BIRTHING BEAUTIFUL BODIES

A Guide to Creating Your Most Beautiful and Powerful Body

As a Foundation for Life—Yours and Your Baby’s

 (The following is excerpted from my soon-to-be-released ebook on Postpartum Training with Your New Baby–Title, TBA.  I look forward to reading your feedback and integrating our dialogue into the remainder of the book!)

Introduction

New Baby, New Body

Since the moment your child took her first breath, your life changed in a way for which you could never have prepared yourself. And yet, in that moment there was a shift at the core of your being—a shift that connected you to every mothering creature that has ever walked this earth—a shift that gave you the power and the strength to be a part of giving and sustaining life. This tiny being who you have been growing inside your womb has transformed you into the most powerful YOU that has ever existed. This is, beyond any doubt, the most incredible thing you have ever and, will ever, do. This has been your opportunity to be an instrument of creation.

You did not only birth your baby into this world—you birthed a new version of yourself as MOTHER.

You have undoubtedly come to know yourself as more powerful, more vulnerable, more amazing, and with a much more expansive heart than you ever imagined.  And as most new moms probably agree, your priorities have shifted.   Having washboard abs and a tight ass are no longer your driving motivation, if they ever were!  They’re illustrious goals, of course, yet, especially now, they don’t define a life well lived nor do they connect us to anything greater than our egos, unless we consciously connect them.

For most new moms, one of the most common goals is simply getting back into shape while creating time to get to know these new little humans that are so completely and utterly dependent on us and with whom we could indulge every moment of our lives—at least for a time.

A New Perspective

There is a difference between having the simple egoic ambition of a 20-year-old who wants to get back to a size 4 and creating a strong, healthy life. And there is a difference between rushing through a 20 minute aerobic workout while little peewee naps, feeling rushed and guilty and maybe even a little miffed about sacrificing our bodies; and welcoming our chubby cherubs into a daily practice of rebuilding our bodies strong and healthy.

Meeting this challenge with emotional strength provides momentum and energy that spirals from within, out to each person around us, to our children, our families, to our communities and ultimately to the world. Meeting it with fear and a desire to simply “arrive” at the other side does something altogether different—possibly even damaging to ourselves and to our babies.

Now is the time you’ve chosen to take a look at your body—the safe haven where your child has become, and to ask some very important questions. How important is the tight ass now, as you consider this tiny angel? Is this life, this body, really yours, or could it be better utilized in the service of another that has been gifted to you? And how best can you serve? By dropping your little one off in front of a Baby Einstein with a pacifier in his mouth while you get 20 minutes on the Stairmaster or by sharing true connection time and providing a foundation of health and relationship—since this is the ONLY foundation your child will have. YOU.

You have the opportunity right now to put a stop to what has happened in this world to our children—the tragic foundations that they’ve been given that have contributed to millions becoming addicted to food, to drugs, to self-destructive behaviors; the multiplying epidemics of obesity and addictions that are occurring simply because our children are trying to find something that makes them feel grounded—something that might calm their anxiety when they’ve lost the connection with healthy relationships to their caregivers—something that is supposed to be Mama!

Wired for Bonding with Mama

It has always been true that children are naturally calmed by their mothers. They are literally “linked” to our nervous systems.  Yet when Mommy is too busy, babies will find other ways to self-soothe, which may not set them up for emotionally strong foundations.  Many children reach out, only to find that mama is off on a shopping spree or at the spa because she needs her alone time.  And I want you to know, I’m not at all downplaying the necessity of mothers’ very real needs for self-care.  Those things are essential!  Sadly, however, those things are taking precedence far too often these days, leaving our little ones in the care of other people—or other “things”—that don’t honor their innate needs to feel completely attached to their primary caregivers

A Paradigm Shift

In our current society, it has become difficult for women to feel empowered by owning the responsibility of mothering as a serious and long-term commitment.  For many, this path can seem “less than” in our current collective mindset.  Yet to deny the challenge of this incredible journey is to miss the opportunity that taking on the challenge will provide. We often try to take away all discomfort and pain, to make life a little more palatable, and we deny the risks in doing so—both in carrying and birthing our children, and also in parenting them.

