School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: April 2010
Every Body Moves

By Katherine Cable

I recently spent a weekend on a training course for dance practitioners who would like to offer movement sessions to older people.  This was a fairly conventional course, and so we sat on our chairs and listened to the trainers describe what happens to the body as it ages and all the warning signs we should look for to make sure that our participants do not exert themselves too much if they are frail, have heart conditions, replacement hips, fragile bones, hearing and eyesight problems, to mention just some of the possible difficulties.

My heart sank as we talked about risk assessments and insurance, all the things which could go wrong and which we would need to prepare ourselves against, and it felt as though we were moving further and further away from any possibility of movement, connection, enjoyment and love.


Eventually, we moved on to a practical session, made a circle and started to move together, still in our chairs at first, as many of our participants may be.  We threw smiles across the circle at each other and started to tap our toes to the beat, wave our arms, send movements around the circle and suddenly, magic was happening!  We explored how our bodies can have conversations without us needing to say anything at all and re-discovered how much we need gentle touch as part of our connection with ourselves and others.


Becoming more active, we moved into utter silliness and huge delight, using our chairs as props, finding all the ways you can move on, off, around, above, beneath and between a chair or two, incorporating periods of stillness to rest and observe our fellow dancers.  This could have been a movement medicine workshop after all! 


As the course continued, I was reminded of something very beautiful which Ya’Acov said to me recently – that sometimes the fragile bud may need to be reminded that it is connected to the twig and the branch and the tree and so it has roots which go deep into the earth.  I came home with a renewed awareness of how hugely powerful and healing movement work can be when it is intentional and aware and that the medicine in movement is available to all of us, whenever we may need it.  Just like the tree of life, we experience many ages as we grow and develop and even (perhaps especially) towards the end of life, we can still experience the joy and power of healing ourselves through movement.


Katharine Cable

March 2010

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of the School of Movement Medicine. Roland Wilkinson, Nappers Crossing, Staverton, Devon TQ9 6PD, UK Tel & Fax +44 (0)1803 762255 http://www.