Discussion #5025

Somatic Movement and Pilates

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Join Allie Greene and Gia Calhoun as they discuss how to use somatic concepts and embodiment to become a better and more well-rounded Pilates teacher. They talk about the similarities and differences between somatics, embodiment, and mind-body-centering, and Allie shares how her clients have responded to this approach in teaching.
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May 27, 2022
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(gentle music) Hi, everyone. I'm Gia, I'm here with The Pilates Report and I'm really excited about today's topic. We're gonna be talking about somatic movement and how it relates to Pilates. And I have my guest Allie Greene here from Pittsburgh. Welcome, Allie.

Thank you, I am super excited to be here. So I wanna jump right into it, but I just wanna know a little bit more about you and how you got started in somatics and everything. So, what is your background in Pilates? I started my certification with STOTT in, I think it was like 2004, and I went through their whole process and started teaching in 2007. And I've just continued with continued education.

I have a certification in Pilates for neurological conditions. I also have a certification with the Pink Ribbon Program, and I am also a 500 hour registered yoga teacher. That is actually how I got into my education in somatics. And then I am working towards my certification with ISMETA, which is the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association. So, you know, all of my training and my interests are just pretty typical.

With me, I just do not do the straight path. And yeah, so I kind of go where my curiosity leads me. I love that. I'm a very curious person too, so I really relate to that. So, how has your practice and your teaching style evolved over time?

For me, considering I'm that person that follows the curiosity, the questioning, I think it's taken a pretty, you know, natural evolution. Once I was certified, I spent a few years really just, that's what I taught, what I was trained, working on honing those skills. And then I just started to, you know, wonder a little bit more about the way I was teaching and how I was feeling when I was teaching. And I also have a degree in sociology and performing arts, and I worked in the behavioral health field for about six years before I started my Pilates journey. So there's always been that interest of sort of the psychology and emotional side of someone, as well as their, you know, physicality.

So, I think, you know, I kind of had that in my mind and I started to look at like, why did my personal practice feel different or look different to me than my teaching? And, you know, I'm also a former dancer. So here we go again with the, you know, the timeline. And what I noticed about my own practice is that it wasn't as, I'm gonna use the word rote, it was more sensory based. I was really paying a lot more attention to how I was feeling when I was moving.

I think that's a dance thing. And I think that's from you just spend so much time with your body. And I started to realize that that's not a normal thing for most people. They're not really in their bodies. They have a body, but they're not really in their bodies the way that I, you know, I am.

And so I wanted to bridge that. I wanted to try to create more practices or experiences for my clients that involved that sensory experience and less of this sort of directive teaching that I had been trained in. And my training was excellent, but it was very heavily, you know, it was biomechanical. It was very, you know, anatomy, muscular skeletal, and I'm very, very grateful for that knowledge. But I just, I wanted to engage differently with my clients.

And so I started incorporating like stuff I would do, like almost like creative movement stuff, having them notice sensation, or notice a relationship in their body, or notice their body in relationship to something in this space. Something that brought them a little bit more inside themselves before we would then go into say footwork or feet and straps or roll down. And they liked it. So I kept doing it and, but I didn't really know exactly what I was doing. It wasn't like I had a method or, and so I started really looking, you know, what's out there education wise that resonates with this type of, you know, sensory stuff.

And I feel like it was serendipitous. I met Lisa Clark, who's my teacher in Pittsburgh. She was only here for about eight years. And I caught her right at the tail end. And she is a senior teacher for Body-Mind Centering with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen.

She has been, you know, by Bonnie's side for 40 plus years, she heads up the Taiwan program. And she also does her own stuff. And I had heard about her from a friend. I went and took her class, one class, and I said, "Sign me up." It was the most beautiful experience I felt, so. I felt seen, I felt met, I felt empowered.

And it was to me sort of simple information that was making a really big difference. So, I went all the way and I graduated with the 500 hour RYT with Embodied Yoga in somatics. And I've continued my studies with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, that's been a silver lining of COVID. She's been teaching online, was unheard of. And I continue to study with Lisa and continue to do my own research and study of anything that is, you know, somatic, you know, and Body-Mind Centering is the study of all the body systems from an embryological and a developmental perspective.

