If you look at any beginner movement class, you'll see widely-varying degrees of bodily awareness. However, regardless of how someone moves, with a little bit of cueing, anyone can feel if they are in contact with the floor or not.
You don’t need skill or imagination to sense your contact with the floor. You may not be paying attention to it most of the time, but it doesn't require anatomical awareness to grasp what 'weight-bearing' is or to notice which of your parts have the most pressure.
Weight bearing is a constant thing (unless you are temporarily airborne, space traveling, or swimming, you are bearing weight, somehow).
Yet, the details of rolling contacts are rarely zeroed in on outside of higher-level movement environments. But...they could be.
The first is called ‘Bodyfulness’ by Boulder author Christine Caldwell. It’s swelling with information for or anyone who’s ready to look at the how and why of how they move. The author founded the Somatic Counseling program at Naropa University and has been in practice for more than thirty years.
“The body isn’t a thing we have but an experience we are. Bodyfulness is about working toward our potential as a whole human animal that breathes as well as thinks, moves as well as sits still, takes action as well as considers, and exists not because it thinks but because it dances, stretches, bounces, gazes, focuses, and attunes to others.“
Have you been to a dance class that was supposed to be beginner-appropriate or all-levels, but the class progressed in a way that made you want to disappear?
Maybe you had fun the first few minutes when the sequence was short, but then the instructor moved on, and on, and on. With rapidly dwindling confidence, you were left stumbling in the wake of an ever-growing sequence. Perhaps physically you could have done it all, but you needed more time to really 'get it'. It was just too much to remember.
I've been there. In classes and in auditions, I've been there.
You can only stumble around, a count behind everyone else, for so long before you want to shrivel into the corner and become unseen.
When you’re new to a style or form (or even just with a new teacher), learning a lengthy complex piece of choreography (maybe alongside people much younger or more skilled than you) is daunting and often
disheartening. Based on what I've observed, the amount of choreography delivered in many dance classes leaves a LOT of people behind.
In my opinion, if you are still trying to remember the choreo during the last minutes of class, you're missing out on the joy of dancing, the part where the movement starts to carry you and you can transcend who you were when you arrived.
My message is this:
Pumpkin Flow Giveaway:
If you flow with a gourd of your choice between now and Nov 5, I’ll send you a code for $5 off any event or video.
Get busy with you pumpkin and catch it on video.
Post at least 15 seconds on FB or IG and tag #pumpkinflow and @flowmovement
Send us a message on either platform with the link to your video and we will send you your discount code.
Yesterday, I witnessed a group movement experience that I was SO glad I was not a part of.
After a month away and a week of living the truck driver life, I got a month-long pass to a nearby gym. It’s primarily a rock-climbing gym, but they have a weight room upstairs.
This particular gym runs some group conditioning classes inside of the weight room. While I was gleefully doing irreverent things on the back extension bench, a voice came over the loudspeaker letting everyone know that “Body Blast with Mr. Blasty Blast” [ok, not his real name] was starting soon. I thought, “Oh nice, I’ll get to see if I would ever want to join the class.” Consensus:
OH NO, I WILL NOT FUCKING EVER. (Unless you pay me. I’d consider it if money were involved.)
Have you ever noticed how much a dose of movement impacts your mood?
If you've been sitting down all day and you go outside for a walk, you are likely to feel better. I know I do. However, if you go to a practice session with unreasonably lofty expectations ('I'm gonna do this hard thing I saw and it'll be perfect, just like that Instagram video'), you probably won't leave feeling like a winner. And if you're not skilled at overriding and reframing your own nay-saying... you might not walk away feeling vibrant.
You've likely heard of the research which confirms that exercise is mood boosting (it's usually accompanied by a stock image of people in bright-colors faux-grinning on a jog). While movement does provoke chemical changes that make you feel nice, your approach can amplify the positive after-effects or knock them right out of you.
Did you know I spent decades of my life *wishing* I had the courage to be fully IN my dance?
Until my mid-twenties, I did the majority of my ‘dancing’ as a student in dance classes. As I learned and reviewed, I pushed myself, but I arely felt the dance was emanating from my body in a truthful way.
In an attempt to feel more connected to my movement, I would remind myself of how much I love to dance. I would repeat versions of the phrase, "You want this, you live for this, don’t let this opportunity slip by."
Pillows. In our culture, they’re viewed as necessary bed-time equipment. Along with sheets and blankets, pillows are so strongly associated with sleep that the idea of foregoing one seems unrefined or ‘strange’ to many people.
This post is intended to raise awareness about how pillow use-habits can contribute to neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, tension, etc., and offer some DIY solutions.
We all want to move better, feel better, and get injured less easily, right? Well, looking at how you sleep might make a difference in how you’re moving and feeling the rest of the time.
A cue is a prompt or direction about what to do. We’re exposed to cues about movement all the time in the form of signs such as, “Please keep right,” or “DANGER: DO NOT WALK ON THE ICE."
