This is the blog of Jess Glenny. I’m a writer, a dancer, an ashtanga vinyasa practitioner, and a hypermobile autistic person who’s given up on sitting still as a meditative practice, and committed instead to the (to me) entirely innate and natural process of waking up through moving. It’s kind of enlightenment by stimming.
As a hypermobile child with limited proprioception, I had little sense of being in a boundaried body that could endure through time; I was constantly disintegrating and dissolving at the edges. Moving – because it offers additional proprioceptive feedback – gave, and gives, me a feeling of containment in my body. At seven I was a fully fledged ecstatic dancer; at fourteen I devised a rather strange movement practice and practised it. My formal involvement with yoga and dance began in 1981, when I went to university and joined the Students Union Iyengar class. When a dance studio opened in town, I joined an adult ballet class too, and spent the next eighteen years at the barre. Since then, I have practised movement every day. While the forms have changed, the commitment has not.
The discipline of moving has been a through-line, a continuity that both ravels me up and unravels me. When I think about moving practice today, I see it as an old plastic beach mould, scratched and faded pink-from-red by years of use in all weathers, that presses form into the wet grainy sand of my days. It makes a shape for a life.
I’ve always been a writer too. At times the moving me and the writing me have felt like two ends of a push-me-pull-you, but somehow over the years they have jostled down together. Maybe also from a cultural point of view it’s easier to be multiple these days, rather than only one thing or another.
This blog consists of personal reflections on being a moving body as practice. It’s not, for the most part, about techniques, about ‘how to’, but about experiences, ‘what it’s like to’. It’s about the bumpy, lumpy, slidy, sometimes joyful, sometimes terrifying, mostly unpredictable, left-field process of being and moving in this human body. Untangling from all of that the mythopoeic experience of being alive, in a body, has proved to be impossible, and truly any distinction feels a bit disingenuous – and so this blog also includes poetry.
For information about classes, workshops, Mysore practice and one-to-one yoga therapy sessions with Jess in south-east London, please visit www.embodyyogadance.co.uk.