The Joy of Movement

By Jenny Campbell

Movement has always fascinated me. Not only for its aesthetic qualities, but most importantly for its unique ability to unite communities, create smiling faces and bring joy to movers, no matter their age, ability or current circumstance. Because of my fascination with movement’s ability to offer a powerful and positive impact, I was thrilled to begin teaching creative chair movement to a lovely group of senior students this year through ARTS by the People.

Every week, this very dedicated group of students shows up with a positive attitude and a willingness to try new movements. We begin our practice seated in chairs arranged in a circle, introduce any newcomers to the group and check in with how everyone is doing that day. After we have taken a few minutes to share our day, we sit upright in our chair and take a few deep breaths. Often times a slight smile will accompany their deepened breathing, as they take a break from their day-to-day life and ease into their mindfulness practice.

After we have taken some time to come together as a group, we begin to link our breath with movement, each movement resembling a mini-meditation. Sometimes a student will share a worry or concern at the beginning of class and by the end of the hour (after moving, stretching, breathing and laughing with friends) often the student will share feeling less weighed down by the concerns she was experiencing at the beginning of class. Creative movement also offers joyful moments. The group encourages each other when a student finds a movement challenging or when rights and lefts are mixed up, creating a positive space to enjoy each other’s company.

And so this is the power of movement: Our focus offers the mind a break from the pace of our day and a chance to embrace the fun and freedom of movement. These are feelings that we all need to be happy and fulfilled. I am extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to share the gifts of creative movement with such a wonderful group of students.