke out.  The Nazis arrested her and her five-year-old son and sent them to a concentration camp but allowed her to play piano for the SS because they were afraid of the propaganda that her death might create for them. She and her son survived on the “food” of her music and not only did they live through the horrific conditions, but both Alice and her son became world-class musicians after the war. Her interview on YouTube is nothing short of inspirational.

This ability to turn adversity into “coffee beans” is what the ancients have always labeled as alchemy. It is the stuff that creates resiliency and greatness on every level. Unfortunately with the apparent ease of technology, we are under the illusion that everything can be handled with the flick of a finger. Children growing up today are given a false sense of security and so many New Age philosophies propagate the illusion that life “should” be easy. It is not our desires for joy, ease, beauty and fun that we must curtail, but rather how and where we look for them.

Fostering resiliency allows us to strengthen our core so that when circumstances appear out of our control or blind side us we are not only able to survive, but in the process we transform ourselves and life itself. We learn in very personal ways that our state of joy, ease, strength and love is not dependent on things external to us. We may still seek certain external forms, but our resiliency is not grounded in them.

Contemplate this analogy of “carrots, egg and coffee” and just notice without judging yourself what your level of resiliency is when things are going “wrong” in your life. For some of us it’s the little annoyances that we’re less resilient to and for some it’s the “big” ones. I teach in all of my seminars that awareness and understanding are the first two steps in taking action and making changes. For the next couple of weeks, observe your reactions to life and notice what fosters your resilience. In the next article, we’ll explore techniques to increase resiliency and the ability to thrive in all circumstances. Please feel free to comment on this article and email me your questions and experiences.

Dancing on the spiraling path of resiliency,
Françoise

Jun

11

Fostering Resilience – Part One

By Francoise Netter

The subject of Resilience, I believe is one of the most relevant qualities that we can develop, nurture and sustain. It is a quality that we too often ignore in this fast paced, technological whiz of a life. In the next few blogs and articles, I will be addressing various ways that you can think about resilience and apply it to your life both personally and professionally.

Part One

Isn’t it amazing that on the day you think you have it down, meaning you are centered and acting from a place of being grounded and calm, a myriad of circumstances can enter your world to shake you from your stance? It is especially humbling when you feel you have graduated from a certain level of reactivity and think that you are no longer vulnerable to spouts of reactive anger, stress, sadness, fear or grief. So what do you do when circumstances arise that dismantle you?

I, like most of us, have an over developed inner critic, so I’m going to suggest the following steps that you can apply personally or professionally and individualize:

  1. Refrain from judging your “fall” and instead embrace a stance of loving compassion for “losing it.”
  2. Pause as soon as you become conscious to do so, breathe and become reflective. Is this new or a trigger from the past? What do I have control over? What can I do? What can I change? What do I need to let go of?
  3. This may take 5 minutes or it might go on for weeks or longer. Journal, pray, meditate or speak with a trusted friend or counselor.
  4. From this place of inner reflection, create an action step. It may be to simply breathe and move on or there may be various outer actions that need to happen.
  5. Know that life is very much like flying a plane. Pilots are rarely on course in their flight plan. They arrive at their destination by constantly correcting their course.
  6. Keep your vision clear and always make room for adjustments.

In the process of compassionately fostering resilience,
Françoise

Apr

23

Laughing Your Way To Learning

By Francoise Netter

Last week, I met with Educators to teach a class on Creative Lesson Planning. The class was a blast from beginning to end. The environment may have added to the evening’s light and humorous quality as we met in a restaurant/bar instead of a standard classroom. Yet, it was not the first time that I had taught and given credits during a Happy Hour setting, but this evening had a special quality to it. Perhaps it was the synergy of the individuals present that allowed everyone to let their guard down and have a good time while learning. Whatever it was, after the class, I found myself asking why this quality was not more present in learning and academic environments. Don’t we learn more easily when we’re having fun? Doesn’t laughter and play take the edge off of our fears and feelings of inadequacy? Then why is school and academia so often devoid of joy, laughter and playfulness?

I am all for serious moments of concentration and focus, but the lightness of this evening brought smiles to everyone present and we ended up staying past the prescribed time of the class. Just think how our classrooms might benefit with the addition of this more informal, playful inclusion. Through medical research, we know that stress is the # 1 cause of immune deficiency, disease and even premature death. Last night was a stress-busting event for everyone present and they fulfilled their professional obligations of procuring credits and applying them academically.

