The Future of Liberated Body?

Those of you who are listening to season 4 have probably heard me say that this is Liberated Body’s last season. (Gah!) A number of you have reached out asking what that means, or simply wishing me goodness in whatever’s next, and so I’ve wanted to write a post explaining what’s up. So here we go! 

First, to those of you who have gotten in touch to tell me how much Liberated Body means to you and who have wished me well in future adventures- thank you! When you make projects on your laptop in your living room it is such nectar to hear from the real humans who are interacting with the work after I toss it out into the internets (onto the internets?). This project has given me the chance to both in-person and e-meet so many delightful, creative, inquisitive, and joyful people all over the world. It regularly blows my mind. 

For those of you who have donated to supporting the show through this and any prior seasons, I am endlessly grateful. I earn my living in my Rolfing practice still, so every penny you’ve donated goes into making the show- either paying my producer, or paying for the software I need to broadcast and store the show. Thank you thank you thank you. I can’t say it enough.

Now… as for the future of the show. If you have been a Liberated Body listener for a while you probably know that I am a believer in letting my projects lead me instead of me leading them. You can hear a lot about that in the interview Bo Forbes did of me at the end of season 3. I’ve tried leading my projects! Believe me! I just find that they lead me to much better places than I can come up with. All things go more smoothly and juicily when I let the intelligence of the project find its own way. So I do my best to relinquish my imagined control… 

This project is still leading me around, so I don’t actually know what shape it will take eventually, but here’s where things are at right now

When I began season 4 I anticipated that Liberated Body would have one more season and then live on as an audio archive of body nerdery on iTunes and the website going forward. Right now that is still the thought, but I’m also sitting with how it might live on. And I’m still in the midst of recording interviews for season 4, so new conversations will continue for a while.

I continue to be in the process of writing a book proposal (Hey book agents and publishers! Email me!) which will turn the most insightful moments of Liberated Body into an inspiring in-print collection dedicated to how vast, unknowable, and wondrous our bodies are- straight from the mouths of the somatic visionaries I get to talk to on the show. 

I’ve pondered ways to have more group conversations online (i.e. not just me interviewing someone, but more like my moderating a conversation among peers- kind of like what I did in person for Beyond Anatomy recently at The Breathing Project), but so far nothing has stuck. I’m feeling into it, but I have to see what emerges. I’ll keep you posted as it evolves and matures.

Now to the question, “why is this the last season of the show?” 

This show has definitely led me to places I did not anticipate that it would. It started as, and continues to be, a learning-in-public project. For that I’m grateful. What I’ve learned from all the bright and exquisitely talented people who I have had the great good fortune to interview has changed the way I see everything- not just the body.

At first, back in the early stages of Liberated Body, I thought I would be able to collect all the best models for working with the body and distill them into some ultimate truth that I could pass along. Do you remember the 30-Day Challenge (aka the Movement Cleanse) and the Liberated Body Guides? Those were my attempts to take what I’d learned and apply it to specific needs or concerns. There are a lot of people who do that work, and I am grateful that it exists. But in the end it wound up being too intellectual an exercise for me and I just couldn’t bring myself to persist in it. 

Instead, and surprisingly, as I have continued to dive under and under and under many layers of assumptions about the body, I have found fuel for my spiritual practice (I had always put my “body learning” and my spiritual life in separate compartments, but they wound up being the same thing). Connecting with the knowing of the body has brought tremendous healing and clarity to my life. Those of you who have tuned into Bliss + Grit have gotten a peek at that particular experiencing-in-public project. 

In my work these days my great love really sits with guiding people (and myself) into a deepening experience of their bodies, and how connecting with that kind of intimate felt-sense of the body allows people’s most genuine lives to unfold. You can probably see that shift in the kinds of interviews popping up in the current season. That seems to be the place of deepest satisfaction for me right now, so I expect that I’ll continue creating Bliss + Grit with my bestie and co-creator Vanessa Scotto, and working with her doing group facilitated work. I also work individually with clients for… whatever you want to call it- spiritual mentoring or coaching seem to be the least-terrible names I have for it now. 

If you’re interested in following along with that vein of my work and getting updates when I do run any events you can check out Bliss + Grit, or go to my personal website and subscribe for updates. And of course I will keep you all posted on any changes in Liberated Body as things emerge. 

