Are You Afraid of Your Body?

Dear Beth,

How do you feel about your body?

People come to me because they hurt, they feel fragile, they feel unbalanced, and they feel anxious about their future. What I find is the many are afraid of their bodies. Often, they have been told by a professional that they “can’t do X anymore” or they “should never do Y anymore.” And I’m not talking about mountain climbing or extreme sports! “My doctor told me never to bend down to the floor before noon.” “My physical therapist told me I could never look up because of my neck.” What? Never see the sky? I think not.

freghtened woman

With all these rules, honestly, it’s no wonder that people are afraid of movement and afraid of their own bodies. They just don’t mo

ve. They are not exploring movement. They have no confidence that they can safely explore movement. They have no confidence that they can learn, grow, and change. As a result, they are left not knowing what they really can do and what they really can’t do. Then, they either move very little; or, when they do move, they exp

erience discomfort and anxiety. Actually, they experience anxiety when they don’t move also.

I am not going to say that injuries or diseases don’t happen. And I am not going to say that we aren’t aging or that our bodies aren’t changing. You can look at me. I sent a selfie of my new haircut to my friend and I asked her who that old lady was in the picture. We are all aging and had our share of injuries. Truth be told, my young clients experience this same fear of movement. It is natural. We have to learn to move again.

beeth ATM

Injuries? Sure I have had my share. Is my memory or balance what it once was? That’s a no, but, I am still confident in my abilities. I know what I can do. I explore what might be difficult. I have the tools to continue to grow and learn. One of these tools would be Awareness Through Movement (ATM). I have been doing this work for so long that I explore without even realizing it.

ATM is how I learn about myself and my body. With ATM, I lie on the floor – or sit in a chair – and do gentle movements that are coordinated to identify habit patterns that might not be working for me anymore and that cause stress. And, guess what? I am not just talking about physical stress; I’m talking about emotional stress, too. These gentle, slow movements work to calm our system. Technically, this work takes us from our “fight or flight” system into our “rest and digest” system. Many of us live full time in our “fight or flight” system. Especially if we have learned to be afraid or anxious about our bodies.

With ATM, we move with safety and efficiency. We learn to let go of excessive muscular holding and tightness. We identify old patterns of movement and gently play with new ones. We move out of our anxiety and into physical safety, emotional safety, comfort, and – yes – pleasure. We actually learn to enjoy movement. We learn that movement can be safe.

We do get older. We do get injured. But we don’t need to stop having fun with movement because of our age or injuries. We stop doing what we love to do because we don’t know how to change with our changing bodies. With ATM, we learn to take care of ourselves. We learn to open ourselves up to a gentle sphere of play and exploration.

How about you? Would you like to move more? Get up and down from the floor with ease? Maybe even jump, roll and play like a child?

My Awareness Through Movement class is every Tuesday at 10:30.
We will begin a new six week series on January 3, 2023
Of course you can chose to sign up for one at a time
You can attend on Zoom or in person.

Come join me for the new year. New movement, new thinking
Enjoy your self.

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