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Embodied Resilience; Navigating the Volatile Encounter

Can you recall an interpersonal encounter when you felt resistance arise in yourself or the person you were engaged with? The psychological response of resistance finds expression in the body as well. Common responses include a tightening of the jaw, stiffening in the torso or a shallow breathing pattern. These physical responses render us more rigid and prone to disruption of balance. A supple stance, both mentally and physically, allows us to move and adapt to the changing environment. The interpersonal “encounter” may include both verbal and physical exchange. In describing a conversation we often borrow terms from the martial encounter. For example: “she really set him back on his heels” or “his comment hit me like a sucker punch” or “you’ve got to roll with the punches.” For those of us practicing a martial art, the physical encounter is much like a conversation played out in movement. In ether case, we navigate the encounter more gracefully when we have confidence in our own resilience. The non-competitive martial art of aikido affords us the opportunity to physicalize the knotty nuances of communication and leadership in a safe laboratory of embodied resilience practice. Layer the activities with somatic awareness and the relevancy to our workplace encounters springs to life. Prepare to think, move and sense, as we explore a treasure trove of embodied learning activities that cultivate resilience, adaptability and suppleness in our encounters with other people.