Connecting with heart, body and mind

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

Other animals think with the whole of their bodies.
David Abram

Paula Josa-Jones is unique as an equine practitioner who integrates somatic movement skills with therapeutic, educational and creative work with horses. A dancer, choreographer and improvisational movement artist, as well as a Registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist, she brings a lifetime of experience as a mover to her work with horses.

Paula believes that, "In our deepest selves, we are all dancers. Many of us have learned not to dance, or believe that dancing belongs only to a few. Finding pleasure and expression in our movement is a birthright and belongs to all of us."

Conscious Movement

Developing our ability to use mindful and expressive movement deepens our connection with our horses and ourselves. Conscious Movement supports ease and balance in the bodies of both horse and human, helping us become more aware of what we are signaling with our bodies (and minds), and more open to what the horse is offering. Moving consciously with horses means bringing an improvisational and playful quality to your interactions with horses, regardless of your movement experience. Check out this video to see what that might look like!

Horses, as vigilant prey animals, read not only our movement behaviors but their underlying emotional tone. 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 mindfulness to how we move, and the effect of our movement on our horses, the horse's responses help us feel when we are discordant, anxious or unaware. In this way, horses can give us insights into habits of body and mind that may be obstacles to our communication and relationships.

Conscious Touch

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 offer - defines our attention to and caring for each other. Touching is always a shared act. 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.

Conscious Touch, Conscious Movement helps us discover:
  • Movement practices that help ground and expand our bodily experience.
  • Deepening feel, connection, and attunement between yourself and the horse with movement and touch skills.
  • Releasing habits of body and mind that can create unnecessary tension in you or the horse.
  • Finding greater ease and flow in your relationship with the horse and yourself.
  • Becoming more trustworthy to yourself and the horse.
  • Noticing when our movement and touch may be transmitting unintentional messages to the horse.
  • Specific strategies for settling body and mind in yourself and the horse when activated.

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

    Find Our Horses, Ourselves: Discovering the Common Body
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