Winter Resilience Sessions

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In this new series of Resilience Practice we journey into our inner world of skin, muscle, connective tissues, bone and vital organs.  As we contact each aspect of this amazing world within us and experience the support and aliveness that if gives us, we can build up our individual strength and resilience.   With this inner resilience we are better equipped to face the challenges presented by the world outside us.

Session 1 :  9/11/2020 – Finding our ground and relaxing onto it

Through contact, movement and breathing we become aware of the constant support from the earth beneath us and learn how to trust and rest on it.  We start to notice the support  given to us by our vital organs and experiment with how to relax our tense muscles onto this substantial inner support.

Session 2:  Finding our Breath

In this session, after touching base briefly with our skin and the wobble in our insides, we visit our lungs.  We  start by gently stretching and easing the muscular holding around our ribcage and then move into encouraging our breath to inhabit the different areas/lobes of the lungs themselves.  We  also spend some time with bottle breathing, which connects the abdomen, solar plexus and chest through the breath.

Session 3: Relaxing into the Inner Support of the Large Intestine

In this session, we continue to connect with the inner support of our internal organs, focussing this time on the inner support we receive from our large intestine.  We move and free the abdominal area, and then explore how to bring the expansion of the breath into this wonderfully substantial organ that fills so much of our belly.  We explore how the large intestine connects energetically down into the legs and up into the arms. In Oriental Medicine the Large Intestine function is one of protection, and we experiment with how the gentle but powerful push from this organ, can be effective in maintaining a healthy balance between what we allow into our lives and what we keep out.

Session 4: Opening up the front of the body and engaging digestion through the Stomach

In this session we revisit and review some of the aspects of the three previous sessions and then focus on the function and movements that relate specifically to the Stomach.  In Oriental Medicine the Stomach function is about our needs and how we get satisfaction.  On the physical level this is about the food and nourishment we take in but, in a wider sense, it is about our relationship with asking and getting what we really need.  The Stomach and Large Intestine have a close relationship here.  The Large Intestine, our focus in session 3, is about knowing and protecting our boundaries and limits.  Without this ability to push away and say “no” to what we don’t need, it is difficult for us to be able to distinguish what does or doesn’t really nourish us.  When we have clear boundaries and limits in ourself, it is much easier to say “yes” to what comes from outside and for the Stomach to take in and digest.

Session 5: Moving and opening the shoulders and activating the fire in the belly through the Small Intestine.

The Small Intestine is a less well-known but very important organ whose function helps us to simplify and absorb the vastly complicated world around us. It helps us to transform everything that we take in, both the physical and emotional, so that we can assimilate well, and feel the warmth in our insides.  It influences how we use our shoulders and arms, and how we reach towards what nourishes us.

Session 6: Contacting the Power of the Bladder function and channeling it through the spine into action

As the year winds down to its deepest point, our focus shifts from the transformational Fire of the Small Intestine to the depths and potential of the Water element manifested in us through the Bladder.  The Bladder organ is the lowest organ in our body and often not really talked about.  I think of it like being in our cellar – we don’t go down there unless we need to!  It is connected very strongly to the sacrum at the back of the pelvis, which then connects directly up into the rest of the spine.  The Bladder function is all about aligning our intention with action, and we will be exploring this through some archetypal movements and, at the end, linking it with the Small Intestine movements from the previous session, uniting Fire and Water into action.  In this way we can experience how a movement can come from the tip of our little toe all the way via the spine to the outer tip of our little finger! 

Session 7: Resting into the Deep Support of the Kidneys – allowing deep relaxation

In this session we will be staying with the Water element, but going deeper and exploring the depths of the Yin aspect of this element represented by our Kidneys.   In Oriental medicine the Kidney function includes the adrenal glands which actually rest on the kidney organs.  This means that the Kidneys influence our state of being: directing us either into “fight or flight” mode or into the more chilled “rest and digest”.  With so much uncertainty around it is likely that we are in a more anxious state than we realise and are holding more tension in our muscles than we need to.   We explore movements that ease and release the kidneys and the back and encourage a sense of rootedness.  One of the best things you can do for your Kidneys is to learn to just rest!

Session 8: Finding authentic expression through the Heart

All the giving and receiving of the Christmas period make it an ideal time to make contact with our Heart function and explore it within ourselves through movement and expression.  The heart organ is so much more than just a muscular pump that pushes the blood around our bodies.   We will be doing some “aerobic” movements to bring us in touch with this pumping aspect, but also explore movements that bring in the important aspects of its wider function in Oriental Medicine.  

We will look at the Heart’s relationship with the Kidney, in these innermost and vital of body functions.  The Kidneys represents our unconscious self, which makes up a very large part of us.  We are at least 80% unconscious, and the Heart’s role is to bring our awareness to these parts and bring them more into consciousness.  This is a very important aspect when we wish to change our habits – noticing the pattern in the first place is the starting point for change being able to happen.  So there is very spiritual, meditative aspect to the heart, too.  The joy we experience when expressing or making sounds relates very much to our Heart.  We will be including some voicework in this session!  

You will need your mat/floor space, a firm cushion for sitting on and a space where you are free to make a noise without embarrassing yourself!

Session 9: Discovering how you connect through the Fascia and the Pericardium

The anatomical heart is surrounded by the pericardium, a sac of connective tissue that contains, insulates and protects it. Connective tissue (fascia) not only wraps around the heart forming the pericardium but also wraps around every internal bit of us, every bone, organ and muscle bundle, and also forms the tendons and ligaments that hold us together.

In this session we focus on the fascia in general and the Pericardium in particular, as the representative of the qualities of connection and communication that these elastic tissues give us.

In Oriental Medicine the energy of the Pericardium is like a candle flame, gentle and healing, protecting the Heart from physical and emotional knocks and maintaining its integrity.