Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

FULL: Moving Into Mindfulness

Workshop Number: 
Amy Ward Brimmer
Who may register?: 
Open to All (adult & high school)
Experiential Activities: 
half gathering attenders welcome
First half (Monday-Wednesday)
Second half (Wednesday/Thursday-Friday)

Body-mind awareness opens us up to direct revelation, whether in worship and or while doing the laundry. Experience mindfulness through movement. Recognize your habitual patterns of tension. Play with fun methods to release them. We'll be gentle with ourselves as we try new types of thoughtful motion.

Workshop Description

An experiential, guided movement class for people at all levels of experience.

This workshop explores pathways into mindful awareness through everyday movement, yogic stretching, and simple qi gong sequences. In the rush of daily activity, we can learn to pause, reconnect to our amazing body-minds, and continue moving forward with a new sense of centeredness. Together, we’ll be gentle and compassionate while also challenging ourselves to try new types of thoughtful motion. Through worship-sharing and sitting meditation, we'll discover how movement is worship and worship contains movement. Part laboratory, part clinic, part playground, Moving Into Mindfulness is relaxing and enlivening.

And then: what happens when we leave the workshop? How do we sustain our open bodies and minds when we return to the Gathering and all its busy action?  Using the principles of Alexander Technique, we will learn to recognize some cues about our habitual ways of moving and leave with a strategy or two to apply under stressful or challenging situations, as well as play with some fun methods to increase ease and well-being at any time.

Goals: To discover how to bring what is gained in a mindful movement experience into everyday life, which is where we need it the most. This workshop aims to create a seamless transition into sustained awareness for all participants. Explore how present moment awareness begins in the body, and how that opens us up to the way of direct revelation, every day. Too often we stay in our heads, locked into habitual ways of thinking, and miss the opportunity to contact Spirit through our miraculous bodies. We allow the burdens of life to weigh us down, and then we try to act on our faith from that burdened place. Free yourself from the tyranny of "monkey mind" and from straining yourself to the breaking point. Through mindfulness practice, learn about how you're designed to move, and release your unnecessary tension. Rediscover your joy and ease in everyday living. 

Each day will include the following components: warmup, structural awareness, qi gong, mindful movement for everyday activities, worship-sharing and guided meditation. Some days we'll focus more on one or another of them. Each day will build on the last, but half-Gathering folks can participate without difficulty.

For more information and to access assigned reading (to be determined):

Leader Experience

Amy Ward Brimmer, M.A., CTAT, has practiced Alexander Technique for 25 years, and investigating meditation and contemplative prayer since the age of 13. Upon receiving Alexander teacher certification in 1995, she established a private practice in New York City. Amy established Way Opens Center in 2010, to bring together people interested in learning and teaching bodymind methods of awakening. Amy has taught professionally at Yale, the Hartt Conservatory (Hartford, CT), and at Brooklyn College.  

As part of her ministry to bring the message of mindful movement and body-mind integration to Friends everywhere, Amy led movement activities (primarily Alexander-based) at the Gathering in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013. She also volunteers in the Gathering Healing Center. She has given Alexander workshops at Phildelphia Yearly Meeting Annual Sessions since 2008.