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Hi, I’m Allie Greene, and this is class two of Move into Ease series. Today’s class is all about centering self. I like to explain this in the following way. If you’ve ever been lost somewhere and you’re able to find one of those maps and you look for the little red dot and it says you are here, hopefully that’s what this class is gonna do for you. When we’re able to see where we are in relationship to everything around us, it starts to make a little bit more sense and we’re able to organize ourselves in order to get to where we want to go.
In today’s class, we are going to practice a deeply integrating developmental pattern called naval radiation. We could also call it core to distal. We are going to need only one prop today. So you can get your blanket or your pillow because we’re going to start down on the ground to begin with. And we’re going to start with a practice called naval radiating breath.
So I invite you to lie down, and a reminder that this class is for you. So anything doesn’t feel good, you can just pause, you can simply observe or you can find a way that works for you. So let’s just have the legs bent. Knees can rest into each other, and we’re gonna take our hands and place them right on our naval. And let’s take a moment to feel where we are before we try to go somewhere else.
So allow your body to soften into the support of the ground. Give yourself a moment to feel the space around you. And then I invite you to take your attention to your naval. I’d like to give you an image for this practice. When we’re learning new things, like embodying ourselves in a naval radiating pattern, I mean, what is that?
It’s hard to find a reference and sometimes it’s hard to feel something as subtle as that. So when we have a visual, it’s super helpful. So I invite you to imagine that underneath your belly, like deep, deep, deep in your low belly, there is this sphere of radiating light. It can be whatever color you want but it’s really got some nice energy to it. It might have this kind of sponging quality.
So moving very omni directionally, I may have just made up a word there, so go to that puffer fish idea that you’re moving in all different ways and we’re gonna use our breath for this. So as you inhale, if you can visualize or feel that that ball of energy is expanding outwards and then as you’re exhaling, it’s just condensing inwards, expanding outwards all directions and condensing inwards. Now our naval radiating pattern actually happens in utero. It’s when we grow our umbilical cord. We don’t have a head centric idea about ourselves yet, all of our limbs are very equal.
So we’re letting this grow. And now I invite you to let it grow down a pathway to the tail. Imagine like a little hollow tunnel and that beautiful energy, whatever color you chose is just flowing down to the tail and then it flows back up to the navel. As you inhale, it flows downwards and as you exhale, it flows back up. Let’s do a few more of those.
Beautiful, now what if we took that energy and we had a pathway that went from the naval all the way up to the head? And as you’re doing your beautiful breath, you’re just following, maybe it’s just a feeling now, maybe you’re like, oh, you know what? I don’t even need that visual. Or maybe you are like, I really like that visual. So inhaling, that beautiful energy goes up this pathway to the head, and as you exhale, travels back down.
Now, what if we tried to do both of those at the same time and they arrive at the same time, headwards and tailwards, and then they return? So nothing’s getting more attention than something else. It’s very even, inhale, expanding, flowing outwards and exhaling coming back in. Now we could do this for an hour going into each one of our limbs separately and all kinds of connections through that naval. So this pattern underlies our ability to bring our leg to our opposite, you know, hand or our head to our tail and every combination you could possibly think of.
But we are going to just do a little sampler of this. So we are now gonna try to take our breath from the naval down to the tail, up to the head, out through the legs and the arms equally. You are this beautiful six limbed starfish. So I invite you to let your legs go long and let’s try that breath, that inhale. And you’ve got these six pathways of energy and they travel and arrive at the end points of your body.
And then as you exhale, they all arrive back to the naval at the same time. This beautiful expanding and condensing of these energetic pathways. Let’s just try a couple more of those. Hmm, we can feel our support, the ground and space. Now our breath is also a support.
And when you finished your last little cycle of your naval radiating breath, just invite you to pause. Now we’re gonna put some movement into this. And this could be interesting ’cause sometimes we have a little bit more energy in one limb than the other, or less energy. So what if we were to take our head and our tail and our arms and our legs and draw everything into the center? We’re flowing right into the naval, and can everything arrive at the same time?
And then you’re going to expand back out and can everything arrive at the same time? What are you noticing about yourself? And let’s do this again. So we draw inwards, there’s a condensing. We call our limbs home.
We have the floor underneath, the ground to yield into and then expanding back out. Beautiful, even limbs. One last time, here we go. And you can use your breath with this. You could exhale in and inhale out or you could certainly just let your breath breathe.
Oh, and expanding back out. Oh, now we can roll onto our side and we could try a little sidelying expanding and condensing starfish. Now I’m on a mat, so I’m gonna get a little sticky. I would suggest, if you can, move your mat out of the way. And if you’ve got a nice floor like this and you can slide on it, it’s terrific.
So if you’re on a mat, you might get a little sticky with me and that’s okay. You’re just gonna fold yourself in this very small shape, you’re coming home. And then from here, from the naval, see if you can expand out. Nice even limbs, head, tail, arms, legs, expanding out into space. And then here we go, let’s call ourselves back home, all limbs to the naval, shoo.
