Saying “NO” So You Can Say “YES” thru Experiential Movement


You might hear the old adage about the power of NO everyday. Maybe memes show up in your Facebook feed, maybe someone is coaching you to say “no,” maybe you’re forced to say “no” when you finally get physically sick. The idea is to be able to say “no” before we have to fight to say it. We need to practice saying “no” before we say no by ghosting or fleeing a situation. Like the image says above, we need to know how to say “no” even to the good things so we can taste more of the delicious things in life.

The great news — there is actually a socially engaged way to say “no,” a way our body, our nervous system, can be grounded, intentional, engaged and perhaps even playful in our “no.”  It’s difficult to understand or grasp this idea as a reality when perhaps we’ve been conditioned to be people-pleasers, pretending to like the mushy green proverbial peas when we were babes who really wanted the pureed peaches.  We were taught that turning the head is wrong, that the peas would be pushed upon us anyway, that saying no doesn’t get us connection.  So we abide, we lean into the the superficial connection, and we swallow things or allow things (sometimes done to our body) that do not serve us. The appealing peaches become blurry in the background, out of our grasp and reach.

We can practice the art of presence and re-patterning our nervous system to say “no” through experiential movement practices. We can practice “no” by:

  • using our breath in intentional ways
  • adding various yoga-inspired twists and other “no” organic movements into our practice
  • incorporating mudras and mantras that focus on releasing

When we begin these movements and shapes and practices, we might feel stiff.  The neck might resist a full range of motion. Our jaw might clamp down. Our breath might shorten. Maybe our hips are too tight to allow our lower half to get grounded enough for a fuller “no” movement. So we work from the ground-up. We hug in.  We work to get grounded, to get rooted in order to have the capacity and integrity of alignment to be fuller in our expansion, truth, and ability to say “no” so we can say “yes” to other things that fill us up more. Like those summer peaches we are truly hungry for.

You might be wondering — “but what if I don’t know what I really want?” “What if I keep saying yes because I don’t know better?” Discovering those deeper hungers is a practice too, something your body can let you know. Stay tuned for the next post!


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