The Rest in Movement

Freed from the demands of decision and intention, adrift on some inner sea, we observe our various movements as if they belonged to someone else, and yet we admire their involuntary excellence.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Curled up on the sofa at evening time, I often feel quite tired, and can even fall asleep to the sound of Jack and Brick narrating a Bruins game on NESN. I notice this can be true when I watch figure skating as well. Both are ice-based and therefore “cooling” sports, and of course it’s that time of evening when melatonin naturally increases, preparing us for sleep. But for me, I sense it’s something more than that.

My system loves movement. Always has. Exercise, dance, Tai Chi, Yoga. It’s very soothing to me.

Whether I’m watching the infamous Brad Marchand spin around an opponent, or see Amber Glenn throw all her emotion into a camel spin, the feeling I get is of being them. Especially with the ice dancers, I can feel my very cells gliding, flying across the ice as I sit there still, watching.

Here’s a case in point:

That other night, the movement I was feeling in the stillness reminded me of time spent on my friend Joe’s boat. Although it was about 10 years ago, I still remember how well I slept when I stayed over with my friend Johana (who was dating him).

That gentle rocking of the boat on the water held and allowed me to surrender completely to rest.

And I became aware the other night, that as once again, my eyelids were getting heavy while watching McAvoy make a silky pass up to Bergeron in the 3rd period, that the reason is because I can feel these gliding movements. That despite the sometimes rough and tumble nature of the game, my body’s cells are gliding with the players and the puck.

Gliding on the ice, rocking on water, my body is free and flowing. That’s when I feel most relaxed, most at home. I can also recall this feeling on the beach, watching the waves rise and fall. I can also experience it the gentle ripples on a lake’s surface.

This makes sense. In Therapeutic Yoga practices, we often rock the body back and forth. We know that has soothing qualities, much like rocking a baby back to sleep. It’s soothing to the nervous system. It activates our parasympathetic side–“rest and digest”–that is so often neglected throughout our busy days.

Where does your body feel most relaxed? Most at home? Is it in movement, or stillness?

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