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Season 2 - Episode 3

Exploring Tone

20 min - Practice


Julie invites us to join her on an exploration of tone in relationship with our body. We begin by deepening our relationship with our hands and our entire body, and continue by exploring mindfully the entire expression of tone in our body, noticing where we can soften a little more.
Please see the attached .pdf for a journaling exercise on Tone.
What You'll Need: Mat, Tennis Ball


Read Full Transcript

Ji, and welcome. I'm gonna invite you to come with me on an exploration of tone. And you might have an idea in your mind of what tone is, but I'm gonna ask you to put that aside for a moment. You can think of tone as many different things, and when I actually looked up the word tone, it really didn't give a lot of explanation of what it was. It literally just said its a quality of something.

And we're going to explore tone in relationship to our body. And in a way you can think of it as as a quality that shows up in the systems of the body. And you can think of tone as body tone, muscle tone, auditory tone, tone of perception, tone of voice, there's so many different ways to explore it, and I think that in our society today we have this conception that tone has to be really high. And really tight. A lot of people talk about the muscle tone and really wanting to show and feel that tone.

And I think of that as a great quality, doesn't have to be bad, but what if there was a soft tone? How could that support us and bring us more in touch with our bodies? For instance, I notice for myself when I'm at work all day, that my tone tends to become really high. If I slow down I notice that my jaw is really tight its clenching, I notice that my shoulders are rolling forward, and there's high tone that's being held within the shoulders. It might be something completely different for you.

But when I come into that awareness of my tone during a really busy day, that gives me the opportunity to be aware and to make the choice to change. So you might be able to change your tone by taking a deep breath, by going for a walk, by rolling the shoulders down and back, finding the breath, it depends on how it is that you want to have relationship with that tone. And I think that's a big piece of it. How do I have relationship with tone? How do I have relationship to my body and all the systems that exist in my body?

So for instance, if I'm in a lot of stress throughout my day my intensity, my tone is gonna be so high that it's gonna cause my nervous system to be on high alert. And if my nervous system is always on high alert, then my systems are gonna begin to malfunction. And I'm going to begin to probably experience some mental, physical, interpersonal health issues that in the long run are going to cause a lot of pain and suffering. So we have to be able to have both. Its this yin and yang of being able to experience high tone because we can utilize that, and really have fire and heat and strength, compared to more of the yin as softer experiential letting go and I think of that as a healing process.

So we're going to explore the range of tone. From 0 to 10. And you can think of it as a vocal tone, so from that 0 to 10 you can think of as 0 being very low tone compared to 10 being really high tone and being able to go through all of the ranges of of the vocality of your body. So we're gonna experience that through our body, and just to begin we're gonna start through our hands. I'm gonna hold my girdy ball here to help with that experience of clenching, but you could just use your hand, your palm, and I'll do both along with you.

So if you have a girdy ball, if you have some type of soft ball you might place it in your hand. Or you might have your hand by itself resting on your lap. So just begin by finding your seat. If a chair would be more comfortable, find a chair. If a prop, such as a block, bolster, blanket could help you in supporting your pelvis, choose that as well.

And then lean back into your spine and find your breath. (breathes deeply) Bring your attention down to your palms. And we're going to begin by just bringing awareness to the tone that exists in our palms. I'm thinking about the scale of 0 to 10, would you place where the tone is currently at in the root of your palm. Could be a four, or a five.

And would you be able to soften the palms, the hands, the fingertips to a 10. Finding that deep deep clench. As tight, as tight, as tight, as tight, as tight as you possibly can. And then can you release all the way to a zero. Think of it as shavasana or REM sleep.

Its so exhausted. Its just letting go completely. And can you get there? Can you really get yourself to a zero? And then lets build off of zero through the scale up to the ten.

So starting at the zero. Moving the tone up to a one. And then from one, making the experience into a two. From the two, can the energy move to about a three? The tone of your hand.

Then to a four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight.

Nine. Ten. And release back to a zero. If you need to do that a couple more times, to experience that zero to ten of tone, feel free to pause and just experience that again. But if you feel like you have a handle of it, we're gonna bring that to the fullness of our body.

