Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Take a Breath and Step Back.

Sometimes we see the world clearer from farther away.  Assessing any situation is easier when the entire picture is in view.  We spend so much time in our lives looking forward, moving forward, dealing with things in front of us.   It’s almost as if our bodies are in tunnels moving forward.  We forget to check the periphery of our space and lives.  And heaven forbid that someone should move backwards…Literally and especially figuratively.   Yet all of this forward motion leaves us without awareness of so many parts of our lives in movement.  Our breath gets stuck in our sternum, our oxygen levels decline, our necks tilt forward.  Our spines compress as a gradual shrinking fits our bodies into the tunnel of forward movement. 

This morning I came into the studio to move…But it was early, the coffee hadn’t kicked in, and my motivations for coming to the studio were related to the fact that I thought I “should” get a workout in, as opposed to any inner desire.  This means that I came to the studio and lazily moved through a couple things exploring movement with a lackadaisical, yet obstinate approach.  On the Pulley tower, I moved through some of the Arch and Curl Series but I didn’t do the whole series because I didn’t want to (That’s the obstinate side) Then I did a little leg work thinking about my bones, instead of muscles (lackadaisical)…Then I stood up and started walking around the studio…Then out of my obstinate lazy mindset came a new thought.  I started walking backwards.  It was weird, and I had read something about it way back when…and well something shifted…

I became fascinated with the air that I felt on the back of my arms.  My eyeballs started shifting all over the place trying to see behind me. (I had made a mess of the studio and there was a little tripping trepidation.)  Then I felt a connection happen…I was taller, I felt my shoulders drop, my neck lengthen and I grew…The greatest thing about it is that I didn’t have to tell myself to drop my shoulders and lengthen my neck…My body did it.  The ironic part of this exploration is that nothing new happened.  All of the information my body was giving me was already there, but the situation just allowed for an aware body memory to resurface.  My lackadaisical obstinate distracted workout led to a lengthened spine with freedom for breath in the back of the ribcage.

Now why do I think this was worth writing about?  I had a dance teacher once say, “If you feel like you are having a bad class, then you are really learning.  On the days you are having a good class you are only showing off.”  I, of course, think this is a bit harsh, but it has stuck with me.  My grumpiness this morning led to movement that I don’t do very often.  I moved backwards.  And maybe next time I’ll move sideways or up or down or forward sideways and up all at the same time!  Exploration is exactly that and progress is not necessarily manifested in forward movement, forward thinking, or forward anything at all.  So let us all take a deep breath and step back.

Katrina Hawley C.M.A, R.S.M.E

As always anything new learned or realized has a history.  I knew I had read about walking backwards before...Here are some interesting websites that I found of people that are studying the art of walking backwards.


  1. Hi there! Funny I was just thinking about this very thing as I walked out of my first thai yoga bodywork training. I was thinking how great it is to receive bodywork and how the class really made me slow down - my breath, thought and movements. As a result, i felt more connected and aware of myself and the environment, as if experiencing it with all my senses. I was so present in the moment. It felt so great. I want to be an example of this for my daughter. Thanks for the blog. Can't wait for the next one. Samantha

  2. Great Samantha, Can't wait to hear about the rest of the training!