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An important discovery
I'd been teaching for years before I stumbled across trauma-sensitive yoga. I'm not sure what inspired me to attend that first training, but it opened my eyes to exactly the kind of practice I need for myself and am drawn to offer others. I'll say more about that in a future post. In the meantime, I want to share just four things that make the movement practices on the Moved to Heal podcast trauma-sensitive.

 

Choices

Whether in the description or the cueing of a movement, or both, I offer more than one choice for all forms and actions. For example, when I offer a movement in a cross-legged seat, you could also lie down or stand up or sit another way. Or if I’m inviting you to lift and lower your arms, you could choose to lift + hold, or not lift, or do another movement with your arms. I offer a form with an action (a movement) and one or two or three options for you to consider. You can choose to do one of the choices offered or something else that you want to do. The choice for how to move your body is always yours.

 

An invitation to move

In many fitness and yoga classes alike, movements are instructed in such a way that most of us will feel compelled to follow --even if it's not what feels good or safe or right to us. Sometimes, "following" can be what you want --say to help you get through a difficult workout that you want to do, and know you're comfortable with. But at other times, that kind of instruction is less a help and more of a hindrance, getting in the way of listening to ourselves -- of noticing what we need in the moment. Noticing and being able to choose what we need, knowing that's ok, is essential to healing traumas and hurts of all kinds. Trauma-sensitive classes offer movements for you to try (or not try) and invite you to engage with them in the way that you want in the moment (including not at all).

 

Noticing what you feel

I regularly invite you to notice whether you feel anything during a practice or movement. I invite you to bring attention to sensation, breathing, and choices. The intention is to allow you to develop a greater awareness of yourself, your body, and what you need moment to moment. Some days, sensation might be just sensation. Some days, sensation might be a revelation. There are no expectations, simply attempting to be in the present moment. You can always choose how to make use of invitations to observe and notice. Where you direct your attention is up to you.

 

Gentle experiments

Through invitations to move, choosing when and how to move, and noticing yourself in the present moment, you might also choose to experiment with multiple options of movements or observations. When you feel curious about a movement in your body, you can try it out, knowing you then can choose whether or not to continue with it. Experiments might be trying a new movement or observation, or they could be trying out slight changes in familiar movements or observations, comparing and discovering different ways of doing things.

 

Sound useful?

If one or more of these aspects of trauma-sensitive teaching sound useful to you, I hope you'll keep an eye out for movement classes and teachers that include them in some way (namely, in a way that resonates with you!). And if you go into a class or space where what you need is missing, maybe move on to a different class.

If all of these qualities sound valuable to you --choice, invitation, noticing, and gentle experiments-- I invite you to tune in to Moved to Heal!

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit paul blenkhorn / sensory art house, found on unsplash

This week's Moved to Heal practice offers the same reclining and seated movements as last week in a slightly different order. Sometimes the sequence of movements changes the way we experience them. I hope you'll give either or both of these 10 movement practices a try, perhaps as a way to connect to your body in movement. Or just as a break from the rest of your day!
 
Listen to "10 movements in sequence, reclining + seated - ep 17" on Spreaker.
 

What’s in the "preparing for calm" episode of moved to heal?

  • Welcome + introduction
  • Description of the movements (listed below)
  • Movement cueing (begins at 9:00)

 

The 10 movements in the "preparing for calm" episode

  • Reclining bridge, arm lift + lower
  • Reclining, hug legs in
  • Bridge, lift hips (hip bridge)
  • Reclining, leg windshield wipers
  • Sidelying, arm open + close
  • Sidelying, press up to sit + lower back to floor
  • Sitting cross-legged, twist the torso side to side
  • Sitting cross-legged, side-bend the torso side to side
  • Kneeling seat, hug or cross arms
  • Kneeling seat, fold torso forward (child's)

I guide you through this practice step by step, and you can choose to skip or stay with any area you like.

 

What makes this trauma informed?

Noticing what you feel. I regularly invite you to notice whether you feel anything during a practice or movement. I invite you to bring attention to sensation, breathing, and choices. The intention is to allow you to develop a greater awareness of yourself, your body, and what you need moment to moment. Some days, sensation might be just sensation. Some days, sensation might be a revelation. There are no expectations, simply attempting to be in the present moment. You can always choose how to make use of invitations to observe and notice. Where you direct your attention is up to you.

