Introduction to LifeStream


A straightforward way of understanding LifeStream is to think of it as dynamic relaxation. Classic relaxation is a means of control. One is taught to take control of ones voluntary muscles and drop obvious tension in them. Thoughts and emotions are likewise gradually dropped, and there is the goal of being quiet and not moving.

Unfortunately this pushes tensions more fully into the body and in no way releases them. It also stops any way our system can discharge what needs to be expressed.

LifeStream is a way of learning how to allow parts of ourselves to express that in everyday life may never have had opportunity to be expressed. In most social situations, even those given to self expression, there is in fact little freedom or support or allow your own creative imagination – your body and emotions to discharge tension through movement or sound – to experience your intuitive process and your full range of feeling responses. This lack of freedom gradually diminishes you, allowing only that which is of immediate use in everyday affairs, or is socially acceptable. As important as that may be, such ‘controls’ also stop the full flowering of our own growth. The potential behind what grew us from a seed in our mother’s womb is also in this way interfered with.

The process of life in us, when allowed freedom to express, expresses in many sorts of spontaneous movement such as sneezing when we take in irritating substances; vomiting when we eat something poisonous, and crying to release grief or even happiness. But those are things needed to be discharged. The positive side of this is that it wakens potential talents, creativity and greater awareness and interaction with other people and our environment. See LifeStream – People Experiences Using It

Because of our usual social, religious or personal restraints we usually do not realise that the process behind such expressions is capable of vastly more than we allow. We can see this in dreams, in which when we have let go of restraints we are capable of emotions and creativity usually unknown.

What I have called ‘the process’ behind the spontaneous expression of this more inclusive self, as we come to deepen our relationship with it and know it, is seen as something very special. It is actually a way the very thing that gives us life expresses through us if we open to it. In his book of the same name, Raynor Johnson called it The Imprisoned Splendour. Throughout the ages it has been given countless names. The point is, it is the same wonder now, for you and for me, as it ever was. It may come in various guises, but it is essentially the same for all of us.

We practice LifeStream by honouring simple spontaneous movements and feelings. All the processes and expressions of life in us show as the swing between spontaneous movement and relaxation. The heartbeat, breathing and the movement of the intestines are examples of this. Most emotions, such as crying or laughing or making love, also involve strong physical movements and emotions. If we block expression of our basic living drives and feelings, we not only build up internal tension, but we also interfere with the delicate ways these life processes balance, heal and expresses through us. The wonderful freedom in the practice of LifeStream reintroduces us to the ability of our own life process to heal, balance and move toward its own psychological growth.

it’s medical name is Homeostasis, Homeostasis is from the Greek words for “same” and “steady,” refers to any process that living things use to actively maintain fairly stable conditions necessary for survival. The term was coined in 1930 by the physician Walter Cannon. This was usually used to deal with physical activity, but Dr. Carl Jung and J. A. Hadfield showed how it also is working all the time psychologically as well. See 

To help us find our way into this freedom of expression, some preliminary movements or dance might be used. It is also helpful to learn a process of simply being aware of what arises spontaneously in body and mind as a skill enabling LifeStream.

Through the practice we allow the process and wisdom that grew us from a tiny seed in our mother’s womb to express more fully, to heal us and to carry on its work of personal growth. This can be wonderful, uplifting, and incredibly creative. But it can also be uncomfortable, as it is when our innate healing process fight an infection, or discharges poisons we have taken in. So we have to realise that some life experiences, even very early in life, are quite poisonous and harmful our well-being, and the process of LifeStream will attempt to cleanse them from our system.

LifeStream can be practised alone, with a partner, or in a group. Each group practice lasts for about one hour. The group starts by sitting in a circle for about a minute. It is useful during this period to consciously let go of everyday life and hold in mind that you have an hour before you during which you can spend time with your own innermost life process. Some people like to imagine they are coming to the Core of their being asking it to guide them into and through whatever is most important for them to experience for their  personal healing and growth. Each member of the group then stands and finds a space in the room, and with eyes closed allows the spontaneous experience of LifeStream to begin. See Psychological Vomiting

If you are new to LifeStream a member of the group will start you in the practice by introducing you to ways you can learn to work with whatever attitudes, physical tensions, or feelings stand in the way of life streaming through you.

During the hour leave yourself open to allow movement, sounds, feelings, or whatever impulses are felt. For instance, we constantly experience the urge to move our chest to breathe. Unless we hold our breath this is a gentle impulse. If we remain open in body and mind during LifeStream, any similar urges to move and express – ones which would normally be overlooked or suppressed –  can be allowed. It might be there is no urge to move, but you are overcome by tiredness. If so follow the urge and rest or even sleep. Or an urge to yawn might arise. So allow it without judgement and see where it leads. It is important to allow even what may seem silly or meaningless without stopping it. Whether active or quiet, remain open and free to respond during the hour. After an hour a member of the group will call an end to the session and the members will sit quietly for a few minutes.

One of the best ways to come to LifeStream is naked – and this is not about being without clothes. It means being naked of the opinions and beliefs, convictions and fears we are often completely choked up with. Life itself is constantly shifting and learning. The wonder at the core of your being is indefinable and beyond rules and regulations. It doesn’t need them. It is Life itself, and grew you from seed.

It is helpful to remember, especially if what occurs for you in the session is a deeply felt experience, that it only occurred because you made an agreement with yourself to allow it. Therefore, although it was spontaneous and unexpected, it was still an expression of your choice to allow it. To stop the process you simply reverse your decision, thinking to yourself something like – During this session it was appropriate to allow myself freedom of movement fantasy and sound, but now I will again assume my usual social behaviour. This is my choice.

