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Hello, friends! Welcome to Move Into Coherence. I’m Pamela Stokes. So glad you’re here with me today on this New Year’s Eve Day, looking forward to next year—2024—where there’s going to be “so much more in 2024!” That’s my motto for this year. So today we’re going to be learning a motion that releases the shoulders. And a lot of times we get tension there, so this is a really fun one. And we’ll be learning about the practice of mindfulness, and what that means, and how you do it, so let’s get into it. We’ll start with our three bells. These are bells that I received from being in Mary Morrissey’s Brave Thinking Masters. And they come from Tibet, and they are for doing ceremonial prayers and things. So we do three rings, and we let them ring to completion. And then we’ll be doing some Heart Coherence, and we’ll be doing Waking and Shaking, and then we will get into the lesson today. So let’s do our three bells.

And now let’s do a little Heart Coherence. So just simply bringing your awareness to your heart area. And if it helps to have your hand there, that can be supportive, if that feels comfortable to you. So just bringing your awareness into your heart. (Pause for a couple of breaths.) And then we’ll slow the breath down, a little deeper and a little slower than usual. (Breathe two cycles.) And about five or six seconds in and five or six seconds out is ideal. (Breathe two cycles.) And if it feels comfortable for you to have your eyes closed, please do so. And then imagine that the breath is flowing in and out through the heart. (Several breaths). And bringing to mind something that helps you to feel gratitude or appreciation, as you’re breathing through the heart. (Several breaths) And then over the next couple of breaths, allow yourself to come back into your natural breathing. And you can relax your hand, and open your eyes to a soft gaze. Great.

So now we’ll do the Waking and Shaking. This is a three-part motion. And so we need to come to standing for this one. So please join me as we do Waking and Shaking. So the first part of this motion—this three-part motion—is called Waking Up. And in Waking Up, we want our feet to be in line with our shoulders. Soft knees. And then we’re going to let the knees bend and come in towards one another; the elbows bend so the hands come up towards the shoulders; we round our back; curl our belly in; and drop our head down. We get small and round. And then s-l-o-w-l-y let the legs, and the arms, and the belly, and the back get long; reach up; tip your head up; look up. And then let the arms float down by your sides. And take a breath, and take a break, and notice what’s softer, what’s letting go, what’s easier. And then we’ll do that again. So the knees bend, and they come in towards one another; the elbows bend so the hands come up towards the shoulders; we round our back; we curl, and get round and small. Drop the head down. And then s-l-o-w-l-y let the legs, and arms, and belly, and back, get long. Reach up, look up. And then let your arms float down by your sides, and breathe. Turn off all your efforts. Take a break.

And now we’ll do the Tongue. In the tongue, what we’re doing is we’re pressing the tip of the tongue to the center of the roof of the mouth. Pressing it gently up. And then we’ll release it s-l-o-w-l-y, over about 5 seconds or so. And what that does because the tongue is the first part of the digestive tract, we will be softening the entire tube, so see if you can notice any change for yourself. Go ahead and press the tip of the tongue gently up to the roof of the mouth. And then s-l-o-w-l-y release the tongue so that it softens all the way down to the root of the tongue. And you may notice a softening throughout the entire digestive tract. Alright.

And now the third part of Waking and Shaking is a Quick Shake. And what we’re doing here is we’re starting with the tailbone, which is the coccyx/the lowest part of the spine. And we’re going to wag it like a happy dog. Wag your tail. Thanks for joining in. I know it feels a little silly, but it’s very good for all of us. Let your arms and legs be wiggly; let your spine be wiggly. (wiggle for several breaths) And this is a gentle shaking. And then let the shaking move all the way up the spine to the crown of the head, and then—loose lips— motorboat sound. And pause here, and notice how you feel. Maybe you feel a little bit more alive. Maybe you feel a little more connected to yourself and ready for our day today. Thanks for joining in.

Yes, Happy New Year! We’re/I’m getting ready for 2024. Like I said, my motto this year is “There’s so much more in 2024!” Alright. So today we are talking about mindfulness through motion. I’ve heard people say it’s challenging for them to do meditation, and especially when it is uncomfortable to be in the body—to be present. And so motion, when we’re doing mindfulness with motion, it can be a lot easier. So these practices that we do in these episodes, a lot of these practices are the practice of mindfulness using motion. So we become aware of what’s happening in the body. We become aware of the present moment. So what is mindfulness anyway? Mindfulness is/has three components: it is Awareness. Awareness is our ability to be consciously here—awake to what’s happening. That’s our awareness. So it’s using our conscious mind to notice. The second part of it is the Now. So this is we’re looking at this present moment just right now, so everything can kind of fall away—the past, the future. And we’re in this moment now. So that’s part of mindfulness as well. And then the third component is these filters that are here for us—the patterns that we may notice. These things are to be recognized as patterns, so that we can either pay attention to them or just notice them. To know this is influencing how I feel. So being Aware in the Now, and then recognizing our Patterns. And I like this: I heard that when we recognize patterns, that’s a sign of genius. So we’re actually using our genius here when we practice mindfulness.

