The issue of 'form' has come up several times this last week or so when working with clients. And it’s been mulling about as a concept for me as I’ve been doing my own practice.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase ‘I want to know I’m doing it right’ over the years. And certainly way back in the beginning of my time as a movement practitioner I also wanted to make sure my clients were doing it right. I looked at their shape, their position, their symmetry and what I believed to be the best form in the movements we were practicing. My head hurt. I was analysing, thinking and focused on what wasn’t right, so I could help them to ‘get it right’. And I was constantly disillusioned with my own lack of ‘good form’ no matter how hard I tried.
I'm not exactly sure when it was, other than a good few years ago now, but I realised I wasn’t seeing the bigger picture. I wasn’t seeing all the GOOD movement that was going on. And I wasn’t building the support that I was giving clients around that - as I could have been! I threw the rule book out, and instead kept concepts, connections, guidelines about what ‘good’ movement is.
I’m not going to lie - that wasn’t an easy direction take. I questioned so much of my training. I drifted massively from my association of being a pilates practitioner (and I’m not sure I’ve ever integrated it back in). But the more I studied psychotherapeutic and other somatic practices the less I could believe in there ever being a ‘correct’ form.
We are all as unique in our anatomy and movement patterns, as snowflakes are from each other. We are each formed by our DNA, our early physical and emotional development, our experiences, our beliefs, our personality, our environment, our interactions.
How can there EVER be ONE right posture, version of a pose or movement??
And yet, somewhere and at sometime ‘they’ decided there was. (I have no idea who ‘they’ are either!!)
So we learn to lack trust in our own ability to FEEL form. We get caught in the visual of what it might look like & seek confirmation we got it right - even if it means overcompensation, lack of easy breath, increased tension and it feels painful!
Yet, we ultimately know better than anyone when form feels right - in the same way that we know when a jacket doesn’t fit (or maybe it does but we know it’s ‘just not me’).
I get that if you’ve never known how to feel the best form for you then how can you know? And I guess that’s where I come in... i’m not here to contort you into a version of yourself that you can’t do life as! I’m here to help you do YOU! To feel how YOU stand, sit, bend, walk, run, jump, do cartwheels (if you wish).
And we both know it when it’s ‘right’ for you! I see it, yes, but not as a text book symmetrical posture or movement. I see it as an ease in how you breath, or hold yourself. I see it in the brightness of your skin and the lightness in your energy. I also in my own way FEEL when your form is right for you. I’ve learnt to trust that as being gut feel and intuition.
Someone this week called it ‘magic’, someone else called it ‘weird shit - good weird shit’. To me it’s the thing that happens when we stop trying to conform and fit into shapes that suppress who we are. And instead explore who we are and our own unique form.
I am Caroline Toshack. Movement is my passion, my mirror, my creative source and outlet. I am a therapist, coach, educator, geek, yogi, mover and creative who loves getting muddy on her bike, running in the hills and having pyjama days.