At the end of you practice it is useful to have a period of quietness. If you are in a group it will be asked you have anything you would like to say or to ask about your experience. There is no need whatsoever to speak at all. But if you do want to say what your experience was, or want to ask other members general questions about the practice, this is the time to do so.

The practice of LifeStream and the format of the group is based on several simple principles. For instance no attempt is made to teach beliefs, philosophy, or rules to live by to members in the group.  This is because experience has shown that each of us have a great wealth of wisdom, self healing and problem solving abilities. Such personal and interior abilities may be unconscious, but become apparent in the experiences met in LifeStream, and are enhanced by honouring them by not attempting to instruct people. Instruction suggests you need and depend on someone else to be the centre of your own understanding. This view also lies behind the absence of any attempt to act as therapist in regard to people’s psychological or physical health. Although the need for experts such as doctors and psychotherapists is not denied, nevertheless, our enormous internal powers of healing and growth are so often subtly repressed, even by people apparently attempting to stimulate their functioning, that in LifeStream we take a radical stand in self help and self trust.

Therefore, during the group practice, we do not support each other by means of any physical contact or verbal interaction. There is no expert in the group suggesting what to do. There is no teacher apart from your own internal unconscious wisdom. There are however, people in the group, or involved in supporting the group, who have many years experience of the action of LifeStream. These women and men can be looked to for guidance and support.

Coex is not a new practice. It has existed in its present form since 1972. It has its roots in traditional approaches which have existed in various cultures for thousands of years. Some of these practices still exist today, but LifeStream attempts to approach the experience of meeting our most interior self in a way generally acceptable in today’s world. The extraordinary depth of experience met by some people in Coex, is thought to connect with the self regulatory process in each of us which produces dreams, linking it with one of our most fundamental and natural of healing and creative activities.

Life Is Movement

While I was teaching XE “Relaxation:teaching” relaxation I learnt that, when we truly relax, our bodies make XE “Movement:spontaneous”spontaneous movements which express our own unique needs. This can be seen in yawning and stretching – movements which will not occur unless we feel at ease. From watching the people I worked with I came to understand that the quiet passivity we usually associate with XE “Relaxation:passivity and”relaxation is in fact only a small part of what the body wants to do to recharge. Spontaneous movements, if allowed, can develop into dynamic self -expression not only of the body, but also of voice and feelings. A wealth of XE “Inner-Directed Movement:results of”unexpected possibilities can emerge: release of tension, unique exercises, healing of body and mind, and the development of your intuition are just a few examples.

Nothing in the realm of systematic exercises such as XE “Aerobics”XE “Aerobics” \r “9”aerobics or XE “Yoga”XE “Yoga” \r “9”yoga can compare with these spontaneous – orXE “Inner-Directed Movement:” \r “9” inner-directed-movements.XE “Exercise:unique to person” They arise from your ownXE “Unconscious:knowledge”XE “Inner-Directed Movement:include body and mind” XE “Unconscious:knowledge” \r “9”unconscious knowledge of your personal and XE “Exercise:unique” \r “9”unique needs. This includes such diversity as your need for physical stimulus if you have a sedentary job; laughter and play if you are too serious; and specific movements to mobilise stiff areas of your body or stimulate internal organs that are underactive.XE “Inner-Directed Movement:results of” \r “9” In particular they appear to attempt a balancing and awakening of your being to new levels of satisfying expression. Because such movements are not just empty physical activity, but combine and integrate body and mind, they bring about a healthier mental and emotional life.

The range of these spontaneous movements arising from your unconscious is difficult to believe unless you have experienced them. This is because most of us allow only a tiny part of theXE “Inner-Directed Movement:and creativity” creative potential we have. It is impossible to list all the aspects I have witnessed in people’s self expression. All movement and the feeling quality of movement is open to you when you begin to liberate your body in this way.

The Beginnings of LifeStream

You already know of how toXE “Relaxation:personal ability” relax enough to allow the beginnings of allowing your body to make its own spontaneous movements. Yawning and sneezing are examples of the side of this process you can already allow. If you breathe in harmful dust your body makes the spontaneous movement of sneezing to protect the lungs and rid itself of the dust. Other similar movements are coughing, shivering when you are cold, and watering of your eyes. In these ways your body self-regulates and protects itself. But this is just the tip of the iceberg in regard to what you are capable of if you understand and learn to work with this process. It is the very edge of what you innately know about your own mental and physical needs and how to satisfy them.

It may seem strange I am suggesting that the process behind something as ordinary as yawning can have a potential which can revolutionise the way you feel about yourself, can improve the mobility and well-being of your body and mind, and can reveal your intuition and creativity. But that is what I have witnessed in helping people use LifeStream. Not only do you know, through LifeStream, just what your body needs to keep it functioning healthily, but also you know how to keep the feelings and mind mobile and healthy too. An intuitive function opens within yourself that can inform you wisely on important areas of your life.

XE “Inner-Directed Movement:physical and mental health”XE “Unconscious:resources of”XE “Spontaneous Movement:and personal wellbeing”This is understandable if certain facts are remembered. To grow physically, and psychologically your being moves and directs itself from its own unconscious resources. You see this in everyday things such as your heartbeat, digestive movements, perspiration, and even your ability to speak without searching for every word or worrying about what gestures you make. The important processes of your being, such as breathing, nearly all express as spontaneous movement – that is, movements you do not have to consciously think about or copy from outside. They are movements that arise from your unconscious mental and physical life. XE “Spontaneous Movement:express aspects of life”XE “Spontaneous Movement:and love making”XE “Sex:not just physical acitivity”The difference between a dead body and a live one is movement. All the gross and most subtle aspects of your life are expressed as movement. Laughter, crying, lovemaking are all powerful movements, largely inner-directed. Such movements integrate the different aspects of yourself. For instance love making is not just a physical activity, but blends emotions, personal needs, as well as deeper instinctive drives. In fact you, as a living being, are a master of expressive movement, but you may be holding yourself back. Having no self confidence doesn’t remove your skill. I have discovered that even shy people, as they learn to XE “Relaxation:and movement”XE “Life:growth process of”relax deeply, have a world of splendid expressive movement inside them waiting to become known.

