Donna Brooks is a somatic movement educator and therapist, Yogi, and embodied meditator who has 35 years of experience teaching, counseling and coaching in movement and the healing arts.

Embodied Inner Ecology

Just as we live in an ecological community made up of the unity and diversity of trees, plants, stones, bodies of water, animals etc..our bodies are a kind of unified ecological community. There is a “me” but there are also the parts of the whole that have their own consciousnesses. 

But how often do we really get to experience that the consciousness of the heart is different than the consciousness of the gut or nerves? (This is not just emotional or metaphorical.) How often do we have a sense of how we reach out or push away affect our nervous systems?  Connecting with what we don’t usually have perception of brings parts of our inner ecology out of the shadows. It also balances energies bringing resilience to our well-being, personal lives and to our work with others.

I just taught a 6 week class on embodying fascia. I would have loved for so many of you to join me because it opened so many new possibilities of moving with ease and integrity and with out pain.

One aspect we focused upon was the relationship between muscle fibers, fascia wrappings and the moment of muscles and bones. We embodied these relationships so they could be experienced and integrated into easier, happier movement. Here is one participant’s experience:

I ran a road race recently on the hard top. Normally that would have left my hips aching for days. But after learning about and exploring the fascial system with Donna, I was able to run using my body in a way that felt light, bouncy, and strong all at once. Best of all, I had no pain in the days to follow.” 

Like animals, it is part of our wiring to be deeply engaged with life, without over thinking, just by experiencing our embodied awareness. This is life affirming. Being embodied takes us deeply  into the proverbial NOW as both the observer and also are deeply and passionately engaged with this life, in this moment.

Try the following experiment and se if you can allow a usually unnoticed part of your inner ecology to rise up. Notice that you can just mentally think about doing it or you can feel it. Is there a difference in your experience between the two? Can you do both?

Try gently back bending and forward bending as if your spine were a tube before you start this experiment ( don’t forget to bend your knees as you bend forward). When you are finished try this flexing and extending again and see if anything has changed.

Reach with mouth towards food. Note how feelings come with this. Notice how it might inspire salivation or appetite.  You are tuning into the consciousness of your gut tube. Can you make a sound from your gut tube. Swallow some saliva and see if you can keep present with the experience as it enters your stomach. How is your stomach? Does it want to be rubbed? Continue rubbing (clockwise ) into the core of your belly around your navel. Realize how wide and deep your small intestine is. Can you feel like it’s rolling around a bit like internal sausages? Down near the ilium of your pelvis on your right side the small intestine feeds into the large. Feel the power of your ascending, transverse and descending colons. Is the quality different than the small intestine. Move, self touch, imagine, in any way that helps you find this alive , inner living system of digestion. Finally, end with your rectum and anus. The anus can contracted expand with it’s sphincter. Notice how this contraction affects your intestinal track. Just explore and look for changes when you are done.

The experience of change, or perceiving something different, simply allows us to become more aware and integrated as a whole. We get stronger, calmer and more flexible in body, mind and spirit as we touch hidden place and become more whole.  

Let that be a light in the darkness of winter.