Continuum Movement uses sensation, breath, sound, and movement for both subtle and dynamic explorations of your body. The goal is to help you become more sensitive to your inner world and explore your capacity to participate in your health and well being,
The starting premise of this somatic practice, developed by Emilie Conrad-Da'oud, is that you are movement rather than movement being something that you do.
My experience in the two weekend workshops I took (one with Emilie; one with her student Susan Harper) is that the practice is about exploring all the ways your body can move. The focus is on the "micromovements"—movements so small that you feel them but they are almost imperceptible to anyone watching.
What's the value? More body awareness. Better and easier movement and balance. There's evidence, through work Emilie did with people with paralysis, that Continuum creates new neural pathways.
In Engaging the Movement of Life: Exploring Health and Embodiment Through Osteopathy and Continuum, Bonnie Gintis, DO, an osteopath and Continuum teacher, explains Continuum movement is a practice "based on a philosophy, a deep respect and trust in our self-correcting capability, a way of considering and appreciating life, and a milieu for growth, development, creativity, and healing."
As an exploration based on intrinsic felt movements, not on prescribed exercise routines, Continuum's "teachings remind us of our capacity for change, healing, creativity, and innovation through movement, sound, and breath."
Continuum practice may range from engaging in breathing, meditation, and small, barely perceptible micro-movements, to large wave-like motions and sometimes aerobic activity using exercise props and equipment. "It's not technique that defines Continuum; it is the spirit and context in which it is done." (p.19)
"Continuum teaches us to access an expanded perceptual awareness that enables us to recognize and respond to internal cues. We can use this wisdom to guide many aspects of our lives, especially the facilitation of our own healing process." (p. 45)
Continuum considers movement and expression of fluidity to be at the foundation of life. The practice empowers you to engage your own fluidity and stimulate movement of the body's fluids along with movement of the body as a fluid container. (p. 79)
"Many of the movements of continuum are water-like, inspired by fluidity. multitude of motions: waves, flows, drips, suspensions, gushes, drifts, and spiralling vortices. Mimicking the movements of water creates a greater fluid resonance and experience of the qualities you wish to emulate." (p. 83)
"The practice cultivates an appreciation for intrinsic rhythms and micromovements throughout the body." (p. 107)
All movement begins with breath. The movement or inhibition of breath maintains fixations, patterns of compensation, family history, trauma, and emotional stress. Variations in breathing patterns create many different internal sensations, movements, and responses to enhance healing, mobility, and personal growth.
Sound is audible breath. You can engage each system of the body using a specific frequency of sound, releasing areas of stagnation and stress. Combining sound with movement magnifies the effects.
Continuum has a full range of non-patterned movements designed to enhance the undulating spirals and circular motion of the body's fluid system. Movement may be dynamic and full-bodied or subtle micromovements. Undulating wave motion moves through the tissues of the body and opens up sensitivity.
Sensation and Pleasure
In Continuum, you use sensation as a guide to awaken your body’s mysteries and your nurturing life force. You let go of "doing" and listen carefully to your internal environment.
Emilie was a professional dancer from New York City who moved to Haiti in the late 1950s to study primitive dance. She became the choreographer and leader of a Haitian folklore dance company.
Melding with the indigenous culture, she began to question the essence of how our movements relate to our culture versus our biology. She began developing Continuum Movement in the early 1960s as a way to teach a new view of movement and continued its development until her death in 2014. Her book is Life on Land: The Story of Continuum.
Her students carry on her work. Find more information at the Continuum website.