Do you think they meant alternative forms of locomotion are okay? Or did they mean, “Stay off the ice?”
I’m reallllly into cues. Why? Because the right words have the power to make something you’ve done thousands of times feel totally new. The right phrase can transform your understanding, help you drop a bad habit, or even release some emotional baggage.
Here are 7 ideas to help you become a better cuer. Even if you have no intention of teaching, these exercises are guaranteed to make you more aware of your movement:
I’ve learned a lot of things during my years on the road—and many of them stem from adaptability. Often, I need to have a little self-talk about accepting and embracing my circumstances. I know that if I’m caught up on my lack of "comforts," I’ll miss out on the details of the life around me. This practice of acceptance also leads to creativity.
A few weeks ago, I made my way to Costa Rica for Envision Festival. I honestly had no idea what I was in for. I hadn’t heard of most of the DJs, was not familiar with the movement teachers or lecturers, and I didn’t know anyone attending. I knew I would be in a tent, but didn’t think much what that would mean logistically.
I quickly discovered that I had all the wrong clothes (What I had was way too hot. Pants? No. I basically should have planned for bikinis+decorations). It took about 10 minutes to realize I would be dirtier and sweatier than I’ve ever been in my life. I don’t mean dirty in a “I’ve been exercising all day” way—I was legitimately rolling and stomping in dirt from dawn till midnight. More often than not, the shower was out of water when I found an opportunity to try. But everyone else was just as dirty, and it was great.
When’s the last time you took a long walk without carrying anything?
We’re almost always heading somewhere (close by), with something (bags, phones, beverages).
My suggestion, for hearty dose of self-love is…. go on a GAIT DATE!
What’s a gait date? It’s a walk where you focus on HOW you’re walking. It can be done alone, or with a buddy/lover.
It's winter here in the Northern Hemisphere. This means people don't spend as much time outside. But, regardless of season, being outside is an important part of avoiding the winter blues, a.k.a., "SAD" (seasonal affective disorder). You know how winter can be de-motivating and glum? You don't want to move because you're cold, or it's dark?
During daylight, GO OUTSIDE. I'm using all caps not to yell, but to state my enthusiasm over this incredibly simple principle that most of us have forgotten.
I find that a few minutes outside leaves me focused and de-stressed. My postural muscles wake up. As a result, I work more effectively when I go back inside.
Each day during the Floor Flow® Teacher Training we start with a class. On the second day of a recent training, we built a little combo that included this move, the passe rock. In this video, you can see how I explained the details as we all moved together. Once this piece was solid, we combined it with some other pieces—and made a looping sequence. I do my best to keep people moving as they learn something. Sure, sometimes I need to ask everyone to pause and watch to really capture the details—but I really love to find ways to teach sequences, inch by inch, while keeping people moving. This way you'll have time to let go of extra tension and follow your breath--rather than stress about remembering things.
I had just finished seven days of all-day teaching. After so much energy output, I always feel like I need to move for myself to recharge and reset. Becoming a couch vegetable does not work for me. I need foam roller time, floor time or nature time.
We were in a uniquely black dance studio and Ken put his camera on a tripod. We took turns doing some easy, full-song freestyles. He told me that the footage was super dark (which surprised me since the overhead lights were on), and that I was almost always in the far side of the frame (which is typical of me)
If I could gather everyone I know, and share one place with them, it would be the City Museum, St Louis, MO. I would take you there because it's a model for how art, play, learning, and challenge can convene in a single place. This place shows how the comforts and conveniences of our structures and systems have ruined our fitness and creativity. There are interactive exhibits of 50s nostalgia, a big ol' bug collection, a massive cave network, a tree climbing/crawling network, huge multi-story slides, urban archeology zones, epic contemporary sculptures, rooms that are self-playing instruments, human hamster tunnels and so much more. There is a circus school INSIDE where the kids get the chance to perform several times a day. At City Museum, the artists have run wild with what seems like little concern for 'safety' (I'm not talking about legitimate dangers, but the type of fear that conditions parents, leaders, and law enforcement to tell us not to climb, explore, and challenge convention). In no other museum have I laughed, sweated, cried, and used every possible primal pattern just to get around.
I want airports with open spaces and monkey bars, floor seating options in all restaurants and places like the city museum all over the world.
The best museum in the world hosts countless physical challenges. From climbing to crawling, and sliding to balance challenges, the City Museum, St Louis, MO is one of my favorite places in the entire world. Really. It is an interactive art exhibit/fantasy world with 50's memorabilia and insect collections. It's housed in a giant repurposed old building that forces you to explore numerous primal movement patterns just to get around. IT IS THE BEST.
For the video seen here: I believe functional warm-ups can be creative and fun. Try the exercise seen on this tip. Remember to move slowly; try holding the most distant position for three full seconds then make a smooth transition to your next hand or foot placement.