The organising principle that regulates the growth and shape of your body expresses through LifeStream. It is the unconscious self-regulating process of life in you. Its action continues working night and day. It is common to all of us, but few of us know how to work with it consciously to allow its magic to unfold more fully. This is possible through LifeStream.

In helping people to learn how to relax XE “Relaxation:and inner-directed movement”XE “Relaxation:doorway to unconscioius abilitities”XE “Inner-Directed Movement:definition of”enough to allow such simple movements as yawning to extend into fuller spontaneous movement I witnessed people discovering the wide range of exercises, mimes and feelings their body could express unexpectedly. As people learnt to really relax they opened the door to abilities within their body and mind that had previously remained unconscious. For those who made this discovery it was rather like the dream some people experience in which they have lived in a house for years, then one day they find a door leading to a whole wing of the building they have never known before.

When they open to LifeStream, people find it is:-

1.  A fuller expression of the natural power that regulates the body and mind. This can lead to physical and mental health. The contact is sensed as an awareness of the essence of life active in them.

2.  An inbuilt and spontaneous urge to move and express the parts of oneself inhibited by the specialised environment of family, society or work. This is an urge toward wholeness. Wholeness because when the concentration upon a limited area of yourself such as thoughts or emotions is relaxed, then a greater symphony of expression between mind body and spirit occurs.

3.  Creative and intuitive abilities of the mind. This is frequently experienced as spontaneous visualisation.

What Will Happen If I Really Let Go?

For most of us to ‘let go’ or deeply relax enough to allow spontaneous movement is a XE “Inner-Directed Movement:a learnt skill”XE “Inner-Directed Movement:experience, not thinking”learnt skill. To learn anything new means you tread new ground, you open yourself to new experience. This is certainly true of LifeStream. What you learn is largely non intellectual. It is something you experience rather than think. Because it involves movement it opens you to the realm of what you sense and perceive through body postures and feelings. This is an extraordinarily rich area, much overlooked in general schooling. In his book The Turning Point, XE “Capra,Fritjof”XE “Body:thinking with”Fritjof Capra, writing about the tendency in Western culture to overemphasis the intellectual capacity of the mind to the point where we see the universe and earth as mechanical systems, says, “Retreating into our minds, we have forgotten how to ‘think’ with our bodies, how to use them as agents of knowing.” Later, describing the effect the intellectual and mechanistic view has had on modern medicine and the lay person’s approach to their body, he says we are led to see our XE “Body:seen as machine”body as a machine “which is prone to constant failure unless supervised by doctors and treated with medication. The notion of the organism’s inherent healing power is not communicated, and trust in ones own organism not promoted.”

One person, talking about his early experience of LifeStream says:

I remember that at first I would repeat really peculiar movements, what seemed an endless number of times. I felt that my body was working at freeing itself from habitual postures, attitudes and the results of past experience as well as massaging internal organs. Gradually my movements became freer and more mobile – although since my teens I had exercised and stretched regularly. Also the movements became mobility of my feelings as well as my body. For the first time in my life I realised that my soul,XE “Inner-Directed Movement:mobilising the psyche” my personality, had also been tense and stiff, and was being gently made more responsive, alive and whole.

This mobilising of me was effected by lots of movements in which I expressed powerful feelings.XE “Dancing:stamping”XE “Voice:use of”XE “Inner-Directed Movement:and use of voice”XE “Inner-Directed Movement:personal examples”XE “Human Potential:self healing” For instance I remember once doing a forceful stamping dance in which I felt like a Japanese warrior. My voice also came into full play with such dances and movements. I need to stress that I had never danced before in my life, and I found such movements surprising. So apart from the purely physical movements during LifeStream, there is also a fuller experience of inner feelings.

Because of such encounters, and there were dozens of them, I felt I was allowing myself to experience something extraordinary. The experiences arising spontaneously from within created a sense of wonder in me. I recognised I was touching a secret which existed in everyone. The secret is that we are much more than we usually suspect. We are capable of more than we dare imagine, and have access to internal founts of XE “Healing:self”healing, adventure and wisdom, and experience that can enlarge and liberate us, not only physically but in our psyche as well. Our XE “Unconscious:resources of”unconscious is full of creativity and splendid experience.

That Much Power Needs Understanding

Opening to the mystery of life in you is a powerful thing to do. It brings real change and growth. Opening to that sort of power needs to be understood, and there are certain skills and attitudes that can be of great value.

•  For many people, opening in the ways described leads to a period of cleansing. Negative emotions, residues of past trauma, physical problems, are brought to the surface to be dispelled. This is not a comfortable process. But it is one of the ways life works in us. When we eat something poisonous our healing process can lead to vomiting the poison from our system. When we breathe in dust we sneeze. So when we are harbouring painful destructive emotions or memories our healing process tries to discharge them. It takes a while to learn how to allow this to happen without feeling anxious.

•  It is one of the big human frailties that we blame someone else, or other people, for our feelings or situation. Accepting personal responsibility for your own state of mind, feelings or situation, is a huge step toward positive change in your life. Of course this is a big generalisation. Workers who are exploited by employers and paid inadequate wages, while employers cream off most of the profits, may be seen as justified in blaming their situation on the bosses. However, by not blaming, the employee may still realise it is up to them to do something about the situation. That was how human rights were fought for.