And that's why there's a simplicity to it. And you can really go down the rabbit hole, but you can also understand some of the basic tenants of it and really help people have a different experience in their bodies and with their movement. That's beautiful. I love when things work out like that, where she just happened to be there toward the end, and you were able to make that connection. So, that's really wonderful to hear.

Can you explain more about the Body-Mind Centering and the different tenants and just what that involves? Yeah, like I said, it's the study of all the body systems. So it's the fluids, it's organs, it's the nervous system, muscular skeletal, well, muscles is separate from the skeleton, endocrine system. There is a study of the reflexes, which I'm actually just starting to get into. And it's really the understanding that everything comes from the same place.

We, you know, grew ourselves from two cells, and there is no separation and there is a consciousness to each one of these systems. There's a mind to each one of these systems, and it's just incredibly beautiful work. Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen is, I don't know where she came from. I don't think she is human. (laughs) The way that she feels things in the body is, it's incredible. And she, and so there's a lot of work with, there's a whole project with BMC, that's the baby's project and working with infants.

People that study, or are teachers of BMC, and I'm not a teacher, I'm really a student of it. I'm not going through their whole program yet. So maybe I'll get there. Never say never. Time and money, time and money.

And yeah, so people that they work with, all different kinds of people. People with neurological conditions, people who are just looking to, just feel more at home in their bodies. It is in itself the way that it is taught and the way that the community interacts with each other, it is extremely trauma informed, which I think is really important these days. And I, when I started diving into this community, I didn't honestly know what to make of it, because it is so embracing. And one of the tenants is that, you know, is there an expert?

Maybe, you know, Bonnie will say, "I don't have answers for you." She'll do Q&Rs. She'll do questions and response because she said, "I don't have an answer for you. I have my answer and I can share my answer." But because this work is so deeply about the individual, you know, what my truth, you know, going through a practice is, is not necessarily someone else's, and then they both have value. So, there's no hierarchy. So someone that just happens upon a class that Bonnie's teaching online is embraced and treated with the same amount of value that a teacher of it for 20 years would be.

And I just think that's so beautiful and what it lends is people are not afraid to ask questions. People are not afraid to express what they're feeling. And so we all end up learning from each other, embracing each other. And I just think that's an incredibly potent, special, not only movement experience, but just kind of a call to how I feel like we should live our lives. Yeah, that's beautiful.

And I know, like a lot of the times when you're especially going into something new, you're afraid to put yourself out there to ask anything, you just end up just sitting and listening, which you can learn a lot from that too, but to be given the freedom to, and the confidence to be able to insert yourself a little bit more deeply, I think it's just so valuable. That's beautiful. So I wanna move into just somatic movement in general. Can you define what somatic movement is? So, soma basically translates into the body.

So it means the body and somatic is relating to, or, you know, anything that's relating to or affecting the body as opposed to the mind. So somatic practices are body-based practices. They are heavily sensory. And it's also about the perceiving of what's being sensed. So, and the words somatization, I can never say it, you know, it's (indistinct). (laughs) That wasn't a problem with the audio feed, that was me trying to say that word. (laughs) (Gia laughs) But the basis of it, basic of somatic is body based.

And then you have many, many, many different types of somatic methods, practices. You know, people may have heard of things like, the Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Nano somatics. So those are all different methods. Bonnie refers to Body-Mind Centering as a body of work. And it is constantly evolving.

It is, you know, just like us in process and development, you know, things are being added or changed as we grow and learn more about the body. That's great. And then can you explain embodiment, like, is that related to somatic movement and or are they different concepts or is it just part of somatics? I think it can be part of it and it can also stand alone. I think embodiment is a tricky place.

So I've spent a lot of time, like what is embodiment, you know? Because people will say, "Well, we have a body, therefore we are embodied." And that is true. So, then, okay, so what's the big deal then about embodiment and how does it relate to somatics? Somatic practices to me are the doorway to conscious embodiment. So we are all embodied, but because it's the moment to moment experience of ourselves and how we inhabit ourselves.

But I feel like so many people are disconnected from that. They do not feel themselves. And I feel that the somatic practices help to bring to consciousness what has been unconscious. With somatic practices we feel, we sense. And then we can make decisions about the information that we're now, you know, sensing and feeling.