And what it does—what mindfulness does—there are many, many benefits. And I’m going to go through all of those. But basically, we are creating the possibility of bringing the subconscious into the conscious. The subconscious is about 95% running the show, OK. So this is how our body feels; the sensory information from our body; all of that is coming to give us information. And when we bring our conscious mind and our body together—our subconscious mind—we have the ability to have an undivided awareness, and we can call this coherence. So when we are in this undivided awareness state, we are sending a message through the nervous system that everything’s OK in this moment, and we can go into our homeostasis, which is our optimal well-being. Our body knows what to do. We just have to guide it and say here’s some information for you. And that’s the benefit of bringing the subconscious into our conscious awareness. When we’re doing these motions, we are checking things out—they’re new to us. We’re exploring. So we’re having an experience, and we are learning at the same time. And the brain loves this. The brain loves novel. It loves new things/new information. And this is how we grow. When we bring in this novel and new information, we’re experiencing and learning at the same time, we can bring our brain wave state, our biology, our chemistry, physiology, our bions, which we learned about last week—we can bring all of that and energize them. And this is good messaging for the body to know I’m here with you. I’m here with my body. I’m/we’re on the same team. And that is a very important part of being alive is knowing that we are/we can’t get away from our body. As much as maybe the traumas in our past have made it so that being in the body was not comfortable. As we bring in pleasant sensations and notice the ease and comfort, now it’s easier to be in the body. So this dissociation, which was a very important tool—and hurray that we had it—this/these processes now, when we do these mindful motions, we can release some of that dissociative propensity or patterning.

So what we’re talking about here is the motions are coming through the lineage of Feldenkrais—the Feldenkrais Method. And the background of Feldenkrais was he was a physicist, and he was also a judo master. And he wanted to come up with some kind of movement—mindful movement—so that his students in judo would find ease and comfort in their body; so that they could have more awareness of what was happening, and that would improve their martial art. And being a physicist, he knew that all we really need to do is to start the pattern just a little bit, and then the pattern could go to completion. By doing that—by incorporating the concept of physics and the concept of motion—he created/he devised a method—the Feldenkrais Method—which really allows us to come into the body in easy ways; to use the messages of the body: is it pleasant/is it not so pleasant— to be aware of those, so that we can adjust and organize our movements in ways that make it more simple and comfortable for us. And I like this quote from him. I’m gonna read it again. He said, “We’re attempting to put pleasure and pain in their rightful places as behavior modifiers.” Yeah, this is important. When we do these motions, and we notice ooh that doesn’t quite feel comfortable, we can adjust. We can organize our body in a certain way so that the discomfort is relieved. And this is what he’s talking about—we’re putting “pain and pleasure in their rightful places”. A lot of times, we get used to the pain, and we can kind of tune out to it, but by bringing awareness to well when I do this it kind of hurts a little bit. Now I can do something different. I’m going to adjust that so that I feel more at ease. And these are the messages that the nervous system and the body need to now: it’s safe here; it’s safe to be in the body; it’s safe in this moment; and all is well, and therefore the body can go into this optimal well-being.

Besides Feldenkrais, there’s another movement practice which is called Hanna Somatics. And this comes from Thomas Hanna, who was a student of Feldenkrais. And he took the information from Feldenkrais, and kind of condensed it—made it a little bit simpler—for people to be their own practitioner in doing mindful motions. And usually with the Hanna Somatics practice, there are three repetitions of each motion, whereas in the Feldenkrais Method there can be many. There can be 20-25 motions, and very small, and you’re changing them a lot, and the lessons last about an hour. With Hanna Somatics, these can be done in a minute or two or three. So this is where the information is still the same—we’re doing it in the way of Feldenkrais, but we’re doing it in a more condensed form.

And in both practices, we have three parts to the motions: the first part is we are DOING something. And this is where the awareness of does this feel OK? am I comfortable in this position? Am I listening to myself and knowing oh I went too far. That is going into a stretch or pain. We want to stay away from both of those. Stretch is—well, we can talk about stretch another time in more depth—but stretch is something that/our muscles really don’t stretch. And our/but our fascia can release. So we can kind of call that a stretch, but it’s more like when you’re yawning or when you’re doing a morning stretch. It’s not really a stretch, it’s more of a release of the tissues. So anyway, that’s the first part—the DOING: we want to be aware does this feel comfortable to me. The second part is the UNDOING. And in the undoing, this is where we bring the conscious mind or the cortex—thinking brain—we bring this into the motion by slowing down. So the UNDOING is a very slow part. We’re paying attention all the way through the motion to notice how smoothly we can do it. Maybe there will be some jumpiness or some bumpiness along the way, and this is information that’s helpful for us. And I’ll talk about that in just a minute. So that’s the UNDOING: that’s the second part. And then the third part is the PAUSE. And in the PAUSE, what we’re doing here is we’re turning off all our efforts; we’re noticing what’s different, what has changed. And you may notice, when we do Waking and Shaking, I take a pause at the end and ask what are you noticing? how does it feel to you right now? So that’s the third part of these motions.