Many mothers reject the challenge and opportunity that parenting can provide in exchange for a few nips here, tucks there, and the all-important “me” time while the nanny watches baby and mom spends a few days recovering in a spa.  I absolutely espouse taking time to oneself and doing things that enhance our sense of self—but let’s consider the implications of denying a natural journey to your best body beyond motherhood, both to Mom and baby.

I’m not recommending that you sit on the floor with your baby 24/7 playing Pat-A-Cake! I’m saying that maybe it’s not all about getting that body back. Maybe life with baby is about building your body anew—with strength and passion that you’ve never before embodied.

My Challenge to You

Clearly I’m an advocate for getting our bodies to pre-pregnancy form but at what expense? Because if my best body comes at the expense of my child’s emotional or psychological development, which for many is exactly the case, then I’ve done an enormous disservice to my child and to the rest of the world who could benefit from the gifts that a well-developed, securely attached being could bring. And from a purely self-centered perspective, I’m not making my own life any easier for the next 20-60 years either!

I know women who’ve stopped breastfeeding early—or not done it at all—simply because they couldn’t wait to go under the knife, attempting to eliminate any sign of the incredible process their bodies have just gone through. And yet if we deny the journey back to strength, we also deny our own power in making that journey—as true strength is found …you got it—in the journey!

I often think that new moms attempt to regain the pre-baby body out of fear that they’ve lost some stature or attractiveness in the world. And yet mothers have unequaled power (and attractiveness and sexuality) that, if we were willing to own, would far outweigh anything that lipo or collagen injections could ever provide!

Not Just Another Fitness Guide

“Fitness books” all seem to espouse the new trick or trend yet rarely do they reach deep into the reality of what is the benefit of consistently building your body strong? What is it that separates those who live passively, avoiding anything out of the comfort zone from those who transform lives? It is strength in body, character, spirit, and being-ness that propels this thing we call life and it is among the greatest of gifts that we can pass down to our children.

A Mother’s Strength

Strength is something that is earned, fought for, worked for, trained, disciplined, gathered, sometimes lost and regained… it is self-created and self-maintained. And there are proven methods that can inspire, teach, and guide those seeking to find their most abundant resources of strength in life. While this book is far from being a “follow up” to my husband, Shawn’s book, Strength For Life, certainly his work and writing have inspired and taught me and I will share pieces of his guiding expertise here that have become a founding aspect of both Shawn and my developing relationship with our son and daughter, as well as our ongoing pursuit of living into every moment of our lives with strength and integrity.

Women possess a special, and in many ways more definable strength than men in regard to entering into parenthood. The mere physical force of growing and birthing a child is unmatched by our male counterparts and can initiate a shift in the power differential between male and female partners after a birth; due to the fact that women can move into an instinctual place of power, often for the first time in their lives.

Through cellular memory, muscle memory, and living, conscious memory, the body-mind retains the connection to this newfound strength as a resource from which to enter fully into not only this new role, but into all of life. If consciously nurtured through mindful strength training, the growing awareness of strength in the body ultimately provides greater mental and emotional confidence.

My Gift to You

My hope is that the following words may be helpful for those women who have gone through, or are looking at the possibility of going through the physical and emotional transformations of birthing a child; and who are looking for both support and guidance in integrating exercise and a strong, healthy body and mind into the most important transition into Life as Mommy. The following pages will provide you with inspiration, education, and support for your journey into living the next phase of your life from the strongest, most centered place you can now imagine.

A Deeper Look at Strengthening our Bodies

It is my intention as well to bring at least a small amount of interest to the amazing potential of helping moms and babies develop a healthy relationship from the very beginning, helping each to develop aspects of the nervous system responsible for bonding and attachment as well as emotional self-regulation, providing a healthy foundation for life.

Nathaniel and Lilly, eight and four years old, respectively, ask on most days since they were each able to talk, if it’s time to train yet each morning. They play on our gym equipment; do their version of squats, curls, pull-ups and other exercises; know very well how to count reps, bring out our yoga mats and join us for weekly Sunday yoga sessions, and know that the commitment to keeping our bodies and minds strong and healthy is a foundation for all of our lives. The time that I have spent with our children in our home gym as well as outside; running, hiking, biking and playing has been among the healthiest and most rewarding for both our minds and bodies. This time has provided the surest foundation for a life of continual physical and mental well being for my children as well as the greatest potential for a healthy relationship with their parents and with others.

