Holistic Sensory Movement

Holistic Sensory Movement--onedegreeforward

What is Holistic Sensory Movement?

Holistic sensory movement (HSM) is a combination of body awareness, functional movement, free-form movement, sensory exploration, Yoga, Pilates and modern dance.  Human movement is a behavior that is categorized, not simply measured.  Alan Watts, a poet and philosopher said years ago that, “A living body is not a fixed thing but a flowing event, like a flame or a whirlpool.” Movement has been, and is still an essential part of many healing traditions and rituals around the world.

Learning to sense how your body moves helps you develop a resistance to injury, especially when asking the body to do something it hasn’t done for many years.  Western movement therapies often use dance as a way to prevent injury, recover from injury or as a means to simply learn of new ways to move.  So, you can think of holistic sensory movement as a prerequisite to any physical activity you choose to do such as martial arts, dance, weightlifting, sports and every other form of exercise.

What is the purpose of Holistic Sensory Movement?

Remember when you were young?  You climbed trees, rolled down hills, skipped, jumped, swung, hopped, performed cartwheels and spun around until you fell to the ground laughing.  So what happened?  Why did you allow adulthood to stop you from continuing to do those things?  I’m not talking about taking you on a journey to climbing trees again.   But I do want you to explore movement in a new way and for new reasons.

Sensory movement can emphasize a combination of several approaches:

  • brings about an awareness and attention to inner sensations and pain points
  • increases the ease and efficiency of the body in motion
  • opens up blocked channels to release deep emotions issues
  •  provides space for relaxation and stress relief
  • appreciation of the body “as movement” instead of a mass that simply walks through space

HSM is a non-impact, graceful, and gentle way to move your bones, joints and muscles. Many other movement forms are either high-impact, faster paced, repetitive, routine-based, or you need various equipment.  The purpose behind sensory movement is exploration, sensation and learning to listen to your body.  We treat the body as an integrated whole as you explore individual pain points, muscle groups, and how joins are connected.  You will sense how far your muscles and tendons can twist, stretch, bend, tighten and flex, while also exploring balance, grace, stability, and form.

A new way to relax and reduce stress

Our modern lifestyle is costing us in so many ways.  We have lessened our desire and ability to move freely and comfortably in unique ways.  People are gaining weight from eating the Standard American Diet behind their desks or in their cars.  They are experiencing acute and chronic stress that zaps the body of energy and vitality.  They are constantly bombarded with information, distractions, and pressure to perform better and faster.  Too much focus is placed on phones, tablets, TV’s, and things that consume mental energy.  These things cause people to be sedentary and out of balance internally.

Most exercise programs engage in complicated, inefficient and ineffective repetitive exercises that isolate certain body parts while they neglect other parts.  The movements simply don’t mobilize the body enough.  Fluidity is more important than repetition.  My intention for the HSM program is to help you become more aware of your body and develop unconscious movement patterns that open up pathways to creative ideas, emotions, preverbal memories and personal growth and awareness.

What will I learn in your programs?

In my movement programs, you will learn how to:

  • create balance, flexibility, and agility
  • improve circulation, mobility, and strength
  • reduce stress
  • open up blocked emotional channels
  • move comfortably, authentically and freely
  • heal from within
  • appreciate the body “as movement’

Exploring Sensory Movement freely

When you explore movement, I want you to consider how your skeletal structure connects with everything else–muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and connective tissue.  You can explore balance and speed as you move.  You’re connecting with your body mentally and spiritually while sensing and listening to what your body is telling you.  At the same time, you’re feeling and describing sensations as you open up channels within your body that have been asleep for a long time.  You will explore stability and motion as you sense and listen to your body while focusing on breath, fluidity, and flow.

Learning to Listen

You can’t isolate the mind from the body–but you can embrace it.  As you become more aware of what your body needs to get and stay healthy, it will signal you.  Your job is to slow down and listen.  Stop the running!  Stop the need to do more!  Stop focusing on everything and everyone else!  And stop worrying and holding in anger and loneliness!  These things cause stress and inflammation in the body.

A holistic sensory approach teaches you how to listen to your body as it provides you with signals for what it needs.  Your body will tell you what foods it needs, where it needs to be stretched, when it needs to rest, when it needs to move and how it feels.  To find balance and harmony, you must be aware of the signals your body it sending you.  That new awareness provides the foundation for true healing.  Once you practice this, you will know when to get up and honor your body by moving it according to its signals.

Your body is designed to move…and heal.

When you train the mind, body, emotions and spirit to work together, you begin to make connections that satisfy the heart and soul.  So few people truly understand how powerful this is.  Movement should be conscious, not habitual.  It should heighten awareness of both body and mind.  This can only be achieved when you turn off your automatic pilot that governs your movements and thoughts.  Then you can begin to notice physical sensations.  Next, you can begin to target painful areas and get to the underlying core reason for the pain you may be experiencing.  Awareness is the beginning of the healing process.  This holistic sensory approach is only one of five elements that improves overall health.


Would you like more information on HSM?  Come join us in one of our classes.  We hold workshops and classes on and off throughout the year.  Contact us for more information.


Cathy lives in Roanoke, Virginia and specializes in supporting families who desire to change their relationship with health–the way they eat, feel and live.  She is a certified Health Coach & Educator with a strong passion for supporting each client in their journey to feel stronger, healthier, and more energetic.  Cathy presents workshops online and locally and regularly talks about real food, fitness, natural living, and all things ADHD.  

Cathy is the creator of the Holistic Wellness Academy, an online training platform that will soon provide other wellness advocates a place to share their expertise with their clients so they too can learn how to eat smart, move more, feel better and live longer.

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