by: Autumn Martin
photo by: Ariel Chen
UCI’s Embodying Resilience Workshop Series, used movement to get its 25 participants to expand their minds throughout the four-week duration of the workshop series at the Cross Cultural Center from Oct. 10 to Nov. 7.
The four-week workshop series, which was the result of a collaboration between UCI Community Resilience Projects and the UCI Africana Institute of Creativity Recognition, focused on expanding thinking through movement.
“We begin with short meditation. We work to map rhythm into our bodies. We affirm social connection and explore with the use of our imagination,” Associate Professor of dance, and instructor of the workshops Dr. S. Ama Wray said.
Dr. Wray also emphasized that focusing on movement to expand thinking involves “breaking the mind-body split.”
“Everything that we understand in the world is just results of what we think, but we think in context, we think with our bodies. To express even words we use gestures … The body and the mind are one,” she said.
Duringuring the 90 minute workshops, Wray had participants worked to accomplish an awakening of presence by “being here and now — there’s no cellphones, there’s no distractions.” Participants also focused on thinking about how they felt through activities of meditation.
According to Wray, the workshops seemed to have a positive impact on the participants’ moods.
“When we started, some people mentioned that they were feeling stressed, they were feeling pain, they were feeling some feeling of anxiety. Some people said joyful, some people said ready [and] some people said energized but there was a whole rafter of experiences people were having. By the end of the class, everything was positive.”