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By Sharonne Gracia

There’s something truly special about graduating from the Academy of Mindful Movement. Maybe it’s the sense of community, the shared passion for movement, or maybe, just maybe, it’s the profound shift that has happened within myself.

The Academy of Mindful Movement is on a mission to uplift movement instructors and coaches.

The Academy of Mindful Movement supports instructors and coaches from diverse backgrounds. From sports and performance coaches to physical therapists, and yoga instructors like myself, we learn to integrate specific mindfulness techniques into our teaching practices.

For me, the most significant shift has been in body awareness. We all have bodies, right? But truly listening to the sensations within our bodies is a different story altogether. This training showed me a different way to move. Ashtanga yoga, for example, became a chase for the challenge and the accomplishment of complex poses. This drive often pushed me past my limits, leading to soreness and even painful injuries.

The Academy showed me movement in a whole new light. It’s not about pushing yourself as hard as you can, but about connecting with your body and moving with intention.

This doesn’t mean abandoning the challenge, but rather approaching it with a newfound awareness. Now, I can push myself in a downward-facing dog pose, for instance, but when I feel pain in my lower back, it’s no longer a reason to push harder. Instead, I recognize it as a cue to adjust my form, perhaps by engaging my core more or slightly bending my knees. These adjustments allow me to deepen the stretch in my hamstrings while protecting my lower back.

Imagine teaching this pose and instead of barking orders to “reach your heels down” or “straighten your legs,” I can guide students to feel the stretch in their own hamstrings or back, to find their own “Ahhh, that feels good!” moment. That’s the power of mindful movement, a whole new experience for both the teacher and the student.

So, I send a huge high five to my fellow graduates: Anna Morales, Gilad Janklowicz, Regina Lumsden, Skyler Riela, and our Kumu Mālia! We’ve learned something transformative, and I can’t wait to see how we use mindfulness to create conscious movement across the world and at our very own Still & Moving Center.

P.S. The “go a little further” moments still happen, but now I know how to listen and adjust before things get ugly.

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This post is also available in: English (英語)