Navel Radiation is a pre-vertebrate pattern within the Basic Neurological Patterns/Developmental Movement paradigm of Body-Mind Centering® developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. It is the pattern of radial symmetry and relates to our earliest connection with our mother, underlying attachment and support at the navel centre. This principle organises the body from our centre (navel) to the distal parts of our 6 limbs, including the 2 upper limbs, 2 lower limbs, head and tail. Exploring this principle help us embody pivotal physiological and structural systems, including the diaphragm, the psoas muscle, the latissimus dorsi muscle, the relationship between each limb, and the kidneys.
As part of a training course work in which students will apply movement principles into their practice. Lana worked with the single principle Navel Radiation through the different relationships with gravity. Using her navel centre as the anchor from stillness in supine, morphing into dynamic balancing poses into creating the balance of both stability and mobility.
#somaticmovement #yogatherapy #yogawithdaphne #movingfromwithin #navelradiation
The IAYT model of Yoga Therapy (often 1:1) integrates the whole being through relationships in the Pancha Maya Kosha model, i.e the physical body, the energetic body (e.g chakra system and pancha vayus, prakriti and vikruti etc), our emotional afflictions, our thought patterns, cultural / moral beliefs and frameworks, as well our core essence. These relationships are always in flux, each aspect flowing into or resisting another, a creative play of the conscious and unconscious.
In a therapeutic setting, we are working with the Soma or the living body - recognising our body is the construct of our relationships within and without will help us to find different access points. Through movement, breath, visualisations, sound, touch, or simply holding space, we allow our cellular intelligence to come out of the shadow, a window for change and homeostasis to take place.
As teachers / therapists, we need to juxtapose the insatiable quest for knowledge, while simultaneously honouring the liminal, unique, spiralling, blueprint of each person. We are co-regulating, co-creating, co-existing in each moment that unfolds.
The biggest challenge is often realising that this is not a linear process, that healing isn't fixing, that therapists / teachers are merely facilitators - so we can keep uncovering, inquiring, connecting, titrating, supporting.
The past 8 months has been a difficult time for me to navigate through life since the loss of my father. Toko-pa wrote that grief is healing in motion, the reaction from being torn from what you love....
And indeed, how easy it’s been to find tears welling up with a brief mention of his name, the sight of an item that belonged to him, the smell of his favourite food, the thought of never having that chance to say goodbye...
44 years ago he held me in the cradle of his arm, as he marvelled at this little bundle of creation that was me. I spent my birthday this year in memory of him, in the company of family, without the need to sanction the dosage of our loss. To allow the unravelling of healing to begin, to come undone with the sorrow and guilt that were not able to find light, and to keep feeling alive in the power of grief’s capacity to love.
#grief #healing #birthday
I love the sensory feedback provided by another body in Contact Improvisation, so I created my own improv with a contralateral elastic band and a foam roller. Took me a while to get into a fluid, tangled play in a dynamic relationship with gravity. I enjoyed the spontaneity and the non-linear movement that is always presenting some closed kinetic entanglement resolution :)
From Liz Koch, author of Core Awareness & Stalking Wild Psoas:
Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk Psoas with an orthopedic surgeon in Europe who reached out to me about this mysterious tissue. When I told him I thought psoas was a messenger he said "of course psoas is a messenger from guts... ovaries.. kidney... brain circulation.. because of connections with the parasympathetic.. it also receives messages..when its degenerative or atrophied it consequently distends nerves that pass through the psoas... n. iliohipogastricus.. ilioinguinalis... genitofemoralic.. cutaneus fem lat.. n.femoralis..n.obduratorius
.. it has an influence on the circulation of gut and enlargement of its wall - what directly involves neuroendocrine cells for the production serotonin in the gut..."
This surgeon confirms what I have spoken about for 43 years...that psoas can become "dry" (exhausted) and shrink (atrophy) when it has substituted or been used to over-stabilize the core. Stretching does not create healthy psoas whereas hydrating through micro-movements and increasing the bio-intelligence of the proprioceptive system, especially found within the bones...does allow psoas to flourish. He sent me...a little gift in appreciation...not what I find exciting but thought you might...
