Self – Defense For Girls & Women

I recently did a self-defense class for women and felt called to share about it. As girls and women, so much of our conditioning and training tells us to be soft / small / nice etc (EVEN if we grew up with support and encouragement to be in our power). Society has contaminated the feminine in too many ways and this is a direct manifestation of that. This is a problem when we under threat. How many of us have been cat-called, called ‘bitch’ for not answering, been followed, felt afraid walking alone at night?

Who is this for?
I can’t shout enough that I think this is so valuable. To get basic training about how to hold oneself in the world as a girl / woman with confidence and access to strength and power in our bodies seems like a gift in this current world. Sometimes the danger can feel like too much and this was a dose to help add to agency and autonomy in women. I’m sharing in hopes that this provides some fruit and whether it’s a resource for you personally, your kids, your clients, teenagers you know, it’s applicable across the board.

The class involved :
– basic body language / social engagement tips on how to avoid escalated situations or de-escalate an interaction that feels threatening
– body based training to show how to deal with a situation if and when it escalates
– a few effective ‘moves’ that are used in case of emergency to get out of a hold and get away / run for help if needed and put the person ‘to sleep’ even if they are bigger than the person being attacked (they will wake up as long as it’s used correctly)

I so wish I had learned this as a teen girl ! I have zero experience with self – defense and martial arts. In fact, I felt nervous before the class, standing up for myself in this physical way is foreign to me. This class was gentle, digestible and helpful. It was also really fun to do with a group of close female friends. Our laughter was refreshing while spending time learning about something that is challenging for us. I looked into this kind of training few years ago but some of the trainings for women are big commitments and high cost. This was short and affordable ($20 each with 5 people). With the world we’re living in now with astounding sexual assault and abuse statistics (that aren’t even accurate because so much happens that goes unreported), I think this is more relevant than it’s ever been. It felt so good to take action on behalf of my own well-being.

RFLX Training Center
Erica is the woman who co-owns this studio. She was a supportive, relatable, helpful, practical teacher in addition to making it work for everyone. She doesn’t know I’m sharing in this way and in no way asked me to. I will often do this kind of sharing when I feel inspired with resources I find. The studio website has a class schedule (for all ages from 4 year olds through adult). One of the women with us has a 4 year old daughter and she was so glad to hear they had a class for little ones, that she wants her daughter to grow up with this strong sense of self and power in her body. If you’re interested more in what I did (a small private group basic training, 4 or more people), contact her and ask !  Based on her experience being a woman in the world and having young daughters, she shared her passion for educating and training young women to be aware, empowered, and equipped and said she’d be happy to do more small groups. I’m sure there are also other self-defense and martial art oriented studios available near your area if Lafayette is too far.

Here’s the website: http://rflxtrainingcenter.com/

Feel free to ask me questions about this if you have them, I am happy to share about my experience. Warmest wishes for your exploration. Til next time, thanks for reading, Alicia

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50 Shades & Safety

Alicia-9970
BDSM is a taboo topic in our society that often goes unacknowledged. When it is acknowledged, it’s not always a full or accurate picture. This is an important issue that lurks in the shadow of our culture because we often don’t know what it is or we assume something about what it is. When done well, BDSM can be loving, nourishing, and creatively inspiring. When there is confusion, lack of education, and engagement in practices that are not deeply connected to one’s body and awareness, BDSM can cause harm.

INSPIRATION
I felt moved to host classes on BDSM last year after the “50 Shades of Grey” movie popped in the media. I had also been coming across “BDSM relationships” in the therapeutic world that sounded more to me like a situation void of education and knowledge about power dynamics and a possibly abusive relationship. This left me with complex feelings. On one hand, I was glad to see the media and mass culture acknowledge this typically shadowy / taboo lifestyle. On the other hand, the movie and book painted a picture of a gender-stereotypical abusive relationship. I was saddened to know that many people could now be thinking “that’s what BDSM is.” The invitation with this, as always is to keep an eye on your inner world as you read. Notice your emotions, thought content and tone, bodily sensations, and breathing. Notice what turns you on, what you feel unsure about, what you feel curious about, and what you feel a “no” about. This is the nature of our inquiries together!

