Maria Skinner

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Archive for March, 2015

Grounding

Maria LightGetting Grounded: What is it and why do it?
Although the concept of grounding may have an esoteric ring to it, the practice itself is the most practical act you can imagine. As someone who moves a lot, I see this practice as the way to begin any kind of movement practice or anything at all.  It is the way in which I consciously get into the body and into the present moment so that I can get the most benefit and pleasure from what I am doing.

Grounding is about sensing the ground under my feet and the support it gives me. The simplest way get there is to pay attention the my breath and to the support from underneath, be it under my feet if I am standing, a chair if I am sitting or the space beneath me if I am lying down. I do not have to wait for a special moment when things are quiet to ground. I can do it right now at this very moment regardless of where I am or what I am doing.

Try it. Grounding in this way is about of bringing one pointed attention to your physical body and like a tree, rooting into this moment. Although this sounds simple, my unruly mind, running between the future and the past can easily abscond with my attention and before I know it, I am no longer sensing my body but wondering what I am going to make for dinner or wondering why I said what I said to somebody yesterday or worse… judging myself for not being able to stay attentive.

The first thing to bring to a grounding practice is curiosity. Can I do it? Can I stay? Can I sense more?

The second thing to bring to a grounding practice is deep compassion for the moments when I veer off, when my mind drifts me away from my body sensations.

The third thing to bring to a grounding practice is perseverance and determination to keep coming back again and again and again to drink from the well of sensation.

So why do it? Ground…

Along with coming into the moment and becoming more present, grounding in this way uses a part of our brains that activates the healing response. We begin to settle our nervous system which in a cyclical way quiets our mind which allows us to sense more which settles our nervous systems and that quiets our minds and so on…

This cycle of relaxation creates a safe place to move from. It creates an intimate relationship to our bodies so we not only get more out of the movement, but also use more of ourselves to execute it.  Because we feel more whole, we have the potential to move as a whole.  We also have the opportunity to get in touch with our bodies based on sensation and how it feels to move and not on how it looks or should look.

Grounding also creates a resonance that others can feel and also… ground into. My ground becomes your ground and in that way, I contribute to a vibration that invites you to come into the moment with me. It works both ways, like that cyclical settling of the nervous system, the more chill and grounded I am, the more ground you have access to and the more chill and grounded you are, the more ground I have access to…and so on.

This can work in the opposite direction too. I have been in the upward spiral of ungrounding many times, energy escalating out of control… anxiety, panic, freaking out… forgetting that I had a choice about it. When I am able to catch myself feeling ungrounded, the way to return to the moment if to ground, to plug back into sensation… the breath, the space beneath me, the support from underneath.

So I do it for me. And I do it for you. Holding hands like the trees.

The 4 Elements in Movement

We are all unique combinations of cosmic dust in an organic manifestation of fire, earth, air and water. A study of what is unique and what is the same in us has always intrigued me. One of the greatest gifts that astrology has given my heart and mindMaria is the appreciation for variety and diversity of expression. I think it is human nature to want to know if one thing is better than another. When I begin working with someone astrologically or elementally, they ask things like “Is that part of me good or bad”. And I have to say, “It just is.” It is the awareness, compassion and choice we bring to it that gives us the power to make the best of what we have been offered.

One of my favorite tools for exploring awareness, compassion and choice is the movement of the 4 Archetypal Elements; Fire, Earth, Air, Water as postural intentions. I have students sense each one separately and then how we blend them in dance and as we move through our day. The 4 Elements are symbolic and they are also real. Something is evoked in my body when I  imagine I am fire, when I dance in a fiery way, when I sense the fire within.  Likewise when I imagine I am water, dance as if I am in water, sense the water within me.

There are also relationships between the elements; fire and water can create steam, water can put fire out, fire can boil water. Imagine a fiery person, one who confronts and is full of passion, meeting a watery person, someone who is happy to go with the flow and not interested in getting ahead? Imagine this is you and your partner. Imagine this is two parts of yourself. Astrology gives us the gift of seeing the dance of elements within ourselves and between us and the others in our lives.

From the time I began studying astrology, I knew that for me, prediction or even just description was not going to be enough to offer myself and my students and clients. What I am most intrigued by is the process of becoming whole and living into my full potential. The practice of moving the 4 Elements gives me the keys to achieve that. I also get to play with the energy, try things out… test reality, push beyond my perceived limits. Did I mention this work is fun?

First I need to know where I am at this moment; which postural signature am I expressing. Can I find neutral and make my choice from there? This is the embodiment of what it means to act from a balanced place. That is the simplicity of this work. Instead of going to my habitual response, as if it is just who I am, I am able to witness and make another choice consciously by moving my body to a new place. And by bringing it into the body, I can bypass all questions around what something means. Can is really be that easy? This is what I have found and what my students are finding; fresh and simple ways to work with places where we were previously stuck.

Movement is our first form of expression, before the word, there is movement. In many ways, we react to each other’s body language before the words. What we say, how it sounds, how it is received also has so much to do with the posture we use to deliver it. Life becomes so much more fun when I am playing in the field of awareness and choice!

Next Workshop: The 4 Elements in Movement is April 4th, 4:3.0-6:30pm
at Yoga & Nia For Life, 135 Commonwealth Ave, Concord, MA 01742

For Astrological Readings or Embodied Astrology Sessions contact Maria at ynfl@msn.com