Noodling: A Movement Meditation

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(upbeat jazz music) – Back when I coached high
school speech and debate, I had the great privilege
of meeting one of the most natural dancers I’ve ever
known, Cornelius Hubbard. Later, Cornelius went on
to study dance in college, and when I had the privilege of engaging in some dancing mindfulness
with him at one point, he would give me this great challenge, this great exercise, he
would say, “We’re noodling, “we’re noodling, we’re noodling.” and he said it was something he would do with his students,
especially younger students when he was teaching
them dance, and really try to get a little more wiggle motion freedom in their body. So inspired by a lot of
what Cornelius taught me, I would like to share with
you the practice of noodling, particularly, how I may share
it in a clinical setting to try to get clients to
shake out some of what might be stuffed in their body, to just take a movement break, if
the flow of the session has gotten a little too stock or stuffy, or just as a way to promote
free bilateral movement. So, let’s begin by coming
into what you would consider to be the embodiment of a stiff noodle. So a piece of spaghetti, a noodle that has not been cooked. Maybe purposely let the
shoulders come up by the ears, maybe you purposely stiffen
the body a little bit to feel the rigidity. Remember if anything that I’m suggesting is too much back off, back off. Never wanna risk injury here. And of course you can do noodling in a sitting down position. So take a moment here to
notice what you notice. And then maybe you imagine that your stiff noodle
hits some bubbling water. So we’ll suspend reality for moment, and pretend this is not the kind of water that can harm you, but
this is the kind of water that’s designed to loosen
you and soften you. And see what happens as
you think about this water moving on you, cooking your noodle. Maybe you start wiggling back and forth. What would it feel like to you if you let your body become
like a cooked noodle? (breathes deeply) Now let yourself come to stillness but perhaps notice the difference now. Maybe the most you were
able to muster in that exercise was a little al dente
movement, and that’s okay, but maybe you notice that the body really wanted to go, and
perhaps you take another sec, letting yourself noodle. Mindfully. And if you want, maybe think
of Cornelius’ challenge. We’re noodling, we’re
noodling, we’re noodling. So keep noodling all you
want ’til the day is long, maybe you find some music that you like, that brings out that inner noodle, wherever you go with it,
please, have the fun. (upbeat jazz music)

 

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