Our Bodies as a Foundation for Emotional Health

I am well aware through the work that I do that learning, thought, creativity and intelligence are not mere processes of the brain but involve the body as a whole. It is through the movements of our bodies that our thinking brains achieve their greatest potential. From our earliest moments, our bodies play a fundamental role in helping us form a mental construct of the world and are an integral part of all of our intellectual processes. It is through our movements that our neural pathways are laid down and strengthened, which become, in essence, the foundation for learning and ultimately, it is through our bodies that our intelligence is expressed and realized.

When physical movement on all planes is integrated into an infant’s early environment, especially when coupled with the attunement that only a truly present parent can provide, the body becomes a primary instrument for learning. Through gathering information from sensory stimuli, contact, proprioception and thought discovery, the growing body informs the infant about the world, about their relationship to others, and about themselves.

If there is a possibility that through training with your child, you could potentially enhance not only your relationship to him or her, but could also enhance his or her capacity for connectedness, intelligence, and living fully in this world—if you could honestly connect to that possibility as an underlying goal of your practice, would you feel your motivation for commitment more inspired?

Certainly we all want the most advantageous beginnings for our children but it is rare that we consider the effects of so many of their environmental situations as having so profound an impact as what I’m suggesting here. We often keep our children away from various stimuli, such as the loads of pervasive media—a very intelligent choice—yet don’t often grasp the opposing beneficial situations that could enhance their social, emotional, and physiological development. The following chapters will give explicit detail regarding the benefits that all children can acquire from early introductions to physical movement, strengthening the body, pushing limits, rhythm, contact, and most importantly, from bonding time with mommy.

Building a Beautifully Regulated Brain!

One of the most significant benefits of strength training with your baby is that through the practice, each of you can gain a greater capacity for regulating your emotional states. Chapter two will cover the intricacies of how increasing your ability to tolerate physical intensity can aid in your ability to regulate emotional intensity as well. New moms are often overwhelmed with an abundance of emotional states, which seem to leap beyond our zone of what was “normal” before the new little bundle entered in. From the most joyous, love filled states; to experiences of wanting to scream with confusion and angst, to exhaustion and turmoil in balancing this new role, back to excitement and energy and, for some, feeling fully alive for the first time; emotions of a new mom run the gamut! Where life was most often between the 60-80 degree comfort zone (picture a thermometer) new emotions are now flying at random between the low 20s and up into the 100s, with little to no warning.

For new babies as well, the emotional roller coaster can be a new and wonderful experience, one that deserves a mother’s attuned response to be guided gently into the raw, delicate nervous system of her child. Through consciously and actively engaging with your child’s developing nervous system in a safe and fun environment, where you both benefit from strengthening yourselves on multiple levels, this practice can provide a solid foundation for a life of health, happiness, and strength. And through modeling the regulation of both physical and emotional energy as it intensifies throughout your body-mind, you will demonstrate to your child an inner strength and stability in remaining present to intensity, which will greatly serve both of you for life.

With everything you do and say, and even think—every aspect of your character and your presence in this world—you are providing a blueprint for your child for life. And your opportunity for a look into this ever present “mirror” will be the most honest, and often excruciatingly powerful one that you can ever experience.

Sometimes I go back to the 3:30 wake up call of waters rushing from my body and the proclamation of lives forever altered. I truly wonder at the girl I was—as if I could never again inhabit that mental or emotional stage of life. And I am eternally thankful for the gift that mothering has given to me. I consider (what seems now as) the mere 22 hours of pain that my body endured and how it transformed me into the Strong Mother. And close to nine years later, after the birth of my second child, I find myself craving the pain of transcendence yet again—not in some sadomasochistic way but in a way that I know all learning to take place.

