One of the goals of our therapy is for our clients to feel fully alive and vibrant, integrated and connected. According to Alexander Lowen, co-founder of Bioenergetics, “the pleasure of being fully alive is anchored in the vibratory state of the body”. Vibratory movement is also responsible for spontaneity, emotional release and internal functioning. These are involuntary movements. Chronic muscular tension blocks (muscle armouring) blocks involuntary movement and repressed conflicts, suppressed feelings and defensive patterns. Of course, we also make voluntary movements such as eating, talking, walking etc. In an emotionally and physically healthy adult, both involuntary and voluntary movement are finely coordinated, in movement and in personality.
A good place to start with the encouragement of involuntary movement is with the “waterfall exercise”.
Waterfall – Basic vibratory and grounding exercise
(from The Way to Vibrant Health, by Alexander and Leslie Lowen pg 9).
Stand with feet hip width apart, toes slightly turned in so as to stretch some of the muscles of the buttocks. Bend forward and touch the floor with the fingers of both hands as in the photo. The knees should be slightly bent. No weight should be on the hands; all the body weight is in the feet. Let the head drop as much as possible.
Breathe through your mouth easily and deeply. Make sure to keep breathing. (Forget about breathing through your nose for the time being.)
Let the weight of your body go forward so that it is on the balls of your feet. The heels can be slightly raised.
Straighten the knees slowly until the hamstring muscles at the back of the legs are stretched. However, the knees should not be fully straightened or locked.
Try doing this exercise everyday, and build up to holding the position for between 5 – 10 mins. Make sure that you stay present with the exercise and present with your breathing.