By Amy Miller, Gibney
The 'Gibney Cares' podcast features Gibney Company Director, Amy Miller sharing the mindfulness-centered 'Take Care Card' series. Generated through decades of Community Action-focused programming, these movement and imagery practices address looking inside, speaking through movement, and working together as a way to reveal our own power and collaborate with others. Be well. Be kind. Take care.
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Support our work and ensure that Gibney can continue to fulfill its mission during this uncertain time by making a contribution → bit.ly/3bdo8YT
Open Your Heart
I invite you to take a few easy breaths and see if you can notice your ribs expanding in all directions..... See if you can notice your heartbeat....many ways to try this: connecting with arteries in your neck, touching a wrist, and you may have other methods for becoming aware of your own heartbeat...sometimes if I am quiet enough, I can sense my heartbeat around my eyes. Allowing the breath to be present, start a few easy circles with your upper body. No right or wrong way to approach this idea with a goal of enlivening our upper bodies, relaxing muscles, bringing blood flow...Circles one way and then the other - head, shoulders, upper back - any body parts that feel good. Then find some space where you can reach out and connect with a wall near you - perhaps reaching out your hand to connect solidly with the wall in front of you. Then turn away and start to twist to see behind you while staying connected to the wall. You may feel a stretch in your shoulder, upper chest and yes, perhaps a gentle opening of your heart. Inhale - and as you exhale see if you can twist even a millimeter further around, but always staying in the comfortable zoom. When you're ready, slowly untwist, release and shake it all out if that feels good. Before trying the other side, notice if you can feel a difference on the side we just worked with? You might feel some additional warmth, flexibility, kind of a buzzy sensation, or maybe no change at all. Super important to be gentle though and allow the tissues to soften in a gentle way. When you are ready try the other side......Connect, Inhale, Twist, Release and Shake... After trying this practice, I like to find an area where I can move freely and stretch, swipe, toss, and paint the air around me in a freestyle way.....Swing, bounce, carve and enjoy the potential of a new range of motion, new possibilities both physically and metaphorically by opening our hearts for a deeper connection with ourselves, each other and our environments - opening our hearts toward possibility a little bit more each day. Take Care... This Take Care Card was inspired by Kristy Kuhn. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
May 26, 2020
Breathing Your Body
Take a few easy breaths and notice how you’re connected to the Earth. I invite you to send some gratitude to yourself for taking this time to center and recharge, as well as offer an invitation to send gratitude to our vast communities and to the Earth itself. This practice begins small and then radiates out in parallel to this initial idea of gratitude for self, others and the natural world. There is no right or wrong way to engage with these suggestions. Follow your intuition and modify in ways that are most beneficial to you in the moment. Spend time noticing your own breath and encouraging an awareness of your breath starting to radiate out from the center of your body. Live in this practice for a few moments and allow it to reveal itself to you..... This Breathing Your Body practice has four cycles.... Cycle 1: Inhale – notice how your ribs expand Exhale – notice how your ribs release toward the center of your body (you can repeat this for a few breaths) Cycle 2: Inhale – send more energy up to the sky - could look like arms float lightly overhead, shoulders rising, other body parts rising, thoughts of gratitude rising Exhale – lower your energy (you can repeat this for a few breaths) Cycle 3: Inhale – energy floats overhead as you arch or look up towards the sky Exhale – lower your energy (you can repeat this for a few breaths) Cycle 4: Inhale – energy floats overhead, arch up to the sky Exhale – energy lowers, back curves forward, lower body softens (you can repeat this for a few breaths) Cycle 3: Inhale – energy floats overhead as you arch towards the sky Exhale – lower your energy Cycle 2: Inhale – send more energy up to the sky - could look like arms float lightly overhead, shoulders rising, other body parts rising, thoughts of gratitude rising Exhale – lower your energy Cycle 1: Inhale – notice how your ribs expand Exhale – notice how your ribs release towards center of your body Take a few easy breaths and notice how you are connected to the Earth. I invite you to send some gratitude to yourself for taking this time to center and recharge, as well as offer an invitation to send gratitude to our vast communities and to the Earth itself. Take Care... This Take Care Card was inspired by Kristy Kuhn. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
May 18, 2020
Moving Through Fear