•  Be in a learning relationship with the mystery at your core. Question what arises. Ask what is meant. Be like a detective following clues. Many of the deepest parts of your nature emerge in stages as they unfold. Often your core self expresses in symbolic experiences as do dreams. That is the language of the unconscious. Do not be satisfied with the symbols. Question them during the process until you arrive at insights that give you understanding of how what is experienced links with your everyday life and situation.

•  Your physical growth took years. Your personal spiritual growth also takes time. Processes of growth in nature develop structures and organs as they move towards something. The plant develops stem and leaves before it opens its flower. So your own inner growth may need to develop things before it can manifest certain parts of you. The mystery is beyond imagination in its enormity. Some people have called it the Hugeness. Sometimes courage and strength need to be developed before you can be healed of certain things, or experience other dimensions of yourself.

•  The mystery of life that you are is paradoxical. You can never pin it down to being this or that one thing. It is both very personal — in fact manifesting as your own unique personality — and it is at the same time completely impersonal. By all means learn and define what you learn, but never believe you have found the complete truth. Being paradoxical, whatever truth you arrive at you can be sure the opposite is also true. Holding rigidly to beliefs prevents further learning.

•  Learn self observation. With the non-blaming approach, examine the way you respond to people and events. See what is behind the response. Notice what habits you have, and where they stem from. Learn to observe the constant and subtle play of feelings, thoughts and imagery that takes place within you.

•  At one point in the New Testament it says, “Where two or three people are gathered together in my name, there I am.” Whatever you might interpret that to mean, it is observable that when we open to Life in the company of one or more people who are also approaching that mystery in the same way, it enormously increases the power of what you experience. Even if there is just one person with you who honours the process of LifeStream, it can make an enormous difference to the depth and power of what you meet within.

LifeStream Is More Than Avoidance Of Tension

XE “Human Potential:how to use”XE “Self Trust”XE “Human Potential;”Learning how to promote LifeStream is learning to trust yourself in a new way. It is also a way of learning how to use areas of your potential not previously employed, and to keep in contact with yourself and other people in a more enriching manner. But perhaps the most important fact about learning to allow LifeStream concerns liberation.

The difficulty is not that of saying or being what is innately yourself, it is in doing so in a manner which does not conflict with the needs of others. The liberation you can find through LifeStream is very complete. It is not something you do to someone else or inflict on the world. It is yours to experience in your own physical and emotional privacy. Just as when we dream we can have the most intimate and complete experiences without involving anyone else, so we can relax and find full self expression without anyone else present.

Therefore XE “Social Pressure:”liberating your body through XE “Inner Directed Movement:and social pressure”XE “Relaxation:through inner freedom”XE “Inner-Directed Movement:physical and mental health”LifeStream releases reserves of energy and enthusiasm which might have been subdued by attempts to live within the boundaries of social or interpersonal demands. For many people, it is this enormous freedom which is the most important feature of the practice. Many people using LifeStream have told me they never before felt such freedom, even in childhood. They either had never been allowed it by parents or teachers, or they had never allowed it to themselves.

The Experience of LifeStream

A female student once said, ‘I have relaxed thousands of times and no unwilled movements have happened, so why will it be different this time?’ She went on to say, ‘I don’t believe there is anything in me to create the sort of experience you are talking about anyway!’

Her question and statement have behind them viewpoints and attitudes that in fact make it difficult to understand just what LifeStream is, and how it can happen. They imply that there is nothing about oneself to experience beyond what is already known – that after years of life, surely if there were dimensions of oneself full of rich experience you would have had hints of them – and also perhaps that the body is dumb flesh, largely mechanical and lacking deep intelligence.

Nevertheless, laboratory tests have shown that the most materialistic people, while they are in the relaxed state of sleep, develop spontaneous fantasies, accompanied by body movements, emotions and speech. Namely they creatively dream, even if they do not remember. The spontaneous movements we make in sleep, and the deeply moving feelings and dramas we experience in connection with them, are usually not strong enough to break through to conscious life except in a few cases. To work with this process which is vital to your well-being, you need to be receptive and create the right mood and environment. The body and mind are not disconnected. The wisdom that keeps the body heat at the correct level, the intelligence that keeps millions of various cells interacting in an integrated way, though unconscious, unknown, untouched by yourself in everyday life, can begin to bubble up into awareness and self realisation when you listen by letting it express in its own way.

That is the theory. The experience is that if you do take time to let this subtle action have a space in waking life, you will first learn to let your body be free enough to move to delicate impulses. This will lead to movements that at first you may not know whether you are making them up, or they are occurring by themselves. As they strengthen through learning to trust yourself in letting-go, the movements will follow certain themesXE “Themes”. Perhaps at the end of the session you will see your body has been exercising and loosening. Or maybe you have made dance like movements that have a theme such as emerging from restrictions and growing. You may see this relates to how you feel in everyday life. In this way you will see for yourself that the unconscious resources of body regulation usually only expressing at the level of blood pressure or temperature control, are manifesting at a new level because you are learning to work with them. You will see that the creative imagination of dream life is clarified and showing itself to you while you are awake.

It’s An Old Truth In A New Form

The view that you do not need to practise disciplined or energetic given exercises to keep physically and psychologically healthy may be new to you. Everything from PE. at school, XE “Aerobics”XE “Yoga”Aerobics at the fitness gym, and Yoga, suggest series of given movements or postures. And you must perform them correctly to get the benefits. LifeStream is not a new practice though. Because it is a basic human function, and an extension of movements like yawning, it has been frequently used in the past. In fact it has a history of many thousands of years, different cultures giving it different names and explanations.

While I was teaching LifeStream in Japan I was introduced to an almost identical practice called XE “Seitai”Seitai. The founder of Seitai, XE “Noguchi, Haruchika”XE “Inner-Directed Movement:Eastern practices”Haruchika Noguchi, is said to have modernised an older practice which was a part of Buddhist traditional technique.