Transformation takes conscious choice and it often takes pain. Real pain. It takes acceptance of what is and often, what is …is despair and fear and almost always ego. Yet on the other side of the ego, there is non-attachment and ultimately a greater hope. I’ve heard many a mother proclaim that through becoming Mama, they became whole. Our children give us wholeness just as they receive it back from us, if we have it to give. I have been blessed with children so that I might give back to them, and to others, the strength that mothering has helped me to find. I hope that this book can help you find your greatest Strength.

 

 Thanks For Reading!

Orgasms: Part One

Orgasms.  It’s a peculiar word.  It’s one of those words that can make some people cringe slightly, just in hearing it.  Like the word, “Vagina.”  I used to not like the word vagina.  I wanted to change it because I felt uncomfortable saying and hearing it but the older I’ve grown, the more I’ve fallen in love with what my vagina can do—from pre-pubescent clitoral “wow’s!” to birthing babies and everything in between.  Vagina kinda says it all.

And orgasms…  well, that’s a word that can get us flushed, interested, embarrassed that someone might think that we have them. Or don’t.  Or like them.  Or connect us in any way to the actual occurrence of them.  And in that nanosecond of acknowledgment of the word, we admit to the world that we are sexual beings.  Oh my God!!

“Oooohhhhh”

Orgasms are fabulous, aren’t they?  Look at all we do to achieve more and more orgasms!  The person with the most orgasms at the end wins!!

At the same time, though, they can wreak some havoc in our lives.

Chemical Connectors

Orgasms can be a little hard (hmmm…..  difficult?) …to come by, for some–or during certain life phases.  They can cause a lot of stress if they become too infrequent or not as “potent.”  They can create insecurity in relationship, if our partner isn’t having them with us—especially if she’s having them alone!—And the crazy thing that can be both wonderfully intoxicating, or crazy-making, is that they can be the “glue that binds,” so to speak!

Orgasms are most often correlated with a powerful surge of the neurohormones, oxytocin and prolactin, the bonding chemicals that are also released during birth and breastfeeding.  When we orgasm with a particular partner—and we do so often with that person—we develop and deepen a connection that can defy logic.

The How & What of the Big “O”

Orgasms, which are controlled by the involuntary—or autonomic nervous system, don’t just occur in our pelvises.  Of course you all know that!  They occur throughout our entire BodyMinds, in measurable ways.  From brain wave alterations to involuntary muscular contractions and spasms throughout the body—including lovely facial grimaces—to spontaneous vocalizations and sweat glands being intensely activated; high sexual arousal that leads to orgasm is the culmination of a complete mind and body experience that is unparalleled when compared to other bodily sensations.

Wikipedia describes orgasm as the sudden discharge of accumulated sexual tension during the sexual response cycle.  It comes from the Greek word, οργασμός orgasmos, a derivation of the word organ, meaning to swell, or to be excited.

Most often, stimulation of the penis in males and the clitoris in females is the starting point that leads to orgasm.  Whether through self-stimulation, partner stimulation, penetrative or non-penetrative sexual intercourse, genital play, oral sex, a variety of rhythmic types of genital stimulation; or the plethora of other erotic sexual activity, orgasms occur when our bodies are thoroughly engaged and our brains sufficiently relaxed.  And climax becomes imminent as blood rushes to our genitalia, heart rates increase, breathing becomes rapid, genitalia and nipples stand erect, the lower part of the vagina narrows and the penis becomes enlarged (hmmm…  someone was thinking!) …tension, tension, tension….  And somehow, simultaneous relaxation—of the mind anyway—until… our bodies release the build up of sexual energy in waves of complete pleasure.  If all goes well.orgasm1

(Maybe time for a little breather?)

And onward…

Scientists now believe that while men and women have obvious anatomical differences, our subjective experience of orgasm—both physiological and psychological—is actually quite similar.  In fact, in certain studies, researchers have not been able to reliably determine gender when reading descriptions of orgasms with all anatomical references removed.

