Friday, February 5, 2010

May All Creation Dance for Joy...

To begin the day ... so sweet.
To rest through the night ... so long.
To be carried thru time in-between
And begin my practice ... strong.
          Steph (words upon awakening)
Several new students joined yesterday's continuing class in Cornucopia. They practiced almost daily with Justin Stone's DVD following their beginning session in the fall until the start of this session. They became better acquainted with the movements. But, asked one, would it help to practice on our own without the DVD?

Yes, it would, I responded. When you watch the DVD, you focus on how the people on the screen are moving; when you practice on your own, you focus more completely on your own movements.

Today I practiced in front of the mirror of my glass patio door ... in darkness. I observed myself as if from a distance: Steph the observer watched Steph the practitioner. The key principle to remember when practicing in front of a reflective surface? Be gentle with yourself.

It can be tremendously beneficial to have a feedback loop, a mirrored image with which to observe and refine your movements. It's something else entirely to allow yourself to be carried away on self-judgment. To observe, notice, and refine bits of your form that can improve through slight changes and adjustments is one thing; to be captured in blame and self-criticism is another.

I'm reminded of Sr. Antonia at our Practice and Retreat last weekend. First, she suggested a change in our movements, then she asked us to move with her, and finally she queried, "Doesn't that feel good?" It did! The flow improved, the Chi circulated more freely, the bodily tension relaxed, and the joy thru movement radiated through the room.
May all things move and be moved in me
     and know and be known in me
May all creation
     dance for joy within me.
               Chinook Psalter
               From: Earth Prayers, p. 364

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