I had the pleasure of meeting several Seitai practitioners who taught me their approach to LifeStream. My wife Hyone and I were also able to attend groupXE “Group Practising Inner-Directed Movement” practices. Seitai is popular in Japan with the sort of popularity that causes articles about it to appear in high class women’s magazines. But its practitioners come from a wide age range and are equally represented by both sexes. The ongoing group we attended had about thirty people in it. There were teenagers, married couples, young and old, and lots of single people. In this group each person is encouraged to allow their spontaneous movements, such as their desire to stretch. They all practise at once, so each person does their own personal movements at their own pace.

Seitai’s appeal is probably due to Noguchi’s practical and down to earth approach. Through Seitai many people in Japan have improved their physical and psychological health using this very simple practice. What I learnt from the people who shared Seitai with me was how much fun it can be. Before my stay I had thought the Japanese would be very serious people. In the street and in formal social gatherings this is perhaps true, but individually or in informal groups they are very playful. Several times I watched groups of people decide, during a break in activity on a conference, to practice XE “Yuki”yuki, a form of Seitai in which two people practise together. Within minutes it had developed into active dance like movements which included lots of laughter and playfulness. In the following chapters some of Seitai’s approaches will be explained.

In India the use of LifeStream is called XE “Shaktipat”Shaktipat. It has a different approach to Seitai, contact with a teacher or Guru being recommended though not seen as indispensable. Individuals in most of these approaches practice both alone or in groups.

While working in Australia I was told by the film star XE “Thompson, Jack”Jack Thompson, who had been taught XE “Tai Chi”Tai Chi by a Chinese teacher, that for three years the teacher had him perform the given movements. Then one day he said to Jack “Now I will show you the real Tai Chi.” He then encouraged Jack to allow spontaneous movement – LifeStream.

Tai Chi is a stylised series of movements from China used for health and harmonising ones being. While in Hong Kong I saw hundreds of people in the early morning practising Tai Chi in Kowloon Park. Hyone and I joined in and it was a great pleasure to have the freedom to openly explore movement in public. Also originating in China there is a more direct approach to spontaneous movement called XE “Qi Gong”Qi Gong. As in Seitai the individual or group directly wait for spontaneous movement.

These Eastern approaches see the movements as expressing a subtle energy called Chi or Ki. This energy is seen as the creative, body forming, XE “Life:energy of”energy of life. Therefore the practice is considered to balance and harmonise the way this energy expresses in oneself.

The West has its traditional approaches to LifeStream also. Apart from groups such as the XE “Quakers”Quakers and Shakers, who gave inner-direction a religious orientation connected with the spontaneous movements of the originalXE “Pentecost” Pentecost, XE “Mesmer, Anton”Anton Mesmer XE “Inner-Directed Movement:researchers”founded a form of groupXE “Group Practising Inner-Directed Movement” practice three hundred years ago. He was probably one of the first to attempt a scientific evaluation of the process. Without the recent findings which have arisen from psychological and neurological research however, his explanations were still based on older ideas.

In Hawaii there is a form of spontaneous movement that is allowed to express as dance. Ancient tribal healing or decision making frequently involved spontaneous movements and vocal expression. These are often linked to what is today known as Shamanism. It is a way ancient people found wholeness and healing, or sought intuitive information vital to their existence.

A more recent practice that started in Indonesia is called Subud. It has a format that has allowed it to become world-wide, although unlike Seitai, it has an element of religious feeling because of the Islamic culture and character of its founder, XE “Subuh, Pak”Pak Subuh. InXE “Subud” Subud, groupXE “Group Practising Inner-Directed Movement”s of people meet twice a week. Someone in the group says, ‘Begin’, and the members allow spontaneous expression of body and voice.

Although all these approaches have a very similar core in that practitioners are asked to let go of their self-willed activity, the explanations of the practice, and the details may vary. For instance, in Seitai there is not very much vocal expression. The men women and children can all practice together, and there is no religious connection. In Subud the men and women are segregated. There is a lot of vocal expression, and there is a cultural religious connection.

Movements and Exercises

The following movements are those I learnt that day. If you enjoy them and have time, by all means do the movements consecutively. They are excellent for health in themselves, but they are not LifeStream. They are given to warm your body and help mobilisation and internal balancing.

Use these movements at least three times over a period of a week or so, before going on to the next phase. Practice each movement for between one minute to three minutes, depending on your energy and time. Try doing them with music sometime to see if it aids the good feelings they can produce. Later suggestions for types of music are given in detail. At this point something fairly flowing without too much drama in it.XE “Movements:general instructions”

These are only warm-up movements, they are not LifeStream. LifeStream, once learnt, can be used easily and for a few minutes. There is not a long list of ‘movements’ to use in the proper practice, although there are a variety of ways you can use it.

It is helpful to ‘meditate’XE “Movements:meditate them”XE “Meditation:on the movements” on some of the movements after performing them. This means that you try to recreate the feelings, or sensation of the movement again without allowing your body to make the movement. The idea is to exercise your inner awareness and feelings of energy movement. So in the third of the movements, the pelvic swing, you would create the feeling of the hips pushing forward and up, followed by the pulling back and down of the pelvis. This meditation exercise is important as it enables you to gain some control of your inner XE “Meditation:balancing inner feelings”feelings. Often such feelings are stimulated by external events or unconscious worries. Your meditation is harmonising and balancing these feelings.

These movements take time, so if you are not able to do them all in sequence, do those you can within the time available and work through the other movements during future sessions. You need a reasonable space – something at least the size of a single blanket, so you can feel free to move without bumping into things.