So- that’s where I’m at these days! Big gratitude to all of you. I’m so glad to know you’re all out there doing your good work to connect people to their bodies. Keep on making the world a more embodied place!

Xxoo,

B

Your Movement is Your Lived Experience with Peter Blackaby (LBP 067)

Today I’m talking with Peter Blackaby who is the author of the book Intelligent Yoga which he is currently writing the 2nd edition for. Pete started practicing yoga in 1978 and began teaching in 1986. He then went on to become an osteopath. In 2002 he became involved in the British Wheel of Yoga (which is the governing body in England), and ran a two-year teacher training program for them. Since then, Pete has been running courses for teachers and teaches functional anatomy and biomechanics in the UK and internationally. His interest in the last 15 years has been to put some scientific underpinning to the practice of yoga, both in the biomechanical sense and in the mind/body relationship.

In today’s conversation we’re talking about moving away from the Western reductionist view of anatomy, what a bottom up approach to yoga looks like vs. a top down approach, how the whole person’s lived experience is tied into how they move, and how yoga teachers can approach working with students who have chronic pain.

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RESOURCES

Peter Blackaby's website

Intelligent Yoga- Peter's book

Beyond Anatomy: A Somatic Symposium (happening April 1st and 2nd 2017)

Breath, Inquiry, and Individuality with Leslie Kaminoff (LBP 066)

Leslie has been a yoga educator for the last four decades and is an internationally recognized specialist in the fields of yoga and breath anatomy. He leads anatomy and yoga methodology workshops for many of the leading yoga associations, schools and training programs in the world.

He is the co-author of the bestselling book Yoga Anatomy and the founder of The Breathing Project. 

Leslie has also helped to organize international yoga conferences while serving as Vice-President of Unity in Yoga, and was part of the committee that established national standards for yoga teacher training.

In today’s conversation we’re talking about what it was like to have a front-row seat for the birth of the fitness and yoga industries in the United States, concepts related to breath and breath anatomy, and the art of teaching and the importance of creating an atmosphere of inquiry in yoga classes in order to honor students’ individuality and allow for deeper insights.

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Personal Agency, Movement, and Teaching with Amy Matthews (LBP 065)

Today I’m talking with Amy Matthews. Amy has been teaching movement since 1994. She is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst, a Body-Mind Centering® Teacher, an Infant Developmental Movement Educator, and a movement therapist and yoga teacher. Amy is also the co-author of the best-selling book Yoga Anatomy, and together with Leslie Kaminoff Amy teaches The Breathing Project's Advanced Studies courses. In today’s conversation we’re talking about Laban Movement Analysis and Body-Mind Centering, developmental movement work, and what that means for infants- how they can get a solid foundation for personal agency and emotional regulation through movement, and how developmental movement work helps adults as well. We also talk about embodied teaching, how teaching is its own art form and how it can also call forth a student’s personal agency.

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Movement Matters with Katy Bowman (LBP 064)

katy-bio-pic.jpg

Katy Bowman is a biomechanist and the founder of Nutritious Movement. She is the author of several books including Move Your DNA, Whole Body Barefoot, and her most recent collection of essays, Movement Matters. In today’s conversation we’re talking about the ecology of movement. How does your movement affect not just your health but also humans everywhere, even ones you’ve never met, and how does it affect the health of the planet as a whole? We discuss the real impact of our sedentarism and our drive for convenience, and how movement can be a very profound and impactful form of activism.

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Embodied Living with Mark Walsh (LBP 063)

Today I’m talking with Mark Walsh, an embodiment specialist who is the creator of the Embodied Facilitator training, Integration Training, Embodied Yoga Principles, and Purpose Blackbelt. His work in embodiment has taken him to a wide range of organizations and communities, from businesses in the UK, to the Middle East alongside the UN, the slums of Brazil, an HIV organization in East Africa, and many other places. In our conversation today we talk about what embodiment means, some of the ways embodiment is being misunderstood, how lives change with embodiment, what the consequences are of living in a disembodied time culturally, and, considering that the world is in a pretty inflamed place these days, we take on how those of us who work with the body can be activists- how our work makes the world a less traumatized and traumatizing place.

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Beyond Anatomy (LBP 062)

I’m talking with Leslie Kaminoff, Amy Matthews, and Peter Blackaby about our upcoming somatic symposium at The Breathing Project in New York this April called Beyond Anatomy. We talk about what “beyond anatomy” means to each of us and what some of the specific things are in our own learning trajectories that we are exploring at this point. 

