Science Experienced and Embodied
We explore mindful movement as a way to live more deeply, healthily and fully. We work with:
– Movers – exploring resilient health and well-being through felt experience
– Scientists/clinicians/scholars – using body awareness to play with the subjective experience of research
– People – bringing accessible movement and accessible science to all
We like to get movers, researchers and people together to talk, listen, think and move
We think the subjective and the objective have much to learn from each other
We celebrate beauty, sensitivity and peer reviewed research
We critically appraise scientific studies, asking lots of awkward questions
We move, discuss, sense, read, reflect, rest and try not to take ourselves too seriously
We welcome thinkers, movers, writers, educators, artists and curious people of all kinds
We like to
Invite people to experience things in their bodies in order to create conversations about science
Explore body-based ways of knowing that honour scientific research
Give voice to the world of inner experience
Exploring the science of rhythm – an example of using evidence-based research to enrich movement workshops in the community
Dr Elaine Westwick, Dance and Somatic Practices Conference, Coventry University 2015, oral presentation
The novel and countercultural nature of embodied movement practices can appear off-putting to many in the community who would greatly benefit. Those not self-identifying as “movers”, for example older adults or people with chronic health conditions, may feel excluded from participation as a result.
I have found that using mainstream, evidence-based research, as an explicit learning objective and more implicitly to ground conceptual delivery, makes sessions more accessible and appealing. Providing information about the health benefits of the movements encourages people to attend, and enables them to feel safer and less alienated when they do.
There are many areas of relevant evidence-based research which can be used to frame a movement workshop. This paper will use the example of a workshop based on the science of biological rhythms. Other examples include: the effects of mindfulness on gene expression; resonance of somatosensory body maps within a group of movers; and the bidirectional links between movement and emotions. The emphasis is on providing an understanding, both intellectual and body-based, of how movement can enhance mental and physical wellbeing.
Evidence-based research, presented in a digestible form, can also be useful in persuading others, such as funding bodies and community stakeholders of the benefits of embodied movement.
The movement practices discussed in this paper draw on embodied Pilates, qigong and yoga, however the principles are generic and applicable to other modalities.