Snippet Blog #4 - It Can Do A Backflip, but Can It Hold Down a Desk Job?

I am excited to share this fun article written by one of my classmates in my first Module at the Laban Institute of Movement Studies. Amy is a unique woman, combining her love of dance and robotics to bring a unique perspective to both!

I love how, in this article, she brings to light the complexity of what we think of as the simplest of our everyday human movements - from unsticking a label from itself to choosing how to respond to an inappropriate joke!

She asserts what I too know to be true: you, yes, even you who do a desk job and believe you avoid any sort of exercise or physical activity can make claim to the quite incredible and complex things that you do EVERY day with your body. You are often doing intricate amazing things that you may not yet understand or, often, even value.

I especially love the line "this requires leveraging your full mechanical complexity to indicate shades of approval and disapproval simultaneously." Yes, folks, the way you express yourself is also movement.

Living one’s life as a moving, functional, expressive being requires a set of skills that, for the most part, we developed through responding to biology, reacting to the environment and practicing patterns and conditioning in our every day interactions! And while, like robots, we can simply follow our programming without question, as humans we have the capability of exploring the possibilities beyond what we have learned in the past. As humans, we have the capacity to develop consciously an extensive range of versatile competencies that we can choose to explore, refine and challenge as we live our daily lives fully. Unlike the robot programmed for a specific task, we (and our lives) are complex . You could say that we are “programmed” for growth and change!

We get to choose. Being human means we can be like the robot, adept at functional, repetitive, patterned movement that requires a narrow set of rules and conditions. Or we can be fully complexly human, taking risks, making conscious our habits, exploring the places where we are no longer or not yet competent, playing with options and possibilities! As humans, we have the capacity to continually deepen and expand our expressiveness, our variability, our resilience! Unlike the robot, we always have the option to be curious and to question our “programming”…and sometimes this can mean, simply, taking the time to be curious and to notice what is involved as you pick up a paperclip or negotiate an uncomfortable moment in a conversation.

What Do You Do and What Can I Expect?

The title of this blog is a question I have heard in various forms over the last year.  "What is it you do?"  and "What can I expect if I come to one of your events?"  It is not uncommon for me to hear from folks that they find my work interesting and intriguing, but are reluctant to take part because they aren't sure what will be expected of them.   I understand this hesitancy to show up for something that seems new and, possibly, foreign.  I also know well that those who have overcome this fear and joined me in my various workshops have reported to me that they have had valuable and unique experiences that have then rippled through many aspects of their lives.   

SO, if you are one of these folks, intrigued by me and my work, but a bit hesitant to join in any of the many events I offer, please know that I have created this blog and the list of guidelines shared at the end especially for you.


My theory is that what I do is confusing because I do NOT offer a recognizable structured movement modality.  Movement opportunities offered in our culture, especially in the Mid-West, tend to be more structured and formalized like Swing Dance, Yoga, Belly Dance or Tai Chi or they involve some sort of sport or exercise regimen.  People seem to understand movement classes as a way to learn a specific movement modality for a defined purpose. For me participating in these practices is similar to putting together the contents of a Lego kit that was designed by someone else and has all the necessary parts to build a specific thing like a rocket ship or a barn.  In this sort of movement experience we are invited to learn the pieces and how to put them together in a fashion to get the end result specified by the modality or the teacher. This can be very rewarding.  Each of these movement forms I listed are all great opportunities to move!  I enjoy doing all of them. I know many wonderful people who practice and teach these forms.  They can be fun and valuable exercise, wonderful to watch and to be a part of.  All of this is true, however, this is not the kind of movement opportunity that I offer.


My education and the underpinning of all I offer is based on Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). LMA is a framework of movement, rather than a specific movement modality.  With the tools of LMA I can observe, analyse and explain any movement.  Because of my intensive training with instructors who are highly trained professional dancers, performance and martial artists as well as yoga and pilates instructors, I have the skill to create and teach structured movement with specific consistent actions, but this is not the way I generally choose to share my extensive training.  As Embodiment, I create and facilitate opportunities for you to explore yourself as a mover.   Because in my workshops the movement is about you, your choices, your desires, your attitudes, your environment, your abilities and your limits, it makes space for the experience to be uniquely rich, healing and exciting as well as unpredictable and sometimes uncomfortable.  My workshops are intended to support you as you LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF IN MOVEMENT, not teach you any specific actions or set of actions.  To continue the Lego metaphor from above, the movement events I offer are more like showing up to an event to discover Lego pieces from hundreds of different kits in piles all around the room.  Imagine being invited and supported to create something from all this possibility!  As you select and build and try things out, imagine being led to notice the themes or possibilities within the piles, and then invited to notice and be curious about the patterns of your choices within all of this!  Imagine then being invited to notice your experience of the act of making choices, noticing patterns and of creating something new with the information you have received from me, from the other participants and from yourself within the experience!  Imagine what you might discover!  This is a more apt metaphor for what I offer as Embodiment LLC.  My workshops are opportunities for you to practice in a safe, supported environment different ways of moving and being in your life! 

