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    I have registered for your study upon discovering it today in order to  access the program information and study parameters, and to follow the progression and data from your work.

    I’m curious to know more about the genesis of the investigation.  My academic preparation and research in psychology, neuroscience and the arts (especially movement)  was enhanced by the teachers in my dance lineage, Anna Halprin and Zuleikha ( and TakeAMinute TM.)  I wonder if you are acquainted with their bodies of work in atunement, body listeing, movement, and self-care.

    ~ Debra Rose Giannini, MA  (503) 358-9088




    In reply to: Resilience

    In 2014 I had to make a big decision. I had planned to retire in several years at the social security retirement age of 66+. But I began struggling with constant fatigue and an intermittent acute lower abdominal pain with an undetermined cause.
    I learned that I could use my bank of sick leave to take a partial medical leave from work. I thought that by working fewer hours I would be more rested and revived. When that proved not to be true, I knew I needed a chunk of time without working to try to find the cause of the randomly recurring sharp pain and regain my energy. I came to the conclusion that I would be better off retiring earlier than later.
    At the end of six months of part-time medical leave I retired from my employer and moved to another city with a lower cost of living. I figured I would take a month to set up my new household and recover from the stress of the transition, and take another month of rest to fully recuperate and figure out how to earn a living. It sounded like a plan.
    I did not recuperate in two months. I stayed close to home, spending most days in the bed or on the bed. Another month went by. And another. After five months I was still struggling to get out of bed each day and the pain had become more frequent. I could see that taking a job to bring in needed income would not be an option.
    One day I happened upon the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s website and found that they had an artist’s open studio. I knew that art was a way for me to express myself and tune into both my emotional and physical intuition, and I had dreamed of finding a space where I could create large, messy work. I got myself together and went to see if this place could work for me. While I was there I was asked to submit a proposal for a course on expressive and intuitive art for the fall semester. I submitted the course proposal and it was accepted. I helped the students express themselves through art, and as the weeks went by I could see the impact that having a safe space to make this kind of art was having on them.
    But the person who benefited most was me! It gave me “a new lease on life”. I understand now that this is my purpose, this is why I am here. I call myself the “Art Doula”, and I create expressive art experiences for freeing the artist within. I assist people in the gestation and birthing of their artist selves, and in bringing their creative genius into the world.
    The expressive artmaking experiences I create just seem like something fun to do; but done over time and on a regular basis, they have helped some of my students in their healing process. Something is happening on a deeper level. Making art gives voice to ideas and emotions that we would otherwise not be able to articulate.
    Best of all, when I am sharing the experience of art I am quickened with a spirit that feels like a fire that starts in me and envelops the room. Spontaneously, I dance and sing (and so do the students). At those moments I do not feel the fatigue or the pain. It is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. This is something I can do for the rest of my life! And I love it. :-)
    #resilience #stillstanding #freeingtheartistwithin

    Gail Moser

    In reply to: Mindful movement

    Years ago I participated in NIA (neuromuscular integrative action, ) regularly and I also would dance to music on the radio, but over the past month since I wore a pedometer I’ve become very mindful of increasing my walking. I try to stay focused on each step without rushing; which is hard for me because I’m normally a fast walker. #neuromuscularintegrativeaction #movementtomusic #dance #walking


    In reply to: Mindful movement

    I do stretches every day, and I also like to dance to songs on the radio. This really helps to de-stiffen my body.

    #movementtomusic #dance




    This topic is to discuss other mindfulness practices that are not movement-based. This distinction between movement and non-movement is of my own construction, partly to try to organize the discussion and partly because of my own approach to mindfulness. As I mentioned in our previous topic, my first incorporation of mindfulness was through an introduction to yoga and tai chi about 15 years ago. When my movement became seriously limited with pain more recently, my desire to continue mindfulness work led me to explore more sedentary practices.

    I have come to enjoy meditation, particularly guided meditations using a Youtube video or audio recording, and regularly use progressive body scans to calm and relax my body and mind. Progressive scans are my favorite practice, and I try to combine them with a breathing technique. In additional to relaxing me, these scans help me read my body and identify areas where I need to focus on releasing tension. Emotional Freedom Technique has come up before in our discussion of subtle energy, and it’s worth mentioning again here as it has the same qualities as other body awareness/mindfulness methods. EFT can be a helpful method for calming the mind and body together.

    I think at the heart of any mindfulness practice is breath, and the effect of measured deep breathing on the mind and body. There are several breathing techniques that I’ve learned about. Just yesterday I was taught about a technique to alternate blocking one nostril and breathing through the other for deep breaths to calm down the mind and help fall asleep.

    There are an abundance of ways to practice mindfulness, and it doesn’t take following a strict methodology. I would love to hear about how you practice mindfulness and which techniques you favor. How did you learn and choose a type of practice? Did you create something yourself that works best for you? How to do you incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life?
    #mindfulpractices #progressivebodyscans #emotionalfreedomtechnique #breathingtechniques

    Rachel Carriere

    In reply to: Dance and mood

    I think when I am home alone and listening to music, I don’t dance for a purpose other than it’s fun. I don’t really pay attention to the effects but I’m sure that, since I love dancing, it is great for my mood! #danceformood


    In addition to music, I’ve found dance to be a powerful method of stress reduction, with the

    added effect of mood enhancement. Have you used dance (the spontaneous kind where you

    dance like nobody’s watching) to reduce stress or boost your mood? What are the physical and

    emotional effects? #danceformood


    This week we’ll be exploring the relationship between our bodies and our moods,

    starting with emotions and emotional resilience, how we use physical manifestations to

    understand moods, and the effects of laughter, music, and dance on mood.


    Emotions constantly give signals to our bodies, in fact, they cause physiological changes

    which underpin our feelings. For example, cardiovascular arousal can increase or intensify fear

    and anxiety (Garfinkel & Critchley, 2016). Are there tools you use to help with control of your

    emotions, (i.e. meditation, physical activity, a cup of tea, pet therapy)? Do these tools then have

    an effect on your mood? #toolsformood


    Welcome. This week’s discussion will explore moods – how we listen to and manage them, what might affect our mood and tools we use for mood enhancement. We will discuss:

    Monday: Emotions and how they affect our moods
    Tuesday: Emotional resilience – what does it mean to you?
    Wednesday: Physical clues to mood
    Thursday: The power of laughter
    Friday: Music and its effect on mood
    Saturday: Dance and mood enhancement


    The interrelationships between sleep, diet, activity level, and stress affect my day to day rhythms in that any one of them can throw me off balance.  Poor sleep makes me want to eat junk food (carbs/sugar/starches), junk food makes me even more tired (my most productive times become zero-productive), being overly tired negatively affects my activity level, and not getting things done causes me a good deal of stress, which in-turn, affects my quality of sleep.  Good sleep improves my diet, my activity level, and reduces stress but it also makes me want to take advantage of the situation to the point of over-doing which then exhausts me, causing poor sleep, poor diet, lower activity, and stress.  In order to spiral upward and prevent/mitigate negative interactions among the combinations (therefore fostering positive synergy), I have to be mindful to pace myself, not just for today, but for the rest of the week.  Caffeine avoidance after 5 p.m., carb/sugar/starch limitations throughout the day, more fruits/veggies (avoiding nightshade veggies), fluid-intake limitation after 7 p.m., and meditation before sleep/good sleep hygiene all help.  In regard to stress, I mitigate it throwing me off balance by avoiding crowded/busy places.  I shop online or visit stores/other locations when they are least busy and that makes a great deal difference.  #combinations  #planahead  #planaccordingly

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