Some of my additional notes for anatomy nerds onhydrating the psoas"
Gentle rocking and rolling through spiralling movements across the 3 planes of the body embodying the psoas as a core initiator, organised around the midline or notochord from an embryological perspective, in which the psoas is a bio-morphical development from the midline, out of the mesochyme material from the mesodermal (middle) layer of the embryonic tri-laminar disc.
Movements include those that involve -
What is #embodiment?
Is it in the waking hours when I feel my breaking heart aches for love that I’ve lost, when my drifting soul yearns to be anchored, when the weight of my being longs to be held.
Are they the dark sleepless nights when my shadows come out to play, in my dreams when grief and fear and sorrow rip open my guts...
Embodiment involves contacting our messy, vulnerable states, resisting the urge to run away, but to stay and listen....
How often in your day do you, can you, will you, dedicate time for yourself?
How often in life can you, will you, do you, set aside a whole week, or maybe even two, to retreat and reconnect?
How often will you, can you, do you, let your nervous system reset, to tune into a more subtle awareness that's guided by intuition.
A time to rest, rejuvenate, rewire, relearn.
A time to rediscover your body, move, dance, self-inquire, befriend yourself again.
This is the kind of work we do at the annual Embodiment & Bodywork Immersion.
And yes, I call it work :)
If you know me, you'd know I'm not one who gives formulaic answers or quick fixes.
I can't offer you a 10-step guide to bliss and enlightenment.
Nor can I offer you a sequence to perfect your handstand.
I can't do the work for you.
I love bringing people together to co-create within a container of a retreat.
I love creating a safe space to facilitate the uncovering of deep and meaningful questions.
I love offering a therapeutic framework to support one another through a shedding of layers, a deep dive into shadow work, one in which we return to the basics, of remembering who are.
I love bearing witness to the unexpected creative expressions that are often borne out of this work - poetry, dance, drawings, and most of all - connections.
This is the flame that's burning in my heart, a conviction that there's an art to living well that's beyond being busy and a nice glass of wine after a long day, a desire to learn and share and relearn about who we are, why are we here, what makes us Us.
To call this journey an immersion is my best attempt in trying to describe the phenomena that occur every year when a group of people come together to push a reset button.
To move, breath, inquire into our mind, our body, our actions, our relationships.
To be empowered in our own healing process by truly listening to what's within and without...
And then to leave with just a little bit more clarity, intention, and wonderment in their life, an embodied experience imprinted into our cellular being.
"Daphne's embodiment and immersion retreat had me seeing the true state of my humanity - a difficult time, yet arriving at a return to central love. If you are seeking truth in your existence you will find what you are looking for in the realm created by Daphne's course."
~ Geoff Nichols, Poet, Australia
Access to full details
Highlights of the course this year:
The focus this year is on the Therapeutic Applications through the lens of Developmental Patterns
We will be working with the tools of yoga therapy: breath work, movement, asanas, sound, visualisation, meditation techniques, Yoga Nidra etc.
What I’ll be sharing is a distillation of the different aspects of my studies, teaching experience, as well as drawing from case studies of the work I've done. I personally feel that it is important to communicate the melding of these teachings and principles that I embody as a student, teacher, therapist, and then leave you to explore and seek out the answers.
Daphne brings something completely new to the table in her yoga offering. Her knowledge of anatomy, developmental patterns and somatic movement is incredible. For me, experiencing yoga from this embodiment approach was illuminating and refreshing. Her self-inquiry style of teaching supports students to dive deep into their own body-mind to experience and embody their learning process; rather than being told what to do or how to feel. It’s an empowering approach. Daphne is full of humility and authenticity. I really connected to her teachings and she held the space for a diverse group so beautifully. I encourage anyone (yogi or non yogi like me) to delve into some exploration with Daphne and unlock new layers of bodymind awareness. Thank you Daphne, I have taken away so much from your thoughtfully crafted immersion.
~ Natalia Padgen, Therapist & Owner of Soma Clinic, Singapore
What the program includes
Limited scholarships available for students who need financial assistance
Reserve your place
About the Magical Mala Dhara Eco Resort
Mala Dhara is situated amongst the lush, green landscape backdrop of idyllic mountains and the expansive rice fields of northern Thailand: with earthen adobe villas, a blue blue saltwater pool, an exquisite organic restaurant, herbal steam sauna, a straw bail adobe bungalow flotation room, and two beautiful yoga shalas. There is a range of beautiful earthen villas and adobe huts to choose from.