So let’s go back a bit to the UNDOING. The UNDOING, when we’re releasing, and we’re doing this s-l-o-w-l-y, we’re bringing the cortex online. And the cortex is kind of slow. The hind brain is super-fast. It’s a billion, with a B, times faster in processing information than the cortex—the thinking brain. So I kind of giggle because I believe humans like to think we’re so smart because we have this cortex, but that’s actually the slowest part of our brain as far as how it can process information. So the slowdown in the undoing is important so that we can see the pattern fully and we can analyze all the pieces very carefully.

The bumpiness or the jumpiness that you might notice when you’re doing the undoing, is what is called Sensory Motor Amnesia. Sounds fancy and kind of maybe even little scary when you think about amnesia, but what’s happening? Well when we do a movement, like raising our arm or turning our body, the movement becomes a pattern—start to finish—and it gets stored in the automatic part of the brain. We can call that the subconscious or the hind brain, which is a fast part of the brain, but not all of the information is included. It’s kind of like when you drive a car, you’re not thinking every second I put my hands here, and then my foot moves like this, and then I have to raise my right arm so that I can turn left. And you’re not doing all that—it becomes automatic. Maybe when you’re first learning to drive, it does feel that way, but after a while it becomes automatic. Or like riding a bike, or walking, or any kind of motion. When it becomes automatic, now the little bits of information can be kind of missing. And this is what’s labeled as Sensory Motor Amnesia. So there’s little bits of information that are not all available, but when we slow down, we can find them. And that’s where you might find there’s a little jumpiness or bumpiness in the movement—it’s not perfectly smooth. But over time, with practice, these can be smoothed out. And this can allow for that pattern to fully run, where we notice along the way oh gosh you know I was feeling there was some pain in there; there was a tightness in there, and I didn’t notice it until I slowed it down. So that’s the benefit of the undoing in the slow way, so that we can find these SMA’s—these Sensory Motor Amnesia pieces. Kind of like a glitch in a computer program. There might be a little piece of information that’s missing, so we’re bringing that back into our awareness, allowing for there to be more freedom in the movement.

So what I’d like to talk about now are the benefits of mindfulness and especially with motion/with movement. I have a big, long list here. And in my list I’m going to kind of describe each piece a little bit, so we’ll have a brief description. The first thing on my list is it reduces stress. Wow, that’s pretty cool! So just by paying attention to my movements and slowing down and noticing what feels good and doesn’t feel good, that reduces our stress. So if you ever feel in a moment of your life where it’s just/there’s too much going on, you’re feeling the stress of things, slow down, notice what’s happening in my body—paying attention. And the word paying is kind of a challenge for me, but noticing giving attention—how about that? giving attention—to what’s happening in the body, can reduce our stress levels. We’re creating all kinds of good brain chemistry when we do this.

The second thing that I have on my list is it reduces rumination. Now rumination comes from the word ruminant, or they share the same root. Ruminants are animals that have many stomach chambers, so that they can eat their food, and then comes back up. It can digest again-they chew it, and it comes back down to the next chamber, digests a little more, comes back up, goes back down to the next chamber, and so forth. So this is called rumination in an animal—for a ruminant like a cow or a goat. But in our mind what rumination is is our thoughts keep coming back. So they come back up, and then we try to digest them, and they come back up. And so that’s rumination. And when we do these mindful motions, we can reduce that possibility.

It also boosts our working memory. This is kind of like the RAM in a computer. It’s the stuff that’s accessible right now—our short-term memory. Being able to get things done, and remembering where our keys are if we need to find our keys.

It increases cognitive flexibility. So this is important too, like needing to adjust ourselves in a moment of what we thought was going to be happening, maybe suddenly isn’t OK. What do I do next? How do I solve this situation? something new? So that’s our cognitive flexibility .

It decreases numbness and dissociation. And I mentioned dissociation before. Remember, this is a very important tool. It kept us safe. We needed it, so Hooray for dissociation! But it also/dissociation too often can send the signal that there’s a problem, and we can be numb to our body sensations, and this is actually what is/what can be called depression. So we can kind of put a overall statement around this and say mindfulness with movement can reduce depression.