Our Bodies

The most common descriptor of orgasm, from a physiological perspective, is the rhythmic contractions of the Pubococcygeus (PC) Muscle.  Most men and women describe a building and pleasurable intensity that often begins at the clitoris for women (although different types of orgasms occur in different areas of the genitalia—which we’ll …touch on later) and can spread throughout the pelvic area, abdomen, inner thighs, anal sphincter, rectum and perineum, primarily.  For women, contractions of the uterus and outer third of the vagina occur as well.  A woman’s clitoris and labia will swell during sexual excitement and the inner walls of the vagina will begin to lubricate.  For men, orgasms generally begin as a deep sensation of warmth and pressure in the genitalia, leading to a sharper, intensely pleasurable feeling in the genitals, rectum, anal sphincter and perineum.  And for men, the ejaculatory ducts and the muscles around the penis simultaneously contract.

A common characteristic of orgasm is also a pelvic throbbing or pulsing sensation, rhythmic muscular contractions—especially powerful for men during ejaculatory inevitability, which is the point when ejaculation is unavoidable—not that most men would want to avoid it!   (However, on this point, there are some sexual and spiritual practices that call for just that—another topic that we’ll discuss later).  Finally, for men, a warm rushing of fluid sometimes described as a “shooting” sensation occurs when semen travels through the urethra during ejaculation.  Of course it’s important to note that orgasm and ejaculation are not one in the same—while they most often occur together, a man can have an orgasm without ejaculating.  There are women who also experience a warm rush of fluid—some, even to the point of ejaculating.

Together, these physiological responses constitute the “reflex of orgasm.”  Contractions are the most intense initially, at the point we call “climax,” and occur at about 0.8-second intervals, and then lessen in both intensity and frequency of intervals as orgasm subsides.  While orgasms can differ depending on the person describing them and their unique experiences, these are the most common characteristics.

And Our Minds

For both men and women, orgasm brings forth descriptive words like warmth, blissful, intense, tingly, pleasurable, electric; feelings of suspension followed by intense or even violent pleasure, and then ultimately leading to deep relaxation and release. These words are used not only for feelings in the genitals but throughout at least some portion of the whole body.  And they correlate, as well, with emotional feelings of euphoria, of “losing oneself,” and often a sense of connectedness with a partner—or with oneself, depending on the circumstances of the particular experience.

Multi-Orgasmic Magic

As many of us—men and women—are well aware, it’s far more common for women to be multi-orgasmic, meaning ….well, that we’re really lucky, for one!  It also means that we don’t necessarily go into the phase of orgasm called the “refractory period,” upon climaxing, which men generally do—however, not all men and not every time.  The refractory period is a recovery phase and during that time, further ejaculation is physiologically impossible.  Some men have learned to have orgasms without ejaculating, however, and can therefore become multi-orgasmic.

A Woman’s Orgasm

Now, there is a downside for women as well.  Some surveys have concluded that only 25% of women have orgasms every time they have sex with a partner, as compared to 90% of men having sex.  Seems a little imbalanced, I’d say!  And sadly, about 10% of women have never had an orgasm at all—either via masturbation or sex.  Now this is an issue that needs addressing, in my opinion!

The idea that women are different than men in how, how often, and how quickly we orgasm has set us up for some struggles in the area of feeling empowered sexually, and has set men up for a load of confusion about women’s bodies.  And we are equally responsible for the state of things.

For much of our history, women didn’t speak to their own need for sexual satisfaction—or how that might occur.  The patriarchal society that is at our foundation set men’s sexual needs on a pedestal and essentially left women out in the cold, at times even providing the medical diagnosis of Hysteria—historically a common name given to women who were clearly just sexually frustrated!  And a common cure…?  Genital massage from a doctor until the woman reached “hysterical paroxysm” (Orgasms).  Duh!  (Either that or she was sent to an asylum!)

Currently, women have cum into our own, so to speak.  (These are getting fun!)  Many women are completely comfortable speaking to how we orgasm, what turns us on, what doesn’t; and showing men—or other women (because every woman is different), step by step, our own journey to our bodies deepest treasures.  Yet we’re still not quite there, are we?

I speak to women all the time who are scared to show their partners—mostly men—how to help them reach orgasm, some who simply don’t know how to relax enough with a man to allow their bodies to climax, and some who simply don’t know how to even bring themselves to orgasm.  When women confess to struggling with orgasm with their partners, I’ll ask, “Do you masturbate in front of him?”  The return I often get is one of shock and sometimes statements like, “I wouldn’t even know what to do!”  And that’s when I get concerned.

