Gillian HippSomatic Coach and Movement Therapist
Helping you move into balance so you can live life in the ‘flow state’, full of energy and fun!
As a movement therapist and somatic coach, I speak from experience when I say that the body has a lot to communicate to us, if only we learn to listen. The body doesn’t use words or even conscious thoughts, but if your back hurts, your muscles are tight and your bum feels like it’s a tire going flat… that is your body screaming for your attention.
It’s very hard to focus, much less feel creative, when your body is desperately trying to tell you something! (A bit like having a toddler at your elbow as you’re trying to work — with three children, I know something about that!).
Your body isn’t just telling you to stop sitting and move more; though that’s often part of the message.
Your body can tell you how you operate best in the world and what pace you need to do your best work. It can also tell you where you struggle and why.
In many ways, the body is an embodied metaphor for what is and isn’t working in your job and life.
The body also affects how you think, not just how you feel.
Say you sit at your desk for 8 hours a day (as many of us do). You sit straight (maybe a little round-shouldered) with your legs at right angles under your desk. Nothing but your fingers really move. You rarely stretch. You only get up for food, tea and the loo. Your movement is so limited.
And your creativity, your ability to solve problems and come up with fresh, out-of-the-box ideas, tends to become more limited too.
When you break out of your stiff physical position, your mindset stretches and expands with your body. And your body can help you access the creative potential of your mind.
It works both ways.
In fact, I am so fascinated by the effects of movement on work (and creative work) that I’ve made it the subject of my PhD research into how to improve well-being during the sedentary workday.
Since 2017 I have been researching well-being in sedentary workplaces for my PhD. In the process I have come across these all-too-common complaints:
- Loss of concentration
- Aches and pains – posture, eyes, neck, back
- Sitting still! (it feels so frustrating at times!)
- No time to exercise/move or do what feels healthy
- Head buzzing
- Problems sleeping
- Feeling of disconnect from others
Often, we make commitments to take time for ourselves. We try to add more breaks in our busy, working day, or to exercise more, but it rarely happens. When you do get a moment to yourself you are unsure how to use the short break time to its fullest potential.
All the energy is zapped by work and there isn’t enough left for life – everything is out of balance.
Of course we have all heard the research that suggests the following are good for you, however implementing it is another thing….
- meditation – “I just don’t want to sit any longer and the thoughts in my mind will most likely keep churning along”,
- yoga – “hm, all those poses are static and I don’t feel very flexible in what I am wearing right now”, or “I will skip my morning yoga, because I just want to sleep in”
- a walk – “oh, it has just started raining…”
And of course then there is the other option, that I frequently found myself in….
- Keep working – “I will take a break when I have got through my to-do-list”….of course the break never happens
I have spent many, many hours observing and analysing the movements of people in their sedentary working habitats and the problem is so obvious and yet none of us do anything about it!
- Our sedentary work environment (eg. sitting at a computer) means that we just don’t move! (There, I have said the obvious and have a 17000 word academic dissertation with the research findings to proof it)
Our bodies are made and constructed to move and be expressive.
However, when we are working at our computers our body can do and be neither of those!
My Values & Beliefs
I believe that how we move has a direct impact on how we feel, Motion = Emotion. In fact the Latin word for motion and emotion is exactly the same ‘motus’.
With this in mind – if we change the way we move we can change the way we feel.
I believe that our bodies are resourceful and hold knowledge beyond our imagination.
By moving our body in a way that is led by the body (rather than our mind) we express that untapped wisdom and it becomes accessible.
In our society we are so ‘mind-driven’ that our bodies are often forgotten and we have forgotten how to listen and hear what our bodies have to say – until we are in physical pain (which is our body screaming at us!).
I believe that every individual has their own unique movement preferences that develop throughout our lives.
Sometimes these preferences can keep us stuck in how we think, relate and experience things.
By identifying what your movement preferences are (through movement analysis) and exploring why these are your preferences we can find ways of being that can help you shift and change feelings and thoughts that are keeping you stuck.
In response to my PhD observation and movement analysis research findings, 20-years experience teaching Dance and Movement in Higher and Further Education together with my Dance Movement Psychotherapy training I have created and developed the Move into Balance Framework.
The Move into Balance Framework is used in all my workshops, programmes, courses and my forthcoming Move into Balance Challenge (which forms part of my PhD research) and it’s key aim is to help you find your way to access your ‘Flow state’ with ease.
Being in this state frees us up from self-consciousness and self-talk (which, let’s be honest, is quite often negative!), and so we relax, our creativity expands, we become adaptable and our performance is taken to the next level.
At the heart of the Move into Balance framework lies the intention for you to connect with yourself in a non-judgmental and supportive manner and for your relationship between your body and mind to be brought back into balance.
Balance is the key to achieving the ‘Flow state’.
By allowing your body to express itself, through carefully crafted guided movement meditations you can transform how you feel, adjust your movement and thought patterns and so ‘Move into balance’.
After running hundreds of sessions using the Move into Balance Framework and seeing the resulting benefits in my clients, and experiencing the effects myself, I know now it is all about giving our bodies some space and time to be expressive.
It is about us connecting with our bodies and selves in a kind, non-judgmental way. It is about learning to listen to the cues our body gives us and tapping into the wisdom our body holds. Doing this allows you to
- be balanced (physically and emotionally)
- focus your thoughts,
- have enough energy to work and play afterwards,
- be creative,
- feel healthy, and
- be joyfully productive
And, as my students tell me, it’s also a great “core workout.”
My mission in life is to be joyful and share joy – the Move into Balance Framework is one of my ways of spreading it (and I am hoping to academically prove that using the framework really does create and spread joy).
I am an academic but also rely on my intuition, especially in my creative work (finding the balance and space where science and art meet is a common thread throughout my life!)
- Bachelor in Science (Hons) Business and Dance
- MA Dance Movement Therapy
- Various Teaching and Training Qualifications
- Working in Further and Higher Education for 20 years teaching performing arts and course leading degree programme
- Currently researching for PhD
- In 2012 I got to fulfil a childhood dream of mine of taking part in the Olympic games… rather than competing I got to perform in the London Paraolympic Opening Ceremony – awesome experience.
- My brain is a sponge for totally irrelevant information
- Humans make up the minority of beings in the village I live in, here in the Welsh borders. Sheep, cows and horses are my neighbours.