Updated: Jan 20
My son is a classic leaving pattern dude. He needs intense physical exertion to keep him present and help him process his emotions and energy - so we gifted him a punching bag over the holidays, since COVID has kept him away from his usual options.
Movement has long been used as a tool by a wide variety of wellness practitioners and average folks to support healing and well-being. Exercise and movement helps to condition and strengthen our muscles, our lungs, and also our minds.
Moving our bodies helps us discharge stuck energy, burn off stress, find peace of mind, and greater clarity. When we move on a regular basis, we typically are able to fall asleep with more ease and also tap into having MORE energy to get through the day.
The type of movement that each of us finds zen in varies. Some love to run, bike, or swim. Yoga is a wonderful way to explore breath, movement, and flexibility. Weightlifting, aerobic exercise, dance, hiking, and any way that feels good are all beautiful ways to experience the joy of being alive in this human body!
One of the most profound movement methods that I’ve engaged in recently is the practice of bioenergetics. By engaging body and mind together these movement patterns can help us dive into chronic areas of tension or uncover areas we weren’t aware that we were holding tight. The practice of bioenergetics encourages the practitioner to move toward areas of discomfort and tension and truly feel it in order to process and release it - often for good.
Think of having tight shoulders, this is where many of us carry stress and tension. Getting a massage or applying a hot pack feels good, but that discomfort typically comes back, and we repeat our cycles of awareness and applying some sort of treatment (or not!).
Through bioenergetics, I’ve personally experienced the release of chronic tension and pain in several areas of my body, long term as well as uncovered areas of tension that I wasn’t previously aware of. When practiced consistently, for 15 or so minutes a day, typically for a week or so, a bioenergetics series of movement helps your body release energetic and/or emotional reservoirs that grow due to our patterns of response to stress.
One of the most simple and USEFUL bioenergetics movements is to stand with your feet slightly wider than hips width apart, so that you can bend your knees, and from the shoulder lift up and then shake down and out your arms and hands. Each time you can allow your knees to soften, acting as shock absorbers, and from the low belly, vocalize - maybe a low grunting noise to help release or vent any frustration or pent up energy. If making sound feels uncomfortable, you can do this exercise without, BUT I highly encourage making a little noise! It might feel silly or awkward at first, but give yourself permission to be free for just 90 seconds. You may find catharsis and incredible peace after sighing, crying, grunting, or even unleashing a lion-like roar!
Give it a go for 2 minutes. You can certainly go for longer if it feels good! My kids like to join in on this one too, and it's a great way to give little ones (and bigger ones) a healthy outlet for their stress and big emotions. After school is a GREAT time to try this together and let them get out the zoomies after holding it together all day!
When you're all done, whether by yourself or with others, take a few more minutes just to sit with yourself quietly and breathe. See what comes up. Ask your body what it wants and needs, and try to honor that.
There are some great resources available for you to check out bioenergetics, and it’s a practice that I incorporate into my one on one work with clients during Integrative Wellness Sessions. One source I personally tap into is the work of Devaraj Sandberg. He has free videos available on YouTube that you can find, in addition to books, and paid sessions and training that you can find on his website.
Moving our bodies is a great way to move through difficult emotional times. It’s one more way that we can truly know that mind and body are connected and must be addressed together as opposed to independently in order to create lasting change and growth.