Mala Dhara Eco Resort is located in the Doi Saket District, around 25 kilometers east of Chiang Mai old city. In this area, you can explore living temples, village visits, nature walks, and hot spring soaks, or simply enjoy a massage during your downtime.
It's the perfect place to take a bicycle ride out to explore sleepy local villages, temples and rice plantations, as well as hike through beautiful, unspoiled nature trails. There is also the option of trips out to the historic Chiang Mai old city - the cultural capital of Thailand, to visit the night markets, take a cooking class, and enjoy a wide range of local and international cuisines.
Movement. Inquiry. Embodiment
Will you join us? Reserve your place on this exciting retreat today, and you can get a further 5% off the tuition fee* with the code EmbodyNewsletter. Places are limited. Take advantage of the additional discount off early bird rates while it last!
See more on what people have to say
If you're ready to book now, a deposit of $500 will guarantee your place on this intimate retreat. It's going to be a wonderful experience of yoga, functional movement explorations, healing bodywork, adventures and wonderful friendships that will feed your soul with joy.
Reserve your place now
There is a natural order and harmony to this world, which we can discover. But we have to feel it in our bones, in our hearts, in our minds
~ Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
In love & embodiment,
*applicable if you sign up for both modules
P.S ~ One of the non-profit projects in conjunction with this immersion is to support Yogamour Seva in bringing yoga off the mat and into the world.
Our projects include Clean Drinking Water, Community Health Clinics, as well Emergency Relief Funds to support slum communities in Thailand, India and Myanmar. If you'd like to find out how to contribute in kind or in cash to this cause, please drop me a line!
When I’m drowning
In the deep dark waters of emotions
Windmills spinning fiercely
In my tangled mind
When I’m trapped in these
Just for a moment
I let my cold feet
sink into the bare earth
Retreat under the tone of the drone
The static of why, and how, and what, and if’s...
The urgency to find cool relief
From interpretations, narratives
The rut of cause and effect
Of past and future
Shackled to a conditioned self...
Just for a while
I close my eyes
From the realm of understanding
I dive into the ocean of senses
With the fierce pounding
of my heart in my ears
Undo the stifling corset of my skin
The tautness of my belly yields
Breathes colours into
the monochrome of my bones
Space. Life. Light. Fluids.
This embodied presence
A gift of attunement
A primordial calling through
Our cellular breath
A biological blueprint
of revelry of wonderment
A timeless infinite
Photo by Rod Willner
#embodiment #musing #somatics #meditation #bodymindcentering
There’s a piece of recent news depicting an Instagram yogi who suffered a stroke performing a Hollowback Handstand - an “advanced” pose requires the practitioner to extend spine and create a deep backbend, all the while holding the legs in mid-air. The hyperextension of the neck resulted in a rupture of her carotid artery which sent a blood clot to her brain.
It was played up dramatically across the media, and triggered a lot of fear mongering as to whether Yoga (as a physical practice) is indeed as beneficial as it purports to be.
Yoga is an ancient practice on a mind-body connection. However, what seemed to hold true in contemporary postural yoga is the emphasis on the end game.
1. In a group class format, students are instructed based on pre-conceived notions of shapes or aesthetics, i.e what a pose should look like in mimicry of the form. In social media, we scroll through contortions performed by hypermobile yogis hailed as an advanced practice.
2. There is so much speak in terms of alignment principles and how to get into poses successfully. These supposed universal principles sees the body as standard human architecture of parts that fit together.
3. In an attainment-focused, you-snooze-you-loose society, we are consumed by the notion of Mind over Matter, of what we’ve got to show to the world. It’s about pushing harder in everything we do, from our career to the exercise regimes we choose. It’s about 5-steps programs and quick-fixes and how to lose weight in a month. We want everything packaged and delivered.
In the trainings I facilitate, I often go on ad nauseam on this line - It’s not about WHAT we do, it’s about HOW we do it. It is not about placing your feet here and turning your head there, and voila, you’re in a yoga pose programmed for bliss. It’s not about getting deeper into a backbend so your heart can be wide open. And it’s definitely not about the teacher coming in to push you into what is considered as the correct expression of an asana to add compensatory patterns upon compensatory patterns.
