While studying to be an integrative counsellor, we used the arts as our tools. Both in my own therapy as well as in my training, I relied on, music, paint, writing, play as ways of communicating. This allowed the therapeutic experience to be as feeling led as possible and as present as possible. It is easy to talk from a past stand point but when confronted with a piece of clay, it is the marks of that moment that are present, that can say so much.
Throughout my training, I became more reliant on physical/body led practices in my own time. I took up running, joined the gym and became reliant on a regular yoga practice. I craved a physical connection. The mental demands of my training required this deep connection to my body and a feeling led process. My body was processing so much of the mental impact in a physical way and I began to realise how important this was in order to learn, embody and practice this type of work. I craved balance. This was a lesson to take in to the rest of my life. It really was a lesson of listening, really listening to what the body wants and needs. It was telling me before I could rationalise it so I trusted the physical callings and let me head catch up. Exercise and physical movement alters the brain chemistry by increasing dopamine, serotonin and noradrenalin, therefore acting as a kind of mood stabiliser which can rapidly help reduce anxiety and stress. Moving my body was and is, one of the quickest ways of getting a positive and connected response if feeling tired or run down, stressed or low.
As time went on my mental demands felt lessened and my physical demands also changed. My pace slowed down. Yoga has remained my constant. Whether daily, weekly or monthly, it has been a way of moving my body whilst being able to be most present. It enables an awareness unlike many other practices, combining movement with breath, mediation and stillness. It has a power for drawing us to the ‘here and now’, the same way I spoke of creativity in my previous post. This deeply connected process that can leave us feeling inspired, nourished and deeply awoken.
“By drawing our senses of perception inward, we are able to experience the control, silence, and quietness of the mind”. B.K.S Iyengar