So we're gonna place the props aside, and we're gonna come to the front side of our body on our mat. So coming down onto your belly, you might choose to have the arms extended forward. And taking a cheek to one side or the forehead. If that's not working for you, you can always stack the hands. And see as you take rest, if you might be able to find yourself at zero.

Letting go of everything. And taking a scan from the crown of your head to the tip of the tailbone, scanning all four limbs and seeing if there's anything else that can release. Melt your way down into the floor. What does it feel like to let go? And this may take a while, so take your time.

Then lets begin to build into the experience of creating tone in the body. Starting from the zero and bringing yourself to a one. From a one, bringing yourself to a two. Trying to feel the entire body. Experiencing a two tone.

And then making your way to a three. Four. Five. Six. Seven.

Eight. Nine. Ten. As tight as you possibly can get the body, feeling the muscles, feeling the bones, feeling the ligaments all tightening up. And then let go, all the way back to a zero.

Just notice I noticed when I was at a ten I could feel my nervous system firing. I could feel my heart beginning to beat. A little bit more intensity, a little bit more heat. Then we're gonna take ourselves over to our right side, and as I come to my right side I could use my right arm as a little pillow for my right ear. If that doesn't work, you can always take a block underneath the head.

You might start off with the knees bent. If you need to, you can bring the top leg forward. Its up to you. I'm gonna extend my legs a little bit longer cause I like to play with gravity a little bit here, so you can also try that as well. You can place the left hand on the floor, or up at your body.

Again this is just playing around. Just exploring. So see if you can find that zero. I notice when I got to zero, gravity wants to play around. Pulling me up and down.

So how do I get to that zero? I might have to find this spot of middle ground on the side body. Letting everything go. Now once you have that zero, we'll begin to make our way up the scale. One.

Two. Three. Four. Five. Six.

Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Hold in ten.

How does that change your relationship to gravity? Does it feel more supportive? Does it feel less supportive? And then release back to zero. We have another side to do.

Lets move over to the left side. Again, the bottom arm could be of support. Get yourself comfortable, get yourself situated. Then find zero. Letting go.

What else could you let go of? Maybe the tone isn't even in the physical body. Perhaps it's in the mind. So could you soften the mind? Soften the thoughts.

And then once you have your zero you might begin to be able to move into the scale. So starting off in zero and then beginning to move into one. Two. Three. Four.

Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine.

Ten. Feeling the intensity here. If you're not at a ten can you get to the ten? How would you get there? What part of the body needs to get to a ten?

Maybe its the toes, maybe its the face. Maybe its the hands. The spine. And then release. And our final exploration will be on our back.

You can have the knees bent, or the legs extended. I prefer legs extended, as that helps me get to zero a little bit faster. (breathes deeply) Let it go. What else can soften? Then lets begin to pay with tone.

From a zero moving to a one. From one to two. Three. Four. Five.

Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten.

And exhale release. Just hold here. Does your body feel any different after experiencing tone? Is there any part of your body that still has residual tone in it? So for instance, I'm still feeling my butt somewhat clenched.

So can I release that to a zero? Or maybe its your toes. Or your shoulders. Your belly. If you can slow down enough, to dive deep into our body, you can understand where tone is being held where small parts of ourselves grip, grasp, onto holding.

Where other parts may be totally soft. And can the parts that are soft receive some tone? And the parts that are holding and gripping, can they have some softness? Again can we experience this yin and yang within our bodies? Can every part of ourselves receive support and awareness.

And then from here, bending your knees bringing the soles of the feet to the floor, rolling yourself over onto one side in fetal position. And then using your hand to press yourself up to a seated position. What tone is needed to sit upright? Are there parts that need more are there parts that need less? Are there parts that are in the middle?

And then just taking the palms together, thumbs to the heart, bowing the brain to the heart space, the heart space to the body. Softening the tone of the heart towards your thumbs. Relinquishing the brain towards the skull. Softening into your body. And from that softening, let there be love and kindness, compassion and awe.



This was very interesting. Good exploring with you Julie.

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