Connecting to yourself
In times of outer uncertainty and insecurity it is helpful to connect with ourselves in a deeper way to find inner peace and strength. Eurythmy movements can support us in this process. At the moment many of us spend more time than usual in front of computer screens. This can make us very head orientated and tight up in thoughts, which often result in tensions in our souls and bodies.
I will describe three simple exercises which can help us to relax tensions and to connect better with ourselves. After I have described an exercise I give suggestions how to deepen it.
It’s best to try one suggestion at the time not all together. This makes it easier to stay connected with the movements in a sensing/feeling rather than in a thinking way.
Important: When you have worked with the exercises allow yourself a few minutes of rest.
What you need
You need a stool or a chair without armrests which allows you to place your feet flat on the ground while sitting relaxed and upright. You need to be able to feel the soles of your feet touching the floor; to wear socks or slippers with thin soles would therefore be advisable.
Exercise One: Connecting with your feet
Important: Give yourself time to find a relaxed upright sitting position with your feet on the ground and your hands resting on your thighs. Breathe naturally.
Lift one leg just off the floor keeping the lower leg and foot relaxed. Then bring the foot slowly down again. The toes should touch the floor first. Then slowly connect the rest of the foot from the toe to the heel with the ground.
Try to connect as much as you can to the sensation of the sole of your foot touching the ground. Pause a moment when the heel has connected to the floor to sense how and what you can feel.
Alternating right and left foot repeat this exercise till you can feel the soles of your feet better than before.
Deepening the first exercise
– While you are actively engaged in this leg/foot movement try to keep shoulders and arms relaxed while the hands are still resting on your thighs.
– Allow yourself to become also aware of sensations in parts of your body which you are not moving actively.
Exercise Two: Helping the shoulder/neck area to relax
With your arms hanging down relaxed on your sides make a slow circling/round movement with your shoulders. Start lifting the shoulders up over the front and letting them come down over the back. You can slightly bend your upper body forward for the beginning of the movement.
Try to feel the phase when your chest is most expanded. Do the exercise a few times then try to feel the opening and moving together of your shoulder blades.
Deepening the second exercise
- Imagine you are not actively lifting up your shoulders but they are lifted up and lowered down by a little wave. This can make your movement softer and smaller.
- Try to experience the highest point, “the crest of this wave” as a transition. This is the moment when the movement which started in the front continues in the back. Try to sense as much as you can into this space behind you while the shoulders gently come down and relax. Rest a moment after each wave. You could imagine the water flowing down behind you to the ground.
- If you like you can also imagine scooping up some of the worries of the day with this wave and let go of them in the back.
Exercise Three: Centre and Periphery
This exercise can be best done in standing, but if this is not easy you can also do it in sitting. Give yourself time to stretch and/or bend till you feel as comfortable as possible in your body. Then stand upright and relaxed with your feet slightly apart. (For many people the width of their hips is a good measure) Give yourself time to feel the connection of your feet to the floor and to sense that shoulders and arms are relaxed and you are breathing naturally.
Place your hands on your chest where you feel you are best connected to yourself. You can put both hands on top of each other or cross your arms over your chest. Give yourself time to find the gesture which works best for you.
Now slowly stretch your arms out to both sides horizontally with the palms looking downwards. Try to feel every moment of this process of expansion right into your fingertips.
Then slowly come back to the centre in the same mindful way. Experiment how you stretch your arms. Try to connect with the stretching activity through your collar bones, shoulders, upper arms, elbows into the lower arms hands and fingers.
Keep your shoulders as much as possible relaxed. We are all aware of our hands and the lower part of our arms. Connecting to shoulders and upper arms takes usually more inner effort. It is important that you stretch enough that you can enjoy the expansion. However, if you feel strained and tense in the horizontal position you are probably stretching too much.
If you like you can imagine spreading out your wings to fly and then coming back home to a place of safety. The image of wings being carried on the air might help you to expand in a relaxed way. You can also use an image of your own which you find helpful.
Repeat the exercise a few times.
Deepening the third exercise
- Allow yourself to feel what happens in the rest of your body when you move your arms.
- While you are actively moving into the periphery try to also be aware of your centre. When you are connecting to your centre try to sense also the periphery around you.
- Connect to your feet touching the ground during the exercise.
- Instead of standing or sitting with your feet slightly apart experience the exercise with your feet firmly together.
A variation of the third exercise: The centre and a big peripheral circle
The upper part
Connect with your centre and expand your arms horizontally as before with your palms looking downwards. Then turn your arms so that your palms are looking upwards. Connecting to the periphery beyond your fingertips and keeping your shoulders as relaxed as possible let both stretched arms rise upwards till your fingertips meet over your head. Then by opening and lowering your arms come back into the horizontal and then to your centre. Keep the connection to your feet, especially when you are at the highest point.
The lower part
Expand your arms horizontally with your palms looking downwards. Then lower your stretched arms slowly till they are at the sides of your body. While you come down imagine your arms so long that your fingertips could touch the ground at the sides of your feet.
Then by opening and lifting your arms come back into the horizontal and then to your centre.
Deepening the variation of the third exercise
– Try to experience the different qualities of the upper and lower half circle.
– Does connecting to your centre feel different depending on if you come from above or below?
– How does it feel when your arms are expanding downward from the point above? How does it feel when your arms are expanding upwards from the ground below?
– Experience the whole circle without connecting to your centre between the upper and lower part. When you have come back to the horizontal from above, don’t go back to the centre but turn your palms downwards and continue to the lower part, and only when you come from there go back to the centre.
– Now experience the exercise starting with the lower part.
I hope you will find these exercises helpful. If by working with them questions arise, please feel very welcome to contact me via email.
Please also email me if you are new to Eurythmy and would like more information or a conversation how to access it.
Ursula Werner – Eurythmy Therapist
Email: [email protected]