Blog posts about: PERCEPTION
Within your oral cavity, you now have both descent (your mandible resting down) and ascent the subtle lift of your tongue. Notice what that does for the sensations at the juncture of your head and neck.
This exploration is one I share with nearly every one of my private clients. Awareness of the space around our bodies is uplifting. It emancipates joints, making movement freer, as I hope you’ll be able to feel for yourself..
When there’s a problem in the knee, there are probably imbalances in the feet. My friend had no complaints about her feet, but when I watched her move I could see that, especially on the side of her knee surgery, she wasn’t using the full articulation of her foot.
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.
When I'm relaxed, I can cherish the lushness within my pelvis. But numbed by the sensory contradictions of contemporary life, I must make an effort to seek that deep energetic center.
It is my great good fortune for this to be my second interview with Mary Bond (the first can be found here) Mary has an MA in Dance from UCLA, and studied with, and was certified by, Dr. Ida Rolf, the originator of Rolfing Structural Integration. Mary is currently Chair of the Movement Faculty of The Rolf Institute® of Structural Integration in Boulder, CO. She also teaches workshops online and in person tailored to the movement needs and interests of various groups such as runners, dancers, Pilates and yoga instructors, and massage therapists. Mary is also a prolific writer whose articles have appeared in numerous magazines and she has written several books. You may know her best for her book The New Rules of Posture, and in today’s conversation we’re talking about her forthcoming book: Your Body Mandala: Posture, Perception, and Presence. And her mission, which, much to my delight, is to contribute to humanity’s deeper embodiment. —Brooke Thomas, Liberated Body
Unlike cats and dogs, humans tend to stifle this natural urge. In polite company such movement expression is considered rude.
Going outside felt like walking into an oven or like being punctured by thousands of hot little needles, one in every skin pore.
I began to be curious about how that deep front line of the leg might affect or be affected by the deep line within my torso. What was my psoas muscle up to?
I don't think the earth feels equally solid to everyone, or even equally solid to anyone from one moment to the next. In this moment, I only seem to be relaxing. In fact I'm in a state of procrastination and my to-do list looms in the air about three feet away.
After explaining these phenomena to my client, I suggested she notice any sense of diminished movement on the affected side. To become more aware of the space around her body she could imagine a sphere—something like a snow globe—and standing within it, notice differences her sense of the qualities of the space on each side.
Trash day offers me 61 opportunities to lengthen my anococcygeal ligament, one for every step.
For those of us who are rising, pink-hatted and furious, to the occasion(s), I caution against leaving our bones behind.
I also know that moving stiffly--ambulating with the bare minimum of joints engaged--becomes a habit that can’t entirely be blamed on my bodily tissues. Habits take place in the brain. The more often I move stiffly, the more familiar and less optional that way of moving becomes. I can choose how I move.
When we resist doing a task, part of the body is holding back. Instead of all your muscle units working together to finish the chore, a high percentage of them rebel and pull the opposite way. It’s like driving the car with the brakes on. The chore feels heavy, pressured and hurried.
We dipped into pelvic dance, the ancient feminine communion originally meant to prepare women for pregnancy and childbirth. We explored the possibility of dancing from our ovaries, from our cervices. If we could dance that way, could we not also walk that way? But where and when, in current culture, would that feel safe?
Toes love having something to do--they love feeling and pushing off from the ground. Happy, useful toes impart lift to your body as they impel your heart forward into the world.
Contemporary living undervalues body awareness and overrides it most of the time. But could it be that listening to our interior body signals has an evolutionary advantage? If so, we undervalue this capacity to our detriment. We need to practice activating it.
