2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Katharine Jones

Jefferson University
Finding Joy in Mindful Movement:  Returning to Walking, Running, Swimming, and Playing the Piano
Using autoethnography, I develop an understanding of the relationship between mind and body and the pleasures in stretching both, employing experiences where I re-learned how to move. These experiences were deeply affected by practicing mindful meditation and qi gong. Playing the piano after a gap of 35 years, now unable to read music or move the fingers of both hands simultaneously was similar to the experience of re-learning to walk, and then eventually run and swim, after major surgery involving large incisions on my stomach and chest. Learning to move again involved coordinating my legs, torso, and breath. This gave me pleasure in the smallest movement--joy in a single backstroke, or elation as my stomach contracted as I walked and then ran. Both teachers (of piano and meditation) encouraged me to focus on my mind as well as my body. Research on mindfulness suggests that the somatic concentration required by meditation may lead to enhanced levels of meta-cognition and improved regulation of pain, anxiety and depression. Inspired by Jayne Caudwell’s engagement with the social significance of movement and pleasure (2015), I draw on mindfulness to understand my new-found joy in and awareness of my body and its movement.