Students of all ages can benefit from an approach to learning that integrates laughter and playfulness. How can creativity be explored and subjects we have labeled as challenging or serious be taught so that the students embrace them with glee and attentiveness? As an experiment, see what you can do to add joy, laughter and ease to your professional and personal life especially to the parts of your life that you label as difficult or drudgery. Have fun with it and then let me know your results.

In lightness and laughter,
Françoise

Mar

24

Actualizing Your Yoga and “Marching” Forward

By Francoise Netter

Isn’t it interesting to look at words and the meanings we ascribe to them? With the Spring Equinox officially behind us, what is “springing” or ”marching” forward in your life? What would you like to be forward moving in your life? It is interesting that our Western Christian New Year starts in the middle of winter. It’s like, we get all revved up for the new to manifest just in time to go back into hibernation.

Summer and fall were always my favorite seasons growing up and into adulthood. Then when I moved to Colorado, twelve years ago, winter and spring became my favorites. Winter for the quiet, stark beauty of snow covered peaks and spring for the exquisite transformation of growth, blossoms and color. Now as the temperatures have unseasonably soared, I sit perched like a Robin Red Breast for spring. Why?

Certainly the fragrances and delicate purple petals and beauty of Lilac Bushes are one big reason, but this year especially, I feel hungry for movement forward in my life. I am craving a new environment to work, live and play in. One that includes sea breezes, long stretches of white sandy beaches I can walk or bike along and the smell of the salty sea water. Most significantly I crave the freedom and endless quality of the sea. When I first moved to Colorado, I needed mountains and red rocks and a sturdy pristine beauty that the Rockies exemplified. But things have changed. A part of me wishes that I could just stay in one place all of my life and not have these soul callings. More than ever it seems we must trust the urgings of our souls and have faith that at the appropriate time we will be able to create and take the necessary steps for their realization.

The ability to take right action and at other times hone patience is such a delicate balance. When I was growing up, the model for success and productivity was the male model of forcing or making things happen. Today it feels like the recipe for change and success is a delicate balance between intention, action and the act of allowing. The approach of forcing or making things happen more and more seems contrived and like an uphill battle. So the question becomes how do we create what we desire and still keep our focus on the present in a positive life-affirming way while making room for the new. So often the only way I knew how to enact change was to be so miserable with my present that the only way up was out. Drama often accompanied big changes. Sound familiar?

As spring expands into fullness with flowers and budding trees, I invite you to join me on the journey of planting new seeds, nurturing their growth with patience, intention and forward moving thoughts and actions. Let me know what is marching forward in your life and what you have discovered in this process.

Blessings on the Path,
Françoise

Mar

12

Actualizing Your Yoga and Renew, Rejuvenate and Retreat in Spain

By Francoise Netter

After five years of contemplation, we finally have a trip to Spain planned in June.  In the last blog I spoke about slowing down and doing something different. Traveling with purpose can be the positive jolt we need. Why Spain? Why 2012?

Since I was a child, I’ve observed, sometimes much to my chagrin, that I am not only “The Princess and The Pea” in terms of sensitivity but I often act as a conduit for trends happening in my cultural environs. The Barcelona area and the coast of Spain have been calling me energetically for years. Is it the Catalonian culture or is there something powerful and transformational that this environment holds? The sea, to me is not only a place of comfort and rejuvenation; it also holds a mysterious element that speaks to our souls. Every time I’ve been to the Mediterranean, I have been awestruck by the turquoise balmy waters and by the beauty of the landscape infused with a combination of ruggedness and paradise-like charm. To be able to travel as a group to play, learn, grow and shift on foreign soil, not only seems timely, but insistent.

I’ve noticed that as much as we are extreme in this country—I’m either feasting or on a diet, I’m either spending or spend-thrift—I’m either single or passionately in love–I’m either busy and have no time or I have plenty of time and no money—we need a new model of living that it begins with balance. Traveling with purpose (fun and knowledge) affords us that possibility. When we change things up like traveling to a foreign country and combine that with a theme, Renewal Retreat, we not only shift our daily habits, but we also infuse our consciousness with new possibilities that we could never have conceived of in our ordinary lives. Sometimes we are forced to make these changes by circumstances that occur over which we seem to have no control. How much more empowering to make these small changes ourselves before our personal world imposes them by shaking things up.

