Since discovering @eleanorozich‘s The Art of Simple and interviewing her for the Unity Books Newsletter, to say that I have developed a bit of an infatuation with her style of simple Titirangi living is an understatement. So when I fell upon an Instagram post announcing to her 34k followers that she was collaborating with @still_movement_ by giving away two tickets to a workshop, I knew that whatever it was it would be great and probably one step closer to my Eleanor inspired simple life.
The @still_movement_ profile describes the workshop, as:
“Finding connection through movement, Asana,
Awareness, and Self-empowerment”
For me, this was perfect timing. Not because my life is instilled with daily stresses, because it really isn’t, I work in a bookshop, but having been out of sorts since missing Grandad’s funeral in England I felt like I could benefit from finding and feeling connection. So having tagged my husband in Eleanor’s post, I found myself the following day sitting on a black yoga mat, topped with a purple bolster, in a beautiful room infused with natural light and a buddha front and centre, next to Luis; my 6″4 ever-willing husband. It was a transformative experience that I can guarantee unless you’ve been to one of Claire Arbuckle’s worldwide workshops you won’t have had before.
I know there are a few of you who would be inspired by Still Movement and so I interviewed the Founder, Claire Arbuckle, and have gone on to describe the morning that Luis and I had with her.
Where did this passion for movement stem from?
I guess I have always loved moving. My mind doesn’t sit still either so physical movement is the best way to release energy and express my creativity. When I move my mind stops and I go beyond day to day thinking. I’ve always been drawn to movement through sport and the outdoors, so creating a practice from this and studying the mechanics of yoga confirmed what I have intuitively felt for so long. To put it simply, when you move your body, your emotions move as well; you can rise above your head and get a fresh perspective.
Since founding Still Movement, where has it taken you?
I have been so blessed to learn from the most amazing teachers and friends around the globe, and I have been lucky enough to teach in the UK, Europe, South America, South East Asia and back here in NZ. Next month, I am heading to the US to study dance for three months which is exciting as that is a corner of the world I am yet to explore.
Whats the greatest thing about what you do?
So many things! Firstly, the people I get to meet. I have met incredible people from so many different backgrounds and cultures and it has opened me up to so much of the beauty that is often right in front of me. Although I have travelled a lot connection is something that you can find wherever you are; you don’t need to go far. This is what I get from teaching. People assume that because I am leading a class I am the one teaching it but actually the students are the ones teaching me!
Secondly, I am never board. The practice of movement, yoga and spirituality in general has so many layers. It is far beyond a life time of learning and not even being at the tip of the iceberg is so exciting as there is so much more to go. I am always doing new projects and the list of courses and trainings I want to do is never ending!
Photos by Julz Glover
Claire introduced the 2 hour workshop with some house rules. I thought fire safety and emergency exits, but what she had to say was far more profound and this set the precedence for the workshop. The workshop is orchestrated with a theme of authenticity and acceptance at its core. It’s about finding your authentic movement, not copying anyone else’s, accepting your own style, and subsequently learning how to move through life authentically, honestly, and openly. There would also be zero judgement, and if we started to judge then it was a reflection on something deeper going on inside ourselves.
We first paired with a stranger and told them one thing that we would like them to know about ourselves followed with something that we wouldn’t. My new partner didn’t want me to know something that opened him up to a level of vulnerability that I wouldn’t have had the courage to open myself up to, which I admired. This class was already making me see with clarity the wall of disconnection that I can have in the face of vulnerability. I started to feel overwhelmed with how Claire had this ability to bring to the surface aspects to myself that I didn’t usually have to think about.
After the 40 minutes of soul enriching yoga, and watching my inflexible husband mould into some marvellous shapes, I realised that my boob had fallen out of my tiny sports bra and it was peeping out through my very tight white top. I admire everyone who was sitting opposite me for having kept the vow of non-judgement, because I was quietly trying to contain the laughter that was almost bursting out of me as I popped myself back in.
The second half of the workshop was interpretative dance, which Luis was surprised to discover as I had told him this was a 1.5 hour yoga workshop. It was exhilarating to watch Claire’s demonstrations of the style of dance we would be learning. Her style of movement is confident, self-assured and entirely free. Mine, on the other hand, is restrained, rushed, and closed. This woman, though, has taught this workshop to international rugby teams and so if men of their size and elegance can do it then there’s no excuse. I think this example is what encouraged my enormous husband to throw himself wholeheartedly into it, too, which I was proud of him for doing.
So with no excuses I moved my feet, eventually adding movement to my knees, to making figure of eights with my hips, and finally moving myself entirely and freely around the room pumping my chest up and down. Apparently, this style of movement is something Claire has taught in health and spiritual retreat centres throughout Australia, Europe, South East Asia and Central America. I felt empowered, and incredibly lucky to be taught by her.
Once more, Claire had successfully tapped into our core energy. When I stopped for a moment, I realised that having “danced like no one is watching” my head felt clearer and my thoughts were suddenly in order. She has an incredibly unique talent for removing unwanted thoughts that clog up your internal connections, which is otherwise near on impossible to reach, I find, without a bit of psychoanalysis.
The final component to the workshop conjured up something that I struggle with; deep emotions. We found a partner who we hadn’t yet worked with and sat directly in front them and looked into their eyes without saying a word for 1 minute. This exercise exposes you entirely. It turns out the eyes give everything away. I haven’t ever stared into the eyes of a stranger like this. My emotions surfaced, the doors to connection had been opened, and I felt my eyes well up and I almost cried, and, I think, my partner did too.
To find out how you can take part in one of Claire’s yoga and dance workshops, visit her website.