During our rainy drive north to Sharon, CT to take a Kinesoma class and meet Sandrine Harris, the founder of the program, we realize that neither of us really have any idea what we’re about to do! We haven’t had time to do our research, but we do know there will be elements of movement and dance. So, we arrive with open minds and our usual sense of adventure (and humor)!
Sandrine welcomes us into her studio named Kokoro, “a nest for learning, well-being, and creativity.” The space is bright, airy, and narrow, and very nicely feng shuied. We’re very happy to be in this nest and out of the pouring rain. We meet a couple of the other students, then settle down on our mats, awaiting further instruction.
Sandrine guides us through a luxuriously long stretch, something we never ever seem to give ourselves time to do. Our bodies are already thanking us. After a while, the soundtrack changes; as do our movements. We do tantrum legs (not its official name) L/R, stomp, stomp on the floor, L/R legs lift up, up. I can hear Lora muttering “I can’t remember”..but it’s ok because that’s about as coordinated as we need to get.
The next “phase” gives us space to use our bodies, our “animal bodies,” and we play with stretching this way and that way, and it feels really good! We’re all smiling. Sandrine tells us not to be too precious with our movement and those are just the words we need to hear…
The final stage of Kinesoma involved movement from one side of the room to the other, sometimes individually, sometimes in twos (Lora and I split up because we can be oh so silly together). There was a spot of Bollywood, some salsa, some ballet, lots of interpretive, but mostly all of us letting down our guard and moving, laughing…and sweating!
“KINESOMA℠ sparks curiosity, restores ease, cultivates a spacious mind of awareness and invites both movement, and inner stillness.” Yup, we can vouch for all of those things. We left feeling happier and lighter…plus, the rain had finally stopped.
Sandrine is a Movement Educator, Feldenkrais Practitioner, Mindfulness Facilitator, a dancer, and has an impressive resume. Among other amazing accolades, these are a few that stand out to us!
She teaches workshops at the Copper Beech Institute, CT. Has taught at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Has given private KINESOMASM classes for members PILOBOLUS. She has even toured with an internationally-acclaimed Japanese pop sensation, Dreams Come True. “Providing hands-on Feldenkrais & Movement work to members of the band, including the two founding members, Miwa & Masa.”
Sandrine, tell us about this gorgeous space we’re in, your studio….
Kokoro is my space centered in the heart of Sharon, CT. It’s a mind-body refuge offering diverse practices and events for our community. Kokoro offers hands-on private sessions, weekly classes, specialized workshops, and community events. I opened Kokoro on April 1st, 2016, to give my practice a home in the place where I live.
We just did it, and it was awesome! Tell us about KINESOMA…
KINESOMA is about slowing down, tuning in, listening to ourselves more deeply, and becoming more flexible — both in our bodies and in our minds. I created KINESOMA out of a desire to bring together practices I found to be restorative, based on healthy movement, bringing in lots of awareness, learning, and pleasure! I started teaching movement in 1994, and have taught since then, so the development of this approach has many years behind it, in the form of my own on-going studies with teachers in several different modalities, teaching in diverse populations, and learning from all of my students along the way.
[Notice Lora going the wrong direction. Typical.]
What do you hope people will gain from Kinesoma?
I am interested in facilitating an orientation, an unfolding and personal process of learning, awareness, and embodied practice. With self-care at its heart, KINESOMA is about rediscovering the joy of mindful movement, with awareness, choice, and compassionate observation. It is a way to come to understand and shift our habits and patterns on many levels, for more joy and less discomfort. KINESOMA works with all of the layers of who we are.
Define mindfulness…why is it important for us to learn?
Mindfulness is a beautiful way to tune in and pay attention to the present moment. It is about the here and now of allowing our experience to unfold, and paying attention to our mind. It is a powerful and accessible way to shift out of the “busy” and the “doing” and into the “being” and “becoming.” We all experience stress, physical pain, and other challenges, and mindful practice is a way to transform our experience of life’s difficulties. We can’t always stop the hard stuff from coming (life is an ebb and flow), but we can shift how we handle these things, and how we can also appreciate life with a greater consciousness around gratitude, connection, self-care, and joy!
What’s the most rewarding thing about your business and what you do?
Kokoro is the local home for my practice, and I am grateful for this peaceful space to share with our community. Adults of all ages and backgrounds come to Kokoro, including athletes, doctors, people facing the challenges of terminal illness, and so many others. I am honored for every person who walks through the door to share an experience in embodied practice together. There is truly something for everyone at Kokoro.
You won a “What Moves You” grant from FABLETICS, Kate Hudson’s brand, to create 12 workshops. How was that experience?? And we love your posts on her site, by the way!
Thanks! In December 2014, I was awarded a “What Moves You.” With this generous grant, I offered 12 themed, mind-body workshops in 2015 (in Lakeville, CT), which were open to all, and bringing in the best of the tools I enjoy sharing with others. Some of the themes included: dance and rhythm for adults with live musical accompaniment; relieving neck and shoulder tension through movement; and learning about how to take care of your spine. I also had the honor of being a guest blogger on the Fabletics blog during 2015.
You teach KINESOMA workshops around the world – so great!
Yes! I offer KINESOMA workshops all over the world. Recently in Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, the UK, and throughout the US. I also teach at retreats and corporate workshops.
Tell us more about your dance background…
I grew up training in classical ballet at what is now the Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts. At 17, I moved to NYC to train in the Joffrey Ballet Trainee Program on a full scholarship and enjoyed a professional career in contemporary dance into my thirties. I traveled all over the world, lived in Europe for several years, and got an undergrad degree in Art History and Philosophy. Along the way, a deep interest sparked in me about the mind-body connection, and the relationship between our psychological and emotional selves, and our movement and body habits.
In 2006, I began a long and intensive journey in meditation, guided by several different approaches and teachers in NYC, who helped me uncover what I was really after, the deepest connection between movement and the mind. During that time, I also became a Certified Health Counselor and also did a 4-year training in the Feldenkrais Method. After this, I continued to study, next getting certified to facilitate mindfulness experiences in schools and also for adults, along with launching my private practice in Feldenkrais.
Kokoro is the home of KINESOMA℠
16 West Main Street
Sharon, CT 06069
Pics: Lora (except photo of Sandrine, courtesy of Sandrine)/Words: Bev