It also decreases social anxiety, I think primarily because we’re focusing on ourselves. And I talked about this, I think it was last week/maybe two weeks ago, where we/when we pay attention to ourselves; when we notice, we’re using the insula, which also helps us to notice other. And so we can connect with ourselves; we can connect with other, and this can decrease our social anxiety. It’s a beautiful thing, especially when we’re going to be around people, that we can feel more comfortable in our own selves so that we can feel more comfortable around others.

The another benefit is it enhances emotion regulation, so if we are feeling so much emotion, we can do one of these mindful motions, and we can release some of the tension of that emotion. And we can feel a little more free around that. And the word regulation is kind of a strong word, but what it means is that we are in charge. I want to feel a certain way, I don’t want to feel that feeling anymore—that’s too strong. I can choose. I can choose in this moment how I want to feel. And that’s what these motions can do as well.

Practicing mindfulness, it also enhances our ability to focus. As I said the brain loves new—loves novel. And it comes/when it’s doing that, it’s a focused brain. And it just loves to be in focus. So when we do these motions, we’re really paying attention to the very small little bits of the pattern, that is increasing our focus. We’re getting new information, and this is really good for our nervous system.

It aids in decision-making, because it allows us to sense is this/does this feel right for me? does this feel good to me? if I choose this outcome or this outcome, which one is going to be more comfortable in my body? which one’s going to feel more right? That can help us to know I’m making the right decision if I choose this thing over here.

It also increases our information-processing speed because we are practicing noticing. We’re practicing using the cortex to find all this little information and really get very precise, and that is helping us with our information-processing. And also, because it is bringing us into a calm state, that allows for the cortex to come into more use. When we are in a calm state, our thinking brain can go back online and give us this support in providing the information processing.

Another thing that it can do is to help our body feel ultimately and optimally well. We can increase the energy in our bions. We can release toxins and process through and release the things that we don’t need. So this is a healing process as well as a growing process that is boosted by doing mindful motion.

It can reduce addiction and cravings. This is a really nice one because with addiction what we’re addicted to is actually not the thing that we’re doing, it’s the anticipation of having some kind of reward. And when we have a craving, we’re craving that. We’re craving the response or the reaction to our awareness. That’s a really important thing, if you are challenged by addictions. If you can come to a place where you start feeling good just naturally without the substance or without the anticipation of the substance or the practice—let’s say it’s shopping too much or something or eating too much—these things are not going to be as alluring to us if we find that we are in a pleasant state in our body.

Another thing that it can do is enhance relationship satisfaction. Again I think this is because the insula—the part of the brain that receives information from self and other—we’re using the same part of the brain for both parts, as we pay… there’s that word again pay attention. I don’t want to pay attention I want to give attention. Words are important—but when we give our attention to ourselves in this way and notice pleasantness, and pleasurable sensations, and comfort, and ease, that allows us to feel the opportunity for connection. So it can enhance our relationship satisfaction.

It improves sleep. This is something that I hear all the time when I’m working with clients. Oh I slept so well last night after our session. And this is because we are now in a state of knowing that we’re on our own team; we’re here with the body; we’re giving our attention to it. Our awareness is here; we can be in a more relaxed mind and body, and this can allow us to drift off to sleep with ease, and to sleep comfortably, so that our subconscious mind can kind of clean up all the information that was received during the day. When we pause anytime during the day and do these noticings and giving our awareness to things, we’re actually kind of cleaning up the information that is coming in before we lay down to sleep. If we don’t do any of that, and we lay down to sleep, now our thoughts and all of the information that we received from the day is going to be processed, and that can keep us awake. It’s kind of like all the thoughts that are there. So if we do some of this mindfulness practice during the day, we’re giving an opportunity for that information to be processed, so that when we lay down for our sleep, now we can have a restful mind.

It also decreases pain and muscle tension. This is a huge one for me. When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, what I was told was I basically had all the points that they were looking for plus 10 more. So I had a bunch of places around my body that were tense and full of pain, but with these practices, I have eliminated that. When I do feel some tension or some pain, I put myself into a position where I’m noticing and paying attention and moving slowly—giving it other options for pleasantness. And that can reduce the pain and the muscle tension. When there is muscle tension and pain, both of those are signals to the nervous system there’s a problem.We’re on guard; we’ve got to get ready. We’re going to jump up and fight or flee or something. This information, we can turn that down. We can change it and turn it into something more pleasant. This is a really good message for our nervous system.

It also helps to improve our digestion when we practice mindful motions, because, again, we’re putting ourselves into a state of there is no predator around, right? I’m just right here in this moment, and I’m noticing something pleasant. That can tell the trauma response, yeah, we don’t need to be in fight or flight mode or freeze. And because of that, the digestion can start back up. We don’t need to digest our food if we’re running away from a predator. That’s not important. It’s important to flee or to fight or to you do something, or maybe even need to curl up in a ball, but our digestion is kind of takes a back seat. So when we bring this awareness of ease and comfort in the body, the digestive system goes back into functionality.

