by Susan Post
Our posture and overall movement has a great effect on our health. From an office worker hunched over a computer keyboard at a desk job to an athlete performing at an all-star level, any individual can benefit both mentally and physically from exploring body movement.
Body movement practices come in a variety of forms, from a more educational approach to dancing, but all serve to integrate the mind and body. Trained professionals across Central Ohio are helping people achieve fundamental change by sharing their practices, and with a variety of options, anyone can find a technique that fits their needs.
David Nesmith (Alexander Technique)
While it might seem contrary to the practice of body movement, “The essence of the Alexander Technique is actually in our thinking,” says certified Alexander Technique instructor David Nesmith. “We learn to change our minds in constructive ways. What differentiates the Alexander Technique from other somatic disciplines is, first of all, that it is educational – not a treatment – and we emphasize learning how to exercise ‘free won’t’, our powerful, built-in neurological-based means for saying ‘no’ to what doesn’t work for us.”
The hands-on approach provides students with a different option for movement outside of their normal habits.
“Those who regularly practice Alexander report an improvement in general health, as well as better posture, consistent energy, better coordination and more resiliency when they do get sick,” Nesmith says. The practice is best suited for individuals in fixed-posture occupations, like computer users or musicians.
Jill Hetterscheidt, Kathy Anthony (Nia Technique)
Maybe you want to really get your body moving? Nia Technique combines nine different movement forms, including tai chi, tae kwon do, aikido, jazz, modern and Duncan dance, yoga, Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais Method.
“Nia focuses on flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability,” says Certified Nia White Belt, Jill Hetterscheidt. “Nia gives people a wide variety of ways to move.”
During the 55-minute class set to music, dancers practice 52 basic movements that focus on every part of the body, including base, core and upper extremities. The total body workout can alignbones and engage muscles, tendons, ligament and organs, all while encouraging participants to engage their senses as well and feel what is right for them.
“Nia can be done by anyone,” says Certified Nia Green Belt, Kathy Anthony. “Any age, any physical limitations, as well as the most seasoned athlete. Your workout can be as athletic as you want to make it, or a softer, gentler workout. You get to choose, depending on your body and how you feel in any given moment.”
Whether it is their first class or their 100th, dancers feel the benefits. “Often in their very first class, many people feel immense joy and / or release of emotions by connecting to their body in a positive way,” Hetterscheidt says. Anthony says continued practice can bring ease to a person’s whole being, allowing the body to move with more comfort.
Karyn Deibel (Trager Approach)
What if moving your body could help you experience deep relaxation, increased mobility and mental clarity? These satisfying benefits are all possible through the Trager Approach.
“The Trager Approach is based on the premise that discomfort, pain and reduced function are physical symptoms of accumulated tension that result from accidents, weak posture, fear, emotional blockages and daily stress,” says Certified Senior Trager Practitioner Karyn Deibel. “It focuses on reducing these unnatural patterns of movement and eliminating neuromuscular tension by using gentle, rhythmic, rocking motions.” Trager assumes a more passive experience where clients comfortably lie down and the practitioner moves their body.
While many seek the treatment to find increased joy and wellness, the practice can also ease or help manage a number of other conditions such as aches and pains, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, emotional trauma, depression and stress.
Deibel recommends that clients receive sessions as often as they would like and can afford. Like other types of body movement, the results are more beneficial the longer a person practices.
So retrain your brain or dance to your heart’s content, these body movement techniques connect mind and movement, bringing a sense of flowing well-being to everyday life.
Susan Post is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus. She enjoys writing about her city and the people and places that make it special. Contact her at Susan.Post.firstname.lastname@example.org.