Many of us were not taught practices of self-love, let alone practices of self-satisfaction!  In fact, many of us were taught that our bodies were not to be touched, “down there.”  And so we grew to feel shame connected to the very beauty of our bodies delicious sexual natures—because our curiosity made others uncomfortable.  So we need to re-teach ourselves.  And for our health—individually, relationally, collectively—it’s time to own our orgasms!

This is Part One of the delicious discussion of Orgasms.  And depending on the questions, comments, and sharing that may ensue; we’ll see how many more “Parts” it will take to dig into the juicy dialogue of all that we can learn about this wonderful, powerful phenomenon! 

 

Thanks for reading!

 

For the Love of Our Curves

Good news for the women who’ve struggled with the pear-shaped body, the bounty of extra jiggle in their hind quarters…  those curves that we keep trying to hide, reshape, and train away?  There’s some very definitive benefit and reason for their existence, as well as a clear reason that men have—since the beginning of time—been instinctively attracted to “the booty.”

Recent studies have now linked the exact fatty tissue that resides in the butts and legs of women to the necessary DHA that infants receive in their prenatal development!   There’s more mating advantage to these “child-bearing hips,” which are a signal to men that certain women are better suited to provide the best mothering to their offspring.  There’s some innate knowledge that we’ll ultimately give them healthier, and even more intelligent, kiddos!

There’s an immediate benefit that men get from gazing at the curvaceous figures of such women, as well.  Highly stimulated reward systems in the brain are ignited, similar to the response from cocaine and heroine!  The visual, mental, and bodily stimulation and rewards that men receive are so irresistible, in fact, that it is estimated that 3+ billion dollars a year are spent on just that—gazing at women’s curvaceous bodies.

Not only do women’s curvaceous bodies signal a child-ready (meaning… that’s right, “sex-ready”) body to men, it also indicates that those particular women have a natural benefit of brain-boosting fatty acids themselves—intelligence!  (Ahh…..  yet another powerful message to women:  Men are not only attracted to our bodies but to our brains, whether they know it or not!)

Consider this: 

“The total amount of fat a human female carries is seven times that of other animals, and much more than men!  Only bears ready to hibernate, penguins facing a sunless winter without food, or whales swimming in arctic waters have fat percentages that approach those in normal, healthy, trim young women.”  (Excerpted from an article in Psychology Today by Will Lassek & Steve Gaulin)

Good gracious!  Now I’m told that I’ve got the fat percentage of a whale??  And on top of that little slap in the face, current society is telling me that an attractive ass is a size 2?  Natures little joke, I suppose.  I say, let’s counter it!

What scientists have uncovered is that, due to the fact that the fat in women’s hinnies is protected—it doesn’t shift much during weight fluctuations (hint:  that doesn’t mean we can’t LOSE fat in our lower bodies, it simply means that the percentage doesn’t fluctuate)—it provides the exact quality of a dense Omega-3 called DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) needed for infants’ developing brains, which grow massive amounts during the first two years of life.  And of what does the brain consist?  Primarily fat (and water), of course!

But why can’t women just eat more foods rich in DHA during pregnancy, allowing for tinier behinds when we’re not pregnant?  Research theorizes that a woman’s diet during pregnancy just can’t provide the necessary amounts of DHA that a growing infant requires and that the fat stored in women’s butts and legs first begins to break down during pregnancy, continuing through breastfeeding, and is subsequently delivered right to their wee babes’ brains.  Pretty cool, huh?

Here’s an interesting tidbit, however, that lends to the fact that American women (along with all Americans) have an increasing trend toward obesity:  Food sources for the American diet are seriously lacking in omega-3 as they’re consistently removed from our foods (uugghhh….to extend shelf life!)  In place of Omega-3’s, we’ve been substituting Omega-6 as it is cheaper and more stable. Ultimately, however, high Omega-6 inhibits our bodies ability to get enough Omega-3.  While Omega-6 isn’t actually a “bad fat,” these two should be relatively balanced in our diets and sadly, the American diet now provides about 20-25 more Omega-6 than Omega-3 (Lasseek/Gaulin).  So we’re craving and eating more and ultimately starving our brains—overeating and under-nourishing our entire bodies.