And the last thing I have on my list is it increases flexibility. And this is something that, as we age…it doesn’t/it’s not a requirement that as you age you get less and less mobile. That’s not a requirement; that’s just the pattern that we’ve learned is true. And it doesn’t have to be. And one of the people that is still teaching Hanna Somatics is I can’t think of her name right now. It’s his/Hanna’s former wife. And she is teaching Hanna Somatics, and she’s in her 80s, and she just moves so easily, and there’s a a smoothness to her movements. And this flexibility is something that I feel like I enjoy, and I’m hoping that you will feel this as well, because we’re reducing the tension in the tissues, and we’re releasing the pattern that maybe, as we were moving it always went to a painful place. Now we’re finding oh, there’s a there’s another option. We can find ease and comfort instead. So that helps to increase the flexibility. And I’m just thinking of one motion that I like to do sometimes, where it’s releasing the hamstring muscles which are the backs of the thighs. This is a pretty tense place in a lot of people, but this motion—within a few minutes—you can go from not being able to touch the floor to being able to touch the floor. It doesn’t require stretching. It requires this release of tension. So as I said, the fascia doesn’t really stretch very much. It can be. Some parts of our fascia is kind of loose and stretchy, but it more will just sort of open up and reconfigure itself. Muscles don’t really stretch. If you stretch a muscle, it will come right back into its position, and oftentimes tighter than you started. So flexibility is not something that we do by stretching. It’s something we do by releasing tension. And that’s what these motions are doing for us.

Looking at my notes. Just making sure I’m covering all of the topics here. I wanted to mention I have/that my first episode ever recorded as was on mindfulness through motion because that’s a big part of what I do with my work. And I developed a program called mindful motion, which is for people—adults and children. I’m writing songs now for kids to learn these motions so that this is something that they can incorporate into their lives. So updates on that sooner or later. But the episode, the first episode I did was right in the middle of the pandemic lockdowns. And I have to say, I’m very/I’m gonna give myself a little pat on the back for that—for deciding that yeah I think it’s time for me to start talking about this stuff. And so I joined a podcast class. I learned how to get the right microphone and all of that stuff, and I started. And so that was back in August of 2020. My first episode was a trailer, and then I had the official launch of the podcast on September 29. So Episode One. So if you want to look back and listen to that one, you’ll get some benefits there. And there are many episodes. In fact, today is our 95th episode, so I’ve been doing this a while. And I’m really enjoying it. I’m thinking in advance that the 100th episode there might be something fun that we can think of together, so if you have any suggestions, please do send me a note about how that will be for you if there’s something that you’re interested in hearing about or doing for the 100th episode.

Alright. And I’m just seeing some people here saying Happy New Year! Yes, Happy New Year! And “feeling the love”. Thank you for the love, and thank you for the appreciation. Yeah it’s so nice to have people here with me, feeling connected, and being part of a group together. I really do enjoy it, and thanks for spending—sharing, let’s say—your time with all of us. I do appreciate it.

Alright. I think what we’ll do now is we’ll do the motion. So I decided that this motion today we would do is a shoulder release, because we get tension quite often through the muscles here. These are the trapezius muscles. It’s a big triangular muscle that comes down between the shoulder blades and the top of the shoulders, so that’s a nice one to release. It also releases the muscles on the sides of the neck here, which are the—fascinating name—the sternocleidomastoidus muscle. And that helps to turn our head left and right, so that muscle/those muscles on the side of the neck are also going to be softened during this process. You may also notice that the side waist is going to have some softening and some releasing during this motion. And I’ll bring awareness/I’ll help you to bring awareness to that while we’re doing that. What else do I want to say about the shoulder release? Yes, so when we go into the trauma response, part of that trauma response can be protecting the body. So we kind of close in the shoulders or we raise them up, and we get kind of tense like this. It could also be that when we’re doing something like driving, maybe we’ve got our shoulders up a little high. Or if we’re typing, maybe we’ve raised our shoulders. So these are patterns that we can undo by doing these shoulder release motions. As I was saying before, too, when we’re in these/when we’re doing these, I would love for you to pay—well there’s that word again. I would love for you to give attention and notice that there is no pain and there is no stretch. So we’re just staying shy of this stretch; we’re just staying shy of any pain that may be happening for you. So this is not I want to do it as big as I can or I want to do it to my maximum capacity, it’s more staying within the range of what’s comfortable for you. Remember, we’re using the information of pleasurable sensations to guide us to know this works for me now in this moment. And you may notice, after you do one, that the next time it’s a little easier. And that’s what we’re eventually going to find for ourselves—that we’re finding more ease and more comfort. In the undoing, again, we may notice that there’s some jumpiness or some bumpiness in the movement as it’s undoing. That’s good because we’re finding these places where the information was not clear before, and we are bringing in the new information that—again, the brain loves this new stuff—it will incorporate that into the motion. And then we’ll do the pause, where we are noticing what’s different, what’s changed, what’s softer, how does my arm hang now compared to what it did before.