So for example, you might walk around for, you know, your whole life. And then someone says, "Okay, let's do this practice. Let's, you know, lie down. And I just want you to notice your body on the floor. And let's just, let's take your awareness to your stomach.

How does your stomach feel?" And you begin to realize, "I'm actually gripping and holding in my stomach." And so then I can make a decision about that. You know, I can soften, or maybe I need that. Maybe that is a pattern for me, that is still, you know, giving me something, making me feel safe or, you know, I just don't feel like I wanna let go of it yet, but at least I'm aware of it. But maybe we choose to let go of that holding in our stomach. Well, that in itself is going to literally change your physiology.

And when we change our physiology, we change our emotions. We, this can affect our thoughts and it affects our perceiving. So, and that's important because our perceptions usually come from things outside of ourselves. So, we are able to look at, "How am I perceiving this? And do I actually believe that?" You know, if we're talking about movement, there's a lot of people that walk around, unconsciously saying, "I'm a bad mover.

I'm not coordinated- Yeah, I've heard that a lot. I'm a bad mover. And I recently said to someone, 'cause she said, "I'm really bad at rotating." And I said, "That's literally impossible, it's movement. So you're not a bad rotator. You are, you know, you're just in your process.

This is where you are with it. Now, we're gonna pay more attention to it and you can have a different experience of it. And you might find that your perception of how you rotate changes." And then that is gonna change how we show up in a class, in our lives. When we don't take the time to do that, it's not like we, you know, something bad happens. I mean, we still go through our lives and, you know, have lovely dinners with friends and, you know, go on vacation and work our jobs.

But if we are just continuing to move without challenging our perceptions, I feel like what we're then doing is more or less just manipulating the motor patterns that we're currently existing in. And so it doesn't necessarily have a long-term change. So, to kind of wrap it up, 'cause I kind of went off on a tangent, but so to me somatic practices are the doorway into embodiment, which is the moment to moment, you know, inhabiting of ourselves. And the more that we can practice sensory-based, body-based movement, the more consciously embodied we become. That's a really helpful definition.

'Cause I know these are terms that I've always heard a lot and people throw them out just I think as kind of buzzwords. But I think having a clear definition in how they relate to each other is just really helpful to have in a toolbox for a teacher. So, how do you incorporate these with your clients, all of these modalities, how do you incorporate somatic movement, Body-Mind Centering, and then lead them into embodiment with that, with all of your Pilates clients? So, there's a few things that I almost always do. They might look different, depending on the client.

So one of the things, and this word is from my teacher, Lisa Clark, if you were to go into any of her yoga classes, you start lying on the ground. And for a lot of people, they're like, "What are we doing? (Gia laughs) This is a yoga class, like don't we do this at the end?" Yeah. And purpose of what she calls, you know, arriving. It's also called bonding with the earth.

Some people might know the word grounding, that's a little bit more generic. So we are, the moment we're born, and even before, we are in relationship, and very basically we're in relationship to gravity, to space and to our breath. And then there's relationship in our body. We live in a incredibly fast-paced world. In the United States of America we super value productivity.

We're very bad at resting. So, we tend to have very high tone is the word, high tone nervous systems. And then that translates into very high tone muscles, high tone bodies, 'cause our muscles are really how we're expressing ourselves. And so when we do an arriving practice, we're bringing ourselves back into relationship with the ground, with gravity and with space and with our breath, and we do it on all sides of the body and it's creating something called, more balanced postural tone. Postural tone underlies alignment.

You know, we love the word alignment in Pilates. Yes. And this goes back to, you know, are you just manipulating a motor pattern you're in, or can you maybe take it a little bit deeper and create re-patterning? And you're gonna do that by changing postural tone. And so, arriving helps to create balance, and it's literally in the cells, it's literally in the fluids.

Then the next thing I would do is take someone through developmental patterning. How do we learn how to stand up? And also, there are basic patterns of yield push, which has to do with the ground, and reach and pull, which have to do with space. So I always want people to be reminded of that, to learn what that is. And once they do it's theirs, they can practice that anywhere.

So once we go through that, it's really about like language. I want my language to be very invitational. I want clients to learn about their own developmental journey. So each client's gonna be a little bit different with that. And my two favorite questions, you know, it's what I was just talking about is, you know, where is the support?

