Play with yourself. Often.

Reclaiming movement as your own.

by | May 12, 2018 | Embodiment, Exercise, Health, Movement |

Recently, I’ve been playing with myself. Not because I have to, but because it feels good.

At first I started to play with myself as an experiment – for plays sake. Increasingly though, I’m seeing how play is an important part of nourishing the body and soul with movement, that requires less discipline and force than committing to any kind of practice or regime.

When a practice calls you to discipline, part of the challenge seems to be about working through the resistance of ‘having to’. Or that the end goal of movement and exercise so fetishised by those in the health industry, seems so distant, unrealistic and unattainable, that the familiar bench on the sidelines and a Netflix fix seems a far easier and familiar place to be.

Life under capitalism has become a quest for health. Health is the ultimate commodity and the body a locus of constant surveillance, projection and commercialisation. To facebook or instagram is to be bombarded with moving images of the super flexible, ultra defined, established and capable duracell deities, springing effortlessly from one calisthenics training to the next hot yoga class. Bending into impossible disk slipping positions and exhibiting perfect silhouettes backlit by HD sunsets and postcard glades. The increase in use of the flying drones to capture all of this bounty and body beautiful in panoramic, produces an online carousel of movement and exercise resembling a National Geographic fantasy; at an intimidating distance for many of us.

‘The increase in use of the flying drones to capture all of this bounty and body beautiful in panoramic, produces an online carousel of movement and exercise resembling a National Geographic fantasy; at an intimidating distance for many of us.’

Don’t get me wrong, power to them – but I can’t help but notice how sometimes the ‘inspiration’ central to the marketisation of health often seems underpinned by the implicit notion that where you are is shit, all of your choices up until now have been shit and the only way to be less shit is to move your lazy arse.

Shame is a toxic emotion. It’s worth bearing in mind that those of us who may have been over exposed to shame in our lives may be hyper vigilant, so as to perpetually screen our environments for anything or anyone looking to shame us. We may even misinterpret the good will and intention of a campaign or advice sometimes because of this sensitivity. It’s how we’ve learned to hold ourselves and survive, you know? In that sense, pitching from a place of comparison and critique to inspire people to movement and well-being, to people whose de-motivation or indeed disability, is contingent on a history of trauma or complex experience, risks entrenching behaviours of avoidance, disassociation, procrastination, isolation and self medication. To name a few. Indeed, a whole array of defences that help to avoid or reduce shame that take up so much cognitive juice that the likelihood of us engaging with any kind of healing protocol or regime is massively reduced.

‘In that sense, pitching from a place of comparison and critique to inspire people to movement and well-being, to people whose de-motivation or indeed disability, is contingent on a history of trauma or complex experience, risks entrenching behaviours of avoidance, disassociation, procrastination, isolation and self medication.’

Beyond all the ways touted as the way you should move, what is it essentially about movement that is important? For me it is feeling, escapism, joy, expansion, connection and flow. It’s about the possibilities that are defined through my play and immediate capability, with any hope for innovation created through the joy of further play. Not necessarily disciplined practice, or impatient instruction.

‘Folding into a more structured routine of posture afterwards is a pleasure – at that point I want to work with my body. I have re-claimed it again.’

In playing with myself these last few weeks, I have attempted to get back to that. I have rolled my yoga mat out but not fought with the resistance of practicing because I should do or need to, Instead I have danced free-flow into practice in the most non-violent and seductive way possible. Ahimsa. I have enjoyed playing with dance and video. Holding space for myself and capturing it visually, whilst I drop down into some of the sounds that work up through my flesh to make it intangible; so that I can embrace internal quietude, suspended in the pure rolling energy of my environment, which shifts and is oriented by my breath and by my intention. By recording my dance and watching the footage, I create a container for myself beyond prescriptions of how a vital and strong body should look, and instead marvel at how my body looks and moves when it is animated by the joy of feeling through the freedom of music and improvisation. Folding into a more structured routine of posture afterwards is a pleasure – at that point I want to work with my body. I have re-claimed it again.

‘By recording my dance and watching the footage, I create a container for myself beyond prescriptions of how a vital and strong body should look, and instead marvel at how my body looks and moves when it is animated by the joy of feeling through the freedom of music and improvisation.’

Move as play. Create your own ways to move that are about your satisfaction. Enjoy yourself as you move in the ways that you shape and define. Feel in your movement and re-connect with the reasons that we are made to move. Movement can be the source of sublime pleasure and a point of re-connection to the dance of energy that is the real. Re-claim it.

 

Darren @ AlchemyFlow X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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