So what’s helpful, before we begin the motion. is to notice what you notice just now. So let’s begin together. Please join in. And just notice: what do you notice about your arms and your shoulders up here around your neck? Do you notice that maybe one feels a little higher than the other one—the distance from the shoulder to the ear on the right side compared to the left side –and just noticing what may be different. It may help you to close your eyes because the eyes use a lot of the cortex—about 90% of our cortex is being used for visual information—so if we close the eyes, we can really sense in a little bit more easily. So is there a difference between the right and left? does it feel soft? does it feel tight? is it in a position that’s comfortable? Just noticing now before we begin. And then we’ll start with one shoulder. And you can choose the shoulder. I would prefer that you choose the shoulder that feels easier today for you. So we’re just going to lift that shoulder up towards the same side ear. And just raise that up. Again, we’re not trying to go to the maximum that we can—just to where it’s comfortable. And we can even tip our head our ear towards the shoulder, creating some constriction here in that area. That’s the doing. And then the undoing, we’re going to s-l-o-w-l-y release that down, keeping your breathing going. Just noticing can you breathe during this? And you see how long it’s taking me to release this. Maybe about 10 seconds even. And then when we get to the bottom, turn off all your efforts, pause, notice what’s different. What’s different from one to the other? What’s different for this one? And then we’ll do another one. We usually do this in threes, and we’ll talk about that in a minute. So we’ll do another one. This time I’d like to have you do it just half as far, so just raising the shoulder half as far. Maybe tipping the head half as far. And then s-l-o-w-l-y releasing that. Releasing the neck, the shoulder. And if your eyes are closed, again, you’re going to get more information. And if you notice any of that bumpiness, remember that’s good, because we’re finding these sensory motor amnesia bits, and we’re bringing in new information. And then turn off all your efforts, breathe, take a break, and notice. And then we’ll do a third one. And this third one, I’d like you to do it just a little bit. So just a little raise of that shoulder, a little tip of the head so the ear goes towards that same shoulder. And then s-l-o-w-l-y releasing, undoing slowly, maybe 10 seconds. With your eyes closed, you’ll get more information. And then turn off your efforts and breathe; take a break. And now compare. Notice what’s different between the right and the left, and compare what’s different between their height, and the tension, and all of those different things. Alright. And now we’ll do the other shoulder. So that was 3 repetitions, and now we’ll go to the other side. So again we’re going to not go into as far as we can. We want to stay within a range of comfort. These are the pieces of information that are important. Can you maintain comfort throughout? Very important part in the doing. So we’re going to raise that shoulder. This is the other one now. And tip your head so your ear comes towards that shoulder—same side ear. And then s-l-o-w-l-y undo/release. Let things drop down. It’s going to take several seconds to let things go. And you again may you notice it’s bumpy. Maybe it’s less bumpy than the other side. There may be more bumpiness. Just whatever you’re noticing. And then turn off your efforts. Take a break; take a breath; and sense inward, and just see what’s different. We’ll do the same side again. The second time we’re going to raise that shoulder up just halfway and tipping the ear towards that shoulder, again, just halfway. And you may notice the other side soft and open while this side is constricted. And then releasing. And you may also notice your side waist. So releasing, slowly, letting the head come back to neutral; letting the shoulder come back to an easy place. Yeah, mine was a little more bumpy on this side—very interesting. When we get curious like this—this is important too—when we get curious, it turns off the trauma response. It actually is the counter to shame, There’s a whole bunch of beautiful things about being curious. That’s the second one. And then on this third one, let’s notice the side waist. Forgot to do that on the other side, but we’re going to notice it on this one. So the third one we’re going to just raise the shoulder just a little bit; the ear tips towards that shoulder; and you may notice the side waist on that same side getting longer. So as the shoulder raises up, the side waist gets longer. And then release that; s-l-o-w-l-y undoing things; get soft and long. And again you may notice a kind of jumpiness or bumpiness as you undo and release. And then turn off your efforts; breathe; and we’ll notice what’s different about the shoulders now. And you can kind of move them around however you want. Maybe you’re now ready for a “morning stretch” kind of pandiculation—this is called, where the body just resets itself. And that may call to you right now for what you’re doing. Just taking a moment to really notice what’s different. And you may notice your head feels clear; your mind feels clearer; maybe you feel more calm; maybe you’re breathing differently; just all the benefits there. And as we release the shoulders, you may even notice something down in the pelvis, or the legs, or even all the way out to your fingers or toes—just what’s different for you. Again, as we’re pulling in the awareness of this new information, the brain loves novel. This is focused brain. It’s a happy brain. It’s going to make all kinds of good brain chemistry for you, to help you to maintain excellent health.

