The Non-Linear Movement Method®
Move . Release . Feel . Respond
The Non-Linear Movement Method® (NLMM) is a powerful somatic method developed by Michaela Boehm over the past 2 decades of instruction and practice.
The method is rooted in her early training in a Kashmiri Shakta Tradition and fused with her extensive expertise in working with trauma, emotional closures, and physical contractions in her clients and students; as well as in implementing this technique in her own practice.
In recent years Steve James refined and clarified the method, added original material, and contributed significantly to formatting it for educational delivery.
This method has many deep, powerful applications:
1. Regulates the nervous system
The demands of modern life create stress and tension in the body and an overactive mind. The NLMM encourages an identifying and unwinding of the patterns of contraction and through gentle, non-force movements relieves the bodily tension and underlying mental loops. The result is a systematic, self-guided unburdening of the nervous system.
2. Processes and identifies emotions
As the body unwinds and the mind relaxes its pressured pace the emotions associated with these patterns become apparent and are being let go of. You can note recurring emotional loops for further processing and at the same time allow emotions to simply rise and release.
3. Awakens erotic energy and sensual sensation
As tension, contraction and emotion are being released the body becomes sensitized and we are able to feel deeper. One of the marked results of this sensitization is an ability to feel increased pleasure and well being. Participants report an increased ability to connect through their body, both with themselves and others.
4. Releases trauma patterns into flow
One of the results of traumatic experience (fresh and old alike) is “freeze”, a state in which body, mind and emotions are stuck in a state of numbness. Often “freeze” is falsely perceived as a feeling of “calm/nothing”, which results in an inability to release the experience and ease the bodily patterns. The NLMM facilitates a continued movement, which gently opens the freeze pattern and allows for recognition and release of the underlying bodily and emotional patterns.
5. Unites mind and body in intimacy with physical sensation
Through continued engagement with the release of contraction and facilitation of emotional awareness the ingrained patterns become apparent and less pronounced. Over time physical sensation can be engaged with and the acceptance and tolerance of all sensation increases. Intimacy with whatever is present is possible.
6. Creates high bodily responsiveness
NLMM educates the body how to release and process contractions, stress and emotional tension. The body becomes highly attuned to all sensations and can note, react or release fluidly and without having to attend to traumatic or suppressed backlog.
7. Opens access to bodily wisdom
By putting emphasis on movement and circumventing the analytical mind and loops of tense thinking the natural intelligence of our bodies is accessed. Through gentle guidance the mechanisms of “freeze” and refusal to feel are being loosened and bodily wisdom can create the necessary actions and releases.
NLMM is facilitated on a mat or blanket. Participants dress similar to a Yoga or Dance Class, in comfortable, non-restrictive clothing.
The method can be practiced at any age, fitness level and mobility. The movements are designed to be self regulating and can be done in any position, including laying down.
Online classes are currently offered 4 times per month. Click here for upcoming sessions.
In this video Michaela gives an overview on how the method was developed and discusses some of the underlying principles.
In addition, here is an excerpt from her book “The Wild Woman’s Way”, where the method is described as part of the practice section:
Over the years of seeing private clients, I often struggled with leaving my clients’ problems, traumas, and emotions behind once the workday was over. This is a challenge well known to many care professionals.
While sitting across from eight clients a day, I would accumulate a fair share of heavy information and emotions. I often would lie in bed at night feeling numb or heavy with sadness and upset.
In the early days of my tantric training, I had learned to use motion instead of intellectual reasoning to let go of stuck energies.
Instead of processing mentally what I felt in any given situation, I trained to be physically responsive. For example, when I had an upsetting conversation, I would allow myself to feel the anger or upset all throughout my body, instead of clenching down on the unpleasant sensation.
This did not mean I would show the upset, necessarily; rather it meant that I allowed my body to feel and move with those sensations. It’s an internal turning toward, rather than turning away from.
Then, when I was able to work with my body, I would move my body and shake out any stuck feelings. Sometimes this would take a few minutes and result in some emotional release; sometimes it would take a few times until it felt like there was no more residue. A good way to tell if it was done was the absence of a mental loop about the event.
Over the years, I would use those practices as a way to get my body to release the aftereffects of acute stress situations that arose during sessions.
I began to experiment with the movement practices before I went to bed. Often, I was so tired that I would just get on my hands and knees right there on my bed. As I moved, I gained access to the emotions underneath the numbness, and my body and emotions would let go of the stressful events of the day.
Eventually I started using this modality with my clients as a way to get them unstuck and connected to their feelings during difficult sessions. Once I started teaching, this method became part of every work- shop as a potent tool.
Now I find this method instrumental as a way to gently reintroduce women to their bodies in my workshops, and to help them restore their wild, embodied nature!
I have now practiced with this modality for more than thirty years, creating and refining this simple movement as a method that can be applied and taught effectively.
The key in NLMM is that it “unfreezes” you, and with that, the body’s natural genius can release and attend to whatever needs to be let go. As I described in chapter 6: “Embodiment” and chapter 7: “Barriers to Embodiment,” stress, tension, overwhelm, and trauma of all kinds tend to put us into fight, flight, or freeze mode.
Of those three responses, freeze is the hardest to detect and work with, as you are frozen, which creates a numbness that makes you “feel fine.”
With this gentle, non-forcing method, stored tension and emotion as well as programmed coping patterns can be loosened; and as the body moves it can facilitate its own release and restoration.
This exercise is a good entry into the method. It is simple and effective, and allows you to choose for yourself how much time you need.
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