    Squatting and Rising

This first movement you start from a standing position. With feet slightly apart you take an in-breath, and as you reach the high point of inhalation you take head and arms backwards to really open up the chest. From that standing position with head back you then begin to breath out and bend the knees so that you can drop quickly into a squat. As you do so let the arms move forward and up so the hands come palms together near to the face. Meanwhile you drop into a squatting position expelling your breath fast as you go down. You rest there for a moment and then the movement carries on by breathing in and rising back up to the first position again. So you slowly stand as you breath in, then when standing expand the rib cage again by opening the arms slightly backwards and apart, and taking the head slightly back.

When you get used to the movement, going down into the squat position should be done fairly fast with the out-breath quite strong so there is an audible blowing of air out of the lungs. It can be done gently, but if possible, do it strongly as the body drops. Let the hips go down as far as you comfortably can, and let the head collapse down too so the body is relaxed. Some people need to put their heels on books to make squatting comfortable, so do that if necessary. The hands come forward in a scything movement until they meet just above the dropped head. If you cannot squat so low, use a stool or chair to sit on as you go down, so you only drop a short way.

At least two feeling states are involved in this movement. One is the standing erect and ‘open’ feeling. The other is the down, closed and relaxed feeling. When you feel fluid in the movement see if you can enhance these feeling changes as you move between the opposites of up and down. While down feel the relaxed letting-go feeling. While up feel the active, energetic feeling.

In this first movement you start from a standing position, with feet slightly apart.

1.  Take an in-breath, and as you reach the high point of inhalation take head and arms slightly backwards to widen the chest.

2.  From the standing position you then begin to breathe out and bend the knees so that you can drop into a squat. Let your arms move forward and up so the hands come palms together near to the face and expel your breath while dropping into the squatting position .

XE “Illustrations:squaatting and rising 2″XE “Illustrations:squatting and rising”

3.  At this point you should be squatting with head relaxed forward. Rest there for a moment and then carry the movement on by breathing in and rising back to the first position again. This means you have slowly stood as you breathed-in, and expanded the rib cage again by opening the arms slightly backwards and apart, letting the head drop slightly back.

4.  Repeat the cycle of Squatting and rising in your own time.

5.  Now ‘meditate’ the movement for about a minute. This means standing or sitting with eyes closed and imagining doing the movement, but hardly moving your body. Try to reproduce the feelings of the movement. Feel the relaxed, down condition, then move into the up, dynamic feeling. This is an important exercise in becoming aware of the subtle feelings connected with movement, and learning to mobilise them.

    Circling the HipsXE “Movements:circling the hips”

Suggestions – To get the movement satisfyingly mobile, it is helpful to imagine yourself standing in the middle of a large barrel. The aim is then to run your hips around the inside of the barrel, touching it all the way around. This helps to get the full circling of the pelvis. So, as the hips are circling back the trunk is bent slightly forward, but still with the head high. The hips should go well out to the side, and as they swing to the front they should be far forward enough to cause the trunk to be inclined slightly backwards. If you cannot manage this at first, simply do what you can.

The knees and ankles should be kept relaxed, as should the hips themselves, so they adapt to the circling. The breathing should then also find its own rhythm. Generally it is out as the hips swing forward, and in as they swing backwards. This is because the chest is slightly compressed as the hips are forward if the head is floating erect.

1.  Begin from a standing position as the first, but feet slightly farther apart, about shoulder width.

2.  Keeping your head and shoulders more or less floating in the same position, circle the hips horizontally. The pelvis is taken gradually into a wide circle.

3.  At half time rotate the hips in the opposite direction for the rest of the time.

4.  Meditate the movement for about one minute. You can stand or sit to do this.

    Pelvic SwingXE “Movements:pelvic swing”

Suggestions – If you imagine a vertical circle – seen from one side of your body – and move the hips around it fluidly while letting the legs and trunk follow, that is the movement. Although simple this is an important movement as far as becoming aware of the subtler side of your own being is concerned.

The movement is similar to the backward and forward movement of sexual intercourse, except that it is circular and involves bending and straightening the legs. But it does still involve the pelvis swinging backwards and forwards. Do the movement until you can feel your body loosening and flowing more easily. Then, do the movement slowly, being aware of the different feelings of the pelvis being forward and backward. These feelings are quite subtle, but are strong enough to be easily noticed if the movement is done with awareness of the change.

1.  Standing with your feet about a foot apart move your pelvis backwards – as if starting to sit down – to begin a circle. This half sitting position brings the head and trunk forward and bends the knees slightly .

2.  Start to push the hips well forward. As you do so the knees are straightened again, and this completes the full circle with the hips in a way that describes or ‘draws’ a vertical circle.

3.  Do the movement in a way that keeps the hips swinging in the circle in a continuous flow.

4.  Meditate the movement while sitting or standing.

    Roller SkatingXE “Movements:roller skating”

Suggestions – If possible let most of the movement occur from below the navel. You can keep your eyes looking ahead, your arms swinging in time with the hips as well to let the body move fully. But it is the lower back that is being worked here. The movement massages the lower internal organs as well, so you may get the stitch until you adapt to the exercise. Do the movement fairly vigorously. If you do get the stitch, don’t stop altogether, just slow down. The movement will then massage the area of discomfort.

1.  Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width, with trunk bent forward and knees bent also. Your back should be reasonably straight although at an incline.

2.  Now swing the hips from side to side, making the lowest part of the spine alternate to the left and right.

3.  When finished meditate the movement.

    Swinging the TrunkXE “Movements:swinging the trunk”

Suggestions – Be careful to check how slippery your feet are on the floor surface. If you cannot easily maintain a feet wide position, it may help to stand with bare feet. The movement is an active one, with a light pause as you reach top and bottom. Some people like to allow their arms to extend in a wide arc as they come up. It feels more balanced. Also, as you come to the upright position with the in-breath, let the head drop back slightly, and arms extend sideways and back to increase the chest stretch. This balances the deep exhalation accomplished by dropping the trunk forward.