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps take a moment to check in: did you notice something that you want to remember or follow up on? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember.

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "10 movements in sequence, reclining + seated - ep 17" on Spreaker.

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit andrew buchanan, found on unsplash

This week's Moved to Heal practice starts lying down and gradually moves up to seated. It could be useful as a gentle way to tune in to your body, or perhaps to take a break from a long period of sitting at a computer --something most of us can relate to these days!

 

what's in this episode of moved to heal?

The week's episode builds on last week's practice, but you do not need to do both, and you can start with either. The episode includes three sections:

  • Welcome + introduction
  • Description of the movements
  • Movement cueing

Don't need the descriptions? Movement cueing begins at 8:30
 

The 10 movements in this episode
  • Reclining, hug legs in
  • Reclining, leg windshield wipers
  • Reclining bridge, arm lift + lower
  • Bridge, lift hips (hip bridge)
  • Sidelying, roll side to side
  • Sidelying, arm open + close
  • Sitting cross-legged, twist the torso side to side
  • Sitting cross-legged, side-bend the torso side to side
  • Kneeling seat, hug or cross arms
  • Kneeling seat, fold torso forward (child's)

I guide you through this practice step by step, and you can choose to skip or stay with any area you like.

 

What makes this trauma informed?

An invitation to move. In fitness and many yoga classes alike, movements are instructed in such a way that most of us will feel compelled to follow --even if it's not what feels good or safe or right to us. Sometimes that can be what you want --say to help you get through a difficult workout that you want to do, and know you're comfortable with, but don't feel especially motivated to power through. But at other times, that kind of instruction is less a help and more of a hindrance, getting in the way of listening to ourselves -- of noticing what we need in the moment. Noticing and being able to choose what we need, knowing that's ok, is essential to healing traumas and hurts of all kinds.

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps take a moment to check in: did you notice something that you want to remember or follow up on? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember.

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "10 movements reclining + seated - ep 16" on Spreaker.

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit ambrose chua, found on unsplash

Moved to Heal gets a format update

Last week I introduced a "5 forms" format that I'll be trying out for the next six months. Each episode will include 5 forms or starting shapes, and in these I'll invite you to try 1, 2, or 3 different actions. I'm saying that form + action = movement, so each episode will have 5, 10, or 15 movements total. Each month will start with a 5 movements episode, on which I'll build for two 10 and one 15 movement episode, so that you can work with the same movements repeatedly over one month.

Once you've had a chance to try a few of these episodes, I welcome and am grateful for your feedback! If you feel comfortable sharing it with me, you can use the comment box at the bottom of the page, sharing whatever you like or perhaps responding to any or all of these questions: Does this "5 forms" format work well for you? What do you like about it? What don't you like about it? And thank you!
 

What’s in this episode of moved to heal?

This week's 5 movements
- Lying on your back, hug legs in
- Lying on your back, lift hips (hip bridge)
- Sidelying, roll side to side
- Sitting cross-legged, twist the torso side to side
- Kneeling seat, fold torso forward (child's)

I guide you through this practice step by step, and you can choose to skip or stay with any area you like.

 

What makes this practice trauma informed?

Choices. Whether in the description or the cueing of a movement, or both, I offer more than one choice for all forms and actions. For example, the 5 movements above include sitting cross-legged for one. You could also lie down or stand up or sit another way. You can choose to do one of the choices offered, or something else that you want to do.

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps check in: did you notice something that you want to remember or follow up on? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember.

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "5 movements reclining + seated - ep 15" on Spreaker.

 
Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit Becky Bekk, found on unsplash

As we head into 2021, I'm trying a new normal for the Moved to Heal episodes. I'll offer episodes with 5 forms (seats, stances, shapes) each with an action choice (such as lifting the arms, rounding the spine, etc).

You'll see the same forms and actions over and over, in different combinations and sequences each week. I plan to offer short, medium, and long episodes over the course of each month.

This week's episode is a preview of what a short "5 forms with actions" practice. I hope it's useful, and of course, I welcome any feedback.
 

What’s in this episode of moved to heal?

5 forms, mostly all seated, each with an option to add an action. In some moments, I invite you to notice your breathing. In other, I ask you to notice whether there's any feeling in your back.