WHAT IS BDSM ? (the disclaimer is there should ALWAYS be consent from both parties with any of these practices, if there’s not, it’s a problem):
– Bondage: rope tying & binding, handcuffs, bondage tape, self-adhesive bandage and other restraints

– Dominance: giving directions / orders / rules, making choices for another, having an impact on others and benefiting from / gaining pleasure from using that influence on them
– Discipline:
spanking, flogging, lecturing, training someone to respond to rules and using punishment to correct behavior (the person on the other end may get pleasure from receiving the discipline)
* Important Note: Dominance and discipline should not be enacted from a place of anger, that plays with the territory of abuse. Dominance and discipline with integrity is firm and clear with a kind and loving intention. It is the job of the dominant one giving discipline to ‘take care’ (physically, energetically, emotionally) of the submissive person while they are in surrender. With power comes responsibility.

– Submission: practicing surrender to the dominant person and their desires, being clear about what is / is not okay for one’s own body is key here, having the ability to say no and / or make requests when needed and those requests need to be respected and acknowledged for the relationship to be consensual, the submissive has the most power because they are the ones who decide what is too much and when, typically one wants to feel pleasure and satisfaction from what they agree to
– Sadism:
flogging, spanking, needle play, bondage, knife play, metal claws, candle wax, verbal humiliation, getting pleasure from causing another pain and / or humiliation (the term erotic humiliation lives here)

– Masochism: gaining pleasure from having sensation / pain / humiliation caused or given by another (see sadism above)

POWER
These dynamics are present in relationships because they all involve power. They show up sexually but they also show up outside of sex. Power dynamics are present in relationship whether we are practicing BDSM or not. The piece about BDSM dynamics that I’m most interested in is that all of these practices have an impact on the nervous system. When these practices are done with consent and safety, verbal / emotional agreements, intimate contact, and deep bodily connection they can produce trust building, intimacy, and flood the body with pain-relieving chemicals that can often make one feel like they are “high” without having to use a substance. When these practices are enacted without consent, education, and attunement to the physiological process, people can have confusing and jarring experiences that leave a negative imprint.

One of my most important mentors said to me “look around at the world and see the power and control that is used for abuse. When power is used for love and kindness, that is one of the most healing things anyone can do.”  Once we recognize how to have a relationship with power, we start to see it everywhere. There is much healing to be had in a BDSM – oriented relationship when it’s practiced from a place of integrity.

ACTION
This spring I am offering TWO CLASSES  with a colleague (Melissa Walker) on this topic that rose out of our shared passion for relationship & sex-education. One class is for anyone interested and the second class is for professionals who may be working with clients / patients who come in with questions & experiences about relationships relevant to this discussion. Many people are experimenting with and playing with BDSM dynamics behind closed doors or in groups and it can sometimes catch us off guard as professionals when clients come in and share their most personal stories that are outside our realm of experience. We may find ourselves asking “is that ok? What does that mean?” yet we don’t ask because we’re the professional. I truly believe any counselor or service-oriented professional needs to know about these dynamics and how they show up in order for us to be ethical and well-informed professionals. This can be a place to get education and bring your questions. Please take note of which class you register for.

The class will:
– help you understand what BDSM is
– help you understand what healthy and unhealthy BDSM is
– cover what is safe, sane, consensual and what is not
– cover power dynamics
– help you understand the nervous system’s role in BDSM lifestyle
– identify what your own edges are

Click here for more information on the BDSM classes

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Resourcing In This Time

Gabrielle Roth said “dance is the fastest, most direct route to the truth.”

I like to adapt this slightly to say that movement is the route, as “dance” can be a loaded term. I also find it striking that the word “emotion” has motion in it….So … what is true ? One week into a fascinatingly complex political climate, what is true ? I was recently at a yoga class with Livia Cohen-Shapiro and relished in her reminder that simplicity is one route to truth. Taking a walk is true. Eating a meal is true. Moving our bodies is true. Taking a bath is true. Tending to the young ones is true. Listening to and moving our hips the beat of music is true. The sacred mundane.