Alright. Let’s go ahead and move the shoulders in another orientation. So this one was up and down, in the vertical/up and down plane. Then another thing that often happens with people, is they bring their shoulders in towards each other. They kind of roll the shoulders in, and that collapses the chest. And when we collapse the chest, that sends information to the nervous system: there’s a problem I’ve got to protect myself. So we’re going inward like this. So we’re going to bring that in to the motion today, and then we’ll release that, coming back to neutral. So that’s something that is very common with a lot of people that they roll the shoulders in. If you find yourself with your shoulders are rolled in, don’t just pull them back, because that is putting pressure on the system. If we do it slowly, going further into the pattern that’s already being played out, and then give it another option, and open back up, now we’re softening into the new body position, rather than forcing ourselves into this. And this is what Feldenkrais is talking about. We’re in control; we’re taking charge; we’re not forcing something to be different; we’re saying hello, I see you, and now I can give you another way to do this. I like to think of the repetition of three—doing it three times—as this. The first time you do it, the brain goes hmm. The second time you do it, the brain goes ahh. And the third time you do it, the brain goes mmm. So that’s what I like to think of those three. We’re kind of bringing awareness; we’re giving it some ease; and then it’s going yes, thank you. And that is the messaging behind that. On this run through in this plane, we’re Feldenkrais would say, and has said about this, if we do the motion, we’re using a neural pathway—we’re using a pattern. If we instruct ourselves to do the motion, we’re using that pattern, and then if we instruct ourselves to not do the motion, we’re using the pattern again—we’re using that neural pathway again—so we’re actually using it twice, when we use our imagination for the movement. Using your imagination—the brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined—so by using the imagination and just imagining the movement, we can get all kinds of opening and releasing and softening because there isn’t anything getting in the way. We’re just allowing that to fully use the pattern and to find ease and comfort. Alright, so let’s try this second movement, still with the shoulders, but this time we’re moving in the plane of forward—the shoulders are going to come forward and back to neutral. So let’s start with the shoulder of your choice. And we’re going to bring that shoulder in towards center. And you may notice the other shoulder’s paying attention and trying to do it too. So that happens. We’re bilateral, and the body pays attention to both sides. So bringing that shoulder in, and then s-l-o-w-l-y rolling it back to wherever is easy for you. We’re not trying to push it too far. We’re just coming back to a comfortable position. Turn off your efforts; take a break; take a breath; notice what’s different. And then we’ll repeat that on this side, half as far this time—just to half as far, that shoulder comes forward. And again you may notice the other shoulder trying to join in, so just see if you can let that soften. And then s-l-o-w-l-y releasing that shoulder back to neutral. And maybe the neutral position is a little bit different from what it was just a minute ago—half a minute. Great. And now the third one, let’s go ahead and do the tiniest little movement of the shoulder—moving forward, and s-l-o-w-l-y releasing back. And you may notice even more jumpiness with that third one, because as we get small with the motions, and really get very tiny with them, we can find even more precise pattern information, and change that. Now the 4th one we’re going to do it only in the mind. So there’s no actual physical movement, but we’re using that pathway. So in your mind, imagine that that same shoulder is moving forward again. We’re not doing the motion; we’re just imagining. And then s-l-o-w-l-y moving—in our mind—moving this shoulder back to neutral s-l-o-w-l-y. And if your eyes are closed, you’re going to get more information. And then turn off your efforts and breathe. Alright. And you may notice the other shoulder’s like hey, what about me? I’m ready. So just noticing what’s different. Because we are bilateral—we’re bilaterally symmetrical—we’ve got two arms, two eyes, two ears, all that—when we work with one side, the other side is aware, and it is learning too, so it’s giving its attention. It’s paying attention. There’s that word again—paying. The reason why I don’t like paying is because it sounds like we’re/we have to lose something to gain something. But we’re sharing the information with ourselves. But if you’re working with the left side, the right side’s noticing there’s something going on over there, and it’s learning too. So we are/this shoulder is ready now. So let’s go ahead and move over to the other shoulder. And we’re going to roll that shoulder inward, and again, you may notice the other shoulder is trying to do it too. So just see if you can keep that one quiet. But that one stays soft. And then s-l-ow-l-y release the shoulder back to a neutral position, slowly. Turn off your efforts; breathe; take a break; take a breath. And then we’ll do that again, same side. We’re going to go half as far this time. And notice what’s coming along. Maybe your ribs are moving; maybe you notice your shoulder blade, and so forth. Just notice what’s happening with all the other parts too besides just the part that’s moving. And then we’ll release that shoulder back to neutral position, s-l-o-w-l-y undoing. And you may notice more softening is happening on the original shoulder side even though it’s not the one that’s doing the motion right now. And then the third one on this second side. We’re going to just bring the shoulder in just a little bit. Again the eyes closed will give you more information. And then s-l-o-w-l-y releasing that back to neutral, breathing as we go. And turn off your efforts. And you can let your arms sort of dangle down from your shoulders and see how does that feel for you? And then the last one. We’re going to bring that shoulder—only in the mind—we’re going to bring the shoulder forward just a little bit in the mind. My stomach is gurgling, and that’s a really good sign. I’ve talked about this before. When the digestive tract comes online, it may start to gurgle. So if you hear gurgling, it’s a good thing. And, yeah, so that’s what’s happening for me. And we’re going to imagine that that second side shoulder is moving in towards your center, and then s-l-o-w-l-y rolling it back out, in your mind/in your imagination only. There we go. And turn off your efforts; and take a break; take a breath. And whatever your body wants to do now. Maybe it wants to stand up. Maybe you wanna wiggle. Maybe you wanna turn around/ twist around, shake. Anything like that, just let that happen for yourself, and give yourself that opportunity. Fantastic.

