Why a ‘step by step’ approach gives more results than a quick fix

Why a ‘step by step’ approach gives more results than a quick fix

I have never believed in quick fixes. Rapid changes often mess with our finely tuned system They undermine our natural rise and fall, resulting in overly intense highs followed by deep lows. We have probably all tried a Jo-Jo diet, where you ended up worse off than you started…

Quick changes usually throw us back into the tightest grip of our unhealthy habits and behaviours.

Rather, I advocate small, thoughtful steps that allow our system to try something new, like we take time to try on a new dress. It allows our system to move back and forth – to oscillate and also to reverse in any way it wants. It gives it time to test its ‘water’ again and again. So that it can make intelligent choices that serve our whole system in the most optimal way.

Perhaps it is that many of us need to learn to trust our Self-Wise again in choosing what is best in the given situation or how we can best heal or enhance our growth.
I call it giving your Self-Wise space to play. That means to explore, taste, pause, sense, feel, and do or undo in a relaxed, aware, and easy way.

Here is to your Self-Wise; your intelligent Body Wise Soul!
When was the last time you invited her to play? 

Rooting in yourself

Rooting in yourself

In my retreats at Jardin de Luz, I often include one or more Chakradance sessions.

While dancing through the base chakra myself, I came upon the themes of belonging and birthright. I know that there are many people who struggle with a deep feeling and belief of not being welcome, not being wanted, or feeling that they have no right to be there, to exist. There often is a fear of feeling the intense emotions that these deep experiences and beliefs bring into the body.

I struggled with it myself. And it caused me to feel deeply insecure and anxious about who I was. I worked hard to feel accepted by others, and to avoid pain. I used to have a strong inner voice constantly alerting me to possible signs that no one was waiting for me, and that I was not wanted. I was hyper-vigilant and sensitive. I was constantly aware of my surroundings, other people’s emotions, the energy around me, and another person’s slightest (inner) movement. At the slightest thing, I shot out of my body like you might jump up from a chair startled when stung by a wasp.

Thankfully, this lonely, fearful time has long passed. I have found a warm home within myself, within my body. Six months after I moved to Spain and a few months after I completed the Chakradance facilitator training, I wrote a few lines about it that you can read below.

For me, connecting and working with the archetypal energies that flow through my body and circulate in my energy field helped me find peace within myself and grounding in my body. From this safe base in my body, I can feel myself, be myself in new encounters and relationships. And in challenging moments, I now also feel the inner support and safety of my body.

Why can it be so powerful to work with archetypes creatively as we do in Chakradance?

Archetypes are the basis of all the underlying, unlearned, instinctual patterns in our behavior. They exist in our human collective consciousness and are embedded in our psyche from which they influence how we move through life and perceive, feel, think, and act.

Dance is like a mirror in which we see the archetypal energies at work in our energy system. We can clearly feel where they bring imbalance and distortion to our energetic make-up. It offers us a conscious way to connect with these archetypal energies and change how and where they affect us.

In this way, deep instinctual patterns in our behavior get a chance to transform. This changes not only our perceptions for the better, but also how we feel, think, and move in relation to others and our environment.

“I can only belong when I allow myself to belong to me”

Dancing with your base chakra ‘Muladhara’, helps you dissolve deep beliefs of not fitting in, of being alienated from your body, and feelings of fear, overwhelm, and insecurity. In fact, even longstanding patterns of physical tension and e.g. back pain can be released when the energy of the base chakra is better balanced. It also changes the vibration in your energy field and therefore the way other people perceive you.

The way you move tells your personal myth

The way you move tells your personal myth

What is your story?
And is it still the story you want to tell yourself?

The way you move tells your personal myth and shows you the hidden parts of yourself. It reveals to you the deepest beliefs and feelings that underlie the story you have come to tell yourself about yourself and the world around you.

Your way of moving tells you f.e. about the unconscious thoughts that dominate your self-image from the background. You can read your deep basic beliefs and unconscious habits, and also how you are in relation with your body and the world around you.

The way you stand, sit, move, reach out and turn inwards tell about (unconscious) emotional patterns. These often originate long ago and impose themselves in the way you carry yourself; your personal conditioned patterns of muscle-contraction as well as the way you talk to yourself and about yourself.

Meet yourself in movement

Over the years, I learned about the many unconscious stories I was telling myself by landing more in my body and becoming aware of how I was moving and how that made me feel.

I now recognize the stories that are well hidden in the depths trying to keep their grip. They used to control me with subtle posturing patterns that kept me small. Now I am aware of their ways and can choose whether and how to respond to them.

