There is yoga…there is meditation…and then there is Stillness through Movement (STM). Often termed a ‘moving meditation’, STM is a panacea for many of our modern day stresses and illnesses.
With its core purpose to deeply saturate our parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS), an STM class or private session helps to relieve hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, stress, anxiety, fatigue, auto-immune conditions, poor libido, adrenal burnout and insomnia.
How does it work?
In each session we use a sequenced combination of supported restorative poses, vibrational medicine (oils and essences), conscious breath and mind awareness to first unwind the more active sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and then nourish the often depleted PSNS, enabling the body/mind to begin its healing process.
For most of the day our more active SNS is at play. It’s responsible for all of our stimulating activities. It’s also responsible for the body’s flight or fight response, so if we experience SNS overdrive we tend to be operating in flight or fight mode a bit too regularly.
The PSNS is only activated when we experience deep rest. Yet it’s responsible for many of our key bodily functions, such as digestion, salivation, urination, defecation, lacrimation and sexual arousal. If we don’t experience deep rest, these functions of our body can begin to suffer.
The key is to ensure we have balance between the two systems. An STM class enables us to do this by first unwinding any over-activity in the SNS and then nourishing the PSNS to begin and support the healing process.
Who will benefit from an STM class?
Really anyone who lives in today’s modern world can benefit from nourishing their PSNS. Our busy, fast-driven lifestyles tend to overwork our SNS so there is a lot of imbalance between the two.
In particular it helps to stabilise our female hormones through all stages of our cyclical life (puberty, fertility, peri-menopause and menopause) and supports any conditions connected to the nervous and endocrine systems. It’s also a wonderful post-illness recovery alley as the PSNS is known as the healing room of the body.
How does STM differ from yoga or restorative yoga?
- It’s more of a personalised therapy, tailored for your particular body at the particular moment of time you’re doing the class or session. Potentially each session could be slightly different for you.
- It maintains the fine balance between the SNS and PSNS. Whenever we strive or push, we switch on the SNS. A key element of an STM class, and the difference between STM and most other practices, is that we ‘lose’ the striving. Our prime goal is to let go, allow the body to relax and find its natural state of equilibrium. We achieve this through personalised propping in each pose, together with vibrational medicine and conscious breathe and mind techniques.
- The main emphasis of an STM class is to keep bringing the body and mind back to a place of mindfulness, stillness and rest. Regular practice of STM, together with other daily practices, helps to retrain the neural pathways to remember what it’s like to relax. In an STM class every moment of the class counts towards this purpose, even the pauses between the poses.
To find out more about the background of STM, please visit www.stmt.com.au.
My history with STM
I first discovered STM 10 years ago during my own challenge with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Adrenal Fatigue. I was practically dragged to a class at the Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat. I was promised by one of the staff members there that it wouldn’t ‘hurt’ and more than likely it would assist me. Exhausted and unable to do much exercise at the time, I still entered the room with great trepidation.
Yet she was right. It was truly unlike any movement class I’d ever done before. The poses seemed to ‘hold’ my body in a way that both opened and nourished me. As the entire class was done on the floor, I also felt the effects of gravity being gently counter-balanced. I came out feeling refreshed and with a much greater clarity of mind, which was saying a lot for someone who had CFS and severe insomnia.
One of the things I liked most was that the poses were able to be tailored for me. It was the first class I’d been to, since being ill, which seemed to be able to adapt to my body’s constraints, which were multiple at the time.
As I began to practice STM on a regular basis I discovered that this unique therapy not only enabled my body to ‘unpack’ its multiple stressors, but helped to support the healing process through its ability to nourish and nurture the vital organs and systems of the body, specifically the endocrine and nervous systems.
To now share this discipline with others, I’ve completed my STM Teacher Training (270 hours), which includes modules on Ayurvedic Dosha, Feminine Hormone and Chakra balancing. I bring to my classes not only the sequences I’ve learnt but my own personal experience in healing my chronic illness.
How to participate in an STM session
I run classes, semi-privates and private sessions in Byron Bay.
I also run regular workshops in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and am available to run private sessions alongside these. Please email me for further details. for details on upcoming events.
“Before the first session with Sharon I had been feeling stressed and a bit anxious. A few minutes into it I felt my body and mind relaxing. I really enjoyed that there were only three poses and that I felt warm and cradled by the blankets and bolsters the whole time. Because I wasn’t switching poses quickly, my mind was able to relax and I didn’t feel worried about what I had to do next or forgetting something.
I was also feeling tired and spacey when we began. By the end of the session I felt more grounded and focused, less frenetic and no longer tired. It was as if I had slept and woke up rested, although I didn’t actually fall asleep during the session. Practicing on a regular basis, I feel like I now have a tool set I know will balance, focus and relax me.”