Well, that’s what I have to share today. We’ve been learning about mindfulness, which is Awareness in the Now and recognizing Patterns. We’re doing mindfulness with motion so that we are/it’s more easy to bring the subconscious mind into our awareness. And we’re in charge; we’re taking charge; we are the one in charge; and we are bringing the cortex involved into the movement, so that we can smooth out these patterns. We can get rid of this sensory motor amnesia, and all of the benefits for memory, and flexibility, and cognition, decision-making, focusing, information-processing, the body wellness and the healing capacities, reducing addictions—all kinds of benefits from doing this. And you don’t just have to sit quietly on a mat or on a pillow and meditate, because that’s hard for a lot of people to get into that space if their body’s not comfortable. And it’s also hard if your thoughts are ruminating. So, by doing these motions with the mindfulness, we are allowing ourselves to get out of the trauma response and to get into ease and comfort, and use that as behavior modifiers as Feldenkrais said.

Alright. Thank you so much for joining in, and send yourself some appreciation for doing that with me today. I’m so grateful that you’re here. If there’s anything that you’d like to tell me about in the chat of what you notice—what’s different for you—I would love to hear some feedback. And as you’re typing in the chat, I’ll just mention to you that these motions you can find in a few different books. And I’ll have some links in the show notes. One is Awareness Through Movement, by Moshe Feldenkrais. We’ve been talking about Feldenkrais Method. Fantastic introductory book. He’s got many books, but that one is a nice one to start with. And then Hanna—Thomas Hanna—has a book called Somatics, which is a very important book because he talks about these pandiculations, which is what we’re doing today, where we go into the constriction, and then we move out of it. And that is what animals do when they get up from a rest. You might notice your cat or your dog doing one of these motions. That’s a pandiculation. And so Thomas Hanna, in his book, Somatics, talks about these pandiculations. And there’s many exercises there. And then there’s a lovely book called Move Without Pain. I’m going to grab it and show you. I should have had that more accessible for myself. OK this one—Move Without Pain, by Martha Peterson. This is a lovely book. There’s a lot of images of the motions and different things that you can be doing, so that one is very helpful. I’ll have links, like I said, in the show notes, so you can find these things and help yourself to it, and find ease and comfort in your body. And all of the benefits of mindfulness are gonna come from that for you. This isn’t something that I do, I would say, as a practice—to say OK, now I’m going to do my somatics, and spend 20 minutes doing it. Instead it’s kind of throughout the day, I might notice oh, that shoulder feels tense, so I’ll do one release. Or I’ll practice it in my mind, if I don’t have the opportunity to actually move. Or maybe I’ve been working at the computer for a while, and I’ll just get up and I’ll do a Waking Up. Or I’ll do Arch and Curl—some kind of motion like that, where I can release my spine. So it’s kind of interwoven throughout the day—very pleasant. Alright.

I’m not seeing anything in the chat that is/that you’re sharing. So that’s OK. No problem. And I feel that… oh here comes one. Yes “You offer me peace and mindfulness…the education you share. Happy, happy New Year.” Thank you, Kathleen. You’re welcome. I feel that, I mean, I’ve heard people saying too that it’s really hard to meditate I don’t know how people do it. Well, this is one way. And I feel like it’s a really great way. It deals with the trauma response; it deals with the ability to take charge of yourself, and to know what good feelings feel like, and find pleasant sensations. And we’re putting the body into the opportunity to find optimal well-being. So you’re welcome. Alright.

So what we’ll do now is we will do the three bells, and then we will see each other next time. Thank you so much for being here. This has been Moved Into Coherence. I’m Pamela Stokes. Take it easy. We’ll see you next year! I always liked saying that as a kid when the new year was coming around. See you next year! Alright. Thanks again for being here. And here’s our three bells.

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