Warm Ups

An excerpt from TWO WORLDS AT THE SAME TIME: Full Spectrum Improvisation for the Theatre and Life By Joya Cory

“Warm ups prepare the psycho-physical self for creative activity. We move the body, voice, and psyche into a state of relaxed readiness. The effect is to: · Expand sensory awareness · Open and energize the body and voice · Prepare our selves to respond intuitively to stimuli from outside and impulse from within. You can do this on your own any time you want to relax and get out of your head. Take the attitude of “moving for the pleasure of it.” Melt down into your mat and stretch out on your back. Relax and release, letting your weight sink into the mat. Take a moment to check into your body with a sensory body scan. Let your awareness move through your body from head to toe and toe to head. Where, in your body, are you released? Where held? Where warm? Where cool? Really notice the changes in your body and thoughts from moment to moment. Focusing on the breath, notice that the exhalation is the release breath, the relaxation phase of breathing. Let the exhalation be longer than the inhalation. The inhalation is more of an energizing breath. There are three parts to your breathing: the in, the out and the pause before the new breath. You can let this pause be as long as it wants to be and the vacuum action of the lungs will draw in the new breath. This can be deeply centering. Then try this meditative movement: On your back with eyes closed, arms over your head, stretched out, begin very slowly to lift both arms together up in the air making an arc on either side of your body as the arms move from above your head to the mat near your thighs. Control the speed of the movement to keep the arms at a constant pace. Do this as slowly as you can and you’ll feel how gravity works on your muscles. Exhale on the lifting movement. After several arcs up and down, play with the tempo a little. Then try the arm movement opening to each side with arms floating up from the mat to above the center of your chest where your palms can meet in a prayer-like pose. Knowing this movement has a ritual quality helps you decide when to do it. It works well to do before toning or chanting. Then, at some point, play with the range of motion of your arms while on your back. Now, keep moving in a way that is very slow and continuous. Let a part of your body always be in motion. Either the whole body can be in motion, or one part can be in motion and then another can pick it up. Don’t worry about trying to get it right. It’s really about how you drop into the direct experience of physicality, the sensation: The sense of heat on the skin, the sense of energy that’s moving thru you, the sense of motion through space. Remember the breath. Enjoy.”

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