This time has produced more care inside of me for my community, loved ones, and every living breathing being. May this be a unifying time where we feel and truly see. My biggest resource in this time has been to keep moving until I am ready to truly rest (truly being the key word). True rest is different than collapse or lying down tossing and turning and thinking the same story while “trying” to fall asleep. When I feel out of touch with reality, I turn on the screen to check out what’s going on. When I feel filled to the brim and frozen in front of the screen, I shake my body and take a break from images and news. When I feel like there is nothing except what I am hearing / seeing / not sure if and what I believe, returning to movement is what I have known to be true.

That being said, I am pissed ! Anger is a natural and congruent response to the current happenings (and honestly, to the injustices that have been going on in this world for centuries). It’s okay to be pissed right now. So, I’ve been angry and I’m still angry. But I know how to move and breathe with anger. And I know how to breathe and move with fear and joy and love and sadness. It is all welcome! Let us keep moving.

What is your resource ?  I would love to hear. We all have different avenues to reconnect to ourselves and we remember this through one another when we forget. Artwork. Writing. Calling a loved one. Therapy. Yoga. Imagery. Reading. Music. Breathwork. Story-telling. Archetypes and myth. The list goes on.

Where does medicine meet self-sabotage ? Often times a resource can also be an interruption of or distraction from health. When does food, substance, exercise, movies and TV, gossip, sleep, whatever I just named above…take us away from what is truly a resource and turn into a way to numb or forget ? This is often a fuzzy gray line, at least in my world it can be. The lasting piece is that the truth is always inside and we are so supported to have limitless guides to lead us there. It can be a challenge to turn inward when the external world is in so much need.

How can you nourish yourself in this time ? How can you take such good care of your body as if you were caring for a vulnerable little one who needed you ? How can you reach out for support if and when the call is there in you ? How can you support yourself to eat well and plenty but not so much that you are stuffed ?  How can you move your body just enough to be tired but not so much that you are depleted ? How can you let your inner voice speak to you and show on the page through color, metaphor and abstract image, and words ? How can you bathe and cleanse your external and internal parts ? How can you remember to stay hydrated, ask for a hug or a squeeze of the hand, yell in the car or under the bath-water and let the tears flow ? Take action when you feel strong and ready to mobilize and speak out ?

My offering to you is the only piece I know to be true. In this society, it is, completely in itself, a RADICAL act of social change to cultivate a loving relationship with our bodies. Thomas Merton said the activist who exhausts oneself does no good at all. 

Your body is a gift, you are a magical being with a body that does incredible things. I give thanks for my body and I give thanks for yours too. Write to me, always, if you need support. I love hearing from you. With love, Alicia

 

 

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Neuroscience & Politics

The Why
I’ve been considering whether to publish this post in relationship to the recent presidential election or not. I finally landed on connecting the two themes in my writing because my work as a psychotherapist involves doing my absolute best to be an advocate and an ally. Now is a time to connect with community and feel support. I know that this election has, for many people on many different levels (including myself), sparked intense emotional, physical, and mental experiences. For me, this experience of the political system is devastating, but not surprising. This country has been suffering from abuse of power and oppression ever since the dawn of The United States. Now it’s more visible. Welcome to reality, we can no longer deny the truth of what we are swimming in. And, what are we going to do with that? How do we orient toward health? One of my most inspiring and helpful links I recently viewed is here.

My Identity
For myself in my identities, the impact has been challenging but not unmanageable. This is due to my privilege and the resiliency I have due to my privileged life and the privilege to have been able to work on myself. I’m white, cis-gender, heterosexual, able-bodied, have Christian privilege because I grew up Christian, and am economically successful enough that I have resources and my basic needs met. And, I identify as a woman and have worked through big blockages that come along with that aspect of my identity and my history with sexuality, professional life, family systems, and relationships.

