Connecting with heart, hands and body

The primary sense organs of touch and movement are located throughout the body, in every cell. Touch is emphasized in the skin. Movement is emphasized in the proprioceptive and kinesthetic receptors in the joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons, the interoceptors of the organs, and the vestibular mechanism of the inner ear. Movement and touch develop simultaneously. Touch is the other side of the movement. Movement is the other side of touch. They are the shadow of each other.
Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen

Between 60 and 80% of our communications are nonverbal, spoken in the bodily languages of movement and touch. To communicate effectively with our horses, we must be bi-lingual -- fluent in these interspecies, bodily languages.

One of the most profound dimensions of our relationship with our horses is touch - the sensory language spoken with our hands and our entire body. Touch is how we connect, explore, and soothe. Touch brings us into an immediate sensual relationship with the world around us. Touching dissolves our separateness; if is the most intimate way that we bridge the space between two beings.

How we touch - the quality of intention, receptivity, and listening that we bring to that defines our attention to and caring for each other. Touching is always a shared act. In other words, we are always being touched by what we are touching in an ongoing, reciprocal relationship.

Often the way we touch our horses is about doing, rather than nurturing a shared experience of just being. Practicing Conscious Touch is a powerful way of bringing greater feeling and harmony to the bodies of both horse and human, and regulation of the shared nervous system.

We are 70% water, as is the horse, which in the horse translates to 770 pounds or 96 gallons of water for the average 1,100-pound horse.. Conscious Touch engages the body's fluids to open a moving connection or flowing water dance that unfolds when we shift our awareness from muscles and bones to cells and fluids.

Conscious Touch focuses on developing our ability to use mindful, embodied touch as a way of deepening our connection with our horses. Conscious Touch supports ease and balance in the bodies of both horse and human, helping us become more conscious about what we are signaling with our bodies (and minds), and more open to what the horse is offering.

The second, and often misunderstood or neglected dimension of our equine relationships is movement. Horses, as prey animals, can illuminate issues or give insights into places of resistance or habits of body and mind that we may not even be conscious of.

Because horses mirror our physical and emotional expression, they show us when we are "out of sync" - when inner feelings and outer behaviors are not in harmony. Unlike humans (or any predator), horses are congruent; their outward behavior always matches their inner feeling. Horses are not judgmental, but simply responsive. Often our movement unconsciously reflects an unsettled or distracted state of mind. Bringing greater awareness to the way we move, and the effect of our movement on our horses can dissolve long-standing issues and illuminate inadvertent lessons that we may be teaching our horses with our movement and touch behaviors.

Conscious Touch, Conscious Movement helps us experience and understand:
  • How to use movement and touch to create congruence between what we are feeling inside and what we are expressing outwardly.
  • Deepening connection, awareness and attunement with yourself and the horse.
  • Simple movements to create ease and flow in your body and that of the horse.
  • letting go of habits of body and mind that may create unnecessary tension in you or the horse.
  • Becoming more trustworthy to yourself and the horse.
  • How to feel both giving and receiving with your hands and body.
  • Noticing when our movement and touch is transmitting inadvertent or unintentional tension.
  • Specific strategies for settling the nervous system when activated.
  • How to integrate mindful touch and mindful movement into your day-to-day activities with horses.

    Contact Paula to make an appointment for a private session or book a workshop.

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