To help understand the diversity of the possible experiences you can have if you choose to work with me, let me give you a brief overview of some of the movement forms that I have created and currently offer: 

  •  Express Yourself and Wild Women Wednesdays are more concept-driven events in which a criteria, intention or direction is given as a guideline.  This intention determines how we will explore and what we will create together.  As the names indicate these forms are more about exploring your personal creativity and expressivity.
  • Mindful Move Groove and Movement Fundamentals invite you to more closely examine and explore your physical movement choices - what are the parts you tend to use, how do they fit together, where do they go in space and how can you most efficiently move in the way you desire.  In these forms I offer a blend of education, exploratory movement and choreographed movement sequences.
  • Tranceformotion and Meditation for Every Body offers opportunities to explore Spirit and Embodiment using different healing traditions, such as mindfulness and trance work.
  • In some of the movement forms I have created and offer we start with a more formalized structure, like Yoga, meditation, drumming or Tarot, and then together we take the structure apart piece-by-piece to learn more about the whole.   
  • In the individual sessions I offer, we can explore any and all of these routes, depending on your needs and interests.

I hope that this helps to answer the question of what exactly it is that I do and what you might expect if you show up to one of my offerings.

Please know that I am also willing to take time to meet with you to talk about what I offer and what might be valuable to you personally; however, know that what I offer is experiential, so words will only give you a limited view into the experience!  For you to understand what it is we do in an Embodiment event will require you to join in, (and also be aware that your unique presence will, in turn, influence the experience of the event for all involved!)


If you are still feeling curious but hesitant, I have shared a list below of guidelines established by me and some of my regular participants.  I regularly update these guidelines because I believe that curiosity and learning thrive best when we know the boundaries and social "rules" of our environment and those can only be determined by the folks involved.  Below is the most current list of what is asked of those who take part in any of the various Embodiment events:

  • Suggestions offered or prompted by the facilitator or other participants should be viewed as invitations intended to INSPIRE and SUPPORT you in deepening the process of you of being you, rather than as demands or commands.
  • Be curious.  Ask questions - of the facilitator, of yourself, of others.
  • Allow yourself to experience your sensations for the sake of the sensations.  Be with them. Move with them. Try to not make a story about them. Be with them.  Move with them.
  • Remember that PERFORMING is NOT being AUTHENTICALLY you.  Be curious and share with yourself and with each other, but if what you are doing begins to feel like performing, the suggestion is to stop, sit down, make it smaller, take a breath, decrease the intensity, find gravity or take whatever action you need to shift back into yourself.  The act of not knowing what to do next can be powerful.
  • Remind yourself that the act of Breathing IS Movement!  Sometimes being fully present with our breath is the most powerful action we can take.
  • Notice if you have a persistent desire to express yourself through verbal communication and invite yourself to resist it, to check in with your experience of your sensations and allow the desire to express connect into and out of you without words.  This might be movement.  This might be sound.  This might be stillness and silence.
  • If you start to experience exhaustion, frustration or demoralizing thoughts, change something.  Change your position. Move yourself into a different level or place in space. Find a new body shape. Adjust the size and/or intensity of your action.  Stop. Breathe. Find your support. Allow yourself time to recuperate.
  • If your experience of being in the present moment has become difficult, uncomfortable, fatiguing, irritating, or overwhelming and you are unable to transition or transform the experience on your own, communicate your need for support to the facilitator or to another a trusted person in the room.
  • Don’t:
    • Push through it just to accomplish it.
    • Ignore sensations and internal information.
    • Fake it until you make it.  
    • Apologize for having your experience or being you.
  • DO Notice.  Notice. Notice:
    • your relationship to your Breath
    • your places of support
    • what is happening withIN you
    • what is happening OUTSIDE that you can see, hear, smell, taste or feel on your skin
    • what is happening INSIDE of your mind that is not actually happening in the present moment
    • your curiosity.  your joy. your reluctance.  your desire
    • your patterns - of thought, of response and of action
  • Give yourself permission to be curious, to take a risk, to be safe, to inquire, to try new things, to say no.


Please join me.  I am passionate about this work because movement IS life.  My own experience with LMA has given me so many tools to be more present, to experience and move with my life, in dance and in every day activities, with the glory and the challenges.  I look forward to sharing this framework with you in whatever ways interest you and in supporting you as you move more fully in the ways you desire to move in your life!

What is Embodiment? A coffee and conversation talk

This morning I share my thoughts on the topic "What is Embodiment" at a local free Saturday morning event called "Coffee and Conversation."  Here are the notes that I have prepared along with this previous blog entry. 

As embryos, fetuses, and infants we did not have thoughts or emotions as we have them as adults.    We began as an organism, a collection of cells, with sensory receptors and movement.

Our movement abilities formed from amoeba-like to the most complex of walking, jumping and running as a naturally organized process of development in response to the information we received from our environment through our sensory receptors.