Your body tells your inner story

Most of these subconscious stories, that live on quietly in the background, reveal themselves in a moment of challenge. Often through a sudden sensation, or an abrupt change in your inner energy flow, that gesture you always make, or that small but all too familiar movement. And even more often through that subtle familiar but unconscious body posture that you have become accustomed to over the years. They are those hidden stories that were written when we were very small and sometimes even long before that. And sometimes the stories live on through us, but belong to family or ancestors.

How do your stories reveal themselves? 

Over the years, my practice of Feldenkrais and NIA has transformed me into a curious movement and sensation detective. Dance is my tool to unravel the inner stories that move, challenge, and touch me. I like to use the movements for my Body Wise guide cards and write a little message to my soul on them.

Our stories start and change in the body

Our stories start and change in the body

I love this quote and I believe there is so much truth in it!

Our bodies know they belong; it is our minds that make our lives so homeless.” —JOHN O’DONOHUE

Our stories start in the body with the way our autonomous nervous system feels the world from moment to moment. It is called neuroception, a term originating with Stephen Porges Polyvagal theory.
We only have little awareness of these subtle shifts in our states and the influence that they have on how we feel, perceive our environment, and behave from moment to moment.

These wordless neuroceptive messages are somatic signals, like a gut feeling, sensations of temperature change, or our heart intuition, sensations from our organs, muscles… The autonomic nervous system sends these ‘neuroceptive signals’ to the brain. Our mind then starts to give meaning to this somatic story that our body tells by creating the beliefs that guide our daily life. A story is being born.

This mostly happens in the background of our daily lives, our moment-to-moment being. This gives the story a chance to result in unconscious habits of perception, behavior, movement, and attitude that influence our decision-making, our self-image, our reactions, and ultimately how we are in relationships with others and our environment.

We can become aware of this unconscious flow of information by pausing, listening into our body and paying attention to our bodily sensations before interpreting them with our mind. Much like being a witness.

When we can witness with the curiosity of our ‘infant mind space’ rather than our more judging ‘ego mind space’, we create a new space for trying on options in responding, behaving, and taking in the world. This creates options to enact a new somatic story by using the ability of our nervous system and body to adapt, change, and grow.

We meet ourselves through our infant mind space when we express ourselves through dance, conscious movement, and expressive art. When we invite ourselves to re-connect with ourselves without judgement by playing, exploring and discovering what wisdom our body holds for us. This leads to self-healing and inner growth.

It’s how I healed myself many years ago when I realised that I had lost my zest and sparkle and felt alienated from myself. I made the choice to change how I listened to and looked at myself, to re-story, to meet myself again in movement, in the moment, to re-member myself home in my body and being.

Testimonial by Yosmary Pestana

A Transformative Retreat: Nurturing Mind, Body, and Connection with Nature

My 6-Day Pause Listen & Reconnect With Yourself Dance Retreat, accompanied by Pingel and Peter, has proven to be one of the most enriching experiences I’ve ever had. The NIA practice focused on understanding sensations and emotions and served as an excellent foundation for the somatic therapy led by Pingel—a truly helpful and powerful combination. 

Beyond the formal aspects of the retreat, the atmosphere fostered a comfortable environment for sharing experiences, establishing meaningful connections, and gaining insights into Pingel and Peter’s lives. This not only provided a great source of inspiration but also revealed alternative lifestyles and mindsets centered around living in harmony with nature.

Credit is also due to Peter for his excellent culinary skills. He did a fantastic job cooking delicious vegetarian meals with locally sourced ingredients and generously shared tips for some of his recipes. Cooking together and introducing a dish from my home country was a great experience. I hope the addition of arepas to the menu is well-received by future visitors to the retreat. 🙂

Adding to the charm of the retreat were its lovely hosts—Noah, the dog, and the cats. Noah, in particular, is the most lovable canine soul, and I cherished spending breaks with these furry companions.

Accommodations at the guest house, situated adjacent to Pingel and Peter’s house, were both comfortable and cozy. The open-plan kitchen, complete with a lovely fireplace, became my favorite spot for reading during breaks. Clean and comfortable bedrooms and bathrooms, along with the option of a winter fireplace or a summer swim in the available pool, made the stay versatile and enjoyable.

The Finca also offers really nice walks, allowing you to literally pluck fruits from trees during your stroll, enhancing the overall experience. If you seek a deeper connection with nature and a more profound understanding of your mind and body, I totally recommend this retreat.

Yosmary Pestana

United Kingdom