So I'll ask that a lot in classes or in sessions, you know, and I want the client to be able to answer that. 'Cause it's very simple. It's like, "Oh, it's the chair," or, "Oh, it's the floor," or, "It's my feet 'cause I'm standing on the floor." And then, you know, and then it's just, "Okay, well, what's your relationship to it? What's happening there?" And so that is helping them develop a sensory vocabulary. You know, the more descriptive words we have, the more vocabulary we have, you know, we really are more eloquent speakers, we can get our point across better.

And it's the same thing with our, you know, sensory palette, you know, there's a huge difference between the crayon box that has the 102 crayons, and then the four pack you get at the restaurant, you know, when the kids are gonna color their place mats. We wanna have that 102, you know, crayon box of sensation. That's so interesting. So would you say one of the benefits is kind of clients are more empowered in their, just in their practice, and they take more ownership of it, and what other benefits are there for having them practice this way? Definitely the empowerments piece, they get excited.

I had someone recently come in, she was recommended to me through someone else who had been a client and she had had an accident. She was in a boot and she came in, she was very nervous. She was emphatic about how awkward she was. And she was super scared I was gonna make her like move in front of people. And you know, she just kept saying, "I'm really awkward, I'm really awkward." And I said, "You're not awkward." I said, "You know, coordination is integration, that's all it is.

So when we look at all of that developmentally, what we need to do is find where in your developmental process did something get disrupted? Did you not get to spend enough time there?" And I said, you know, I was asking her about her injury. And she says, "Oh yeah, you know, I've always been a little, you know, awkward with my feet." And I said, "Well, that's what we will start focusing on. You know, we'll do some practices where we can see, or maybe some of that process of how you use your feet, how your feet connect to your pelvis from a developmental perspective, like, you know, being down on the ground or there's ways that this can be done, you know, seated or standing. You know, how are you using your feet to learn how to crawl and how to, you know, push yourself up to standing." And she said, "You know, wow, that's so interesting that you say this.

I had braces put on my legs when I was very young." Oh wow. And I said, "Well, this is," I said, "I can promise you having had those on your legs, you did not go through a huge chunk of what you needed to in order to find coordination and relationship between your feet and the ground, your feet and your legs, your feet and your pelvis, your feet and the rest of your body." And she was blown away by that. So, you know, all this time she was looking at herself like, "There's something wrong with me." And you know, and again, "I'm awkward, I'm not coordinated." So when clients hear that, they start to get excited that they could, they are good movers that they, you know, they're not just stuck where they are and that they're in process. And so it builds a lot of confidence, excitement about movement, and so there's the physical part. There's also the nervous system part of this work.

So it really is helping to create more balance in our nervous system when we combine those two things of like, you know, self-agency, self-confidence, and then a more balanced nervous system. That is gonna be a huge support for someone that is dealing with per persistent pain or even a persistent illness. So it's really beneficial work for anyone who has like an autoimmune diagnosis, because the session can be really customized where they're still getting to work very, very deeply in themselves, but they don't necessarily need to always be doing these big physical movements that tend to be tiring. Yeah. Oh, that's so interesting.

And such a beautiful story too. So I know you said like the language that you use is a little bit more inviting. Can you speak more about like the types of cues that you use to try to get your clients to embody their practice a little bit more? Yeah, the invitational language, I will say things like, "I invite you to. I'm offering this idea." Or, "When you are ready," is another thing that I say.

Because when we are working in this way, like in a classroom setting, we're not all going to be moving at the same time. So, and then leaving a lot of space, which I was not super comfortable with at first. You know, I was taught to talk, I was taught to, "Here's your cue, your next cue. Here's your next cue." So there is, so one of my cues is not to cue, you know, it's really to allow space for that person- That's interesting. to find a little bit of their own way.

I'll never leave anyone hanging. And then the cue is again body based. So as people get to know developmentally or embryologically parts of their body, which sounds really like, "Oh my God, do I need a PhD for that?" But it's not at all. I mean, it's like one thing that I teach is something called a tripod foot. And that is the ball of the foot under the big toe, and the ball of the foot, the little toe.

And then the middle of the heel. When we balance those points of the foot, because of the way our body is developed embryologically and developmentally, we are balancing the front and the back of the body. So I don't cue muscles at all. Not a single muscle do I cue. Because again, muscles are the expression, we need them, they move us.