Given this, embodiment is…the sensory experience of breathing and of our weight on the Earth, of pressure, texture, temperature, light, smell, sound, taste and rhythm.   These are all the things that prompted us to move in the earliest days of our existence in the body we are in.  We experienced a sensation and we responded or reacted, in pleasure or in pain, in response to comfort or discomfort.

Then we learned words.  Words give a symbolic form to our experiences, a way to communicate sensations, thoughts and emotions.  Words are valuable and words can be spoken from an embodied perspective, but words are not themselves embodied.  Similarly sensory and emotional words are just labels, not things themselves. Emotions are actually a collection of sensations we associate with a specific experience.

The map is not the territory.” A. Korzybski 

We learn, as individuals, and have learned, as a culture, to override the sensory information of our body for many reasons.  Pain.  Traumatic events we witness or experience.  Devaluation by other people’s words or actions.  Descartian split of mind from body. Some religious beliefs, especially dogmatic Christianity.  Consumerism that views sensations as something to market to.  Capitalism that views sensations as a nuisance, diminishing the value of the workforce.  Incompatibility between the design of our sensory systems & the sensory information in our environments.

My perspective is that the result is overwhelm, anxiety, depression, disease, disconnection from ourselves, each other and the Earth.  And that a  regular practice of noticing, deepening, inviting, enhancing embodiment is healing and powerful, in all ways.  This includes breath awareness, sensory awareness and conscious movement exploration to re-pattern what we have learned, as young children and into adulthood, about our body.


Everybody has a body...so what is embodiment?

Good morning, community -

What is Embodiment?

Having dedicated my life eight or so years ago to this concept and having called my business by that very word, I had thought I knew what I meant by the term “embodiment”.  That was until a few months ago, when a client asked me,

“Everybody has a body...so what is embodiment?”

After tripping over my tongue several times and uttering a handful of disconnected, graceless, grasping fragments of thought on the matter, I began the journey of finding a way to express in words what I knew and know in my body.

Embodiment is a practice.  It is a sense of self and a sense of the world that one can have in one’s everyday life with practice.  Without practice, I believe it is the rare adult human, especially in what is known as the “civilized” world, who has access to this way of being.

What Others Have to Say

One of my mentors Susan Aposhyan of BodyMind Psychotherapy (http://www.bodymindpsychotherapy.com/) defines embodiment as “the moment to moment process by which human beings may allow their awareness to enhance the flow of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and energies through their bodily selves.”  This is the working definition that I started with in my quest but I want more than this basic description of this concept for my purposes here.  I have found that the written word often, at the worst, falls flat and, in the best of situations, struggles to satisfy my understanding of embodied concepts.  Nonetheless, this is the challenge I have asked of myself, and so I go deeper.

Moshe Feldenkrais (http://www.feldenkrais.co.uk/w-moshe.html) has been noted to have said, “Movement is life  Without movement life is unthinkable.”    In the introduction of his first published writings on movement, Mastery of Movement, Rudolf Laban (http://www.embodimentllc.com/about-laban-movement-analysis/)   said, “...movement evidently reveals many different things.  It is the result of striving after an object deemed valuable, or of a state of mind.  Its shapes and rhythms show the moving person’s attitude in a particular situation.  It can characterize momentary mood and reaction as well as constant features of personality.  Movement may be influenced by the environment of the mover.”  Embodiment is, for me, being open to and conscious of the process of all of this.

My Thoughts on Embodiment

Embodiment is the moment to moment process of moving and being moved with awareness.  It is noticing the inner impulses and outer information that prompt or inhibit movement.  

Embodiment is not just how one moves, nor is just about what one moves or where one moves the parts.  It is a daily practicing of noticing how, where, when and what one chooses to move or not move, whether consciously or unconsciously.  It is be aware of the initiating factor(s) and the why of the choices made in response to those prompts.

Embodiment is not only relevant in applications of movement such as dance, or in mindfulness-enhancing activities like yoga.  It is not only important in the large, grand movings through space.  Embodiment is not a buzz word for some new fad only available to those with money or privilege or education in professions such as counseling or dance or acting.   Embodiment is a life practice.  I would say it is a practice that supports health in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the body. It is the basis for resiliency in relationships to all of one’s environment, not only with that which is human or that which lies outside of one’s skin.   Embodiment can deepen one’s relationship with all aspects of one’s life:   everyday tasks, social justice issues, one’s spiritual path, interacting with one’s partner and co-workers, with communication, with creativity, with lovemaking, with doing the dishes.  The list is only as long as your desire to be curious.

Embodiment was a gift given to us and is intrinsic with our early development.  It is a birthright that, for most of us, was then dis-encouraged and, in some cases, even demonized.  

I am here to tell you, however, that I know that Embodiment is a practice and a process that every human can access, if they so choose.

Everybody has a body.  Not everybody chooses to embody it.  Embodiment is yours for the claiming.