It’s about what happens as we’re moving from point A to point B, it’s the moment-to-moment attention our mind affords the body during the transition. It’s about noticing what we are holding on to, or what we have disassociated with. It’s observing what is happening to the breath, what runs through the mind? And once we arrive in the pose, it's the continuity of how each moment is unfolding, what is the body informing us? What do we sacrifice in order to persist? How many other possible ways can we explore?
Rene Descartes’ famous theology of I think, therefore I am, led us into believing that our body and mind are separate experiences that are relational only in the ways that the latter reigns supreme. This body and mind duality leads to a conundrum of us thinking that we need to outdo our body in order to attain what our mind tells us to. And our body does abide, it finds creative ways to work around limitations such as fatigue, stress, anxiety, until it can no longer….
Moshe Feldenkrais said, “You can’t do what you want until you know what you’re doing. Once you know what you’re doing, then you can do what you want.” It is often easier to do what someone tells us to do than to actually notice what we’re doing.
To self-inquire is arduous and dangerous, as it often defies dogmas. It requires us to let go of old beliefs, step outside the comforting realm of familiarity. But what it will unleash is the courage to be true to our authenticity, a reimagination of perspectives, unearthing a wisdom through learning how to listen to a deeper and more subtle consciousness .
It’s not about What you do, but How you do it. Someone once told me this is a heavily-loaded statement. And indeed it is. It puts us in a volatile position of not knowing, of beginner’s mind, of not trusting our fabricated storylines that are rooted in fear. It requires us to actually have to slow down enough to glimpse into the spaces in between. But it brings us to a whole new level of a grounded, embodied intelligence that gives us back the power to make choices, the right to BE who we really are.
Embodiment is a somatic experience, an exploration into the deconstructing the phenomenons that have been recorded in our nervous system, conditioned by expectations and ego.
It is the ability to move into an empathic path of coming into relationships with self and others, a relearning of choices, a bridging of the body and the mind.
If you're interested in exploring this work, join me on the next Embodiment & Bodywork Immersion this July.
A little rolly polly floor time playing with initiating from the soft midline, from navel to limbs. Playing with low falling and reversible spiralling movements, fascia continuity and biotensegrity in finding tension and rebound :)
Heartaches can be deeply isolating no matter how many friends we have, and how much we try to count our blessings. But we are not alone. Each one of us is on our own journey. And It can sometimes be fraught with shattered dreams and losing battles. No matter how pretty a picture we paint to the world, there are days when the feat of pulling the blanket off of our faces and getting out of bed is a testament of our grit and resilience.
We hang on to unrequited emotions for fear of losing our sense of identity. We cling to the security of an arbitrary reference point, the yearning of a resolution. We are afraid of being forgotten, archived, our existence buried. It is easy to focus on others’ validation of our self, and hard to sit with hopelessness, paradox, ambiguity.
But what if we take a pause, look around, into the eyes of the people who truly love us unconditionally... will we even contemplate the possibilities of non existence? What if we sit for awhile, without moving left, or right, and tend to the pieces within us with cool loneliness, will we be able to bask in the solace of not knowing?
A little psoas play inspired by Liz Koch of Core Awareness. Begin by sensing the structural support of the psoas from the initiation of the breath in the diaphragm. Tune into the undulating waves. Move into the fluidity into a continuous flow through the whole body. Explore the different planes of perspectives. Lean into PLAY.
In recent years, I've moved from an alignment-based yoga practice to an intuitive, inner-guided, interoceptive somatic movement repertoire, listening to the subtler, quieter places within my body. This is a little video of a morning flow. It's edited down to 7 mins long. The first half of the video is the actual pace of my movement. The second half is sped up 5 times :)
Grief & Expansion
On 29 December 2018, I received a phone call that changed the world I knew forever. My father passed away, without warning...
Everything around me crumbled in that instance. I felt my limbs went numb, and I stood frozen looking at the phone in disbelief...
In the last few years several major events happened in my life, including falling severely ill over a period of time. My approach to yoga, especially the physical aspect of the practice, has to evolve with my changing body. I used to live my life so I can thrive on the yoga mat - twisting and contorting my body out of any pain or lack I might be experiencing from the inside out. But now, I work with an exploratory, somatic approach to yoga, one that can teach me how to listen deeply - as relational inquiries into our body and mind, into self and other, into how we live our lives.