And one more time, take yourself out, even, finding your center. And then back in. And let’s do this on the other side. How about we are like a little rolling starfish? We can just open one side, float through space to the other side.
And here we go, from that naval, head, tail, arms, legs expanding and you can move your feet and your hands around. That’s a good check so that you know you don’t have any extra tension that you don’t want. And then just fold everything in around that naval. And one more time, expanding outwards. I know where my center is when I go in and I know where my center is as I go out, and I’m able to organize all of my limbs around it.
And then let’s just do another little body roll Naval in the middle. It’s kind of fun. Ah, and returning down. We’re going to move away from the floor a little bit. So this series, we start on the ground and we build ourselves up.
So let’s return to lying on our backs. Heels can be in line with your sits bones or the front of the hips and arms are coming down by your side. And can you find that same naval radiating pattern here? Everything’s organized around the center. And let’s press the feet into the ground and feel that the response is this reach and pull through space with the head and the arms can press down.
And can we find that center here? An equal energy out the legs and the arms and the head. And then slowly flowing down. You’re like wave after wave after wave. When you return to the floor, yield, ah, feel that support.
And then a beautiful push through the feet rolling up. You can feel that tone. And here’s this beautiful naval radiating pattern center. What if on this one we floated the arms up, and can we feel the fingers still connecting right into the naval, and from the naval all the way down to the tail? So as we’re rolling down in this bridge, our fingers gently reach away from the tail and the tail away from the fingers, creating some nice space.
And then when you arrive all the way down, yield, pause. One more time, let’s press through the feet. Nice yield and push. Then there’s a beautiful reach and pull of the tail. Flow the arms back up, everything organizing around the center and then we’ll flow back down.
And once you get there, yield, ah. And we’re gonna open the arms and the legs. This is rolling starfish. Rolling patterns can be challenging because we don’t do them a lot. So I want you to give yourself a lot of space when you do this.
Notice if you’re trying to push through it or accomplish a move. And let go of that and see if you can just follow the sensation. So we’re gonna take our left arm and we’re just gonna place the hand on the heart. And here’s one of our six limbs. And it’s going to start to slide across.
How do we roll? We have to find support. So we’re gonna soften and we become our support underneath. And our limbs start to organize, shoo, right through the center. And you keep rolling and rolling.
Softening, softening, softening. Pausing, anywhere if you’re like, I’m confused, I’m stuck, pause there, move around a little bit, see if you can loosen things up, and then let it go all the way around. Now this leg, it stays open so we don’t wanna stack it, we want it to stay open. And this leg spirals inwards. So our six limbs have accomplished this, organizing themselves around center.
And then to come back, that little big toe down there, it’s gonna start. It’s a gentle energy though, so don’t feel like you have to do a big point of the foot. It’s just a gentle reach. Feel that flowing up your leg. So starfish have these like tubes in their limbs and they fill and empty them with water so that they’re able to create some flow and energy.
So we’re gonna imagine we’re the same thing. And we open, here we go to the other side. You fold your beautiful little starfish limb in or you can imagine like an octopus. So all of these sea creatures are really yummy visuals. And you’re just beginning to roll and you keep rolling underneath yourself, rolling underneath all the way.
And here goes this leg. It can spiral in and drop. Now a lot of us, we have a lot of you know, tension in these hips. So this might really feel like something and that’s okay. Just try to soften and relax.
Pausing, there’s the dot, I am here. And then here comes that toe. Here’s our flow up the leg, goes right through the center, soft back body. So we’re really winding and unwinding. Spiraling, unspiraling, our body loves this.
I think we should do that one more time. So here we go, one more side each way. And take your time. The beautiful thing about somatic movement is that each one of us can have our own experience with it because we have our own story in our bodies. So you can close your eyes and go for the ride.
You don’t have to look like me or anyone else. And returning, mm. And then whenever you’re ready, one more side, slowing down to notice where there is glumpiness, stuckness. Those are all highly technical terms but they’re really good descriptions ’cause that’s sometimes how we feel, grumpy (sighs). And then we start with that big toe and we flow upwards.
Feel the back body moving underneath you to support you, all the way back to your belly up starfish. And just pausing. Pausing is really powerful because our nervous system is a recorder. It really doesn’t know, like I’m gonna use the words right from wrong, I don’t really believe in that, but gets the point across. So after we’ve done a movement like this, that gives a lot of choice into the body, a lot of softening, pausing helps your nervous system feel it.
And that is certainly putting a big red dot on the map to say I am here. So from our lovely rolling starfish, we’re gonna roll right onto the belly. Take your time though. So just a gentle reminder that all of our transitions are really part of the flow of class. There’s an opportunity to feel yourself as well.
So gonna come right down. You can move your blanket out of the way. And for this practice, we’re actually coming up off of the ground. Now, I think what I’m gonna do is just turn myself a little bit. I’m gonna be a little cockeyed on the mat but you’re gonna be able to see a little bit better what I’m doing with my arms.