Take a few moments to notice your breath.... To notice the way the Earth is supporting you... To notice the way your clothes happen to be connected to your skin..... To notice your spine and allow each vertebrae to float ever so slightly in different directions.... Bring an extra millimeter of relaxation to your upper body, mid body, lower body and down through the Earth below you.... Upper body, mid body, lower body and down through the Earth..... See if you can become so gently aware that you are able to possibly sense the movement of your heart..... To notice your pulse within your body...... Holding any of these suggestions or others as a focus for now, I invite you to reflect on a moment in your life that you felt very supported, confident, generous or alive. As you hold this memory, see if you can also notice the sensations in your body as you recall this moment - upper body, mid body, lower body and down through the Earth. See if you can catalogue for yourself any sensations or desires to move or to be in a certain alignment or posture. Sometimes when we are afraid, our sympathetic nervous system directs us to fight, flee, freeze or fawn to protect ourselves. It tries to keep us safe by giving us the options of violence, simply leaving, total inaction or people-pleasing in order to diffuse. To some extent, this fear may become a regular part of our days keeping us locked in this response system. In order to 'rest and digest,' we must switch into our parasympathetic nervous system that can offer a way to both recharge and offer another option for dealing with fear - we can try to move through fear. Simple breathing practices can stimulate our vagus nerve that can invite us to switch into this calmer, relaxation mode. Another practice to perhaps try now (and keep as a tool for the next time we need it) is to again notice your spine and allow each vertebrae to float ever so slightly in different directions. Perhaps your upper spine can experiment with floating ever so slightly forward and back, then side side to side - a gentle circle. Your mid spine - can experiment with floating ever so slightly forward and back, then side side to side - a gentle circle. Your lower spine - can experiment with floating ever so slightly forward and back, then side side to side - a gentle circle. Some options to say to ourselves along with this practice are: With each breath, I am smoothing away my fear. With each movement, I am smoothing away my fear. With each breath, I am becoming calmer. With each movement, I am becoming calm. Take a few moments to tap back into the sensation or postures from your moment of support, confidence, generosity and aliveness.... Notice the way the Earth is supporting you...as we all move through fear in order to reconnect and reconnect and reconnect to ourselves, to each other and to our big, beautiful, complex world. Take Care...... This Take Care Card was inspired by Kristy Kuhn. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
May 11, 2020
This Spells Relief
This Spells Relief Take a few easy breaths and begin to notice it's easy, natural rhythm. When you're ready, softly send your head around for a few gentle circles one way and then the other just noticing the sensations - being mindful for any moments around that circle that might feel like they need some extra time, some extra stretch. Feel free to stop and start as you journey along the circle inviting 'comfortable zone' stretches which utilize our breath to facilitate even a few millimeters of additional lengthening of our range of motion. When you feel ready to continue on, I invite you to place your thumbs at the base of your skull, one on either side of your spine. This practice could also be done utilizing tennis balls situated inside of a long sock while laying on the floor as well. Press in for two breaths, release, and move an inch out towards your ears. Continue to repeat this process along the base of the skull until you’re about an inch away from your ears. Let's try it two more times together. Return to the starting position, this time try inching your thumbs down your neck until you reach your shoulders. Try a few more easy head circles and see if you notice some increased warmth, flexibility, reduced soreness or a lightness to your head and shoulders. Try incorporating these practices as part of your routine in the shower each day. It increases blood flow, helps to relieve tension in muscles that work so hard for us everyday, and can also be reminder that we can find some moments of relief, that things will change, and even when it may seem like there is so much out of our control right now, we can be reminded that we have agency in how we approach our care for ourselves and our care for others - millions of chances throughout the day to try to find and offer relief. Take Care.... This Take Care Card was inspired by Kristy Kuhn. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
May 04, 2020
