School of Movement Medicine - Mindfulness in Motion

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Issue: March 2011
The Gods of Travel

By Susannah
I arrive in Stuttgart train station. Our train is a little late and the people who want to get on look stressed, hurried and worried. “Oh wow,” I think, my heart still full of laughter, tender tears and joy from DanSing, “I guess I must look like that sometimes, how can I remember to not take it so seriously?!” Then I see a Mama, heavily laden striding anxiously fast forwards.

Her little one, a girl of about 3, is running happily to keep up, her mouth wide in a big grin, she looks like she is loving this run, like a horse let loose in the field. I stand aside to let them pass. Then the gap between them widens, the little one just can’t go that fast. Her face crumples in alarm, “Mama!” she shrieks. Mama slows and turns around, it’s OK, they are re-united in the comfort zone. I’m moved by this little scene, and struck by the precision of the girl’s instincts. I reflect on how we need each other, how inter-dependent we really are. In the workshop there were some magical moments when people really saw, heard and were with each other as moving-feeling-sounding mysteries, and the whole energy changed, became full of potent, beautiful presence. Our attention is the light in which we grow. I’m sure there is more that is going to be discovered (or already has been) about how deep attention from another affects us on a physiological level.

I’ve been reading more about the ‘plastic’ brain (Norman Doidge- The Brain That Changes Itself) - about recent discoveries about how our brains keep changing and developing and not just learning, but learning how to learn throughout our lives if we use them like that!

You may already have heard me talk about ‘neurogenesis’- how we keep producing new neurons throughout our lives (rather than the old story that the number of neurons you were born with was the maximum and it was ‘down hill’ from there).  Several things which seem particularly relevant are:

-Neurogenesis is strengthened by physical exercise.

-New brain patterns are laid down in adulthood most powerfully when we focus our attention on what we are learning/thinking and when there are powerful feelings associated with the learning.  Happy, good feelings (connected with endorphins) help lay down the new patterns more permanently.

-That learning new stuff, new patterns, stimulates the whole brain and can have beneficial effects in seemingly unrelated areas.

So, as I have felt for a while, when we focus our attention and feel our Movement Medicine practise (or anything else at all) we are not only exercising and connecting our bodies, hearts, souls, we are changing our brains, offering them new routes, establishing new patterns, growing our consciousness and our capacities. Laughter Yoga is integrating beautifully into our work, levening it here and there with a sprinkling of the sparkle of ‘laughter for no reason,’ helping us all take ourselves less seriously, and providing that cocktail of happy endorphins to establish and fertilise the new brain maps. I feel we are keep being given the perfect tools which complement everything else wonderfully. Laughter Yoga is one of these additions (for our own lives and beings and our work) for which we are very grateful to Dr Kataria.

Later on my journey, after the very quick Stuttgart-Paris, train, the Eurostar ran a little late, the taxis outside St Pancras were unable to move because of a demonstration going on up the road, (what was that? I haven’t found out!) The tubes were not running smoothly because of a signal failure, and suddenly my hour to get from St Pancras to Paddington was looking short! I watched myself getting all earnest and tight, shouldering my bags up and down stairs, and had several chuckles as I simultaneously did my best, surrendered to the gods of travel fate and remembered to laugh. Hooray! I caught my train with 3 minutes to spare, gave thanks and settled into my brain book.

At DanSing we sang Bismillah and dedicated it to the people in the Middle East courageously seeking change and freedom. I wish us all courage and love, mercy and compassion. Be well- singing, dancing, laughing, loving, and making your contribution whatever it is,

With warmth and gratitude to you for sharing this. Do feel free to offer your own contribution to this newsletter, tells us abouwhat matters to you!






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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.