helping not making

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I spent some time on Saturday and Sunday watching the Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials in Millbrook, NY.  During the stadium jumping a viewer standing near me said, “That horse is being a jerk.”  Really?  The horse had refused a jump.  The rider was tight, spurs driving into the horse, yanking on the reins, whip flying.  Who is the jerk?  I heard trainers literally snarling like dogs at a horse, riders cursing and whipping, viewers disparaging a horse that refused a jump.  Why is that ok?

Horses are prey animals with an extraordinary sensitivity.  They are not “dishonest” or “bad” or “jerks.”  They are generally responding to some kind of confusion, tension, abuse or fear.  They are often trying to protect themselves from harm.  Harm can be the rider or a jump for which they have not been properly prepared or a noise or movement that startles or frightens them.

Mark Rashid says that instead of MAKING the horse do something, we need to be HELPING the horse do it.  Linda Tellington-Jones exhorts her students to mentally say “Let’s do it”  rather than “Do it” to their horse when they are asking them to do anything.

It is not hard to spot a beautiful, breathing, soft, confluence of rider and horse.  You can see it in their eyes, in the openness and focus of the bodies and the sense of presence and listening.  I did see some of that as well.  In those moments it is as if the rider has let go of everything except the pure joy and harmony of the ride and the love for horse who carries her.

movement openings


I am so excited by the teaching that I have been doing of late that I have decided to open some more space in my private practice in Northwest Connecticut for new clients.  Summer is a wonderful time to start something new!  Here is a brief description of that work:

Somatic Movement Therapy deepens our connection to the the body through movement and stillness, breath, touch, sound and imagery. Grounding experience in the body gives us a clear and vibrant sense of our sensual, soulful connection to the earth, each other and ourselves.  Rather than focusing on exercising isolated body parts, SMT uses movement to restore qualities of connectivity, openness and integration.

It is an effective and gentle way of working with injuries and physical limitations. if you have been feeling out-of-sorts or out-of-shape, and would like to feel more vibrant and strong  physically and emotionally, this work can be tremendously helpful and enjoyable.

I also am working one-on-one with Authentic Movement as a way of:

  • Giving a sense of spiritual,emotional and physical awareness.
  • Creating a deeper felt sense of the body/mind connection.
  • Helping to develop trust in one’s inner voice and intuitive guidance.
  • Opening doors to creative inspiration.
  • Connecting inner awareness to outer action.
  • Providing an opportunity to move without judgement or restriction.

If you or anyone you know is interested in learning more about this work, or would like to speak to me in person, please contact me HERE.

I look forward to meeting you!

back in the saddle


During the opening workshop with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen at the Body-Mind Centering Association Conference, she asked us to breathe into each lobe of the left lung and then the right, connecting our sensing of the lung to the brain hemisphere on the same side of the body, and then to the whole half of the body.  Instead of focusing on a crossing over relationship of left brain to right side of body, right brain to left side of body, she asked us to visualize the whole left side of the body and the whole right side of the body while feeling a sliding articulation between the lobes of the lungs,  That body half, left side/right side is an older, more primitive developmental pattern in the body.


Today while riding, I concentrated on feeling that same soft articulation of the lungs while feeling the whole right side of my body or the whole left side, and then later, feeling both sides separately and simultaneously as I rode.  It was interesting, and gave me a very distinct sense of right brain, right hand, right hip, right foot and then the same on the left.  It felt stabilizing and I could feel Sanne, my horse, becoming more and more balanced as I rode.

Often we ride with at least a superficial sense of contralaterality, as in “inside leg to outside hand.”  In fact, that is not a true contralateral pattern, but a balancing relationship between body halves.  If we actually cross over, that becomes a destabilizing twist.

At the same time, I was aware of Sanne’s lungs – horizontal where mine are vertical.  Both breathing!  Dolphins and whales breathe consciously – each ascent to the surface a decision, each breath voluntary.  I breath that way as well when riding – becoming aware of when I have held my breath and stopping to breathe in and out.  It is my way of rising to the surface of my consciousness, becoming more aware, and in the process, softer.




you are invited (once again)

dscn0041_2Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen

I had the great privilege of performing at the Body-Mind Centering Association conference at Skidmore College on Saturday night.  Body-Mind Centering is the brilliant work of Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, who for over fifty years, has investigated the developmental, embryological, systemic basis of our sensing, feeling, moving, thinking bodies.

I have never quite experienced dancing for an audience of so many body-minds that are so finely attuned, so honed by years of practice, listening and awareness – a great gift!  Thank you to  Saliq Francis Savage who beautifully recorded the concert.

SPEAK (full length) from Paula Josa-Jones on Vimeo.