The Pulsation Principle

Anchoring attention to the bodily experience is the first and most fundamental element in practicing Voice in Motion Integration. The practice, combining voice and movement, work in a state of deep attentiveness to the body and its sensations, rebuilding the primal link between body and voice, and thus the potential for tuning in to creative flow and lively presence.

When practicing the Voice in Motion Integration, we use simple movement structures as a gateway to experiential space. We practice meditation based on cyclical motional structures expressing the Pulsation Principle. This practice accompanied by vocal work. Practitioners add their voice to the repeated motional structure so that the voice combined and carries the various qualities typifying the body’s ever-changing positions and sensations.

The Pulsation Principle

Pulsation is a universal phenomenon that appears, organizing the flow of vitality and life in nature in general and in living beings in particular.

“If we look at the human being as an organism among other organisms, to see what it shares with the rest of life, from amoebae to elephants, then we will almost certainly notice the role of pulsation” [Nick Totton – “Reichian Growth Work”]

“Sleeping and rising, lying and standing, resting and walking is the primordial pattern of our consciousness. It’s a rhythmic pattern. We correspond to the rising and setting sun, to day and night. We match the rhythms of changing days – full moons and crescent moons, spring tides and neap tides – with the rhythms we feel in our own bodies: with feeling excited and feeling tired, with waking and dreaming, with semen and menses, with living and dying”  [Stanley Keleman, “Your body speaks its mind”]

In the Voice in Motion Integration Method, the Pulsation Principle refers both to the individual’s world as well as to collective being, to the musical improvisation process, The Pulsation Principle organizes all experiential fields, and particularly the spectrum of bodily and mental experience expressed in each moment in the urge to expand or contract, rise or fall, push or relax, hasten or slow, increase volume or lower it, etc.

“When we begin to think in organic terms of expansion and contraction, pushing and emptying, perimeter and center, we tune in to a powerful frequency vitalizing all organic beings and carrying the human being as well”. [Ruth Alon, “Return to Natural Motion in the Feldenkrais Method”, p.168]

Pulsation in a sub-symbolic body language, unifies and carries a vast variety of bodily, mental, and spiritual qualities. In the language of pulsation, contraction and expansion have both a sensory-motoric dimension and a mental dimension, representing mental motions within complex contexts.

At the physiological level, pulsation expressed in cyclical motion of expansion/contraction, rising from the cellular level to the entire body. In the entire body, the pulsation motion finds its expression in coordinated changes in muscle tone, in the sphincters, the cardiovascular system, and the skeletal and muscular systems. Thus, the pulsation motion shapes posture at any given time, as well as the body’s arrangement vs. gravity, and the sensation of connection to the Earth. To deepen the connection with the pulsation’s physiological-motor aspect, practice of the “Voice in movement Integration” method explores the potential of the pulsation of the body as one unit, from head to toe, alongside practices focused on specific segments of the body such as the chest, pelvis, and nape, and even work on specific spinal vertebrae.

* For further details, see the “Basic Principles 2 – Motion Wave” chapter.

In the mental aspect, we recognize the emotional qualities that accompany change of body posture and note their effect on the interpersonal world: the relationship between interior and exterior. Contraction is a motion towards a center and to the borders of the self, both in its physical and mental meaning. Contraction expresses the need to pull in, to find a safe place inside, to renew the link with the self as a well-understood and separate unit. And the urge is to move from the center to the outside world: to express, give voice to, contact whatever lies beyond the borders of the self – for example, another person. Also, “take a place in the world” – to grow, to stand up, to flourish.

Pulsation as a principle uniting bodily and mental processes is a pivotal concept in bodily psychotherapy and its various approaches:

“For the Reichian tradition of body psychotherapy, the most basic function of potential energy is pulsation, or breath: a rhythmic motion of expansion and contraction between the center and periphery. This may find its expression in many ways, such as breathing, heartbeat, Craniosacral rhythm, orgasm, and certain forms of emotional expression”. [Nick Tuton, “Body-Focused Psychotherapy”]

“If this biological state of pulsating breath is blocked or disrupted at one direction or another, that is, if the reigning state is the function of expansion or contraction… Disruption of biological balance is almost inevitable.” [Wilhelm Reich, “The Function of the Orgasm”]

In its musical aspect, when vocal expression arises from a spectrum of bodily experience, its musicality is a direct expression of the mental processes encompassed in the bodily experience. The pulsating urge to expand or withdraw and the rhythm of pulsation may find their expression as urges to change the vocal tone or nuance, to hasten or slow down the dynamic, to hasten or slow down the rhythm of song, to build harmonic tension and to “solve” it – a continuum of creative urges forming spontaneous composition.

As noted above, the integration of voice in movement offers simple forms and structures of movement serving as a gateway for activating the urges of pulsation and by that renew the flow of the organic musicality impulses.

Smadar Emor

Smadar Emor

Dancer, choreographer, vocal artist, a writer and voice-movement therapist.

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