This 8-week Mindful Movement & Meditation Workshop was organized and sponsored by the Department of Human Services of the beautiful Town of Falmouth in Massachusetts. We had a great turnout with over 320 residents participated. These notes are intended to be used as additional resources for the workshop participants.
Notes by Sang H. Kim, Ph.D.
MBX-12 is an experiential, movement-based meditation. Each movement when performed meditatively brings the muscles and joints and vessels to work together in concert with the organs to optimize the internal condition.
Each movement sequentially activates particular inner energy channels. However, there is no right or wrong way. You can adjust each movement to suit your condition and needs. It’s a way of harmonizing your feelings with your present physical condition.
Being free of having the set goal for perfection enables you to immerse yourself into the process of learning and experiencing. (refer to Week 3 session)
Discovering, stumbling, and getting closer to understanding the true nature of the body opens enormous possibilities for you to stay resilient under stress and remodel your body and mind.
Seven Valuable Things in MBX-12 Practice
1. Buffer stress. The practice gives a break to the mind while occupying the body with slow rhythmic movements. Switching your attention to the body keeps the mind away from the stressor affecting your perception thus changing your reality.
Action to take: Take 30 seconds entirely for your physical movement with deep breathing. Example, practice MBX-1 when you feel anxiety. Do it as slowly as possible.
2. Express inner urges. Our body has internal urges that need to be let out. I call them ‘interoceptive itches’. Like an itch, they need to be relieved through a physical response. The interoceptive itches may result from physical stress, lack of circulation, pain or inflammation, or just restlessness. Unlike the skin, the inner organs and muscles and joints are inaccessible. But movement can, safely change the hemodynamics in the body and stretch and contract muscles and joints. Each itch causes emotional and physical urgency and a proper response conveys satisfaction to your feelings. That’s why you feel so good after exercise. Practicing a few or all of MBX-12 movements helps you alleviate the inner itches. Relieved, now you can focus.
Action to take: Move your body whenever you feel stressed. Bend, stretch, twist, and dance.
3. Get in touch with true feelings. Your feelings are often non-specific. But they rise from specific cues manifesting your physical and emotional conditions and needs. Sensations from the body and thoughts from the brain may conflict against or overpower each other resulting in contradicting behaviors. This problem can be lessened or resolved by being mindful of true thoughts and feelings and facilitating a neutral environment in which your thoughts and feelings can merge. This happens when you immerse yourself in repetitive slow rhythmic flowing movements for 3 to 9 minutes. Your awareness expands. In that expansion, no feeling is too heavy to upset the entirety.
Action to take: Be honest with yourself. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. And accept it.
4. Connect the deep with the vast. Each sequence stimulates the 12 energy channels in the body connecting the organs, nerves, muscles, and vessels. An inhalation brings in fresh oxygen from outside and delivers it to the deep cellular space inside. An exhalation takes out the byproducts from each cell and transports them to the vast space outside. The living mechanism of our body connects the two through movement. A sensation of this subtle flow of energy is what connects the mind and body, merging the present space with time, allowing us to experience infinity here and now. In this, we renew our body and refresh our mind. It’s invigorating.
Action to take: Think big. The whole universe is your playground. Connect each one of your body parts with all in the universe.
5. Greet each moment. Do not try to do a movement slow or fast. Also do not expect to do it well or not. Let the movement flow at its own pace. Just be there as you are standing to greet each moment with your mindful breath and movement.
Action to take: Take one moment as your infinity, and see the infinity in the moment.
6. Stay resilient. No matter how tough one can be, eventually the strength breaks apart. Entropy sets in. But when you know how to continue to recharge by connecting yourself with the fathomless resources deep within and far outside, you can stay afloat seeing time passing and place changing, yet sustaining the center.
Action to take: Use MBX-12 as a tool to distract and care for yourself, and stay centered and not get caught up.
7. Each practice is a new beginning. Curiosity brings about miracles. Pure effort can be done effortlessly because you are truly doing. One of the most powerful miracles is experiencing true learning. It inspires you to practice hard and discover what no one can teach you.
Action to take: Keep your mind empty, full of potential, for freshness and new discovery. Stay away from boredom. Approach each practice anew, an essential component of an art.
My Personal Practice Experience
Before my MBX-12 practice, I slow down my breath, then look for a spot to stand. As the mind becomes calmer, I plant my feet firmly enough to make my feet happy.
The happiness of my feet are critical. If my feet are uncomfortable, I move a few inches away and try again, because my happy feet put my shoulders at ease. Placement of the feet is the number one criteria for happy practice of mindful movement.
When the feet and shoulders are well tuned, the heaviness of the shoulders sink toward the legs, in turn firmly grounding my body at the base. This is the base for centering the body. When centered, your body relaxes.
Relaxed, focus comes naturally.
As I begin the first movement of the Awakening Posture, my arms slowly rise to the side, then stretch tall over my head. A feeling of lightness fills my heart.
One movement at a time, I complete the 12 movement sequences.
Standing in the middle of the Earth and Sky, I move my arms and torso creating the trails of energy flowing through my fingers and nose and mouth and eyes.
Abundant fresh energy rushes through the narrow tunnels of my nostrils. Long, very long, out-breath pushes out old energy from the deepest chambers of my lungs and heart.
In the turmoil of the new and old, I am experiencing a birth of harmony in the left and right sides of my hemisphere. The pressing gravity squeezes the vessels while comforting the muscles.
Off the surface entering the deeper layers of the body, I stumble upon serenity inside undisturbed. Like being deep in the ocean water. Quiet. Floating. Safe. Beautiful. All familiar senses, hidden deeply inside, are coming back, in one.
Enjoy the summer practice!