By Deena Douara
“The approach of Motion Reflexion is about finding your comfort; recognizing the geometry of our body, symmetry, logic of form and finding harmony in our movement.”
It’s a bit easier to understand what Anne Sophie Roy means when you see her in action. In smooth movements evocative of Tai Chi, Roy waves her arms from a low angled position to a raised diagonal in one fell swoop.
The purpose of this move and others is to allow participants to self-heal – to realign the body and ease tension points that accumulate. She is careful not to call it therapy though, saying it’s too limiting, and instead refers to wellness.
“Therapy is about revisiting the past. Wellness is all about the moment, embracing the spirit and making positive happen.”
Roy grew up in Montreal with both classical piano and ballet in her life – two passions that culminated in multi-disciplinary studies at Concordia University on the interrelatedness of music and dance. While spending years in the creative field – composing, freelancing, creating music for the Toronto District School Board and working in advertising – she mulled over her idea of creating a wellness program based on music and dance.
Her first experience of Japanese Butoh dance while in university was transformational. “It’s moving to energy. It’s so advanced, it might be stillness. It’s like kinetic sculpture.”
And then while pregnant, her doctor, a great believer in both music and Roy, encouraged her to build something of her own with her expertise.
After years of thinking about it, she formalized her approach and termed it Motion Reflexion. She first started with a pilot program with physiotherapists at what was then Riverdale Hospital, and then worked with staff at Toronto East General Hospital.
Later she worked with a Greek community group (her ex-husband is Greek), which has grown from five participants in those first days five years ago, to 40 today. The participants, many of who are recovering from surgery, have told her the sessions were very important to them. She recalls a special moment when one elderly woman exclaimed proudly that she could jump again.
“They are just loving it.”
Just because her practice focuses on stress-reduction, it doesn’t mean her life has been stress-free. She explains that her life as an artist, raising two children on her own, has been challenging, and often financially so.
“I work with conviction, facing against the wind … and sometimes there’s resistance. But you work with your heart and that’s the only way to work, with your heart.”
Roy has high praise for the support she received from Enterprise Toronto in getting the business fundamentals in place to run her practice. She worked with one of their small business advisors to fine tune her business plan before presenting it to a bank, and also attended networking sessions.
She gave me great ideas,” says Roy of the advisor. “I felt very encouraged. She tapped into my originality… It’s more than encouragement.”
With her website newly launched, Roy intends to focus on corporate stress management and senior wellness, and while she currently performs on-site, she intends to train a number of instructors in Motion Reflexion. Opening a studio is next on the plan.