REFLECTIONS ON A WEEK-LONG EUTONY COURSE 31 July-6 August 2011 by Tamar Posner, psychotherapist.
An Embodied Awareness Course? Great. Now’s our chance!
“Excuse me? Hey! You! Kindly pay attention; it’s your body speaking and we want to tell you something.”
The above essentially encapsulates my experience, after several years of having to trust my intellect to get me through, of finally feeling it was safe enough to descend from ‘up in my head’ and to start the process of reconnecting with my body.
Very early on in the Embodied Awareness course (session 2?) Thérèse brought in some flyers for her eutony courses and I instinctively knew then that I was going to do one of them – although it took some time before I felt able to commit myself. But commit myself I did, and on 31 July READ MORE 2011 I arrived at Lower Gould Farm, deep in the Essex countryside, for the start of the week-long course.
I am no longer as young as I once was and these days my experience of my body all too often takes the form of an awareness of yet another ache, pain or other protest at having to continue to carry me around. So I was very much taken by surprise by the fact that, from the start of the vey first eutony session this grumpy body of mine willingly lay down on a mat – and even more amazingly got up again, not once but several times – without so much as a squeak!
The next thing that happened – and we are still on day one, session one – was that I felt a powerful urge to draw. As if I had spoken aloud, that was exactly what we were next invited to do; satisfyingly large sheets of paper and a variety of pastilles and charcoal were promptly distributed and I produced the first of what turned out, over the course of the week, to be a series of drawings that gave visual form to my experiences. The various ‘creative’ activities I once indulged in had been abandoned more than a decade ago, when my life had changed dramatically and I had run for the hills; I had done no drawing for years but now here I was producing one drawing after another without hesitation, with no preliminary sketching and, on one occasion, a set of three that were done blindfold!
When people ask me: ‘What is eutony?’ I cannot give them an ‘authorised’ definition; instead I fall back on what it felt like to me and the sense I subsequently made of what I felt. I begin by describing having my attention drawn inwards until it is focused on a bone or bones – perhaps because those bones are in contact with a resistant surface such as a bamboo pole, a bag of cherry stones, a rope of conkers, or perhaps a result of making only the slightest of muscular movements (‘body homeopathy’ as Thérèse so aptly termed it) until, with nothing else to distract my attention I finally recognise and acknowledge the natural and preferred position of those bones. Extrapolating from that I find myself thinking if I can do that for every bone or group of bones in my body, my skeleton will hang naturally and my muscles, relieved of the demand to ‘prop me up’ will relax enabling me to move freely once more. I reckoned I was probably not far off the mark in my thinking when I discovered at dinner one evening that by sitting on my ‘sit bones’ (located at the base of the pelvis) instead of any old how in my chair, I assumed the upright posture I aspire to (but can rarely maintain) with no conscious effort!
It was not all as ‘magical’ as that which, for someone like me, is a good thing. The anatomy we learned (in French as well as English, a particular delight) as we worked our way, session by session, up from the feet and legs, via the pelvis, into the chest, across the shoulder girdle and on up to the head, gave me a clearer understanding of how everything works in concert and when I understand how something works I am a step closer to a more optimal mode of management – even if I choose not to (for which read ‘am too lazy’) engage with such management.
So what can be the benefits of eutony?
Speaking for myself:
– release of muscular tensions, felt or out of day-to-day awareness, which over time would lead to a better, more attractive posture, fluidity of movement and the increased sense of wellbeing and self-confidence that both of those would engender
– removal of the blockages to other forms of self-expression that otherwise remain tied up in the knots or buried in the tangles that the body fashions for itself in the misguided belief that keeping going at all costs is ‘good enough.’