Mindful, Musical, Moving Monday
by Marni Levitt – Feb.27, 2017
CREATIVE COMBINATIONS: BREATH & MOVEMENT
My life is busy, full, programmed to the max. The empty space, or free-time, or self-care time is also programmed into the calendar. Otherwise I would just work until exhaustion (and therefore possible illness). I am sure many of you experience something similar or some version of that. Everything is so full. To the brim. So how do we build ways to connect in with our physical, mental and emotional experience during the day? How do we create space? Foster wellness? How do we make it happen? How do we unlock the full potential of our body and mind, when there seems to be little time?
The answer: BE CREATIVE.
Make creative combinations. Blend things together so you are accomplishing two goals at once. I’m an expert at combining things. I write songs! Since the time I was 14, I have been practicing the art of blending. I regularly answer these questions: how do these words fit with this rhythm? This melody with this mood? The strum of my guitar, with the moving of my voice? The feeling of the chorus, with the feeling of the verse? Song-writing is a multi-layered thing. When you hear a song, you are taking a bite of a cake that has several layers of goodness (each part laid on top of the other to create a simultaneous experience).
So….how does this fit into everyday life and making space for mind-body wellness? Well, I combine regularly! On Sundays, I have to do my grocery shopping, so rather than drive in the car, I walk. I do it every week. While I walk, the blood and oxygen flows in my body and mind, I sense a rhythm as my feet move, and I feel warm sunshine on my skin, or wind blowing past me and I breathe fresh air. I need to fill up the fridge, and I need physical activity, exercise and time outside. So I combine them. Sometimes words or phrases come to me while I walk, and I repeat them in my mind (something inspiring or helpful for my life), and the words fall into a rhythm while my body is moving. Sometimes ideas or inspiration come to me. More often than not, that is exactly when inspiration comes. When I’m in motion.
As a teacher, there are other ways I combine that help my students. When working in a school, when I’m calling for the children’s attention, I also call for them to breathe – I help them make a quick, instant connection between their mind and body. I accomplish two goals: I need the group to listen so I can give instructions, and they need to focus and settle their minds and bodies so they feel a sense of calm. School can be full and loud, and overwhelming, tiring and demanding. I can just feel how each group is craving that focus, and a chance to just ‘be’. I can see, hear and feel the relief in the group once the children have made that mind-body connection.
It can be as simple as combining a physical movement with an in-breath and an out-breath. I say, anytime you combine a breath (on purpose) with a movement, that fosters a mind-body connection. I feel it in myself, as the teacher, when I lead these short re-focusing activities. I feel a sense of calm come over me – a relief from the frantic pace and schedule. Try it sometime. Combine a breath with a movement. Creatively. If you like. It can be as simple as: ‘breathe in, both hands up’, ‘breathe out, both hands down’, OR, ‘breathe in hands up, breathe out touch your shoulders, breathe in hands together, breathe out touch your legs’. I do this cycle about 5 times and there is an instant shift in the group’s energy.
We can then proceed to the next thing, next place, next subject, next transition. The key is, we are doing it from a more focused, relaxed place inside ourselves. Wow. Magic. Not a cure-all to every issue that comes up (and sure there are tons of issues in any work-day, or school-day), but it helps. It helps the teacher and student alike.
Breath and movement. A creative combination. Endless possibilities.
How will you put them together this week?
If you want to learn more about some methodologies to foster wellness, and develop potential in students and teachers, there are a couple of spots left in my training coming up this Saturday March 4, 2017, at the Center for Social Innovation in Toronto. Click on this link for more information, and feel free to pass it along.
You can also register here: on my events page.
Have a great week!
Marni Levitt B.A.(Hons.), B.Ed. OCT, RYT
Wellness Educator, Animator, Speaker
Ignite the potential for your body and mind