How Improv classes can help you succeed in your health goals
My medium is writing. This is where I get to connect a constant stream of ramblings from my mind through my fingers onto the page. It's where I find my zone with the hope that some writing angels plan to visit my purgings overnight with their erasers and wheelbarrows for re-organising paragraphs and adjusting spelling mistakes. It's where I improvise.
They say writing is practise. Just write. I'd like to add a common denominator that I've personally seen in writing, working with clients, improv classes and from the mouths of subtle teachers with their self awareness tips. The genius is in the gaps between attempts at things.
Free flow, where you blurt without thinking, and in the doing, seem to find things in yourself you may not know exists. The process of being well might be viewed as a state of open perception that tends to gravitate towards the positive over the negative. To think that play acting might hold the key to wrenching open the stuck bits in your life might seem too simple.
But I really think there's something to this.
One of the major obstacles in working with clients is the narrow focused viewpoint that there is only one day to do something, that when a certain suggestion is made to adjust diet or lifestyle, the evil word busy comes in to stump the flow. This attitude, in my opinion, cements the root cause of disease. From my experience, the transformation looks like this - you make a small shift, life adjusts accordingly, you make more shifts, and before you know it you don't see things the same way. I liken it to increasing the peripheral of your lens on the world.
We shine and polish our senses each morning in Ayurveda for this reason.
I've had clients, that have worked with me for a series of weeks, look at me sideways when I repeat back to them their initial symptoms for coming to see me. Most of them shake their head and I even had one person suggest I had made the symptoms up! It's a difficult thing to write about since it's so varied for each person, but the general theme I see is twofold a) they see more opportunities or able to observe more solutions to a problem and b) disease is just a hat we wear that doesn't belong to us and the thoughts and actions that it brings shift as we move closer to our core self.
But back to improvisation. Being thrown into situations where your mind doesn't have time to think and (according to improv 101) each situation is greeted with a "yes, and", you get pretty good at envisioning seemingly impossible scenarios. Improv gets into the spaces between the thoughts to let in flow; you get that distinct feeling of riding a wave or being carried.
You also get to move prana through the body in spontaneous reaction. You really get to laugh a lot and make faces. Time with people becomes bonding not based on what hurts, or makes us feel afraid but how you were able to thread a story together and it usually attracts the kind of people that are very encouraging and supportive. It's like a big person candy bar to remind us that certain thoughts might be clenching your body. I'd garner it could be as effective as body manipulation.
In a time when the powers that be do not consider the arts a vital form of our society, try and stretch your mind to seeing the wellbeing aspect of a class such as Improvisation. Wellness is not just the removal of disease but an ally in broadening your perspective.