I invite you to become aware of the easy rise and fall of your breath as you breathe naturally and without necessarily changing the rhythm in any way. Notice if you find this practice calming and grounding, and if so, I invite you to catalogue this sensation and begin to view this practice of witnessing your own breath as a tool that you can utilize in any situation - not just during time set aside for mindfulness practices. Locating our own miraculous breath and following it with conscious attention is available to us anytime we want - and we can make the choice to connect with it anytime throughout our day. As I read this poem by the incredible Audre Lorde, I encourage you to experiment with following your own breath while also listening to the words. A two-pointed awareness that asks us to focus on multiple experiences at once while we practice attending to more than one stimuli, building patience with ourselves and with external information, and perhaps also moving in the direction of allowing these experiences to synthesize into one. Audre Lorde “Advocating the mere tolerance of difference is the grossest form of reformism. It is a total denial of the creative function of difference in our lives. For difference must not be merely tolerated, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark….Only within that interdependency of different strengths, acknowledged and equal, can the power to seek new ways to actively ‘be’ in the world generate, as well as the courage and sustenance to act where there are no charters.” During this 'Great Pause', as it's been recently referred to, I invite you to find time to reflect: to ask yourself what you're learning from this moment in your life..... to read great authors and activists who have lived through tremendous hardship and cultivated extreme resilience against all odds....... to connect with family, friends and colleagues and ask them what they are learning....... and also to simultaneously follow your own breath as you read their words and hear their stories anew...... We must put the proverbial oxygen mask on ourselves before being able to serve others. How can we continue to move ideas together in a sustainable way that takes into account both the individual and the collective? Let us remember to listen to ourselves as we listen to one another........ Take Care... This Take Care Card was created by Amy Miller. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
April 27, 2020
Restore and Recharge
I invite you to find a comfortable position - this could be laying down, sitting, standing, moving gently or allowing yourself to be still.... Take a moment to listen to and follow a few intentional, exquisite breaths.... Then I invite you to apply some gentle pressure to your heart and experiment with this breathing rhythm - inhale for 4 counts, hold/suspend for 7, breathe out for 8 counts - this structure is provided as a way to perhaps create an opportunity to cultivate a sense of calm, restoration and recharging. Feel free to change it up in any way that feels more generative and soothing for you. Inhale 1234 Suspend 1234567 Exhale 12345678 Inhale 1234 Suspend 1234567 Exhale 12345678 Easily release this position when and how it feels good to you.... Next, I invite you to then provide some gentle pressure to your ribcage - maybe connected to the front, sides and back to notice how our ribs can move like an accordion when we breathe. Inhale 1234 Suspend 1234567 Exhale 12345678 Inhale 1234 Suspend 1234567 Exhale 12345678 Our breath is and always has been precious of course, and within the current crisis, it has become one of the greatest points of hardship, protection and fear. Please use this practice anytime you feel the need to ground yourself and quiet your body and your mind to feel more prepared for the road ahead. During this time, may we cultivate increased gratitude for our families who gave us breath: our food, water, and air that keeps us all breathing; and our unimaginably exquisite planet that holds the possibility for all of us to exist, learn, love, collaborate, restore and recharge ourselves and thrive. May we find ourselves both now and on the other side of this situation with renewed awareness of the interconnectedness of our individual and collective 'breathing' as vital for our survival as people, a society and a big, beautiful, and complex world. Take Care... This Take Care Card was inspired by Kristy Kuhn. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
April 20, 2020
Let It Go
Let It Go As you prepare for your next evening cheering session out into the night air for our brave medical community and essential workers during this vital time, I invite you to take 10 short breaths through your nose in a way that feels comfortable to you. Feel the energy and life force build within you as you breathe in rhythm. At the end of the series, go ahead and open that window or move out onto your balcony and release all that energy by shouting 'THANK YOU!' to our brave friends who are relentlessly offering their expertise and support for all of us as a community everyday. Feel free to repeat this as many times as you want during that magic 3 minute nightly celebration - maybe even getting louder and more powerful each time. When you feel finished with this practice for now, I invite you to then perhaps take a few moments to write down a list of ways that you have felt your well being supported by another person over the years - or practices you have been or are currently cultivating to support yourself during this time. And then if you haven't already, I invite you to reach out to those folks who sprung to your mind - and give them a 'THANK YOU!' shoutout whether near or far. Other options could be to reach out to someone and share your self care practices that have been grounding for you recently or ask them how they've been steadying themselves with all the constant shifts. This practice may offer us an opportunity to both release stagnant energy, and also share gratitude in an embodied way. Take Care... This Take Care Card was inspired by Kristy Kuhn. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