The moves offered

  • Cross-leg seat with cat / cow
  • Straight-leg seat with neutral arms
  • Kneeling seat with hugging arms
  • Kneeling lunge
  • Kneeling fold (child’s)

I guide you through this practice step by step, and you can choose to skip or stay with any area you like.

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps take a moment to check in: did you notice something that you want to remember or follow up on? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember.

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "5 moves to get started" on Spreaker.

Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit anh nguyen, found on unsplash

Inhales, exhales -- is there more to our breathing than just these two sides of the breath? Yes! I like to notice the four "parts" of your breathing: inhale, transition, exhale, transition.
 

What’s in this episode of moved to heal?

I introduce the "four parts" of breathing in two ways.

The first way is to notice what's already happening:

  • there's an inhale
  • then there's a moment of transition between inhale and exhale
  • then there's an exhale
  • and then another moment of transition between exhale and inhale

The second way is to try engaging with these four parts where you choose. Here are a few options:

  • allowing fuller or longer inhales and exhales
  • allowing more pause in the transition
  • creating an even rhythm between inhale and exhale

I guide you through this practice step by step, and you can choose to skip or stay with any area you like. You can do this Moved to Heal practice while reclining, seated, standing, or moving.

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps take a moment to check in: did you notice something that you want to remember or follow up on? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember.

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "4 part breathing" on Spreaker.

Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit ashim d silva on unsplash

Breathing happens with and without our conscious input. For example, most of the time we can consciously take a "deep" or "full" breath when we desire. This is just one way of engaging with our breathing. This practice is about tapping into that conscious engagement.

 

What’s in this episode of moved to heal?/h6>
In this practice, I'm inviting you to engage with your breathing by directing your breath attention to four different areas of your torso. When put all together, these four areas comprise what I'm calling a 360 degree breath. You can do or not do any of the practices, and in whatever manner or degree you choose.

The idea behind the 360 breath is to help guide your breathing to expand into areas its not used to going. I think of this as a follow up to bringing awareness to where your breathing *is* comfortable. If you're not sure about what is and isn't comfortable for you, I suggest you use this practice as a sort of "check in" --or start with the "observing your breathing" episode.
 

The 4 areas of 360 breathing
  • belly / abdomen
  • upper chest + back
  • lower ribs / middle torso
  • back (from waist to shoulders)

I guide you through this practice step by step, and you can choose to skip or stay with any area you like. You can do this Moved to Heal practice while reclining, seated, standing, or moving.

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps take a moment to check in: did you notice something that you want to remember or follow up on? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember.

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "360 degree breathing" on Spreaker.

Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit aynaz shahtale on unsplash

When you're moving, there's lots to pay attention to -- what's going through your head, the moves you're doing, the sensations you feel -- which makes noticing your breathing just one of a long list of things you can that we can be aware of while moving. This week, I invite you to try choosing the breath.

 

What’s in this episode of moved to heal?

I invite you to observe your breathing while moving. You can move through "cat/cow" or in any way you choose.

You can do this Moved to Heal practice while seated or on hands and knees (for cat/cow) or from any starting place you choose.

"Cat/cow" is a movement of the spine or trunk. Cat rounds the spine, cow arches/backbends the spine.

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps take a moment to check in: did you notice something that you want to remember or follow up on? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember.

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "observing breathing while moving" on Spreaker.

Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit dave hoefler on unsplash

What’s in this episode of moved to heal?

Observing breathing is simple in concept and can be a whole variety of things in practice, including simple, difficult, complicated, emotional, and more.

In this episode, I invite you to observe your breathing in any way you choose, and offer 3 different options you can try. For each, I describe the option and then give you about a minute of quiet in which to practice. You can do or not do any of the practices, and in whatever manner or degree you choose.

 

The 3 breath observation options I offer
  • to notice the length of your inhale and exhale
  • to notice the movement of your breathing
  • to notice the sound of your breathing

You can do this Moved to Heal practice while reclining, seated, standing, or moving.

 

Integration suggestion

After listening to the episode, perhaps take a moment to check in: did you notice something that you want to remember or follow up on? If yes, maybe jot it down in a notebook or record a voice memo to help you remember.

 

You can give it a try when you're ready

Listen to "observing breathing" on Spreaker.

Be moving, be true, be you
esther
 
 

photo credit aleksander solberg on unsplash

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