In today’s guest post Louise Gillespie-Smith shares a little about how she combines her skills and knowledge when coaching.
Lessons from movement
Yoga teachers will often say to their students during a class something like “how you are on your yoga mat is a reflection of how you are in life”. I remember hearing for the first time when I began to practice years ago and it always stuck with me. I found it fascinating to pay attention to how I was being in a class and then to observe where I was like that in other areas of my day to day life.
Whether it was comparing myself to others, trying to force myself in to poses when my body was not ready, my mind chatter being so busy it would throw me off balance, breathing shallow and fast, the list of observations was endless. I could then stop, try something new and experience the results before experimenting with the same outside of the yoga studio.
This is something that led me to fall in love with yoga, how it wasn’t just exercise but a personal development and self-awareness tool for my whole life. In 2012 I became a yoga teacher and now combine my life coaching with yoga to help my clients heal themselves and become self-aware through how they are on their mat.
There is something powerful about getting out of the mind and learning from how we move our bodies instead. Our movements are instinctual, our self-talk does not come into play so much, we just move. Sometimes it can be easy to over analyse what is going on in the mind, going round in circles, that’s when paying attention to the body can provide us with numerous insights.
Yoga is not the only way to learn from how we move our bodies, simply looking at how we walk can teach us a huge amount. Earlier on this year, I enjoyed an Embodiment course with Mark Walsh, which was great to dive deeper into this type of coaching which plays around with movement.
One powerful technique I learnt with Mark was how to effectively centre yourself which helps you to deal with anything that is thrown your way in a calm, steady, clear manner. The 3 steps Mark gave to centring are:
- Bring your mind into present moment awareness by using the five senses for example feeling where your feet/body connects with the ground and becoming aware of your breath.
- Become aware of your balance, noticing both feet evenly on the ground.
- Relax the middle line, the point between your eyebrows, your nose, your lips, your tongue, your chin, your throat and your belly.
Simply moving through these 3 stages helps you to feel grounded and connected in the moment. A tool that is very useful in times of stress and chaos.
A great way to demonstrate the power of this to a client is to first stand to the side of them and grab their arm. Their fight or flight response will generally cause them to jump.
Next go through the 3 centring steps and then grab their arm again. The response is usually very different, completely reduced in fact.
Often with a client I will ask them to start to walk around the room and then start to think about the issue they are dealing with, then notice how their movement and body language changes. After going through the centring process I ask them to walk and think about it again. The difference is often very noticeable.
Movement is a powerful way to learn about ourselves, to experiment with dealing with situations in a different way and it makes a coaching session fun.
About the author
Louise Gillespie-Smith runs a business called Create Yourself which empowers and supports people in making positive change in their life. She has a holistic toolkit of resources, life coaching/NLP/ yoga/ reiki/ image consultancy, to create individually tailored packages based on what each client needs. firstname.lastname@example.org/07779 150886.