But I'm more interested in what's supporting that system, or not supporting that system. So I wanna be looking at the bones. I wanna be looking at the fluid system. So a lot of my visual cuing, I like a lot of visualization, has to do with sea creatures, giant kelp and puffer fish. Oh, that's cool.

So, because that's the next thing. If someone can't really like, feel it, you know, 'cause all people say like, "I don't know, am I doing it?" And I'll say, "Know that it's happening, and it's okay if you can't, you know, really know what that feeling is. Yeah, you'll get there." And so the step before, you know, somatization, I almost said it, it's visualization. I can say that word, so we can use visualization to help lead people into that somatization, I said it, and then this realization that we find ourselves in flow, and that's where we really feel embodied. And that's a conscious embodiment of ourselves.

That's so interesting. I think the visualizations that you use too, 'cause I'm not always good with understanding visualizations, but just the few that you've said, I'm like, "Oh, I see how they move." So like I get those visualizations, 'cause sometimes I'll take a class and the visualization is something I just don't relate to or it's just too far out there. And then that's all I'm focusing on and not what I'm doing. So it's just, it becomes more distracting, instead of actually helpful. So I think having a strong visual that people can understand is really important.

And the visualizations are again developmental. So they really are the images of that developmental pattern or that stage of where we are. Yeah, that's wonderful. So, are there any specific types of movements that you add in that aren't part of our traditional Pilates repertoire that are geared more towards somatic movement or a Body-Mind Centering approach? So, slowing down is really important, and that's challenging for some people.

So I always try to meet people where they are. I might actually start like movement where, you know, that really reflects their tone. And then I'll try to like slow them down. So I am always trying to get people to slow down. I don't think that most people need practice speeding up.

I think we should be able to move fast and slow, but we're talking about being able to recognize subtlety, and that can only come from moving slow. So there's something called micro movements, and exactly what it sounds like. They are super, super, slow, small movements. When we do micro movements, we move away from the muscles and we move into the fluid system, whether we're trying to or not. And it's movement that's very close to the joint and very deep and internal.

So, I will use micro movements, which is not a typical Pilates thing. Again, the patterns of yield, push, reach, pull, are super important. They're like the ABCs. And what do they mean? Yielding is moving towards support, like consciously like moving towards it, softening towards it.

And we have to move towards to move away. You can't just move away. Again, we're always in relationship. If we move away with a true sense of yielding, there's going to be rigidity and over stabilizing, hardness. So the yielding, and I think it's such a powerful practice for people to yield, to give themselves permission to receive support, nurturance, and then to realize they're actually giving it to themselves.

And then it is from the yield that we find push. So we can think of yield as our first yes. And we can think of push as our first no. So we have to know what we want to truly say what we don't. So there's the psycho emotional part, and there's no separation to this.

So teaching that and then reach and pull, reach and pull comes out of yield and push. I'm a bit of a reach and pull needing to learn to yield a little bit more. So I will tend to do it. I will tend to not have a good foundation and then I totally exhaust myself. So there's again a little psycho emotional component of, you know, what this is.

So for me, the practice of physically yielding not only helps my physical movement, it's going to help my psychology, you know, my mental state, my emotions, so that, and I love quadruped, love, love, love it. It's an important choice. A lot of stuff happens there. And then rolling. I make all my clients, as long as, you know, they're not gonna be in pain, we learn how to roll again.

Yeah, oh, that's amazing. One, it makes sense that the quadruped is an important position too if you're going from the embryological development stages, 'cause we do spend time crawling. And I know it's always a problem if babies skip the crawling stage and they go straight to walking, 'cause I've heard of people doing that and it's just, there's a part of that development that they're missing. And it's just, I think a really important stage in the infant's life, right? Yeah, I totally agree.

And what we'll see in adults in Pilates where we can address with belly time, belly downtime, I call it adult belly downtime, because we're breaking (indistinct) to the organs as we don't lie on our bellies. And is the connection of the fingers to the shoulders and the spine, people they don't complete. Or they somehow lost the completion of getting the hand to actually really spiral so that they're using their thumb, their pointer and their middle finger to push, because those have connections through the muscles, through the fascia, through the bones, up to the front of the body, middle of the shoulder joints, and our other two fingers have more to do with the scapula in the back. When we really get good at pushing through those fingers, especially the middle one, we end up lifting, 'cause our hands, we can think of our hands like diaphragms. And we end up lifting that part of the hand that gets beaten up so much, that carpal tunnel area.

