Last November I participated in my second Rosen Method Movement Intensive that was held for the first time in Edmonton, AB. My second intensive was even more of an amazing experience than my first! One day I hope to become a Rosen Method Movement Teacher and have a weekly movement class here in Edmonton. My love for Rosen Method Movement (RMM) was definitely not love at first sight however. My first encounters with RMM were filled with confusion and a fair amount of judgment, to be honest. The exercises felt like lame exercise to me and I was a very serious person who did serious exercise. I didn’t understand the value of moving with self awareness or with, heaven forbid, ease. What does that even mean? I remember the teacher telling us that Rosen Movement was not about effort or exercising, that it was instead an opportunity to for us to experience our bodies from the inside out. Sigh…. I resigned myself to the silly exercises because I loved Rosen Method Bodywork ( the training I was in at the time) and the movement classes were a part of the bodywork training program.
Thinking back I have to laugh at myself because I was so very serious and driven, an unrelenting, do it yourself kind of gal! The process of training to be a Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioner changed me immensely. I became more gentle with and accepting of myself. I came to understand that the drivenness that pervaded my being was deeply rooted in childhood abandonment trauma and from literally having to do it all, by myself, a lot of the time. The effects of growing up with an alcoholic mother and no father were reflected in the way I carried myself into the world as an adult. Releasing these patterns took time. There were a lot of feelings and experiences that needed to be allowed and released. Gradually I came to understand and appreciate the movement classes that were a part of the bodywork training; so much so that I even decided to attend a movement intensive after I became a Rosen Method Bodywork practitioner. This was when I really began to experience what moving with ease could do for me.
RMM classes take the participants through all of the ranges of motion of all of the joints in the body in a way that invites the participant to feel what is going on inside their bodies. They are encouraged not to push past their range of what feels comfortable and to stop at the place of resistance in the muscle. Yes, this is the key to embodied self-awareness – do not push past the barriers of our muscles that are holding on. A tight muscle is tight because it is on guard, protecting us. If the tension is acute then the injury (physical/mental/emotional) is recent. If the tension is chronic then the injury (physical/mental/emotional) is old. Pushing past the holding overrides it and actually does nothing to release it. Stoping at the place where we experience our physical limitation or sense of “nope I don’t want to move any further”, is what allows us to feel into the original experience of why we needed to protect ourselves. Allowing the feelings creates the possibility of release and letting go. It becomes possible to experience something other than holding such as openness, space, freedom of movement and wellbeing. RMM classes invite the participants to move with this inner awareness to feel our limits as well as our possibilities.
All this moving about with awareness instead of effort and pushing has made me realize how terribly unkind I can be to myself. Pushing myself to the limit of exhaustion, beating myself up for not getting it right, whatever that illusive “right” is, and of course without question expecting myself to be able to do it all on my own without asking for or needing any help, are all fairly common modes of existence for me. Thankfully this has and continues to change for me! RMM has definitely assisted and supported this shift in my way of living and being and I am so grateful for it. Now I often have the experience and joy of feeling my body move with ease and it feels like I am in the flow of life rather than swimming up stream. I feel like my body is somewhere I enjoy being. I know this may sound weird but I believe that in the past I didn’t really inhabit my body ( in the sense of awareness) most of the time. I would have moments of feeling like I was present and grounded in my body’s experience then I’d be back up in my head trying to figure everything out or out in other people’s experiences trying to manage them or just plain off in la la land. Allowing the experience of what was going on in my body rather than pushing, ignoring or overriding my experience is what has brought me more into the moment. The moment is a place of possibility, of choice and if we are open to it, the freedom just to be. It is from this place then that we can move out into our lives with ease.
by: Cinnamon Cranston, Vice President, R.M.I.C. Inc., Certified Rosen Method Bodywork Practitioner, R.M.T.