Elaine Economou dives into Continuum, and explains why this gentle movement practice is beneficial for the body and mind.
When asked what Continuum is I have come up with the phrase “a meditative movement practice” – an oversimplification but descriptive. You’ll understand what I mean if when I say that Pilates is about “core strength” or yoga is about “stretching,” or maybe that Gyrotonic is about “spiraling.” Movement systems are experiential and using words to describe them is challenging and can be quite superficial. All the systems I name above are rich and deep, and the only way you can really understand them is through physically experiencing them.
Continuum is a movement inquiry developed by Emilie Conrad many years ago. Emilie was a dancer who found herself living in Haiti performing with a traditional dance company that celebrated the seasonal rituals of life, praising the sun and the moon for the earth to be abundant and the crops healthy through performance. She found herself asking the question, “What is deeper than culture?” The culture that united the little country she was living in, the culture that she came from as a Jewish Brooklyn-ite and the culture at large. As with so many innovators in our world, she eventually answered her own question: water.
Think about it, our bodies are more than 70% fluid. Not only fluid but an “intelligent” fluid that is part of every cell in our body. It IS every cell of our body, in nature and in every living thing. Water really is deeper than culture. Emilie began to think about the fluidity in nature and got really curious about how to move the body from the perspective of this fluid system.
My son did an experiment in science class in the 6th grade. He rigged a hose up to run in front of a stereo speaker and watched the water flow in different shapes depending on the type of sound he played though the speaker. It reminded me of my first Continuum retreat with Emilie Conrad fifteen years ago at the Omega Institute. She had a large crystal glass filled with water and began to run her finger around the edge of it. Before long the vibration made a sound and created a little funnel cloud of water in the center of the glass. Vibration and sound moves water. How then can we apply that to the body and to what effect? That is the exploration of Continuum.
In Continuum, we use sound to sense and move the body in a slow and quiet way. It is not choreographed, it is just you slowly sensing your own body as you “dive” into yourself. You are lying down on a mat most of the time, so it is quite an individual experience. For me, it is a movement meditation and exploration. I slow down (way down), and feel more rested afterward than you could imagine.
Robin Becker, my friend for nearly 30 years and a dance mentor of mine introduced this system to me about 15 years ago. My retreat with Emilie was my introduction and the only time I was able to be with her. Since then I have been able to enjoy a small community of Continuum movers in the Ann Arbor area and have hosted many workshops here with Robin to share her wisdom and insight into the practice. I’m so happy to finally be sharing what Emilie called, “our birthright”, movement and embodiment of ourselves with the MOVE Wellness community.
Call it what you will, but consider joining us on Friday, May 18th for our Introduction to Continuum with Robin Becker and MOVE Wellness State Street from 6:30 – 9pm. Click here to sign up.