I love Body Harmony for many reasons, one being that it is a whole life approach. Its practice can permeate and settle in the nooks and crannies of life, the daily moments and the big events… a faithful best friend along for the ride. For me, it’s very much like the old Heineken advert; “refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach” – Body Harmony touches the parts other modalities cannot reach.
My ongoing intention is to use the resources available to me through Body Harmony in my daily life.
Sometimes I do:
Softening my touch whilst nursing my dying mother, whilst lifting, dressing, holding her hand – her response was to exhale more easily and an almost imperceptible smile.
Encouraging a friend with two broken legs to focus on the exhale when she was hyperventilating with the pain – she was a singer, so we sang. Her family are also singers and they then all sat around her singing together – in the middle of a horrible event it was a moment of presence and grace.
Practising “going floppy” (relaxing into gravity) with the kids when they can’t sleep and encouraging them to get a 10 out of 10 for “comfort”.
Sometimes I don’t:
Spinning out of present time when emotionally triggered.
Forgetting to breathe in scary situations – dealing with big grumpy horses who were jumping around on the end of their leading ropes recently!
Tilting out of gravity whilst thinking about my “to do” list. It’s endless like everybody’s so if I tilted every time I thought about it I’d be upside down….
The possibilities inherent in my body’s wisdom keep me curious about how to apply that wisdom. When I don’t apply that wisdom, the possibilities of another way keep me hopeful.
Another aspect of Body Harmony that I very much appreciate is that it is an open and evolving system and embraces any useful new information which supports our potential. I found myself revisiting classes from the Vietnam International on neural pathways and my family recently all ate dinner with their non-dominant hand. That was a really fun dinner. The kids were brilliant at it. Us adults not so much!
And the grumpy horses? As panic descended on the second visit, I utilised a recent online class on nasal breathing. Sounding a bit like a cow puffing out of its nose, I breathed only though my nose and it very definitely changed the dynamics. I still ran for the gate once they were all safely in the field, but I could feel a shift and that’s good enough for now.
I asked my Body Harmony colleagues for some of their thoughts on how Body Harmony impacts their lives. Here are their words:
“As an interpreter I sometimes come upon difficult and very emotional jobs and my job is to be neutral and just translate. To stay out of the drama and support myself and the ones I am translating for. I pay much attention to grounding my feet, aligning my spine and how I am breathing. When I don’t remember this, it can be quite hard.
In my yoga classes I show structure and alignment and try to encourage the students to find the alignments that correspond to their own body which may often be a bit different from the posture demonstrated.
In dance classes, I support students to find new possibilities in movement. Finding the space of awareness between a stiff and a collapsed body.
The way I hug my mother especially when she’s upset. I hold her softly in my arms until her shoulders go down and her breath is smoother.”
Marie (BHA Teacher)
“Body Harmony is absolutely a part of my daily life. Being present with what I’m doing in the moment, not wanting to change things for the sake of changing but for the sake of presence, of beauty and love.”
Barbara (BHA Teacher)
“Since moving to Spain, 9 years ago, I have been mixing physiotherapy and Body Harmony in a new way. It is amazing how I can utilise physiotherapy techniques with a Body Harmony approach to support and achieve what my clients want. I guess it’s our approach to our clients, as Body Harmony practitioners, that makes it work so well.” Eva (BHA Teacher)
“My first experience of Body Harmony was in a five-day Masterclass with Don McFarland in Glastonbury a few years ago. I have a mind that likes to simplify things and I’m happy to share that I took but one sentence away with me from those five days. Don said it to the practitioners while they worked on their clients. It was this: “You are following the tissues unwinding.”
I had had a long history of doing bodywork, and even though my manipulations had grown ever more sensitive over the years this sentence came as a bit of a revelation. Because it meant, to me, that the body WANTS to unwind. I had got so close yet failed to realise this essential tenet of Body Harmony – that when you meet the tissues in the right way, they will do all the work.
I always try to remember this in my own body culture/care, but I am not as good at it as I would like to be.
Yet one thing I’ve learned about insights is that they enter very peacefully, and never leave.”
Robin (BHA Practitioner)
“For me I think the core tenets never leave you…to listen, respond, respectfully suggest. It is how I approach exercise, work, interactions with people, how I manage expectations with myself. I think there is a very natural gentle language in the approach of Body Harmony and I think this is found in the subtleties and nuances of life.” Dale (BHA Teacher)
Wishing you the fun and excitement of body wisdom application and a happy and hopeful 2021.
Certified Practitioner & Teacher