photo: Peter van Enk, Mannenpower

Rolling about and around

The benefits of somatic floor play:

I love to roll on the ground. I love floor play whether it is Feldenkrais oriented or whether it has an NIA Joy in Motion taste. Rolling around and about, creeping, crawling, and playing animal… my daily dose of spontaneous play. Whenever I feel tired, overwhelmed, or just in a playful, silly mood, I lay on the ground and start sensing, feeling, and moving. It helps me to empty my overflowing, busy mind. Overtime is has proven to be one of my best working crumpy-mood changers and energizers.

The ground friend or enemy?

So often we hold ourselves with loads of effort. As if we have no backup that supports us when life plays tough on us. As if the ground is our worst enemy. Have we forgotten where our roots go? When I look around me I do get the impression that many people don’t remember their roots. So many of us are living high up in our minds and seldom come down to scent the moist fragrance of the rich earthy soil or sense the feet as they faithfully walk us through life

For a half year now, I live in the midst of nature in my beautiful paradise ‘Jardin de Luz’ in the heart of the Alpujarra mountains in Spain. I am surrounded by singing birds, and abundant tapestry of flowers in myriad colors, and lots of creepy little crawlers that fertilize the humid soil of my land.  I love to lie down in the green and watch the bright blue sky while a soft tepid breeze tickles my skin. And when the green is not too pointy, I love to roll around and about like a little kitten. It keeps my nervous system healthy.

Human Nervous systems, like any other nervous system, need the ground to orient, organize and move the body. Yielding to gravity is the medicine for excessive muscle tone and stress. And that is precisely why a little floor play a day keeps the doctor away.

When we are born we first learn to move on the ground. Our nervous system learns to navigate and negotiate gravity. This play with gravity also helps strengthen the muscles that later will support the skeleton, carrying us through life. There are 7 core patterns that we move through before we stand up and walk. And together with this physical process of creating these patterns, we develop our minds. We first learn about the world and about meaning through these early movements on the ground. We develop emotional intelligence while playing our way up into standing and walking. The physical body guiding the emotional and mental body to wise up and get ready to play in life’s luxuriant garden.

The ground beneath us was a safe haven when the world was too overwhelming for our young minds. The support we could lean into when there was nothing else to lean on. A place to rest and digest. Yet on our path to adulthood, many of us mostly forgot that gravity supports us. Where did we start battling gravity and backing away from the ground? So many people deal with tension and back pain as a result of not grounding and co-operating with gravitational forces. Many nervous systems forgot how to lean into the earth and inhale its life force.

As a result, stressful tension cannot discharge and becomes trapped in the physical body, causing physical pain, fatigue and tension, emotional anxiety and stress, and an overloaded, busy mind that hardly is able to relax.

This brings me to a few of the most impressive benefits of floor play:

relaxation, discharge stress, tap into life force, feel vital, vibrant, and energized. And most important, it will improve the way you move and help you thrive in life by giving your nervous system back its starting coördinates.

Every time I play on the floor It helps me revisit the early core patterns that my nervous system once created to help me thrive in life, and tweak and refine them. Filling in the blind spots created by painful experiences, ignorance, and well-intentioned advice I once took for true without listening to my body.

Do you want a first taste of play on the floor? Let’s roll about and, around…