Unlearning American, with Poetry by Tony Hoagland and Aria Aber
Individual practice & collective liberation, by transforming modes of perception from ego dominance to intuitive tenderness
This practice threads physical challenge into the fabric of political challenge. In the eyes of radical change-makers like Sonya Renée Taylor and Reverend angel Kyodo Williams, the collective transformation we need so badly in America might only take place if we can each come into intimacy with Truth, and the vulnerability required to cultivate tenderness towards our own and others' full humanity. So this week’s work on the mat experiments with a kind of somatic disarmament, to do away with the holding patterns that build rigidity of body and mind, we will turn to opening and softening.
Trigger warning: this practice is designed to elicit our reactivity, to touch in with convictions, but also soften our hardened defenses, through some decimating poems touching on the crisis in Afghanistan. Anyone with a history of personal or intergenerational trauma - POC especially -may need to approach this practice with caution, as it includes violent imagery that may be deeply triggering.
*Available 48 hours upon registration*
-a 60-minute accessible practice guiding you through movement, breath work, and visualizations that give an embodied experience of poetic language
-a music playlist lovingly chosen to capture the poem's ambiance (crafted to match the arc of the physical flow, so you can choose to practice with music)
-a link to the poetry, and a short reflection capturing the most striking phrases, themes, and imagery.
-a distilled skeleton of the sequence (poses, breath exercises, and visualizations) for your reference
In an embodied approach to language, the goal is to generate a spontaneous, authentic experience of a poem that you can hold on to (or, if you're a teacher, one you can share)! When we linger with poems not with our rational "thinky" brain, but with a more primal gut layer of our being, we can absorb their truth and beauty deeper into the psyche. When poems live there, they pop up more regularly in our everyday lives, suffusing our days with new meaning and presence. And isn't this the goal behind any practice?
*available 48 hours upon registering
Katy Hawkins, PhD, is a professor at Bryn Mawr College, Creator of Moving Poetics, and Director of Shiné: Mind/Body/Spirit in Philadelphia. Moving Poetics courses represent the culmination of her 27 years of teaching, in universities (Comp Lit and Gender and Queer Studies) and in her work of the last decade, teaching poetry through somatics. This cutting edge pedagogical inroad to critical thinking incorporates the urgent need for mind/body integration among students today.