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I was an actress and performer for many years.
It was my calling and my love for a long time, and while I was immersed in that world, I studied a lot of different teachers and techniques.
One technique that stuck was something called Viewpoints.
Viewpoints has origins in dance and it’s a way for actors and performers to use the current physical environment to inform their inner world. It’s also a way for an ensemble to connect and work together on an energetic level to sync up, build trust, and establish harmony.
(Side note: there are also the Vocal Viewpoints. Pretty cool, huh?)
There are nine Physical Viewpoints:
Spatial Relationship: how far or close you are to someone or something
Kinesthetic Response: the reaction after an interaction with someone or something
Shape: how someone or something looks/exists/takes on a form
Gesture: how someone or something expresses itself
Repetition: how many times the same motion or movement is expressed
Architecture: objects in space and how they affect us (this can be an entire building or a small piece of glass)
Tempo: how fast or how slow someone is doing something
Duration: how long someone chooses to do something
Topography: the path someone will take to get where they are going
Something struck me while writing about Viewpoints in another article: why can’t we use Viewpoints in our daily life to become more aware and present with what we are doing?
Answer: we can!
Viewpoints is a powerful tool because each one can get us back to the present moment through the physical environment. We can use them to help us calm anxiety, stress, tension, and overwhelm—as well as finding more laughter, joy, support, and love. How we interact with the physical world says a lot about our conditioning, our habits, and our point of attraction.
Viewpoints is also an eye-opening observation method. When we start to hone in on each one individually, it can lead to incredible discoveries about ourselves and our own life.
For example, what shape is your body in when you feel stressed? What do you repeat over and over again in your head? What is your tempo when you speak? What is your kinesthetic response when someone is rude to you? How about your spatial relationship? How does it change? What gestures do you make when you are upset, scared, or frustrated?
There is so much we do out of habit or unconscious conditioning. This is a way to become more aware of your behavior and responses.
Since Viewpoints is a physical technique, we can apply it in that way as well.
Angry? Find a gesture or shape that expresses this and repeat it until that energy has moved through you. Don’t like the route you take to work? Change up the topography and see what you discover. Feeling off? Find a piece of architecture that helps you reconnect and ground.
I wish every reader could have witnessed one of my Viewpoints classes, as there was magic, synchronicity, joy, laughter, bursting out in tears, and so much gorgeous energy that filled our theatre. We could sense each other and our movements. We became one.
Another exercise I loved that can help us move energy and become present is Facts and Intuits.
Find a space where you have a good amount of room to walk around.
1. Walk around your space for a few moments to get present. When you feel ready, name facts about your environment or yourself. For example, “I have brown hair,” or “My kitchen has a blue wall.” This brings us back to the present moment and gets us out of our heads. Do this for as long as you need to feel present and in a flow.
2. After naming facts, now it is time to name intuits (or feelings/energy). Continue walking your space and drop down into your root and sacral chakras (base of the spine and right below the belly button). As you walk, start naming intuits. For example, “I feel silly doing this exercise,” or “I’m excited about my dinner with my sister.” Get honest with yourself and deeper intuits will start to surface.
This practice helps us reconnect with what we may be ignoring or not tending to. It also keeps us in our bodies because we must keep pacing the space and keeping everything activated from the neck down.
Notice how your tempo (see what I did there?) changes as you name things. How is your body being affected? If you feel annoyed, say it. If you notice how truly ugly your curtains have been all this time, name it! Remember to start with facts, as this is a good primer.
Viewpoints can be used by everyone, not just performers. Performers are using this technique for a different result, but the effects are the same: more awareness, connection, knowledge, synchronicity, and truth.
Try this: make a gesture that you would normally make if you were really pissed off. Repeat it 20 times with intention. Pause. Notice how you just informed your emotions by doing something with your body. There is a physiological change as we repeat the gesture—our muscles may get tense or fired up, causing us to react emotionally. When we react emotionally, our gesture may become even more expressive.
Talk about the mind/body connection!
Conversely, now make a gesture that you would make if you were deeply in love with someone. Repeat it 20 times. Notice how your body takes shape. What changes? How do you feel now? How aware are you of this in your daily life?
I’m so happy to be able to share this information! It brings back many memories and I realize how much it is still useful and relevant in my life today, being a healer.
May this be of benefit.