April 13, 2020
Seize the Moment
Feel free to close your eyes and notice the sensation of how you are connected to the floor, chair - the earth. I invite you to soften the muscles around your eyes - and soften your jaw as you take a few easy breaths. Now also bring awareness to a softening of your hearing by allowing sounds to float over you without necessarily naming them. There may be noises coming from the street outside, sounds from your neighbors next-door, even your own breath. Enter into a practice of softening a desire to label and comprehend and instead invite a graceful shift to experiencing listening as an experience. To allow these sounds, and the silences between, to be just as they are. Spend a few minutes simply enjoying the sounds around you.... So often we are reliving the past or are anxious about what is to come and we miss the exquisite beauty of now. Be in the present with yourself - and savor this very moment. Take Care This Take Care Card was developed with Jean Vitrano, LMT and Mindfulness Meditation Practitioner. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
April 06, 2020
Inner Light I invite you to find a comfortable place to sit or lie on your back. Feel free to close your eyes, soften your gaze or allow yourself to use your vision to be aware of your surroundings as you inhale and exhale fully for a few breaths. On your next inhalation, imagine breathing in air filled with light of a certain color and/or temperature. It could be your favorite color for today, which may be different than yesterday or tomorrow. Consider a temperature that may be calming or a combination of color and temperature. With each breath, allow the light to wash over different areas of your body until your entire body glows with a gentle light. Begin with an inhale. As you exhale, send that light around your head and upper body. Inhale......exhale and send light around your mid-body. Inhale.......exhale and send light down to your lower body and the edges of your extremities. Gradually bring the light to wash over you and make space for yourself to rest in the glow. This Take Care Card can remind us of the inner light that glows within each of us always and also glows within everyone around us as well. Consider how we are connected by this light and consider that we’re never ever alone when we strengthen the light within ourselves and appreciate the light within others. Take Care..... This Take Care Card was developed by Kristy Kuhn. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
March 30, 2020
Let Go, Hold Tight
I invite you to begin by sitting or standing and taking a gentle inhale and exhale. Feel free to offer some gentle pressure over your heart. On your next exhale, send energy out into the space around you in any way that feels good. This could be pushing your hands away from your heart out in front of you. It could be traveling forward with your lower body and sending energy out in front of you and behind you at the same time with your upper body. It could be staying in the exact same position and using your imagination to send and expand your energy outward. All are options. On your next inhale, magnetize your body parts and your attention back towards you and toward your heart. Exhale and expand away from your heart and inhale magnetize toward your heart. The next time you exhale and are expanding away, imagine something that you’d like to let go of - something that you don’t need anymore - something that doesn’t serve you and you’d like to release. Visualize letting this go as you exhale seeing it drift away. The next time you inhale, imagine magnetizing something toward you that you do want in your life, that does serve you in this moment and holding it tight bringing it in close connection to your heart and your sense of presence. Exhale letting go and inhale holding tight.... This practice could look very differently for each and every one of us. The overall intention is letting go of what we don’t need anymore and holding tight to what we do want in our lives - what we see as valuable and vital today. Take Care... This Take Care Card was developed by Amy Miller. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
March 20, 2020
Model Your Actions
Model Your Actions Take a moment to think of someone who has been a positive role model at some point in your experiences. Then take a moment to think of someone who may consider you to be a role model. Hold the images of these special people in your mind as you repeat these statements: I have seen strength in others I have felt strength in myself I can show strength for others We we find ourselves faced with difficult situations or decisions, remember these thoughts and know that we do have the strength to be the person we want to be. Take Care..... This Take Care Card was developed by Kristy Kuhn. Copyright @Gina Gibney Dance, Inc. All rights reserved.
March 16, 2020