As a dancer, climber and Biodynamic Craniosacral therapist, movement, creativity, and play are essential to both my work and personal life. Prior to becoming a Biodynamic Craniosacral therapist, I trained as a contemporary dancer, then specialised in improvisation which in itself embodies movement and play. More recently I have spent more time rock climbing and coaching young climbers which again incorporates movement and play. For me, creativity comes through movement and play.
Within Craniosacral therapy it is the internal movement of the body that is being listened to, supported, and encouraged. Although we may feel completely still, our heart still beats, blood pumps around our arteries and veins, lungs expand and contract……. Physical movement then often supports many of these processes. Our veins work through our muscles contracting to pump blood back to the heart. The flow of the lymph relies entirely on the movement of muscles and joints.
Movement and creativity are developed through play for children and for adults are essential in our fast-paced stressful lives. It has been shown to release endorphins, improve brain function as well as stimulate creativity. Play helps us to remain young and feeling energetic. There are also studies that play contributes to memory improvement and stimulation of growth of the cerebral cortex. Play helps us engage with others and develop our social engagement system which is vital for the relaxation of the nervous system from fight or flight mode. According to Stephen Porges (polyvagal theory), play is a neural exercise that develops the efficiency of the neural circuit and enables instant downregulation of the fight/flight response.
Movement in itself helps to strengthen muscles and improves stability and flexibility, balance, and coordination. Not only does it support the physical body but helps to reduce stress and anxiety whilst also supporting self-esteem and confidence. The better we feel in our bodies the happier we are negotiating the world. I frequently see and experience these things through the climbing coaching that I do. Perhaps most particularly with teenagers as they begin to establish themselves more as individuals.
Life is a serious matter, however, and is perhaps the most important game we play, though often we don’t realise that we are playing a game. Many of us live by rules and regulations that we see very much as right and rarely question how many of these rules and regulations are essential to our life, but maybe we can be more playful and creative within the framework we have?
Movement has infinite possibilities and there is something for everyone. The more mentally engaged we are with our movement the more creative we can be and the more benefit we gain from it. If we enjoy our movement we benefit even further which is where play comes into its own! The more playful we are with our movement generally the more the movement develops and so we can be more playful. The cycle can also begin with movement and as that improves we are more able to be playful.