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Bouncing into Being.

Why it might feel more useful to meet yourself in practice with a bounce than stillness.


Yesterday I shared yoga at a GP Practice for their staff wellbeing afternoon.

40 brave souls, who might not have ever otherwise chosen to try yoga, gave it ago.

Rather than starting in stillness, we tentatively started with a bounce, a shake out, encouraging movement of every part, rebounding through Plantar-Fascia, feeling grounded through the feet, from the ground up through body, and back down.

Why start with this movement instead of still meditation?

Because there's 'a lot' for our nervous-system-beings to process, every. single. day. And when we fill every waking hour with doing, or consuming content, always 'on', we accumulate these ongoing stressors (whether doctors with a new patient every 10 minutes, news reports pinging, emails, the daily mental load, extreme weather etc). This Sympathetic Nervous System state, if not given space to regulate, can linger as feelings of anxiety with no-where to go. Immediately trying to be still in a yoga practice could then feel pretty jarring and even more uneasy.

SO if we bounce, move, ground into feet, shake it out and essentially up-regulate the nervous system we can process this fizzy energy and build resiliency. Letting the brain know we can be ok being in this upregulate state and making space for these feelings to pass through.

Then gradually, when we feel ready, we can slow movement down, maybe head into asana flows, with a softer edge, get closer to the ground, and down-regulate into calmer places of rest, ease and spaciousness.

This learning from recent 'Teaching Yoga for Anxiety' study has opened up knew understanding to what had been intuitively felt in the past. Moving into rest this way is supporting the big feelings and bringing awareness to a new pace and perspectives of practise. Always a joy in my world!

Try it at home, just for a few minutes perhaps to bounce and shake, then slow it down, pause, breathe and notice how you feel.

This isn't classical yoga of course, but if we're working intelligently with our nervous system selves, dialling up awareness of feelings, and developing sensitivity to connection, energy and the present moment this is all still yoga for me.

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