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How Liberated Body Changed me with Brooke Thomas (LBP 061)

For the final episode of season 3 Bo Forbes turns the tables and interviews me, Brooke Thomas. Bo asks me her own questions as well as those submitted from listeners (thank you!) and we cover a lot of ground. If you want to hear about my personal path with my body, how learning through the podcast changed the way I see all bodies, how I parent based on what I've learned, my current practices (particularly in natural movement and somatic meditation), and what the road ahead looks like tune in.

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Conversation highlights

Bo and I spoke at length and below are the questions that were asked. The circuitous route that ensues after a question was asked is hard to capture so...

  • What’s your earliest memory of being in your body?
  • The sense of being different can be an impetus for innovation or a life sentence- how did that go in your life?
  •  What stands out as key moments bringing you into this work?
  • What did your healing journey look like?
  • How and why did you start Liberated Body? What was the intial vision, how has it changed, how has the practice of doing it changed you?
  • From Rebecca M: "1) You mentioned you had health issues and became really good at eating crackers on the bench while others were involved in activity.  When did you realize that you had crossed over from sedentary to a true lover of movement? 2)  What were some of the obstacles you had along the way and how did you solve the problems?"
  • Bo "The idea that the body should be or should do... it can give people imposter syndrome. Sometimes we just have to step into our place. Often the tipping points we experience are small and subtle, yet the world often conditions us to look for these big momentous transformations.
  • From Patrice N “I know that your curiosity (at least I think I know that) and some physical issues brought you to looking more deeply into embodiment as a topic - but now, after this time of exploration - can you say something of the value you've gained from working with embodiment practices? Often, students/clients don't get what or how an embodied existence enriches the experience of being human.  They seem to think that if they simply feel "no pain" things are fine."
  • From Jill Miller “What do you do for your non-negotiable daily self-care?”
  • From Kristin W "Your mention of the Meditating with the Body program, inspired me to check out Dharma Ocean. The result is that I have been meditating on a daily basis for the first time in my life! The Dharma Ocean approach of deeply grounding in our sacred bodies has changed my life in a short few months. I would love to hear about your experience with it."
  • Luna E “What are your movement actions/daily/weekly/monthly? and how have you dealt with or have you had any injuries?"
  • Natalie “With all the info that you gather how do you discern what to practice for yourself?”
  • Marita “Who or what has changed your way of thinking about your body?”
  • John S “In season 3 we’ve heard from some fabulous researchers. I know there is so much that can be learned through the lens of science. At the same time, I sometimes question how suitable science is for learning about the embodied experience. Science is necessarily based on objectivity and reductionism, while our embodied experience is inherently subjective and holistic. Given these differences, what do you see as the promises and pitfalls of research into the embodied experience?"
  • Julie F “1. Given that body and mind is not separate, and this speaker's discussion has implications for body, mind, and life practices - I would like him to expand that more. Also how he practice the line in his life. 2. Do you have 'play list by theme', also for women..since I don't see too many women in your talks."
  • Ana Maria “I want to know how all the body nerdery has impacted what you're teaching or practicing with your son?”
  • Kathleeen L "Anderson Cooper' recent comment about his massage therapy experience has incited much conversation in our profession. I have been inspired by his experience that negative emotions can be massaged into the body. For the past few days, I have been asking my clients to share a happy, positive thought as I address their area of concern. For example, I had a teacher with tight shoulders. I prompted her to talk about why she got into teaching and her favorite memories as I massaged her upper trapezius. Is there any research or theory to support the idea that positive or negative thoughts can affect muscles in this way?"
  •  Cathy H “How do you metabolize this incredible world of questions and discovery and constant emerging-ness that the podcast invites us into? Everything I believe to be true is only the case for a moment in time and sometimes I feel that what makes me feel curious and alive also makes me feel a touch overwhelmed.”
  • What will you be up to in the off season? What projects are next?

Resources

Brooke's new project- the podcast Bliss + Grit

Bo Forbes

Yoga Tune Up

MovNat

Julie Angel interview

Dharma Ocean

Judith Blackstone

Elm City Coach and Marannie Rawls-Phillippe Bauer

Bernardo Kastrup

Cynthia Price interview

Norm Farb interview

Will Johnson interview