My Experience
I share this in hopes of normalizing. The evening of and the day after the election, I sat in a half freeze / half resilient space. I felt emotionally dull, slightly anxious, tired and rigid in my body, but I was aware of it and felt regulated enough to feel where I was. The next day, I taught a yoga class and for the first time moved my body. As I led students through movements and invited them into openness and offered space for emotional release, my voice cracked and I almost cried through the rest of my teaching (not a regular experience for me). I drove by Planned Parenthood and felt intense fear for myself and tons of people with bodies who bleed and can carry a baby. My sleep is off, my appetite has lowered, and I haven’t been able to get over a cold for almost two weeks.

This is Why: Neuroscience
The four reactions of the nervous system to an experience that is not tolerable are: fight, flight, freeze, and faint. I saw these reactions coming up all over the place on social media, in myself, in clients, in friends and family. The urge to lash out and fight. The urge to run and leave. The frozen-ness and paralyzing fear. And the urge to check out and disappear. When those responses begin to take over the nervous system, this is where we learn about PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). There’s no judgment there, I’ve had the reactions I listed above and there is a big spectrum to those responses. Even if I didn’t go fully into these responses, my nervous system has been working hard to stay regulated and keep those reactions in check. It takes work.

Fight and Flight
An over-activated nervous system goes into fight and flight. I think of this as upward moving energy. This can manifest in the form of anger & rage, heat in the body, feeling “on edge”, easy to startle, urges to hit / kick / break things / fight / yell, insomnia, clenching in the body, rigidity and tension, digestive pain, chronic pain, anxiety, panic, and more. What I’ve listed is just a window in, I encourage you to find out how this shows itself in your system.

Freeze and Faint
An overly activated nervous system in a downward spiral goes in the opposite direction. Some of the ways this show up in the form of depression, sadness, grief, guilt, shame, sleeping too much, digestive sluggishness, numbness, confusion, feeling disoriented and “not here”, feeling out of body, loss of memory, actual fainting, hopelessness, self-harm and suicidal thoughts or behaviors, and more.

The Relationship between the ” 4 F’s ”
A person’s nervous system will sometimes go between the fight / flight phase and the freeze / faint phase in an up and down wave-like pattern. Sometimes the highs are very high and the lows are very low. Often times the bigger the high, the lower the crash and it becomes a cycle. When we are “outside the window of tolerance”, we are not able to tolerate what is happening in the moment. We are not regulated, not feeling resilient, not present, we are outside of the window of what our nervous system and body and psyche can handle. When we are activated in these ways in our bodies, the frontal area of our brain that is responsible for rational and logical thought is not available. The worse off our nervous system, the less rational and available our frontal brain. The more resilient and regulated, the more rational and logical we are able to be in challenging moments. We all get pushed outside our windows at times. When people have multiple identities that are oppressed and marginalized and / or have had traumatic experiences, there may be a smaller window of tolerance, and rightfully so. Many things can start to feel hard or unmanageable.

Now What?
Skills for regulating oneself are huge here. Basic safety comes first. If someone is not physically safe, there’s no point in “trying to regulate”, it’s inappropriate at that point. A band-aid over a gushing wound means nothing. Once safety is obtained, helping the nervous system to be soothed, calmed, regulated, and to release the stress of the charge can be an outlet.

If Presence is Lost
We all check out at times. If you notice yourself checked out or going towards it or are with someone you can tell is not “here”, bring presence back simply and slowly by:

– look around the room and notice colors and light / shadows
– listen to the sounds around you and the sound of your breath
– wiggle your toes and fingers and bounce your legs a few times (bending the knees)
– sit against a wall and bend your legs enough where you feel your leg muscles come online, take a few breaths
– smell an essential oil
– chew gum or take a drink of water
– squeeze your hands together or lightly tap your legs

There are many ways to do this. To list a few, we may want to contemplate:

– who are my most important support people in my life who I can reach out to at any time? Who I can call, text, email, or be in contact with somehow if I need support. Who can give space and care for all of my feelings and experiences? If I don’t have any, how can I find one (a therapist or mentor, a hotline where I can talk to someone anonymous)?

