January 2005: trapped in a corner office of my own creation. Boxed into medical space, clear manifestation of a mid-life professional with thirty plus years of clinical experience, beaucoup continuing education and rock steady community standing. I swiveled my ergonomic chair away from the wide world windows and, once again, escaped into a ragged scrap of butcher paper covering one wall. A vast scribbled triangle, three angles pointing me out of the box, a fantasy world I was primed to eventually inhabit: physical therapy, yoga, 5Rhythms dance. I had no friggin’ idea how-where-when, but I was super-clear on why. Whenever I practiced any one of these three triangle points, the other two were perpetually leaking in.
Within one year, the clinic was sold and I had been booted onto the street. That booting is a humble story. Another day, friends. Suffice it to say, I dropped in to comforting anonymity, content to practice all three triangle points, unconstrained by the linearity that had increasingly defined my work life. Somewhere in these opening-to-freedom years, the phrase Body Joy emerged, an allusion to the triangle. Not that “joy” is the defining emotion that arises when one immerses in the body. Hardly. An infinite range of feeling awaits when we actually dive in. Joy refers to the act of surrendering to the body temple, trusting ritual to unfold and reveal. And though the world of physical therapy provides an authentic form of body access, it rounds into completion with the meditative spirit of yoga and the heart and soul of dance. Acting as a channel for that inspiration…clearly this was beginning to define my work in the world.
Still, as the years unfolded, the triangle mostly worked it’s potent magic on an internal back burner. As I continued to practice and teach the separate disciplines, each branch steadily, subversively informed the whole tree in ways mysterious, barely conscious. The only time the three visibly melded was in the workshop setting. Lucky for me, I had several 5Rhythms teachers who recognized the self-care potential of this blend early on. Even before I was a certified teacher, I was offering the fusion in half days, full days, week-ends. A few years ago, a bit too soon, I dabbled for a moment with a drop in class. Then there was the six years of retreat at Harbin and this winter’s local offering of Fluidity, Power, Release. The power of this dream-based triangle was becoming increasingly manifest.
A class offering had to burst out this summer. We are half way through this exploration. You can still drop in three more Tuesdays: July 16, 23, 30 (not this week!) for a wave of inspired movement that plays out like this: we open by honoring the myofascial body, a luxurious flow of rolling and melting on the toys. Acknowledging the pull of gravity, we gently move into weight bearing, the rhythms building and cresting—expressing, connecting, shaking, releasing. Together we fall into lyrical poetry and then close by finding length, stretch and restoration in a communal field. All points of the triangle joined by the music and blended in the most organic way. It took nearly 15 years, but it has been well worth the wait.
Permutations are infinite of what we might investigate in 90 minutes. Want a flavor? Last week was about our moving center, a pretty typical focus for a physical therapy session OR a yoga class OR a 5Rhythms class. But in this combined setting, complete with supportive music, we opened with yogic central breath/organ awareness that moved into a physical therapy-inspired deep palpation of our own psoas. Then, employing a bilateral cobra metaphor, tail wrapped around femur, fanning head nudged up against diaphragm, we danced our way into a felt experience of this moving center. In stillness, pulsing to a quiet rhythm, we gently activated and stretched this central line, finally falling into deep integrative shivasana.
Time to Move was a quick naming of this summer offering, but this is so obviously Body Joy incarnate. It will continue in the fall with its new/old name on Tuesday mornings. It’s about time. Stay tuned. Deeper Being, the strictly yoga offering, will move to Friday mornings. Deeper Being is by invitation if you’ve been a physical therapy patient in my studio. You can contact me with your interest. Did I tell you how excited I am to be teaching week-day mornings? It’s about time.
Thank you for the support and encouragement I feel radiating from you. This energetic blessing induces me to explore the frontiers of a shared rich interiority, searching for ways to make this landscape accessible to us all. Because for each and every one of us, it’s about time.