And so this hand positioning and yeah, in quadruped the feet and getting the feet under to push, because the feet have a similar relationship to the pelvis. So yeah, a lot to do in quadruped, and yeah, the crawling is a huge part of that too. Is there a particular time of year that you see people craving this more, or it's better for them to practice it more? Or is it just a year round type of thing? Well, I think if you are a regular practitioner of it, you're helping yourself during those difficult times, because again, you're keeping your system more evenly regulated and balanced.

It really helps us become more responsive and move away from reactivity. So, if we can then say, "Okay, well what times of the year do we feel really reactive?" Many of us will say holidays, you know, you're doing a lot of parties or you're, you know, really working with your family or you know, relatives. You might have more on your plate because you're already, you know, working a full-time job or you have kids. And then all of a sudden there's all of these extra stressors. Maybe it's financially it's a hard time of the year.

For some people as the season change and there's less sun, I am definitely one of those people, I'm from Pittsburgh. So we can have, you know, seasonal effective disorder. So this work helps to buffer that and helps to support, I think that time of year, and then I think it can be really personal. We all have, you know, different times, you know, if you're, you know, there are times in your life that you are, you know, grieving the loss of someone, or you know, maybe it's moms, then it's the end of the school year and they know, "Oh my God, I love my kids, but they're gonna be home like all the time." To be able to carve out, and you don't need to do an hour of this. That's the other thing.

This can be, you know, five minutes of something. And just that five minutes to come back into yourself and feel yourself, let your brain take a backseat and let your body inform you. Like when we go, you know, deeper into ourselves and we're more relational with ourselves, we tend to feel more grounded. You know, it's like all the sayings, I think the sayings are very fascinating. "I feel like I'm just running around with my head cut off." You know, or, you know, "My heart's in my throat.

Oh, I was just sick to my stomach." You know, all of these things, those are somatically-based, you know, sayings. And so there is so much truth to how we interact or how we don't interact with our body and how we're operating in the world and how we're feeling about ourselves, others, the world around us. That's really fascinating, thank you. So, we only have a little bit of time left, but if someone's interested in learning more about just somatic movement, Body-Mind Centering and embodiment, either for themselves or to become a teacher of it, where would you suggest that they look? I would say, I mean, feel free to reach out to me.

I'm very open to having conversations about things and you know, like I said, there's different types of somatic education. So, you might want to research different kinds and see what resonates with you. If you want more information about Body-Mind Centering, you can like literally go to, you know, bodymindcentering.com. And they have lots of information on that. Also, Bonnie has a ton of YouTube videos that you can go experience and there's even, you know, somatics is being used in some very interesting places these days, Resmaa Menakem who wrote, "My Grandmother's Hands." He is a amazing activist and an author that teaches and writes about somatic abolitionism.

So yes, so again, body based, and we are in our bodies, you know, so we carry these experiences. That's why it's very important to understand that this is only my truth. This is not the kind of work that you read a book, and then you go say, "Oh, I read this book." So, you know, you're gonna make someone do an exercise. If you can't feel it, you shouldn't teach it. I really strongly believe in that.

And it is, it's your lived experience of the work that matters. So, you don't need to be an expert to begin this journey. You could simply start it, you know, by, you know, either lying on the ground, something like that, or even doing, you know, your favorite Pilates exercise. But instead of thinking, "Okay, you know, I need to engage the pelvic floor and I wanna pull my belly button to my spine and shoulders down." Or, you know, some of those cues, start to explore it from a more sensory-based experience. Notice like what's touching, say we're on the reformer doing footwork, really notice your feet touching, really notice your body on the reformer.

Notice if you're holding a lot of tension that you don't need. You can start there and grow, you know, from that. So, yeah. And I think when you are choosing to teach in this way, that it's important that you learn to teach without ego, 'cause it's not about you, and you have to develop fortitude to honor that pausing, silence, confusion. You know, I have no, like someone will say, "I don't know if I'm doing this right.