– what are my body based self care practices that help me feel better?
touch: movement practices, exercise, favorite fabrics and skin based feelings (shower, bath, blanket, cuddling with pets and people that feel safe)
sounds: music, natural world sounds, silence, white noise, pets, favorite person’s voice
visuals: the most nourishing sights either in person or in a photo, the face of a loved one, videos, humor, sports, dance pieces, artwork. Envision someone or something that feels safe to me and meditate on it
scent: favorite soothing scents, food, drinks, essential oils and lotions, flowers, familiar soothing people, natural world scents
tastes: hot tea, cool water, hydrating drinks, comfort food that also helps bodies grounded and nourished, favorite meals and snacks, chewing gum

– how can I tend to my emotions? Where are my safe spaces inside of myself and also people and containers I feel safe with and can go to for processing and releasing my emotions? Where I get to say what I feel and think without being judged or shamed? Journal. Positive internal self-talk. Friends, family, allies, groups, supports in life.

– if I am not able to access my emotions, how do I tolerate my distress? I need to find distractions that can interrupt what I’m currently in so I can put it on pause, use imagery, sensory based self care listed above, positive mental messages, take breaks from drowning by finding a resource. Hold an ice cube. Wash hands and face. Take a cool shower. Push up against a wall and feel the boundary of my body. Take a mental “break” and go somewhere safe in the mind.

When Nothing Works
If none of this lands or helps, it might be time to seek professional help. There is no shame in this, I do it and benefit from it. I am always advocating for getting professional support. Find someone who you know will be safe and open to you. Ask your community for specific referrals if you have a concern or specific need. Find a psychotherapist. A bodyworker who can hold space that is attuned and permissive to your process. A cranial sacral therapist to soothe the nervous system. A support group. If that’s not accessible, call a hotline. Walk into a crisis center at a mental health agency, many are 24 hours (in Boulder and Denver there are 24 hour crisis centers). If you feel unsafe and worried for your own safety due to worries of harming yourself or suicide, walk yourself into a crisis office or an emergency room. Talk with someone. If you need a referral, please write to me with requests. Here are a few numbers, save them to your phone if you feel like they may be helpful so you don’t have to look them up in the moment.

Trans life-line: 877-565-8860

Veterans Crisis Line: 800-273-8255

National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255

National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673

This country has already been in trouble. With any elected candidate, some major issues have been needing attention for years and years. With the results of this election, we are faced with more intensity. It’s worse than many people expected. The question for all of us is, what are we going to do with that?

My Door is Open
If you are in need of support, please reach out. In every way I know how to be, I try my best to be a culturally aware and competent counselor. I would love to offer you support if you are in need. Finances need not be a prohibitive of getting help. I am happy to talk with you or to connect you with someone who will be a good fit based on your circumstance. Blessings and warmth to you in the midst of this process, with love, Alicia

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Podcast with Rebel + Connect

I recently joined forces with Rebel + Connect, an organization that works with remote workers. I am loving bringing embodiment to the world of remote workers.

Listening in here is a way to hear a bit more about me, my personal story, and why I do what I do. To listen to the podcast, click here!

Here’s the podcast intro:
In this episode, Rebel + Connect co-founder Charlie Birch chats with somatic psychotherapist, registered dance/movement therapist, and yoga teacher, Alicia Patterson. Listen as Alicia reminds us about the importance of trusting our gut and listening to our own heart. Alicia discusses her work with intimacy, embodiment practice, and healthy relationships with self and others, as well as how these important concepts and practices relate to staying human in a digital world. Finally, learn how Alicia can be a great addition to your retreat to help improve the success of your remote team.

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback, as always!

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Video #4: KMP Shape Family

I’ve made a video series on developmental movement to go along with the Embodiment Guide I just wrote. This video series will be helpful to help you implement and practice the techniques and models I introduce in the Embodiment Guide. Click here for more information on the guide. Click here to go straight to the video on the KMP Shape Family!

