It was a beautiful Fourth of July weekend and I was at an epic campout.
Beautiful people, inspired music, at a site that—three years ago—weʼd nicknamed ‘A Raver Runs Through It’ because that old mining town happened to have the best river in history.
And I was pregnant.
Five months pregnant, to be exact. So not exactly ‘news,’ but definitely far enough along that my entire experience of what a three-day dance party/campout on a river should be, was fundamentally changed.
I was going to sleep every night before midnight and waking up early in the morning to do the dry scrubbing detox routine that evaporated out the swelling that was a side product of creating a little human. Then, Iʼd start the daily routine of exercise that carried my body through those months. Moving the spine back and forth on gravity, clasping my hands behind my neck and beginning those beautiful, undulating spinal motions that clear the energy flow of the body. Yes, Gyrokinesis practice. The end all, be all for a happy spine.
The first day I had a little group moving with me. We did about 30 minutes all together, then they went off to eat breakfast and I finished with some ‘standing series.’ But by the second day, I was flying solo. (Remember, we were at a camp out and the best DJs were all on deck after midnight.
So I took my practice down to the river and found the perfect rock, just tall enough to sit on so that my legs were cascading off my spine and into the water, in a location where the sun seemed to be shining everywhere but into my eyes. So I began.
Marrying the breath with the movement, exhaling to bring my intention forward until it moved my flesh and then inhaling to take it all back in, opening up the hairs on the back of my neck. Soon I was in the full glory of movement; spine undulating, arms swimming upstream, embracing nature and the air around me.
That was when I realized that something was profoundly different about this experience.
Up until then, I had been practicing inside at my studio and when my energy grew—when the movements increased their intensity and their power—I would feel the energy in the studio grow; feel myself growing. But here, in nature—feet draining into the river and arms slipping through the breeze—the stronger my connection was, the less I existed. Nature was embracing my practice and taking me in, and the rhythm created was one that was in harmony with all the universe; not only myself and my thoughts.
By the end of ‘class,’ I was invisible. Completely at one with nature. I was transcendent, along with being transparent, and it was difficult to tell where my feet ended and the water began.
From that point on, I’ve made a point of practicing in nature whenever possible. The pain in your body, the limitations you experience, all shift when you are in nature. We define our movement very much by what we see. When we see the ceiling, we believe that we are arching (whether or not that is the case, however, is a different story), and we also set our limitations based on where our vision hits.
But when your eyes are following that eagle in its flight, you’ll spiral like you never have before. Reaching your feet into the ground is profoundly different than just reaching them through the floor. The ground is intelligent, it responds. It gives way beneath you and asks you to not only ground into it, but to root.
Connecting to the earth is one of the best things you can do. Try it.
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Assistant Editor: Christina Lorenzo / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s own, Flickr/Wendy smkybear