This is a very pleasing movement, and because it connects with the breath cycle, develops a particular rhythm. If you can manage it without becoming giddy, let the exhaling of breath as you go down be quite energetic.

1.  Stand with the feet about twice shoulder width.

2.  Let your head and trunk drop forward, and the arms hang relaxed, allowing the spine to be gently stretched.

3.  When you feel your spine has adapted to the position, from an out-breath swing your head and trunk to the left, allowing it to roll over and up to the standing position as you breathe in.

4.  Drop the trunk downwards in the mid-line again, breathing out – do it fairly fast – then roll head and trunk to the right as you come up and breathe-in again.

5.  Continue the cycle with a slight pause at the high and low of each swing.

6.  When finished meditate the movement, reproducing the relaxed drooping feeling, and the active, ‘up’ feeling.

    Surrendering Backwards

XE “Body:abdominal muscles”This movement works the abdominal muscles quite strongly, and needs to be approached slowly until you feel confident and able in it. It is not primarily a physical exercise. It is an expression of letting-go of self, of surrendering. You start with feet about shoulder width apart. The aim of the movement is not to see how far backwards you can go. It is to express the feeling of letting go of self, of dropping control in a disciplined way. At first, when the head and shoulders are back, hold the position for a very short time, then recover to the upright stance. As you get used to the movement, you can stay in the surrendered position longer – just as long as is comfortable – then recover.

1.  From an in- breath you drop your head slowly back and breathe out, allowing your head, shoulders and trunk to drop slightly backwards with the arms limp.

2.  If you are comfortable in that breathe as normally as you can while your trunk is backwards.

3.  Hold for a short time then return to the upright position.

4.  Repeat several times.

5.  Meditate on the movement, moving between the surrendered feeling and the taking control upright feeling.

    Sideways LungeXE “Movements:sideways lunge”

XE “Body:legs”This movement uses the legs a lot more, and introduces more spinal twist. Because you are reaching forwards with the opposite hand to the bent kneed, there is a common tendency for people to extend the whole trunk forward too, and that is unnecessary. The trunk curves upright from the trailing leg. The breathing sequence for this is out as you lunge, in as you centre again.

When you are reasonably capable at the movement try doing it as slowly as possible. Make the breath slow, and move in time with the breath – out as you lunge and in as you centre. This is a very powerful movement so don’t attempt too many repetitions at first.

1.  You start with feet about a metre apart in a standing position, with the hands palms together in front of the chest.

2.  Turn the left foot to point to the left and turn the trunk to face in that direction also.

3.  Let the left knee bend until the hips drop right down near the left heel. To make this easier, let the left heel rise if necessary. In other words, don’t try to keep the foot flat on the floor unless this is easy. Meanwhile the right leg is trailing, forming an curve from the floor up along the spine. The right knee is on the floor but hardly bent.

4.  As you lunge to the left, let the right hand reach forward in the direction you are lunging. The right arm stretches out backward toward the right foot – i.e., in the same direction as the right foot. This gives a slight spinal twist.

5.  From the lunge position, using the strength of the left leg, push back into the upright position until the trunk faces forward, and bring the hands to the centred position in front of the chest again.

6.  From the centred position you lunge to the right. Don’t forget that it is now the left arm you extend forwards – always the opposite hand.

7.  Pause in the lunge, then, using the strength of the right leg push up and centre again.

8.  With a slight pause at each lunge, and while ‘centred’, repeat the movement alternatively to left and right.

9.  Meditate on the movement, remembering to get the ‘centred’ poised feeling between each imagined lunge.

    Spinal TwistXE “Movements:spinal twist”

This is more of a spinal twist, more so than the last. The arms are extended describing a wide arc, and coming to rest where you feel comfortable, but not floppy. The breath cycle is to complete exhalation as the spinal twist is complete, and to complete inhalation as you reach midpoint between the left and right twist. Like the previous exercise, if the breathing is united with the movement, it makes for a more satisfying experience. Once you have got the feel for integrating breathing and movement, perform this one fairly slowly and purposefully.

1 –     Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width and with hands at your sides.

2 –     Leading with the head, turn to the left, letting your arms describe a wide circle, and continuing their movement when head and trunk can turn no further. As the trunk turns to the left, let the feet and knees accommodate the twist, so when you have turned as far as you can to the left, your left knee is slightly bent in a semi lunge to allow the fullest twist, and your foot is pointing to the left.

3 –    Now turn from there to the right, going round as far as you can, fairly slowly to let the feet and legs change.

4 –    Continue this slow swing, making sure you allow a semi-lunge at the end of each swing. This gives a little more twist.

5 –    |Meditate on the movement.

XE “Illustrations:spinal twist”

    The Swinging Rib-cageXE “Movements:the swinging ribcage”

This exercise aims at mobilising the rib cage in one of its movements seldom made in everyday life. To make sure your movement is actually doing what it should, it is helpful at first to practice in front of a mirror. Keeping the hips still and rib-case centred, hold your index fingers about two inches away from each side of your lower ribs. Now see if you can swing the ribs sideways towards the extended but still finger without swaying the whole trunk and hips sideways as well. At first it might be that you do not know just what muscles to move to accomplish this, but with practise it becomes simple.

XE “Illustrations:the swinging rib cage”

Like one of the earlier movements, this one may cause you to develop a `stitch’ if you do it fairly actively. This is because it strongly massages the internal organs, and this is a healthful stimulus to them. It may also cause an unusual bellows action with the lungs, causing a pumping of air in and out of the lungs without actually breathing. This is quite normal for the movement, and is not harmful. No need to meditate this one.