If you missed the first videos, I see them as the foundation for growth in these areas:
click here to view The Bartenieff Fundamentals
click here to view The Satisfaction Cycle
click here to view The KMP Effort Family

The KMP has “families” which lead to different layers of the system. I’m going to review the effort, shape, and space families. After each family, I’d encourage you to take notes about:
– what each family and quality feels like to you
– where your challenges are
– where your strengths / familiar places are
– what feels familiar and what feels new
– your thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and breath

THE SHAPE FAMILY
As we go through the shapes that the body can make, the invitation is to notice the benefits and challenges that each shape can offer. Ultimately no one shape is the winner just like no effort or way of being is good or bad. They balance one another out and give us the opportunity to explore paradox in our system. Notice how these nourish and enliven you! Click here to view my Shape family practice video on Youtube!

The Shapes
– pin (stretch out as long as you can standing up or lying down, pointing your hands upward)
– ball (curl up as small as you can toward the floor)
– wall (open your body up as wide as you can with your feet wide and your arms outstretched to your sides)
– screw (twist yourself up into a curvy screw like shape)
– Try on each shape and take one breath in it. Then see if you can combine the shapes to make one shape go to the next with fluidity.

Shape Qualities: the qualities that each shape can have as they move
– Rising and sinking
– Enclosing and spreading
– Retreating and advancing
– Try on each shape with each quality and notice how it feels to rise and sink, close and spread, retreat and advance with each shape.

Modes of Shape Change: the way a shape can change from one to the next
shape flow is about me and myself, self to self, growing and shrinking (similar to free flow).
directional movement is arc and spoke-like, it is about me and relating to the environment (similar to the direct space effort).
carving is adapting and molding movements, the most complex use of joints, muscles and including adapting, accommodation, sculpting, and interacting with others.

Take a moment to check in with yourself on all of the layers:
– your mental tone and activity
– your feelings and emotions
– your body sensations
– the pattern of your breath

Re-read and “try on” each family in your movement for an experiential learning process.

I would love to hear your feedback! Please feel free to write to me with questions, comments, inquiries, etc. If there is a way I can support you and you feel called, don’t hesitate to ask. Sending all of my support and warmth for your practice!  Until next time, with love, Alicia

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Video #3: The KMP Efforts

I’ve made a video series on developmental movement to go along with the Embodiment Guide I just wrote. This video series will be helpful to help you implement and practice the techniques and models I introduce in the Embodiment Guide. Click here for more information on the guide. Click here to go straight to the video on the KMP Effort Family!

If you missed the first videos, I see them as the foundation for growth in these areas:
click here to view The Bartenieff Fundamentals
click here to view The Satisfaction Cycle

The KMP has “families” which lead to different layers of the system. I’m going to review the effort, shape, and space families. After each family, I’d encourage you to take notes about:
– what each family and quality feels like to you
– where your challenges are
– where your strengths / familiar places are
– what feels familiar and what feels new
– your thoughts, emotions, body sensations, and breath

THE EFFORT FAMILY
The effort family has 8 different efforts and each pair of 2 relate to one another. As you read these, you may want to get up and practice each one. You can also practice on a smaller level with just your hand going through each as you read. Click here to visit the video and practice with me!

Flow
How do I keep going? This is the feeling stage. There is free flow and bound flow.
– Free flow is energy that flows through and out the body, fluent, carefree movements that are difficult to stop in an instant, the movement just keeps on going. Think water-like. No beginning and no end, circular movements. Move with your free flow for a few breaths.
– Bound flow is keeping energy within the body, controlled, restrained, careful, and can be stopped in an instant. There is a more linear and angular style in bound flow. Move with bound flow for a few breaths.