So what to do?  First, we need to begin to appreciate nature’s design of giving us bodies that are so uniquely suited to procreation, nurturing, and yes….  Booty calls!  And we could do ourselves well to begin enjoying the extra jiggle, that ability to move, walk, invite, flirt with this single, luscious, portion of our bodies—we have a language all our own and while men are undeniably drawn to that language, it is up to us to find the powerful poetry in it.

On the other side of the coin, we also need to not negate the implications of unfit bodies and the epidemic of obesity that is threatening our lives and the lives of our children.  Enjoying the extra jiggle doesn’t mean eating Big Macs every week and not physically challenging ourselves as a justifiable means for health!  It means not obsessing about every dimple, every bulge…  it means breathing into the very nature of our curves and letting our men adore them right along with us!

And just a thought for those women trying to “keep their weight down” during pregnancy—you could be doing potential damage to the developing brains of your infants…  not that you don’t have enough to worry about as you attempt to create the most thriving “home” for your developing baby.  Yet one more thing to consider.

As I was explaining some of these concepts to a friend this morning, eight-year old Nathaniel kind of eavesdropping, I looked at him and said with a grin, “You’re a lucky kid, buddy—you’re smart because your Mama’s got a booty!” For the Love of Your Life!

Angie

Artistic Mamas

For the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of a group of Mothers and women bringing together their creative efforts in sharing unique and vulnerable styles of art and expression–Artistic Mamas.  This creative effort was literally Birthed by a courageous and awake Mama, Jacquie Van Horne, who had a vision…  a vision to gather the bold spirit of powerful mothers and dedicate an evening to our embodied expression.

Mother’s do hold a place in the world for powerful expression of all that we hold–both in our arms and in our hearts. To offer a space for Mama’s to gather, support, hold space, and share the stories which have been woven through communities and histories, providing the foundation for our children to bloom; this has a been a gift to many mothers in the Denver Metro area by the Artistic Mamas Organization.  I believe it is a gift that continues to give!

AFRO-CARIBE UNLEASHED DANCE

“For many of us, there is no form of self-expression that makes us feel more vulnerable than dancing. It is literally full-body vulnerability.”

~ Brené Brown

Moving our bodies, expressively through space—“taking up space”—is a bold and courageous way to be known, to be seen, and to share our inner worlds with others.

I have always felt passionately that our bodies are vehicles for sharing our lives and whether we embody fear, rage, eroticism, awkwardness, wanting, sadness, playfulness… we can be intimately known through exploring and sharing our unique movement through dance—one of the deepest needs of the human spirit.

Since my childhood, dance was a form of expression that invited my curiosity yet, because of a strict home environment, I wasn’t allowed to take structured dance classes. So I consistently sought ways in which I could explore a variety of dance forms—primarily through imagination and play—that helped me connect to my body in a way that had meaning and motion.

I grew up Greek dancing with my family and then in my young adult life, discovered traditional Greek belly dancing. I began teaching and also exploring modern, jazz, lyrical and other more traditional dance forms.

When I moved to Colorado in 1996, I was introduced to Salsa dancing and soon after, joined a Latin dance troupe. I also took a variety of adult traditional dance forms. I owned and operated a Massage Therapy practice and was a Certified Personal Trainer—both of which informed my understanding of how the mind is expressed through the body. Still, I hadn’t found the consistent outlet that integrated my love for movement with my desire to push my body—something that opened me emotionally and simultaneously kicked my ass!

In 2008, I discovered Afro-Caribe, under the instruction of Raquel Cecil and knew I’d found my dancing home! I have danced consistently with Raquel since our introduction and became certified to teach Afro-Caribe in 2011.  Since that time, I have loved being witness to the developing passion and spirit that has come alive in the Afro-Caribe community.

My “other profession” is Somatic Counseling Psychology, where I support individuals, couples, & groups in exploring their psychological worlds through their bodies and then help them find ways of resourcing their bodies, to access the depths of unexplored strength and wisdom.

Both through Afro-Caribe as well as through Psychotherapy, my goal is to help others find their unique way of TAKING UP SPACE in their lives!