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This post is a continuation of a descriptive piece from mid-March when I taught a class on relaxation and stress-relief to seniors. I’d recommend scrolling down and reading Part I through III to get some background info.
I want to start out by saying that I mentioned those first two Zapchen exercises only, and I want to stress this word, ONLY because we all know how to Yawn and Nap. There are some exercises which Julie Henderson came up with which inspire embodied awareness and increase potency, but if these techniques are not natural to us, then I’m not going to mention them.
In other words, there are some playful, fun techniques for coming down out of the head and resting deeper in embodied sensation and presence. Some of these exercises we learned as children, and then we have spent how many years as adults un-learning them! Well Zapchen includes a few such exercises to remind us what it is to be fully human – in touch with a light, loving heart, a potent, full pelvis and a clear, wise mind. Zapchen also includes some new techniques which we have had very little exposure to, let alone tried to do them ourselves. Maybe you could call these Zapchen Yoga, although I think it is all Zapchen Yoga.
Therefore, I am not going to mention the third exercise that we did. Oh, the suspense! Well, you will have to come see me for a session to find out. 🙂 I will skip instead to the fourth technique that we did, as this inspired the most laughs and humor anyway. So hopefully this is remotely entertaining:
The fourth exercise we did is called, “Funny Talk.” It has serious somatic effects on the body, so please, only try this at home if you have some time and patience on your hands, not to mention a talking buddy who is open and ready to let go 🙂
When we do Funny Talk, we put the tongue behind the lower teeth, touching them and then allow the tongue to fill the base of the mouth. Yes, then you talk. It should sound funny, or at least not at all serious. Honestly, who can take themselves seriously when they are talking like this? Oh, and I should stress that there are researched, profound relaxation effects of doing this AND the exercise is by NO means a method used to mock anyone. If it is, then it is not Zapchen.
Well imagine doing this exercise with seniors, I guess who range in age from 65 to 80? Not sure about this though – they had gotten all dressed up as they wanted to look good for the class (apparently, I was told later). It was very precious. But I digress, yes, imagine doing Funny Talk with 12 seniors, the majority of whom have dentures… Here are some snippets from the class, and again, I am merely trying to be a reporter, not mocking anyone! Because one day, relatively soon, if I make it that far, I will be old too.
The woman next to me tried it and then exclaimed, “Oh my, I might push my bridge work out.”
Soon, a few seats down, a lady commented, “I would use my teeth if I had them in!”
About thirty seconds later, the retired beautician (with the hearing aids) exclaims, as if just registering the previous conversation, “I can’t push my teeth out – they are glued!”
A few minutes go by as I check in with other students, with a hushed conversation happening across the circle of chairs, and the beautician again, exclaims with a loud word amidst the whispers, “Polydent!”
We all burst out laughing, including her. I can feel parts of my skull and brain literally re-orienting as the laughter and the funny talk and the previous exercises work their “magic.” Then the lady next to me pipes up with,
“You know, this would be a great commercial for Polydent!” I could not agree more. Why hadn’t I recorded this class? 🙂
All in all, I was very happy to have gone down there to lead them. I kind of doubt they were expecting to slow down and practice this radical form of kindness… but they were happy nonetheless. I say this because I was very careful to not talk about coming back (they would have to formally invite me, especially with my not be an official teacher and all). So guess what?
The lady who has the magic touch with plants asked me first, “Will you come back and do this again?”
I asked, again just to be clear, “Is that a request?” Yes!
Oh – I had been asked earlier to keep going after the Funny Talk. One woman was just drinking in the neurological nourishment of these potent exercises and she wanted me to teach more. Nope! I responded, “I need to stick with my teachers’ advice and tell you that Less is Better than More. Please go back over the next few weeks and practice these exercises. Find one you like and stick with that one. Allow it to be fun and easy. Then I can go through some more.”
And then everyone seconded (and thirded, etc) the motion of having me come back. So I discussed it with the woman who originally scheduled me and we have set up a second day, about a month from now. I hope that goes as well or better than this class!
Some very wise words were shared amongst all of us. I learned much more than I taught for certain – don’t read a book by its cover, always be grateful for each breath you take, and value good friends and good company very dearly!
And if you happen to fall asleep in a chair, which is definitely not the norm for you, mutter “Sweet Jesus!” over and over until you feel better about the situation. 🙂
Thanks for reading.