Space
Where do I go? How is energy focused into action? There is indirect space and direct space.
– Indirect space is meandering, multi-dimensional attention, flexible, moving toward an object or area in the space but without direction. If someone were trying to guess where you were going, they wouldn’t be able to figure it out. Move with indirect space for a few breaths.
– Direct space is pinpointed, channeling, honed in, and single-focus awareness in the environment. Find an object and move directly toward it without being aware of anything or anyone else. I want this and that is where I’m going, then move on. Move with direct space for a few breaths.

Weight
What is my impact? This is the force or pressure in a movement. There is light weight and strong weight.
– Light weight is less exertion, delicate, fine, and soft touch. Like you were picking up a baby. Move with light weight for a few breaths.
– Strong weight
is more exertion, forceful, pressured, and body weight makes a big impact. Think of the hulk. Move with strong weight for a few breaths.

Time
When do I need to finish? The attitude toward the duration of an action can be involved here. There is sustained time and quick time.
– Sustained time
is stretching out time, slow, lingering, leisurely, almost like time stops even though it is actually moving. Move in sustained time for a few breaths.
– Quick time involves a sense of urgency, may be startling, staccato beat, fast-paced. As soon as you touch something you’re onto the next one. Move in quick time for a few breaths.

Take a moment to check in with yourself on all of the layers:
– your mental tone and activity
– your feelings and emotions
– your body sensations
– the pattern of your breath

Re-read and “try on” each family in your movement for an experiential learning process.

I would love to hear your feedback! Please feel free to write to me with questions, comments, inquiries, etc. If there is a way I can support you and you feel called, don’t hesitate to ask. Sending all of my support and warmth for your practice!  Until next time, with love, Alicia

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Video #2: The Satisfaction Cycle

I’ve made a video series on developmental movement to go along with the Embodiment Guide I just wrote. This video series will be helpful to help you implement and practice the techniques and models I introduce in the Embodiment Guide. Click here for more information on the guide.

This first video covered The Bartenieff Fundamentals, a practice that I find foundational to the beginning of coming into one’s body. You can view that video on Youtube here.

The second video below is on The Satisfaction Cycle, a model developed by Susan Aposhyan that relates closely to the Bartenieff Fundamentals. This developmental movement cycle brings us further into the psychological aspect and the next phase of developmental movement in the body. The 5 fundamental actions associated with The Satisfaction Cycle (intentionally listed in linear order) are yield, push, reach, grasp, and pull. You can view this video on Youtube here.

This applies to many factors of life in regard to how we surrender, approach, go for, and digest all that we want and experience in life. Use an object available to you to practice this sequence (any object works, this is going to be the object of your desire, set it a few feet out of your reach):

– YIELD: Feel into your body.  Surrender your weight into the floor (lying or sitting on the floor helps). Get heavy. Let yourself see the object of your desire and let yourself have the experience without moving. Check in with all of your layers: your mind, emotions, body sensations, and breath. Ask yourself:
– what is happening in my mind?
– what is happening in my emotional world?
– what body sensations can I name?
– how is my breathing?
– where am I holding on that I can let go?

– PUSH: Begin to feel your weight become active against the floor. Push against the floor and feel yourself pushing the floor away and pushing yourself up from the heavy grounded place you were just in. Practice lifting and coming back down to the ground a few times. Check in with a breath.

– REACH: Only once you feel completely supported by the floor and stable in the action of pushing, begin to reach for the object. Do not grab it yet, just reach and then let your arm pull back into your core a few times. Check in with a breath.

– GRASP:  once your reach is fully extended and you can almost touch the object, you can reach to the max and grasp onto the object. Experience the object with your hand / eyes before you pull it into yourself. Check in with a breath.

– PULL: pull the object into yourself and notice the experience of satisfaction. Experience it fully and notice any senses that are appropriate (if it’s food, smell, taste, and chew slowly before swallowing). Savor this object before you put it down and move onto something new. Fully let go of it before your focus goes elsewhere. Check in with a breath.

I would love to hear your feedback! Please feel free to write to me with questions, comments, inquiries, etc. If there is a way I can support you and you feel called, don’t hesitate to ask. Sending all of my support and warmth for your practice!  Until next time, with love, Alicia

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