This trip to Spain has the promise and intent to create the next steps in your life. It will engage you to make a difference in the most positive and life generating way. I invite you to join us on this journey. It can happen. It is happening.  For more information go to www.bodyminddynamics.org/retreat.

Feb

25

Actualizing Your Yoga – The Evolution of Humanity

By Francoise Netter

I recently volunteered at the Boulder International Film Festival and one of the documentaries I saw, Modern Progress, while not as professionally crafted as I might have liked, did bring up some interesting points. They cited that although in the past 200 years we have progressed technologically more rapidly than at any time in history, we have not evolved biologically or in any other way humanly in 5,000 years. It implied that our evolution as humans has no congruity with our materialistic greed and technological advancement and it alluded that this same issue had been the cause of the fall of many civilizations prior to the advancement of our current one.

For decades we have been seduced and deluded by our beliefs that outer progress, fame and riches would somehow render us free and triumphant over the forces we fear and the conditions over which we have no control. What an interesting web of lies we’ve spun. Can all our technological advancement heal the common cold, a broken heart, the loss of a loved one, the conflict between neighbors or any personal fear? We have spent thousands of years practicing looking to outer events for our sustenance and reality. But how has that evolved us or really brought us what we, as a species, have always yearned for?

Yoga, which evolved 5,000 plus years ago and many other ancient philosophies poignantly speak to the evolution of humanity. For thousands of years, Yogis and other Mystics guarded the secrets of human evolution. But today “these secrets” are being revealed to the masses. The Yogis were not that different than modern man. They also sought what we all ultimately seek: joy, contentment, connectedness, knowledge and peace. They knew that the control and mastery that was needed began from within. The Mount Everest summits and rocket ship explorations started with mastering their own minds and bodies. They sought human evolution not outer technological progress and they revealed states of awareness that we are being summoned to explore and embrace today.

One of the classes I teach, Yoga for the Academic Environment, touches upon the relevancy of the use of ancient wisdom in today’s educational environment. True Yoga bridges the gap between the mind and body, the breath and life and offers us a practical wisdom for this time where we must also bridge the schism between our inner evolution and our outer progress. Our minds and bodies are busier and more preoccupied than ever. We are plugged in to some form of technology 24/7—some people even sleep plugged in. We must begin the process of not only slowing down, but also turning our attention to what we can control: our responses, thoughts, beliefs, feelings and actions. We have placed such importance to reacting to what happens to us and around us while keeping up with the pace of life, that we have forgotten the simplest of practices of being self-responsible and looking within for our answers.

Children are incredibly open to these teachings of Yoga. Can you imagine the progress of this planet if we were taught at a young age how to control our thoughts, breath, heart rate, and digestion? What if we learned how to understand our negative emotional states and transform them? What if we understood that we all are intricately connected and part of a living, breathing universe that is made up of the same essential energy? What if we learned how to focus, concentrate and control the ceaseless chatter of the mind? What would our world look like if we learned how to be kind, gentle, generous, and loving with ourselves and others? If we combined these practices with the ABCs, just imagine how we might begin to evolve humanly.

Progress would no longer be measured by political power or financial success or by the speed of technical toys. Simple isn’t it? Begin today. Do something different. Spend ten minutes a day looking behind your eyes. Breathe, watch your thoughts, sit in gratitude, pet your cat, hug your dog, take a walk and just watch—no iPod, no words, and no distractions. Everyday add a new practice to simplify, observe and get acquainted with the reservoir of quiet, wisdom and joy that lies within you.

In loving practice,
Françoise

Feb

7

Salary Enhancement Courses For Educators and Their Students

By Francoise Netter

Education is my passion. Having taught some form of the arts since I was twenty, I have worked in every type of private and public institution. I’ve juggled a myriad of part time jobs. I have worked with pre-school to older adults and every population in between including in Universities, Colleges, Elementary, Middle Schools and High Schools. I have been a consultant and an artist-in-residence. But nowhere was I more challenged, then when I became a full time teacher in Colorado. I also never exceeded $35,000.00 in salary and that was 7 years ago. Now I work with the educators themselves with the intention of changing one classroom at a time.

I can sincerely state from personal experience that educators are some of the most under-appreciated, underpaid and over-worked professionals in this country and yet they have probably the most challenging and important roles. They wear more hats than most people could ever fathom and are responsible literally for the future of our society through the educating and often raising of our children.

