1. Monday 31st March: Inner protection and resilience
Taking time to settle ourselves and feel the support from the ground, bringing our awareness to the skin and the chest and lungs to encourage greater inner protection. Introducing the concept and practice of bottle breathing.
2. Monday 6th April: Expanding our breathing and feeling support
Taking time to ground ourselves through our feet and bringing awareness to the skin, our outer layer. Waking up and energising the lungs and exploring further the process and value of bottle breathing.
3. Monday 13th April: Tapping into the support within and around us, relaxing unconscious tension
Connecting to the ground through the soles of our feet and feeling the ground supporting us and noticing and loosening what inhibits us from relaxing into that support. Opening and expanding the chest and lungs. Introducing some gentle work with the spine to help free any fear that is held in the back and finishing with more work with bottle breathing.
4. Monday 20th April: Support, expansion of the breath and filling our personal space
Allowing our weight to sink into the ground and feeling the support from underneath us. Waking up and expanding the chest and lungs and letting our breath expand out around us to fill our personal space.
5. Monday 27th April: Support, expansion of the breath, freeing and relaxing the spine
Tapping into the support from the ground and opening up the chest and lungs. Introducing twisting movements to free and relax the back. Bottle breathing.
6. Monday 4th May: Freeing and relaxing the torso
Connecting to the support from the ground and waking up the skin. Feeling what is under our skin and opening up the chest with the breath. Exploring various twists to ease and relax the spine, engaging the whole torso in the movements. Bottle breathing.
7. Monday 11th May: Easing shoulder tension
Continuing with grounding through our body, encouraging the expansion of the breath and this time focussing on ways to move and free any tension in the shoulders. Bottle breathing.
8. Monday 18th May: Relaxing and freeing the shoulders Part 2
Waking up our physical core – our bones. Exploring how the internal organs support the more superficial structures like our muscles from underneath. Focussing on the shoulders. Introducing floor breathing and revisiting bottle breathing.
9. Monday 25th May: Connecting to the support of our skeleton
Waking up the flexible internal architecture of our bones. Continuing to focus on the shoulders, especially the more central connections from the shoulder to the central axis of the spine. Bottle breathing.
10. Monday 1st June: Freeing and easing the joints
Introducing some work with the main joints of the body. Explaining the principle of moving both sides of each joint and helping them to dance together. Opening and mobilising the joints of the wrist, elbow, shoulder, spine, hips and ankles. Creating space in the joints of the spine during the bottle breathing.
11. Monday June 8th: Bonework and aligning intention with action
This session focusses on learning to move from the bones, and enabling the muscles to step back, relax more and allow space in the joints. Introducing the aspects of inner motivation and authentic outward expression as embodied by the relationship between the Kidneys and the Heart in Oriental Medicine.
12. Monday 15th June: Bonework and aligning intention with expression Part 2
Continuing to focus on the bones as the bedrock for the muscles and joints. Energising the legs and focussing on the power that comes through our legs from the earth, travels up our spine and out into action in the world, aligning our inner spirit with our outward expression.
13. Monday June 22nd: Introducing Fascia
Contacting and engaging with another amazing aspect of ourselves: our connective tissues. Bones are actually part of the huge variety of what is termed connective tissue, but we focus on the more elastic structures that bind us together and form our shape, which are known as the fascia. Experiencing how fascia connects us internally from front to back, head to toe, left to right, wrapping round every muscle fibre and organ, and forming the tendons and ligaments around the joints. Contacting the qualities of nurturing and kindness that are embodied in this part of us.
14. Monday 29th June: Moving from the Fascia
Continuing with the focus on our connective tissues, the fascia. Fascia connects us from scalp to sole and from centre to periphery and would continue to form our intrinsic shape even if everything else were removed. We learn to move our fascia in a gentle and free way in a specific movement process, and then reflect on embracing and valuing every aspect of ourselves.
15. Monday 6th July: Fascia Connections through the Body
As lockdown relaxes this session comes from the seaside, and continues with the theme of the fascia, revisiting some of the aspects that we have explored in previous sessions. Getting in touch with our intrinsic web of connectivity and elasticity, we learn how to move like a starfish and like seaweed. Feeling these connections within us is all the more relevant at the moment as we are surrounded by uncertainty and confusion.
16. Monday 13th July: Connecting from centre to periphery
We are connected from scalp to sole, front to back and side to side by our connective tissue. Exploring movements that enable us to connect in all these directions through the body. Noticing the parts that are disconnected or blocked and embracing and valuing these aspects of ourselves. We do the Yin aspect of the Inner Qigong form which relates to this aspect.
17. Monday 20th July: Exploring Spiral Connections through the Body
Our bodies connect anatomically through spirals rather than straight lines. However, these curves and spiralling connections are often not engaged in the world of straight lines and angles that surrounds us. It is very easy to create a habit of moving as a block rather than as spirally connected, articulated parts. In order to re-engage the spirals within us we explore the connections between the head, ribcage and pelvis, experimenting with moving each part independently as well as in accordance with the part that leads.
18. Monday 27th July: Revisiting some of the aspects of ourselves we have already explored in this series – skin, breathing, vital organs, bones and connective tissues
I bring the sessions to a close by revisiting some of the aspects we have covered over the past eighteen weeks. Initially we worked with the lungs through synchronising the breath with movement and through the bottle breathing, and worked with grounding and finding our own internal support. When the situation felt unclear we worked with our bones to bring clarity to ourselves, and explored how the structural support of our skeleton helps our muscles to relax. More recently we have been focussing on our connective tissue/fascia and how its web of connectivity creates soft and spiral movements both inside and outside the body, so that we can adapt and adjust to the changing situation around us as lockdown relaxes.