Perceptual Tensegrity

(Excerpted from Your Body Mandala, Chapter 7.)

In Chapters Three and Four, you began experiencing the way your awareness of the space around your body affects your posture. Freedom to move through any trajectory from any point on or within your body results in an open and expanded bodily shape. Thus, awareness of the space around your body helps maintain the space within your body. I think of this as tensegrity of perception. It is as if your body is suspended and supported within an invisible network of potential vectors.

Expansive body use decompresses your joints and adjusts fascial tensions to engage all elements in your personal bio-tensegrity. Your body feels bigger, more open, and more vibrant. You take up more space on the outside and have more room on the inside.

When your entire body shares the shifting loads, everything participates in support of the whole, and nothing collapses or buckles. Your struts and elastic tissues are all equally involved in your coordination, which gives your movement an elegant flow. Your body’s tensegral expansion primes your fascia’s energy storage capacity so you can be ready to spring into action.6

Tensegral body attitude, by expanding the space within the torso, grants more living room to your organs, beneficially affecting all visceral functions, including circulation, respiration, and digestion. And, because expansive visceral space contributes to high vagal tone, it can positively affect both health and social connectedness. In other words, an open body attitude contributes to an open perspective on life.

When you are oriented spatially in three dimensions, that orientation helps support your body as a mobile bio-tensegrity. As a bio-tensegrity creature, you change shape organically, responding to what you feel within yourself and sense in the space around you. A sedentary lifestyle diminishes your perception of your surroundings. With reduced experience of inner and outer spatial expansion, your body assumes the compression model of structure. The downside of fascia is that immobility makes it fibrous and dense. Not only does immobility predispose your body to poor posture, stiff, awkward movement, and injury, it also reduces your capacity for expression. You live yourself into the shapes that you most often assume.

Lifestyle that includes the right kinds of movement keeps fascia healthy, resilient, and adaptable. Whole-body movement through many vectors in space, movement that is non-habitual, and in which you participate with active awareness—not on autopilot—engages your tensegrity. When you can be dually oriented to ground and space, your perceptual tensegrity facilitates your expression of tensegral movement.

© 2018 Mary Bond