On Saturday, October 6th The PlayGround - myself, Katie & Stephanie - lead 12 audience members on a 3-hour hike/performance, entitled Scenic Route 2.0, on Section B of the Billy Goat Trail in Maryland along the Potomac River. We were blessed with a beautiful morning - cool, clear and slightly breezy. In addition to stopping along the path a number of times to share site-specific dance sections, we were lucky enough to have classical singer Allison Hughes accompanying a couple of sections. And while the hike was deeply satisfying in a number of ways I didn't realize the impact of the performance until a little later in the day. After the hike I stopped at a small natural food store to get a snack, which I ate at a small table on the porch of the store. As I sat there I noticed a deep groundedness and calmness I was experiencing in both my mind and my body (is there a difference between the two?). Maybe because we did so much of the hike in silence there was a spaciousness to my awareness, much like after a deep period of meditation. Only infrequently have I experienced this state so clearly. I would like to say that now, as I sit on the Metro this Monday morning, that state of openness and calmness is still fully present, but of course it is not. Though as I remember those moments, both on the trail and sitting on the porch, I can re-sense that state clearly, if less intensely. It is always so satisfying when a performance, either one you see or perform in, stays and lingers awhile. Scenic Route is one of my favorite projects to share and experience.
Below is a video Brian Harris created. He was an audience member that joined us for Scenic Route, though an occasional collaborator. He, quite nicely, captured the feeling the morning.
Scenic Route from Brian Harris on Vimeo.
Breathing is an essential function of the body and the only function that is automatic yet under our conscious control. We normally do not think about breathing, but we can hold our breath or change its rate at will. Breath is an important aspect to our functioning as it is our base-line for living and moving. It is the foundation and ground from which we are able to move, explore, and express. We breath slower when we are relaxed and faster when we are excited or exerting ourselves. When we are stressed or feel threatened we often engage the abdomen muscles and restrict the movement of the diaphragm - our main breathing muscle. This allows us to act, as in the fight or flight reaction. When the diaphragm is unable to fill with air it increases our sense of tension and unease. Unfortunately, people often live much of their daily lives without breathing fully - whether they are stressed, pull their belly in to "look good", or never slow down because they are always on the go. When we do allow our abdomens to relax and take a full deep breath, we let go of our flight or fight response and release our unneccessary tension. It is important to take the time to slow down and truly breathe deeply. With deeper breathing people often feel more relaxed, at ease and in tune with their bodies.
This month, October, I will teaching a Feldenkrais-based workshop at The Spa Room (near Tenley in DC) called, of all things... Deeper Breathing. It is a wonderful intensive for people who want to breath deeper and relax, as well as athletes, performing artists or anyone whose breathing affects their activities. In the workshop we will explore movement sequences designed to allow a fuller use of our lungs and breathing mechanism, and bring greater awareness to how you are breathing. A take home guide will be provided describing the movement sequences learned in the intensive.
The two workshops are Wednesday, October 10th @ 7:30pm, or Friday, Oct. 26th @ 10:15am. For more information or to sign up go to www.sparoommassage.com