Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

ECMMA: Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

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Movement Matters

After many years of making music with children, Eve Kodiak, M.M., became interested in the brain/body processes that underlie the learning process. As an Educational Kinesiologist, she now works with people of all ages, using music and developmental movement to create positive change. Eve can be found in her office at The Lydian Center for Innovative Medicine in Cambridge, MA, or at home in New Hampshire, writing and recording. Her CD/book sets include Rappin' on the Reflexes and Feelin' Free, which combine developmental movements with songs, raps, and narrations with music. Eve also performs and records as an improvising classical pianist. More information and articles on music and developmental movement may be found at www.evekodiak.com.

 
 
 
 

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily promote official policy of ECMMA.

A Short Story About the Moro Reflex and My Dog

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It was going to be a hot day, so we started our walk early in the morning. There was no one else parked at the trailhead. My little dog ran happily up the trail in front of me, sniffing, poking, checking out the sensory landscape in the way he loves the best.

I find that taking a walk in a peaceful, calm environment is an excellent barometer of my inner peace and calm, because I know that any turbulence I feel is being generated from within. This morning, I noticed that my mind was re-running a problem that had nothing to do with the here and now. And my chest was tight.

Since no one was around, I felt comfortable doing a little reflex integration. The tight chest was Moro, I knew – classic fight or flight. One of the best ways to release a “stuck” reflex is go through its range of movement in a conscious way. So I took a Moro breath – a big gasp in, with my hands flying up beside my ears.

At the first sound, my dog stopped. He turned around. At my second Moro breath, his tail went down and he tucked his bottom under. At the third, he skulked around behind me and refused to walk any farther.

I stopped my Moro exercises. I called his name, encouragingly. “Come!” He did come – but stayed behind me, stopping every thirty feet or so. Each time, I’d call and he would come – but with that worried look.

So I finally sat down on a rock, and poured some water into my hand. He came and drank it. He perked up - licking my hand, swallowing the water seemed to “reset” his barometer of normality. He bounded on ahead of me on the trail. I let go of my reflex exercises, and just walked.

On the way back, just before we got to the trailhead, I involuntarily let out a sigh. My dog stopped again. He skulked behind me and followed me slowly back to the car.

My professional life is focused around people. I do not know that much about dogs – I just have one. So dog behavior, pack etiquette, and so on is something about which I can only surmise.

But it is interesting to me that the Moro seems to be an alarm signal that a dog understands. And that it is a signal that prompts a particular behavior seems specifically linked  - since a repetition of the signal many minutes later stimulates the same behavior.

It makes me wonder how often we are unconsciously signaling those around us with this reflexive language of movement and breath and facial expression – and, by the same token, how often others unconsciously pick up on our signals. How many interactions between two people are transmitted in this kind of universal language we are not even aware that we are “speaking”? How many of our “rational” decisions are actually made unconsciously, before our minds form a single word? How often, when we “use our words,” are we merely rationalizing the survival strategies that have already been dictated to us by the oldest parts of our brains?

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