On the first day, we started with the offline phase of the residency program, and all of us were introduced to different embodied exercises. These mainly included breathing exercises like Anuloma pranayama, breathing out, deep breathing, and slow breathing. The routine started off with these exercises, after which various stretching exercises followed. Stretching somehow helped me discover the range for my joints to move through their full range of motion.
It was a routine that was established for every day of the remaining phase. Every day, the first thing in the morning was to complete the breathing and stretching exercises. It felt like a break from the outside life. The mind that has a habit to wander elsewhere slowly and steadily started being more focused day by day. No matter what was going on in the outside world, the embodied exercises made sure to relax the mind and establish a gap from the negative thoughts.
The embodied routine further continued with a ball game, wherein some balloons were filled with rice, which was used to play catch. The balloons were to be considered a gift and a flow of energy was to be established by always keeping the balloons in motion. This exercise and the feedback that followed were usually based on the type of body language one is keeping while catching and throwing the balloons.
I feel at one point the focus was on the sound that was being produced while catching the balloons. Sometimes it was about the position at which were standing at the start and end of a game session. It established a connection between the body posture, movement of my feet, and whether I was able to take a catch or not.
Each day there were various permutations and combinations introduced and discovered within the ball game exercise. Sometimes it was to be played between four to give people, sometimes it was just within pairs, sometimes while all of us had a fixed position, while sometimes we were moving. By the end of the program, we were also asked to throw the balls to our partner while her eyes were closed.
It established a new sensation about what one felt while trying to catch a balloon with eyes closed. While eyes were closed, one wasn’t aware of where to catch the ball from. It was based on the fact if it did touch my hands, I could catch it. If it didn’t, it actually didn’t matter.
In my opinion, I felt more aware of my own body. Sometimes it was because I couldn’t catch the ball, sometimes it was because someone pointed out my posture, and sometimes it was because I observed my co-participants while they were throwing the balls at each other. I was able to discover the loose foot movement to be kept instead of a tight posture to make sure I was able to change my body postures as and when required.
Cover Image source: https://onelittleproject.com/rice-stress-ball/