Ever since I could remember I have always been in motion.
But have you ever heard of a dancer that couldn't touch their toes?
I began my collegiate dance career at a physical disadvantage. My body didn’t look like a typical dancer’s. I was compact, muscular, and as I later found out from my time as a runner, muscularly imbalanced. I was used to competing as a runner, but it was the performance bug that moved me from the track to the stage. I then found myself happily accepted into the university’s modern dance program, moving with all these bodies that had been training in dance since they were 5. In hindsight, my body wasn’t ready. But I was so used to pushing through situations. I really wanted to be flexible, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t touch my toes- not seated and definitely not from a standing position. But I wanted to ‘get it’ and be successful. So at times, I moved without thinking. My knees and shins were taking a great deal of stress in part because I was out of balance. At first, it was a muscle strain here and there, and then I experienced a significant injury that sidelined me for a good part of the year. Flexibility was something I couldn’t push.
...and so my rehabilitative process began
Physical therapy provided valuable information for managing prior injuries while preventing others. I had to step away from the weight machines and STRETCH. It was the beginning of my discovery of mindful movement, self-study, and the search for balance. I found my personal practice in Pilates, and was a dedicated student for three years before my teacher gave me the encouragement to teach.
Receiving my Masters in Dance/Movement Therapy redefined how I observe the body, how I use language to help people connect to themselves and to the space within and around them. This is where my path as a healer became clear. The Gyrotonic Expansion System © spoke to me from the moment I experienced it. It was like an expression of my dance and yoga practice in one system! My love of learning moved me further into the role of healer through the study and completion of a Zen Shiatsu program.
As a practitioner/teacher/mover/seeker/observer/healer, I am grateful for the opportunity to teach people how to be at home in their bodies.
Jamila Kinney is an authorized Pre-trainer and teacher of THE GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM®, a Certified Practioner (CP) of the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia (AOBTA), as well as a Pilates instructor.