1.  Keeping the hips still, swing the lower ribs slightly sideways. If you do this with the right side of the rib-case, it causes the left shoulder to drop, and the right to rise. When you alternately swing to the right and left, the shoulders alternately rise and fall also.

2.  Therefore, if you lift and drop the shoulders alternately, this may help produce the extending of the rib-case, but not necessarily so. Many people move their shoulders thus, or swing their hips energetically, without their rib-case being mobilised at all.

3.  Swing alternatively left and right until you can do the movement easily.

    The CrawlXE “Movements:the crawl”

Your attention has been moving up the body in this series of exercises, and so are concentrating more on the chest and shoulders at the moment. This exercise is primarily to mobilise the shoulders and rib-case in relationship to the spine. But it also brings the arms into action in more than a supporting role.

It helps if you imagine the hands are pulling backwards through water. Meanwhile, the head and hips should remain facing forward, so the shoulders swing around the steady spine. The movement can be done slowly but strongly, or fast and energetically. This is a wonderful movement to massage neck and lungs.

1.  Start by standing with feet about shoulder width apart.

2.  Be aware of the knees, and keep them very slightly bent and relaxed.

3.  Keeping your head and hips still make the swimming movements of the ‘crawl’ with your arms. This means the right arm swings up and forward above the head as the left arm is low and moving backwards. Then the left arm is up and forward as the right drops.

4.  The movement is a slow circling of the arms.

5.  Finish with the still meditation of the movement.

Playing With the Voice

If you have lots of time you can use this after the warming-up movements. Otherwise use it by itself, taking up to fifteen minutes. It may help to use music as a background. Something not too invading.

In this exercise you explore the use of sound. To make different sounds you need to move not only your throat, but also your trunk and even limbs in different ways. Sounds also evoke feelings and move or exercise them. Just as many of us do not move our body outside of certain restricted and habitXE “Habit”ual gestures and actions, so also your range of sounds may be quite small. So for several minutes you will explore making sounds.

As your sound production improves though, and you begin to enjoy it, in different sessions explore making all sorts of happy sounds; different sorts of laughter, proud, childish, funny, etc.; angry noises; animal and bird noises; sensual sounds; the sound of crying or sobbing; natural sounds such as wind, water, earthquakes; make the sounds of different languages and different situations such as a warriors chant, a mothers lullaby XE “Sounds:themes to explore”XE “Voice:themes to explore”(without real words, just evocative sounds), a lover’s song, a hymn to Life, or even sounds about birth and death; and just plain nonsense noises. Don’t attempt to explore all these different types of sound at one session. Just choose one and explore it until you can feel yourself limbering up in it and getting past restricting feelings such as shyness or stupidity. Those are the walls of restriction.

1.  Start by taking a full breath and letting it out noisily with an AHHHH sound.

2.  Do this until you feel it resonating in your body. This may take one or two minutes.

3.  Change to a strong EEEEEEEEEE sound. Once more, continue for at least a minute.


5.  If you are doing this exercise for the first time, that is sufficient for one session. If not, go     on to use one of the themes suggested above.

The Yawning Exercise

XE “Inner-Directed Movement:starting”Do not use this exercise until you have used the Warm-Up and Loosening Movements a few times, as well as the voice exercise.

One of the easiest ways to begin LifeStream is to use your body’s own urge to express spontaneous movement, as with yawning. To do this first take time to create the right setting for the practice. You need a reasonable space – something at least the size of a single blanket, so you can feel free to move without bumping into things. Play some music that is flowing, but without a strong beat. A strong rhythm grabs the body and feelings too much and so prevents creativity in your expression. Most of Kitaro’s music is useful for this. Try also – Moods, Inner-directed movement Enyo music – Meditation by Thais, and some of the Vangelis albums. Music also ‘gives permission’ for easier self-expression in that you are less worried about making a noise or moving.

XE “Music:to use “XE “Inner-Directed Movement:music to use”

    Do not go onto the other exercises described after the yawning exercise. Practice this one a few times on different days before attempting the next ones.

XE “Yawning method”You need clothes suitable for easy movement, and about ten to twenty minutes during which time you can give yourself fully to whatever your body and feelings suggest. Do not take this suggestion of time rigidly though. If your session is shorter or longer follow your own needs.

1.  When ready, stand in the space, listen to the music and drop unnecessary tensions. Remind yourself that for the next few minutes you are going to let your body play. You are going to let it off the lead.

2.  Open your mouth wide with head slightly dropped back and simulate yawns. As you do so notice whether a natural yawn starts to make itself felt. If it does, allow it to take over and have a really luxurious yawn. Any following impulse to yawn again should be allowed.

3.  Let the yawns come one after the other if they want to. Without acting it out, let the impulse to yawn take over your body, not just your mouth and face. So if the urge to move includes the arms or elsewhere, let it happen.

4.  XE “Body:following its own   impulses”XE “Spontaneous Movement”Give yourself over to the enjoyment of having time to really indulge your own natural feelings and body pleasure. If the yawning develops into other movements and stretches, let it. In the same way you would normally allow your body to express itself in a yawn, let it express itself in whatever other form of movement, postures or stretches arise. Maybe it will be noisy yawns, so allow whatever noises you want to make, however ‘silly’. If this flows into movements following the music, don’t hold yourself back. Or your movements might not follow the music, but have a direction of their own. This is play-time with your body, so enjoy it. What has gone before has simply been preparatory. Now you can do what you want.

5.  Until you feel ready to stop, simply enjoy or explore the movements and feelings that arise – even if what arises for you after the initial yawns is a desire to lie on the floor and rest. That also is you expressing your needs.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved