Behind the studio space I use for one-on-on sessions at Stockheart is a movement studio called Embody Minneapolis. In a beautiful space with garage windows and various pieces of intriguing equipment, Gyrotonics and Gyrokinesis classes and sessions are taught. Last week, I did a private session with owner Susan Gaines to get a taste of what it's all about.
The technique has a pilates-esque feel to it as the use of machines help you with the movement and exercises, but the gyrotonic technique is all about curving, arching, and spiraling the spine with the mission to create space between your vertebra and the joints in your back, neck, shoulders, and arms. For a society that often spends a lot of time hunched over computers, I felt AMAZINGLY open and stretched and upright afterwards... like I had grown at least 2 inches since I walked in the room!
The reason I'm sharing this particular story is because while I was working with Susan on some of the machines, a cue she would often use was: "lead with your heart".
Meaning, open up your chest, pull your shoulders down and back, lift with the sternum. That's a pretty great message to hear over and over... lead with the heart, lead with the heart. After hearing this phrase multiple times and focusing on this movement with my chest and spine, it got me reflecting (bear with me here, as this is a longer post than usual).
When I first began my journey into energy and the chakras, the one I connected with first was the heart. A friend from college had taken this brilliant acting class in NYC called Lucid Body that taught you how to use the energy of your chakra system to create character and story. When my friend returned from the city, she made a copy of the heart chakra chapter of the book and gave it to me, insisting that I needed to read it. I'm so grateful she did, because it resonated with me so strongly that I began to research and study the heart chakra and then all the other chakras over the next several years of my life.
Flash forward to living in NYC myself, I became a student of the Lucid Body method of acting and in one particular class series, I told the teacher and founder Fay Simpson through teary eyes that I was devoting the next several weeks of class to doing the "heart work" I needed in order the next layer of my heart that needed to heal.
Not homework, but heart-work. That's what I'm here to do this life!
And after taking a Gyrotonics movement class, I was reminded again and still amazed by all the ways and opportunities that come about to help assist us in the work we are meant to do this life.
So if you are here to do heart-work in this life (many of my clients are!) or you find the best way to travel through life is leading (and listening) to your heart, you have a variety of gentle tools to help support you:
Heart work can be done with an acting technique. Or explored in a workshop. It can be assisted by heart opener poses in yoga. It can be worked on by writing poetry or creating works of art. Or by seeing a therapist. It can be done by doing breathwork or any other multitudes of healing modalities like Reiki, Esoteric, Healing Touch, massage, acupuncture. It can be touched by meditation or grieving or creating sacred ceremonies to honor where you are and what you're hearts been through. It can be done around a table of your closest pals chatting the night away.
And heart work can be done in an exercise class.
How amazing is that?!