In so many ways, I am blessed to be able to teach educators what I have studied and practiced for most of my adult life. And now, more than ever, it appears to be urgently relevant to integrate these principles into every aspect of learning and education. Creativity, body/mind wellness, kinesthetic learning, balance and integration need to be incorporated into the academic curriculum. I watch as my teachers are forced to comply with standards that have nothing to do with their students’ needs or learning skills. When they incorporate breathing, movement and creativity development into the academic curriculum, the students respond with enthusiasm and the results are both exceptional and multi-faceted.

For right now, it is a win-win. Educators are able to increase their earnings and satisfy continued education credits while incorporating life-changing ideas, lesson plans and practical applications that can make a difference in their students’ lives and their academic achievements. But what if we could overhaul the system with a more integrated approach that allowed both the teachers and the students to excel, be self-responsible and love learning?

Just imagine what education might be like. Imagine what contributions our future generations would make if they loved attending school and being part of an extraordinary system of learning that satisfied individual needs as well as the needs of the community. And finally imagine a world where educators were valued and paid the way we treat celebrities and top athletes.

To find out more about Educator courses, related seminars, in-service courses at your district and the retreat in Spain, please go to: www.bodyminddynamics.org or contact us at: fenetter@yahoo.com.

Oct

20

Review of INATS and Sharing Your Unique Gifts

By Francoise Netter

The following article was originally published in my column, “Actualizing Your Yoga” in 2011. I hope you enjoy it. – FEN

Review of International New Age Tradeshow and Sharing Your Unique Gifts

In this month’s column, I’m going to stray off the traditional subject of Yoga and report on a memorable tradeshow and related topics that deal with today’s current issues. In the process, we’ll bring it back to “Actualizing Your Yoga”.

In late June, I attended the INATS (International New Age Tradeshow) in Denver where leading Metaphysical and New Age publishers, authors, entrepreneurs and other vendors gathered to advertise and sell their products to retail buyers and metaphysical bookstores. There were a wonderful array of jewelry vendors and a wide variety of everything you might need for meditation, calling in your angels or exploring other divination tools as well as books, calendars, statues and crystals.

What I found surprising was the amount of new quality products being marketed by the creators, authors and entrepreneurs themselves. Self-publishing seems to be the new route for many talented New Age authors and artisans. Although Hay House, Llewellyn, and other recognized publishers were justifiably profiled, it was the lesser known authors and artists that I found most impressive. For example, Roth Taylor who created The Circle and Robin and Frederico of Xterling who created the Mayan Oracle jewelry and cards had not just extraordinary products that were well designed, but they carried a signature message of hope, humility and transformation.

In this time of financial, ecological and global uncertainty, not only do we need the courage to market new products but we are also being called to create products that are actually going to help others through the present stresses, uncertainties and doubts that many are facing today. What some are heralding as the end of the Mayan calendar, others profess this time as a turning point in consciousness for all of humanity.

In this years INATS, it was the “unknowns” non-celebrities sharing their creativity and wisdom that stood out for me. It is not just the Entertainment or Sports industry that idolizes celebrities, but the Business world and what we call the New Age markets that tend to glamorize certain individuals. It feels timely to take the fame and fortune out of wisdom and emphasize the knowledge and practical applications that many are coming forward to share.

I remember when I was living in Southern California for the first three months of 2011, I heard Michael Beckwith share that we each are being called to not only be our ”best selves” but to share our unique gifts with the world. That might mean sharing with our neighbor, our family or to share our insights in a public way. I do believe something unique is happening globally. Part of it may be due to the access of technology, but I believe it is much more.

What are you being called to discover and share? What are the changes that you are feeling internally and how can you express those changes positively and dynamically? How can you contribute more of who you are in areas of your life you may never have imagined possible?

This month instead of just practicing the physical Asanas (poses) see how you can take the next steps to becoming more of who you are, to sharing that uniqueness and to contributing in new and more expansive ways. Let courage and commitment be part of your internal ”mantra “ and enjoy this path of “Actualizing Your Yoga”.

Namaste on this dynamic path,
Françoise

© 2011,  Françoise E. Netter, M.A.

Oct

30

Movement For The Mind®

By Francoise Netter

For those of you who have been following my blogs, articles and column, you know that I refer back to allegories and stories of my Yoga Master whom I went to study with in India in 1978. He knew me as a dancer and dance therapist and would murmur “dancer” whenever he would see me even though he did not speak English.

