Last week here on the blog, Steph and Carla took a moment to talk about all of the class changes going on at Hustle and Flow. As I’ve been moving through the first part of my new year, a lot of big changes have been going on in my life outside of my practice at the studio. This has lead me to some serious reflection on the nature of major life shifts and how to deal with them.

Change is often paired with the idea of movement. The winds of change, a flowing stream, change is movement, in a way. Unanticipated changes can often feel jarring. Our world and our circumstances shift and we are expected to rise to meet challenges that accompany the changes. And it’s not always easy.

I think it’s pretty normal to get scared, angry and disappointed with life when it unfolds in a way that we did not expect. And it’s easy to feel defeated when we are not able to instantly master our new circumstances. We feel as if we’ve failed, as if we cannot possibly do what is needed to be happy and succeed once a big change comes our way. But how we respond to change is in fact how we shape our new lives and how we preserve the legacy of our old lives.

There’s this moment in Batman Begins (movie geek here, what, I can’t have layers?) in which Bruce Wayne’s childhood friend Rachel – played by Katie Holmes – says to him, “It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.”

It’s funny to take meaning from a comic book movie when thinking about how to weather huge life changes, but I actually love this quote. I love it because change often forces us to face who we are on the inside. We must examine our needs, desires and goals. We might have to ask difficult questions: what made me comfortable about where I was before? What scares me about what is happening right now? Am I strong enough to get through this?

But without action, the answers to these questions and our inner motivations mean nothing in the real world. It is through action, through movement, that we manifest the inner into a tangible expression of our core beliefs.

If our goal after losing a job is to work for ourselves, we must take specific actions to become a person who works for herself. If we don’t take action, we will still be a person who works for others. If our goal after losing someone we love is to ensure that people we care about know that we love them, we have to use our voice and our actions to show our intent.

Furthermore, it is through this action that we can make sense of our past and create an archival version of our life that is useful, that has good information.

For instance, our partner might break up with us out of the blue. We didn’t see it coming. Or perhaps we suddenly get fired from a job. There is always feedback to hear, but the action is in taking the time to hear it, to examine it and to understand more about ourselves from what we now know.

Then we can move forward in a way that aligns with our inner truth.

In our movement practices, whether we enjoy dance, yoga, aerobics, kung fu… any kind of movement, we take on the quality of action with our body that we wish to have in our hearts and minds. Staying fluid, responsive to changes in rhythm and beat, these qualities mirror how our minds can best approach change when it comes. Stuck thoughts have a chance to break free, and those moments of epiphany and understanding can come more naturally.

Creating or giving yourself over to your movement practice lets you move in a beautiful, private and safe space in which you can train yourself to flow – or power through, depending on your personal style – these daunting life changes.

January is a great time to try a new method of movement, particularly after the holidays when we are busy enough to often have to put our practices on hold. There are no real rules to movement at Hustle and Flow aside from coming as you are and enjoying your practice. But change is always afoot, and you might notice that the class schedule has changed slightly from last year, with the most notable change being that Buti classes have switched to Yang Bang™ classes.

Try something new! Check out the schedule here.