One of the many healings I gained from this embodied shift in perspective is the courage and humility to reconnect and forge new bonds with my family in Singapore, after living (and running) away for so many years. Consequently, the seemingly abrupt departure of my Dad left me devastated. It was difficult for me to try and come to terms with all that's left unspoken and undone, and what I would give to have him back again...
A couple of months have now gone by and the world beckons me to resume back into "normalcy". It is "business as usual" ... because the system that we live in expects us to "buckle up and move on".
In a cognitive universe in which we need everything to make sense, we can even atttempt to contextualise sufferings - put a label on grief with an expiry date, and set it aside.
But sometimes sorrow has no resolution.
Sometimes tragedies aren't accompanied with answers.
Are we able to lean into our broken-heart when it asked to be witnessed? Can we deepen our relationship with ourselves instead of running away from the pain? Are we brave enough to surrender to the imprint that an untenable loss has left upon us? Can we find the gateway to grace that grief has inevitably opened up for us to walk through?
In every mourning moment that my heart closes in and the walls around me erect, I pray that I will keep expanding, in his legacy of love ...
Musings on grief ~
I stood watching you
Sitting with grief
It all begins with 1.
In the Chinese tradition, we are 1 when we’re born. The Chinese take into account that life begins in the womb - the moment of conception, when our journey in this realm begins.
When we study embryology, we go back in time to explore and inquire into this imprint, this period of time when chance and change reign supreme, wherein a higher order dictate the choices and decision in renewal, change and growth. In this time before there is conscious intervention driven by our nervous system, we completely rest in the womb of “being”.
When we study how our form morphs from one into two, two into four, four into eight and into the 70,000,000 cells that we are now, we tap into an intelligence that is unchanging, an order that nature calls forth in order to survive and thrive. This is what embodiment is about. It is the becoming of this magnificent journeying, a recognition in the miracle of our cellular imprint, a knowing of which is unique and yet abide in the selfsame laws of the cosmos, an allowing of this divine template to support us in our expression and homeostasis.
Join me in this exploration ~ Embodiment & Bodywork Immersion this July.
I enjoy exploring non-linear movement using a prop to change things up for sensory feedback. This is a short clip where I'm using a weighted ball (about 1kg) to add load and resistance. It helps me to track movement into the scapular, rib cage and spine. The spirals of my bones help to recruit the elasticity of the myofascial chains. Allowing for information from the distal to inform the proximal body in initiating movement.
I'm pleased to be facilitating the next instalment of Embodiment and Bodywork Immersion once again at the gorgeous MalaDhara retreat centre in Chiang Mai this July.
This program keeps evolving year after year as I continue to morph and grow as an educator, therapist, practitioner, and most importantly, a human being. Many people ask me what kind of Yoga do I teach now, and what do I mean by calling it Embodiment. So this is my attempt to shed some more light on this immersion.
Movement. Inquiry. Embodiment. These 3 words have been the guiding pillars of my content and offerings the last 3 years. In these deeply personal journeys, I hope to hold a sacred space for inquiries to take place, through movement, through touch, through curiosity, through connections - to delve into the relationships with our body, with our self and with others. To offer a safe space to explore, to question, to challenge and to let go.
This program is NOT about scoring quick fixes.
It is NOT about perfecting your alignment in Yoga poses.
It is NOT a promise package to finding your bliss.
This program will help you -
Learn more about your habitual patterns in the body-mind
Cultivate awareness, acceptance and spaciousness from within
Learn to listen so you can transition from a dogma / goal-oriented movement approach to one that is informed by body intelligence
Rest / Restore / Rejuvenate
Learn / Relearn / Retrain / Rewire
And therefore, it is not Yoga of any lineage or any style. It is about coming home to our being, curated through the lens of wholeness, an embodiment of body-mind-spirit.
Not for the faint-hearted.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of life our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time
… T.S Elliot
Contemporary yoga culture has to realise the fundamental disconnect between a relatively universal and modern intention that the practice should lead to self-awareness, self-responsibility, self-agency; and a teaching methodology that emerged in the early 20th Century based on telling people exactly what to do and how the practice should make you feel.
