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Flowing State, Doing State...You Decide

Updated: Apr 4, 2023

Our US culture conditions us to believe we are successful when we are continuously doing. Couple that with "feeling like we are not good enough" and being in the moment becomes Herculean. (Paraphrased from one of my somatic movement teachers Kaila June )

I have noticed while teaching my small weekly somatic movement classes that several people have trouble slowing down, and slowing down is a fundamental premise of the practice. It's a way to get in touch with your physical and emotional sensations that allow you to be fully present in the moment. You may be thinking 'who cares if I am fully present, if I'm getting things done!'

For one, when we get lost in doing and disconnect from our bodies, we typically end up in pain. Ironically, a reason many people come to a somatic class is because they are in pain and have already exhausted other avenues unsuccessfully to get out of pain.

Slowing down takes practice, it takes feeling safe, and it takes intention. It's simple but not easy! My go to for many years while working in the corporate world was all about getting shit done and then getting more done at home. I felt like I was in the flow. I worked, I ran, I practiced yoga, I cooked, I cleaned and I cared deeply for my son and daughter. My life was full and it was progressing forward until it wasn't. Chronic neck pain stopped me in my tracks and slowing down felt threatening, it felt vulnerable, and it just felt wrong. I looked to doctors everywhere to get fixed. And no amount of yoga was working because I was on the mat doing, not being. I thought the goal was to get into the poses as I was being encouraged to do, so I did what I was told, and I was doing yoga.

To the contrary, any movement we practice should be somatic by nature which means getting in touch with our lived experiences which manifest in our internal sensations. Track them and then adapt your form by listening to the biofeedback you get. We all have unhealthy habitual body patterns that need to be interrupted. Our goal should be to get our bones, muscles and tissues working together so that we can enjoy that amazing sensation of truly being in the flow with our whole body/mind. To do this we have to change our focus from being. The goal becomes the unique experience of the movement, moment to moment; not getting into a pose. Peter Appel teaches us we need to get curious and move in different ways that surprise our brains...pattern interrupted!

There's no hurry when you are making an embodied masterpiece. Cezanne understood color as a force of push and pull. A force is any influence which causes objects or energy flows to undergo a change in speed, direction, shape or power levels. Think of your body as your landscape. Slow down, get grounded, set an intention and let your ubiquitous liquid crystal medium, fascia, yield into push and pull, let it flow onto the canvas of your life.

Mary Ellen Hannon, Author and Advanced Somatic Movement Guide. For a free electronic copy of my book, send me a quick message at Complementary Alternative Medicine for Chronic Pain

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