The end of the session has in the group training a special place. This is when we deliberately take the time to slow down and relax.
What we have been doing lately is simple. In the last 5-10 min of the session, we split into groups of 3 or 2. One person of the group goes into a standing position and can close his or her eyes. This person has a rather passive role. His or her arms are then moved by the partner(s), with the active role, who can then give some pressure, stretch, bring the shoulder to different positions, shake and let go, stretch the fingers, and so on (For me being the person in the middle is, I imagine, very similar to how a t-shirt feels inside a washing machine!).
We usually do around 2-3min per person, but you can for sure work longer on this.
This last moment of allowing someone else to move your arms has at least 2 interesting aspects.
First, it gives immediate feedback about whether you are able to let go of tension. The tactile feedback, that is, the touch of someone else, can support relaxation by making you aware of what tension feels like. Being educated on your own level of tension and relaxation, especially around the shoulders, is very powerful.
The second aspect is trust.
Trust is something that as a trainer you can deliberately work on, depending on the choices you make. Learning to trust is something that happens not beyond but throughout our practice.
I see this last moment as a way of really testing the trust we have been developing. For some students, such a close exercise will surely be more challenging, and that is not bad and by no means a reason to skip this.
As a trainer, it is just as important to learn how to trust the sensitivity of the group and the capacity of each student to take responsibility for how they feel, what they need, and to communicate this.
Mariana Hilgert 09.08.2021