Any way you consider them, these are logically incompatible.
~ Theodora Wildcroft, Yoga Teacher & Researcher
I saw this post today and it struck a chord with me, as I’ve been told many times that what I’m teaching “isn’t” Yoga as what people expect, and that it could be confusing to seekers of the practice of Yoga to call it Yoga.
If Yoga is defined as a union, a connection that bridges the gap between personal and universal, between shadow and light, between past and future, between body and mind, isn’t Yoga then a practice of self inquiry and exploration, an innate curiosity to explore these fundamental questions of existence - of who we are, why we are here, of our relationships with our body, self and others.
But it is so easy to seek the safety net of a label, a lineage, a style, be classified and put in a box, be told what to do instead of having to think and act on our own terms, so we are less dangerous, more predictable. I’m sure there are many out there who genuinely want to help others, and their opinion is what they think is the best, and they are dishing it out on a silver platter - formulated and sequenced.
For me what truly propels change is the embodied wisdom that honours our fundamental needs as human beings to explore, question, challenge dogmas. Insight is a connection to the present moment, a deeply personal experience that often manifest when judgment and labels fall away.
This, is what I hope to facilitate as Yoga.
Sitting with grief
The quiet amongst the chaos
The stillness amidst the turmoil
Your eyes your smile
Your warm embrace
Your voice your words
That open door that
Your shadow still lingers in
Awaits your footsteps
Hand on my shoulder
In silence in company
We sit in grief
I stood watching you while you rested
The sense that your closed eyes
Might blink open
In the brilliance of your light
I stood watching you while you slept
The beauty of your heart
Beat an invisible rhythm
Reciting the nourishment of your care
I stood watching you in your repose
The scent of your skin
Wrapped around your body
A warm haven of embrace lays in wait
We walked the long road
Into the furnace of rites
I bow down in your grace
As your flame licked away my tears
These ashes of memories
Scattered into the ocean
Into the eternal
Ebb and flow
May the light of the sun
Dance and celebrate
In the colours
Of all your love
May the moon watch over you
A mirror of your soul
Reflecting the tender beauty
Of all your strife
May the sea birds sing you songs
Of your children
Offering your protection
In your journey safely home
In loving memory of my father, Chua Kian Peng❤
My father left this world in the evening of 29th December. The dreaded phone call that I hoped to have never received. My sisters and I lost the man who gave us life.
My father loved life. He taught me to how to sing and dance and laughed without a care.. He said to always to live fully, love deeply. He showed me what grit is when the world crumbles, what faith is when our hearts shatter. He believed in me even when I've let him down.
For all the words that were left unspoken, for all the deeds left undone, for all the tears still left to be shed, we mourn the loss of our beloved father, our best friend, our partner in crime.
I love you Papa. Rest In Peace
Spring greetings from the Blue Mountains! This October marks 2 years of my stay here in Australia. I remember arriving fresh off the boat (plane) on October 13, 2016, being greeted by spring blossoms and the (sometimes too) crisp mountain air.
In learning how to adapt to a new temperate climate, I've come to appreciate the ever changing colours and elemental vibes of the seasons, observing Mother Nature's order of phenomenas. The quiet life here afforded me the lens to pay attention to the details, a sneak peek into impermanence - through the relentless shedding of the weeping eucalyptus, the luscious radiance of waratahs, the sheer gleen of a lethal toadstool, the celestial engineering of cricket wings...
I've conceded that nature is not linear, and that every being has its place and time in this world. Life on earth is simply birthing, existing and dissolving. These are essential events in the macro and microcosm that somehow only the human species have the inkling to wield cognitive control over.
The last 2 years has also been a distillation of my own mind-body work through deep inquiries - into how we relate to ourselves, to each other and to our inner and outer environment. My personal practice and teaching is now an interoceptive, non-linear study. One that delves into sensory awareness on allowing the quiet and subtle to come into light.
I have inadvertently opened an existential Pandora's box, uncovering the innate power of nature to reconcile, to mediate, to heal...
Yogini, Yoga Therapist, Movement Facilitator, Yoga & Bodywork Therapist, Wanderluster, Homemaker, Student...