The Dynamic Possibility of Movement Modalities
Kathryn welcomes her longtime student and movement teacher peer Chris Nguyen on the podcast. Together they chat about their parallel stories of discovering strength and mobility training, and how that has evolved their work in many remarkable ways.
Chris also shares touching details about how movement training has helped him build his confidence and move through a sense of shyness around his body and what he can do. This interview is the first of many personal narratives of how Mindful Strength has inspired and encouraged many people.
About Chris Nguyen
This is a very special interview, for many reasons. Chris Nguyen is a long-time movement explorer and practitioner – whose personal and professional growth echoes what others have experienced within the Mindful Strength community.
A few weeks ago, Kathryn put out a call to our members to hear their personal stories engaging with her work and strength training in general. She had already recorded this interview with Chris, and it was partly this conversation that inspired her to seek out other stories – after hearing how much his confidence, strength, capacity, and curiosity grew after taking a handstand workshop with Kathryn many, many years ago.
In this episode, Chris shares how when he was younger, he felt quite shy in his body and felt uncomfortable in gym class spaces. It’s remarkable, and somewhat saddening, how common that experience is for people; the gym class space feels safe for some yet for many others it can be the site of bullying, judging gazes, and embarrassing moments (with little support of encouragement to navigate through it!). Trying to find his way and connect to his body, Chris discovered yoga asana at his local YMCA, which set him on a path to deepen his relationship to “feeling good” in his body.
The confidence and capacity that emerged from this practice energized his curiosity to explore and integrate other modalities into his practice. Part of that was piqued by taking a workshop with Kathryn and learning that strength training skills (and gymnastics training) would fill in many gaps, as well as help him feel “connected in certain areas of my body I couldn’t in yoga classes…”.
From there, Chris studied Pilates, gymnastics, many iterations of strength drills, and a variety of mobility-based practices. All the while maintaining a dedicated and committed practice to his yoga asana – which in many ways became his practice space to innovate + integrate all the many modalities he was learning.
Kathryn reflects this dedication to Chris, and he shares that a large driver has been a commitment to practices that help him feel good. Sometimes these modalities or specific programs are very challenging – and they don’t feel good at the moment. For example, holding a handstand for 2 minutes and building up the capacity to do that feels really tough. But in the end, while these exercises feel “exceptionally challenging”, they feed an overarching state shift towards feeling “I am strong. I can do this. I am confident”. Suddenly there is less fear around doing something, how it looks, or what might happen to you.
Chris’ journey is an inspirational example of what happens when you start to follow your own intuition and passion with movement; what can happen when you train strength and open your practice to new, innovative ways of thinking.
If you’re curious to learn more about him, check out the links below. And keep submitting your own stories! We will keep featuring them and, like Chris, encouraging others to take those leaps, explore and experiment.