So middle finger lines up with the middle of the wrist to the elbow, but our elbows don’t have to be right underneath our shoulders for this. They can be further out because when we pull the arms under like this and we try to push up, that’s a lot in that lower back for some of us. So we could be out here, totally fine. Nice, open fingers. Now I’ll come back.
The legs can be open and rotated. And can we find our naval radiating pattern here? Naval to head and tail, arms and legs, equal energy. Some of us is yielding and pushing and some of us is reaching and pulling. So let’s begin by feeling the hands press, just like we did with the feet in our bridge.
And it brings us up and then back down. So if we’re back to those beautiful starfish limbs and we have those tubes, here they go filling with water, they give us this beautiful fluid strength and they just flow right up. But then they go right into the belly, down through the tail and the legs. It’s a beautiful way to organize ourselves. And then ha, flow back out.
Now we’re gonna get a little fancy. We’re gonna be a fancy starfish. We’re gonna press up and pause. Okay, what if we bent the right arm? Look what happens, we rotate.
We’re rotating around the center. It’s our spine, head to tail, but it’s right through that center navel. So equal to the head and the tail. And then press back up. And then what about the other side?
Little yielding, little spiraling around the center, just letting the head and the neck go for the ride. You can turn that head and press back up. And then we’re gonna get even fancier. We’re gonna go ahead and bend the right, we’re rotated, bend the left, woo, straight, straighten the right, rotated. Straighten the left, straight, with our naval as our guide how we’re organizing.
Let’s try that again, right goes down, we rotate, left goes down, we go straight, right goes up and we rotate, left goes up and we’re straight. Let’s try that to the other side. So just noticing for yourself, the hip bones should really stay quiet. If you’ve done a big role, that means you’re kind of shifting over onto a side and we wanna see if we can find the rotation. And then bringing your right elbow down.
And then left elbow goes up and we rotate. And just let your head look around. So this is very developmental. I’ve made it a little bit fun and fancy with elbows kind of switching places. But this upward push is very developmental.
This is how you know as babies we come up higher and we’re like, what’s over there? I wanna see what’s over there. And then just back down and let’s come back up one more time, just nice and centered. Could we take a few breaths here with that naval radiating breath equal to all limbs? Hmm, feeling the support of the ground underneath you, feeling the support of the space around you.
Beautiful, and then we’re gonna slowly come back down. Hmm, let’s open the arms. Can we do a little belly balance? Can we float all the limbs up? Soft belly, and return, your organs love this.
They really do, how about one more? Flowing out from the center, head, tail, arms, legs, shoo. You can even move your hands and your feet. And then just flow back down. Take a little pause.
You can give the earth a yummy little hug. It’ll hug you right back. And let’s take the hands underneath and push to come up. We’re transitioning into sitting. We want to feel support.
For many of us sitting directly down on the floor is hard. Knees come up, we can’t sit tall. So I highly recommend one, maybe two blankets or pillows to bring yourself up. This gives space for the hips. The legs can actually spiral open and soften, and then your back is much, much happier.
So naval radiation is underneath our verticality. Yeah, it’s underneath our posture. Many times we think of posture as just being vertical, but our posture is that puffer fish. It’s every direction possible. So pausing here, see if you can find little bit of that naval radiating breath and that it’s traveling equally through all the limbs and back in.
Now, I also invite you to notice where is my support and what’s my relationship to it? I’m someone that likes to hold a lot in my lower back. So I tend to wanna be in these kind of more military postures when I’m sitting. So I have to remind myself to soften a little bit. You might be like that or you might be someone that wants to find a little bit more lift.
It’s finding that nice balance. Speaking of more balance, we have three weights in this verticality that we wanna balance. One is the pelvis. So let’s see if we can just do some nice pelvic circles. And what we’re circling around is the pelvic floor.
So there’s many ways to layer self center. We started this with the naval, now we’re seated. So we’re finding more verticalness. So we need to find center of the pelvic floor to help support everything else that’s above it. And pelvis is the bottom weight.
And then we have ribs, this whole area, that’s another weight. So I just invite you to let this move. And they’re like hula hoops, they’re floating and they’re constantly responding to each other. They’re not stuck, they’re not blocks propped up. And how about head?
There’s the last weight. So we’re not standing still in our life. We’re not standing still in our movement practices. So our center is constantly shifting and changing. So we’re just having a little experience with these three places of weight.
And how do we organize them around our center so that we are feeling support the whole time, either grounded into the earth or feeling like we can expand into space? Ah, now let’s just come back to center. Hmm, got a few new options with that one. Notice how you feel. Let’s do one more naval radiating breath.
Inhaling equally out through these beautiful six limbs, exhaling back into center. So I hope that this practice has allowed you to feel a little bit more centered and that centering underlies our integration and our coordination. And in this series, when I’m speaking of these things, we could be talking about our physical body. We can also be talking about our psychological body, our emotional body. They’re all connected.
So when we find more ease of movement in our body, chances are we’re gonna find more ease of movement in our mind and in our heart. Thank you so much for joining me for class two.