Dance and art were my first experiences of “Actualizing my Yoga”. It was in these moments of creative involvement that I experienced my first encounters with true meditation and Yoga—that experience of oneness, focus and bliss. Although my practice of Yoga evolved on its own, it was always inextricably linked to my life and to my work with dance, which came to be known as Movement For The Mind and the name of my book.

In these blogs, I will be sharing excerpts from the book. It is my hope that they will inspire you and open you to new levels of thinking, feeling, moving and actualizing. Please feel free to contact me for a copy of the book, which will be available in a downloadable form on my website: www.bodyminddynamics.org shortly.

The Power Of Dance

Physically, dance is the creative translation of what we do in this body: move. Dance speaks to every aspect of our being.  It challenges us physically and at the same time satisfies the human need for self-expression, communication, and meaning. It demands that the mind be clear, focused, and attentive. Each movement must be birthed from emotional integrity, so that when people dance, they may experience the oneness that mystics speak of reaching in the highest spiritual state. Yogis refer to the creation of the universe as the Dance of Shiva. French author, Anais Nin, coined the phrase “life is a dance,” and countless poets and philosophers have made similar analogies between dancing and living.

However, in Western culture dance has been less accessible to the general public than perhaps any other art form (not withstanding the current craze of the TV Reality show, “Dancing with the Stars”). When I was a child, everyone was encouraged to draw and learn to play a musical instrument whether they showed specific artistic talent or not. Although I was offered ballet classes as a child, my brother never took dance lessons. After I stopped taking ballet, I don’t remember taking any other class in school that encouraged creative self-expression through the medium of the body.

The purpose of all art is to communicate. Dance communicates through the language of movement. The dancer needs only the body as a vehicle for creative expression. All content comes from the inside and is brought into form through the body. Dancing, singing, and acting are the only art forms that can stand alone without any other embellishments or supportive props. But even the singer and actor need words. Silently, the dancer uses what connects us all to this earth, the body.

In ancient and primitive cultures, symbols and rituals were significant components of everyday life. These cultures, which revered and lived closely with the earth and nature’s cycles, utilized movement intentionally as a metaphor for living. They did not rely solely on words to communicate, but understood the power of the symbolic and the power of living in the body. Dance, through its use of gestures, incorporates the symbolic in the acting out of movement. It also allows man to embrace the sacred within his own body.

In the early twentieth century the pioneers of modern dance—including Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, Ruth St. Denis, and Doris Humphreys—used dance to express once again the passions, pains, and spiritual elements of life.  Their dances told stories that contained the emotional and soulful aspects of human experience.

Modern dance pioneers’ vision of dance as a universal expression of life is not limited to the relationship between audience and dancer. Without an audience, the process of expressive communication can be an internal experience.

The Movement For The Mind® technique I created integrates the symbolic value of dance with the healing legacy of dance therapy, and includes Modern Dance’s vision of authentic expression. It brings back the power of dance to the individual and provides a vehicle for creative self-expression, integration, healing, and for better understanding ourselves and connecting to others.

If you feel that you don’t have rhythm or if you would like to experience your body’s innate rhythm and energy, take a moment to do this exercise. (Read the instructions a couple of times and then just repeat them to yourself mentally.)

Stand up. Close your eyes and take four complete breaths and then continue breathing normally. Remember to keep breathing through your nostrils. Now begin to listen to the rhythm of your breath and see how your body responds energetically. You may begin swaying or rocking. Let movements occur spontaneously. Go with any impulse. If your body does not move, continue listening to the breath for a few more moments. Do not strain or try to make anything happen. The point is to let go and become more sensitive to the subtle rhythms inwardly.

If you felt your body moving at all, you may have also become aware of your heartbeat and the rhythm of that pulsation. Listening to these simple rhythms helps us to connect to ourselves and to the moment. It also allows us to move and respond more spontaneously and with less restriction and judgment. The rhythm of the breath in this way is used to quiet and focus the mind and to awaken us to the subtle energies within us. In Movement For The Mind®, we can use this awakening for various purposes. The process alone of pausing to breathe deeply and then observing the breath will relieve the imminent effects of stress, but we can take this alleviation further.

 

Namaste,
Françoise

© 2010, Françoise E. Netter, M.A.