I don't know where I'm supposed to be feeling this," you know? And I'll say, "That's okay." You know, like I said, I'm never gonna let someone swim around a swamp for an hour, but many times, you know, you do have to create that space so that that person at least has the opportunity to find their own way to, you know, where they're going. And I also think sometimes there can be pushback. So to be prepared for that. It makes some people feel very, very uncomfortable.

People don't like to not know what they're doing. People don't like it when you don't have the answer. And so I think that that's also important to note that that can be part of the experience of this as a teacher, because it's not, there aren't that many people teaching like this. Yeah, I would imagine there'd also be a little bit of pushback, 'cause sometimes people don't wanna dig deeper into themselves. They like staying on the surface.

So it can be a little scary for people to kind of go that extra step I would imagine. And that's why I think the, you know, it's not just about teaching the material, it's how you set up the space. I use a lot of humor. I was just teaching a class this past Sunday to a group of people. They came for like a Pilates day thing.

I didn't know most of them. And we were doing this one movement and it felt good to someone and they, you know, kind of made a sound and we were laughing. And then I'm saying, "You know, I want you to rotate. I want you to rotate through your lungs, through your heart." And they were like, "Oh yeah." And I said, "Oh, I can make it weirder. What if we rotate through our (laughs), let's rotate through the colons.

And people laughed. So, I am meeting people where they are. I think it's important to know, like know your audience. So if you're gonna bring up colons, which weirdly enough are pretty amazing to work with, you kind of have to be like, you know, "Gonna work with your colons," you know, and kind of disarm people. I also like to use, my mom used to refer to as, "No thank you helpings." So if I know that I have someone, and you're gonna know that, they walk in, maybe they're like, they're already kind of posturing that they're very protected.

That is not someone that I'm gonna say, "Let's use your colons today." (laughs) It's gonna be, "See ya." So, I might start with someone like that very traditionally. You know, I think that really good teachers have the kitchen sink toolbox, and you're kind of doing a disservice if you're like, "No, I only teach this way." So I mean, you know, my cuing could run from totally directive, put your feet on the foot bar, push out, straighten the knees, if I know that I'm, you know, starting to work with someone that's like, you know, this, and then I might just slide in, "Okay, beautiful footwork. You know, let's just pause here. Notice your inhale, notice your exhale." Getting them to start to have more of that internal experience, but being gentle with it. And I think sometimes a little bit goes a long way.

I feel like most people are quite dysregulated, and that includes myself sometimes, you know. Doing this work doesn't make me some sort of like, you know, own guru, I'm a human being, you know. What it does help you do is recognize when you do kind of, you know, when you're reacting, you start to, when you start to know what it feels like to be able to respond, to be able to kind of create that space for yourself and make different choices, whether it's movement, whether it's something coming out of your mouth or not. Reacting doesn't feel so good anymore. So then you start to develop that skill as well.

That's so wonderful. And I think so valuable for so many people. I think if everyone has a chance to try it, they definitely should. Allie, thank you so much for being here and sharing all this wonderful information with us and the members, so wonderful. Thank you so much for inviting me.

It was an honor. I was super, super excited, a little nervous, but that's good. (laughs) Thank you. Let everyone, oh, thank you. Can you let everyone know where they can find you if they do have any questions? So I have a brick and mortar studio in Pittsburgh, and it is called Equilibrium Movement Studio.

And the website is eqpittsburgh.com. And my own sort of personal thing I'm developing is the Soma Movements. And that is all of the somatic practices. And you can go to somamovementalliegreene.com for that. So either one of those.

And I'm on Facebook, I'm on Instagram and I, you know, I feel like I'm a very open person, so I love meeting new people. So please feel free to reach out to me. Thank you again, Allie. And for everyone watching at home, we did record this. So it'll be on the site in a few days.

So if you missed any parts, you can feel free to watch it again. And if you do have any questions, you can also add them to the forum on the website. Thank you, everyone for joining, and we'll see you next time, bye. (gentle music)

Comments

1 person likes this.
That was really interesting.  Thanks Allie and Gia.
Lyndal W thank you! I'm looking forward to filming Move with Ease series with PA. I hope you will check it out! 
When will the Move with Ease series be launched - looking forward to the experience
Liz B ~ We're planning to add the series to the site in November! We hope you enjoy it once it's up!

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