Embracing Change with an Open Self

Laban Movement Analysis: Embracing Change with an Open Self

With the New Year come numerous resolutions to be healthier, to lose weight, and to find more balance in our hectic lives.  I know I have been pondering such things the last few weeks.  BUT, resolutions can also be accompanied with disappointment and discouragement.  Many of us make unrealistic goals, joining expensive gyms, cutting out ALL of the yummy treats we love to eat and more.  (Okay, as I write this, I am feeling like I should speak for myself…)  I have certainly been contemplating all of what I want to accomplish and change in this year.

The first change I have already been committing to the past couple of weeks is the reintegration of my body and mind, an attempt at finding balance in my whole self and my life.  With this, I have decided NOT to make a resolution that can discourage me as the year progresses. I have chosen to hold an open mind and heart to revisit and highlight a few principles based on my own LMA studies.

I thought I would share a few here to inspire all of us to embrace the hope accompanied with the possibilities of change.  After all, change is the only constant in movement and in life. (I guess that means that movement IS life, but we knew that already…)

Exertion/Recuperation Rhythms

This is one of my favorite ideas in the LMA work.  Each of us has our own exertion and recuperation patterns that play out in our lives.  We fluctuate between the two constantly, each day, each week, each month.  When I say exertion, I don’t necessarily mean exerting our bodies to the limit in the way a cardio workout may exert us.  Exertion can be anything:  taking care of kids all day, teaching classes, sitting at a desk.  Eventually, with each of these, we all feel the need to recuperate.

Perhaps after a day of children, a hot cup of tea and relaxation is desired, after teaching for long periods there tends to be a need to absorb knowledge or take in rather than outpour information.  I like the example of sitting at a desk because we all know how good it feels to stand up, stretch and walk around.  All of us have different habits of exertion and recuperation.  I know that I tend to exert, exert, exert and then find a need for intense recuperation.  At times that may be useful and at times it may keep me from being balanced.

I hope to hold this idea in my thoughts for the next year to build my awareness of my own personal exertion and recuperation cycles.  I encourage you to do the same, without judgment.  Exert when you need to exert and most importantly, take the time to honor recuperation.

Stable State

I am HERE.  That is what it feels like to embody Stable State to me.  I (Weight) am HERE (Space).  I (and my sense of self) am HERE (as I acknowledge the space around me).  One of the larger categories to explore in the LMA system is Effort.  Effort is the color of our movement, the dynamic, the energy we express when we embody our lives.  Within Effort, there are various configurations and phrasings of   Weight, Time, Space and Flow.  (I won’t take the time to dive into Effort here but I encourage those interested to search the rest of this site for more information on this fascinating aspect of the system.)

Stable State is the combination of Weight and Space.  I often find that the combination of Direct Space Effort and Strong Weight helps me find my grounding.   When the rest of my life seems to be wavering, I can find solace in Stable State, literally. There have been times that I have gone into the studio just for that.  I have rediscovered this within my yoga practice recently and I want to recommend this to all of us.  When things seems crazy try to embrace your Strong, Direct self and it may just help get you through.

Head Tail

Spiraling, Swimming, Undulating, Extending, Articulating.  I could go on forever about how amazing it feels to have a completely mobile Head Tail, free of tension, free of pain, free of injuries and trauma. There seems to be nothing more important in my body at the moment.

First of all, let me clarify.  When I say Head Tail in this context, I AM talking about the Head Tail Pattern of Total Body Connectivity BUT I am also talking about the actually anatomy, all of the many bones, muscles, and tissues that make up our head, tail, and everything in between.  While it is important to remember that our Head Tail can be stable AND mobile, I am finding the need for more mobility in my everyday (non-dancer) life.  Those days that are the hardest also tend to lead me to a Head Tail with little openness and much tension and restriction.  I think all of us hold onto things and unknowingly place them into our bodies, often times to be found in our Head Tail (lower back pain, tight shoulders, etc.).

So, what should we do? MOVE! I always say it but I will say it again. Our bodies are made to move.  It is so easy to forget that in this culture.  When you feel stress creeping into your neck….MOVE.  When lower back pain starts up again…MOVE.  When everything just feels stuck or static…MOVE.  I have been reminded how much of my life can feel more positive, more open, or just plain less painful with simple Head Tail spirals, undulations, or extensions.  This may be the number one thing I want to take with me into the new and improved 2022.

You may notice that many of the above ideas serve me in times of chaos when life is the busiest and balance seems to be fleeting.  As I try hard to hold these ideas with good intentions in my life, I also hope that you remember these or any other methods that will bring you peace, balance, and depth to your days.

I would, as usual, love to hear any part of the system that helps you maintain balance and positive energy in your daily life.