When you’re feeling self-confident and assertive, there’s an automatic uplift to your chest, spine and neck—your posture automatically organizes itself for the better. But no one feels terrific all the time, right? By teaching yourself the physical sensations that correspond to a good mood, you can use your body-mind connectivity to good advantage. Body awareness helps you cultivate positive outlooks in humdrum situations…
As a Rolfing® practitioner, I've observed that tension in the elbows affects the whole body. Habitual flexion there, however slight, pulls the upper arm forward in its socket, starting a chain reaction that pulls the shoulder blades forward, and the collarbones and chest down, and the neck forward. Elbow tension often corresponds with flexion in the spine just behind the diaphragm, and that interferes with fullness of breath. The postural end result feels, and certainly looks, nothing like the upper crust ladies of Downton…
Since I’m not prolific—one every 10 years is all I can manage—it was easy to forget how stressful writing a book can be. I’m organizing the new book in a non-linear way, so I keep reviewing and revising–I want to hold it all in my mind and not repeat myself. This takes time and patience. Despite my efforts to stay present with the process, I experience surges of fear that I’ll never see the last page…
If our hunter-gatherer forebears wore simple hide foot coverings or, depending on the weather, went barefoot, wouldn’t shoes that are barely there be good for us too?
Well, not necessarily, because “we’ve paved paradise and put in a parking lot.” We walk on flat, smooth, unyielding surfaces, whereas our forebears walked on grass, dirt, sand and gravel…
Looking at computer screens creates a habit of narrowed vision. This use of the eyes draws the neck forward, stiffening it, and interfering with overall body balance. Mary Bond, author of “The New Rules of Posture,” suggests this exploration to heighten body awareness and improve alignment. Cultivate Two Way Vision: Stand comfortably. Now focus your eyes tightly on an object in front you…
Thanks to a reader of The New Rules, for inciting me to write again about breathing. It’s a HUGE topic, so this post is a distillation. Here’s my reader’s query: Here in Germany, singers, yogis, and tai chi practitioners are hotly debating the possibility of two types of people with different body organization. The focus lies on differences in breathing: exhalers and inhalers. In my understanding, their spatial organization corresponds to what you call earth-orienting and space-orienting, respectively. In everyday breathing…
I’ve been browsing through a wonderful new book about myofascial efficiency in movement. Born to Walk, by my friend, James Earls, delves into the minutia of joint mechanics and into how they are supported by the soft tissue layers. The book is exhaustively researched and elegantly illustrated. Earls considers the helical motions of the feet and pelvis, legs and spine, and for my money, gets it about as right as right can be. Body workers and somatic educators will do well to study this fine volume…
That may not be true for everyone, but for sure, foot problems stop you in your tracks. As a Rolfer® and movement coach, I’ve seen too many miserable feet and the problems they’ve transmitted to the bodies above. So I’m motivated to share anything I come across that might help my readers care for their own precious gravity negotiators. Feet, with their 26 bones and 33 joints and countless soft tissue springs and pulleys, are perfectly designed to negotiate uneven surfaces. When they don’t get to do that—when they’re constantly shod and subjected to flat, hard surfaces…
In my teaching, writing and manual therapy, I try to help people experience how bodily wholeness contributes to the health of mind and spirit as well as body. Two recent encounters have reminded me that “wholeness” is relative, and that no matter how integrated, coordinated, aligned and aware our bodies become, the health of the human spirit is vaster and more mysterious than mere physical perfection. My friend George has been in the online dating game for a long time…
My intent for the workshop is to empower you through information and experiences to understand how your feet are meant to support and transport you. The content includes:
• demonstrations and explorations to FEEL how your feet should work
• relevant but simple anatomy to understand the complexity and magic of the foot
• the relationship between your feet and your body as a whole
• what it means to feel and receive support
• self-help exercises to improve faulty foot habits
Vince Vaughn hasn’t signed up for online coaching with me, but if he does, I’ll be ready! This actor is frequently cast as an unconscious oaf who goes through a humanizing rite of passage. He’s good at it, and his fine serious talent shines through all the silliness. The other day I rented “Delivery Man.” Because Vaughn is in nearly every scene of this movie, it became impossible for me to ignore the way he moves. One could assume his lumbering gait is due to his 6’5” height, or is part of his characterization. But I think his gait is an artifact of a spine that, lacking normal curvatures, doesn’t properly rotate…
I was lying in a backbend, supported by a chair. It had been beastly hot in Los Angeles, and Karin, my yoga teacher, had given our class a number of supported asanas to cool us down. But I was resisting: I had let my yoga practice lapse for a number of months and hadn’t been in that upside down position for a while. My throat felt taut. Trying to find the source of my discomfort, I zeroed in on my tongue. Sure enough, loosening it helped me settle into the posture. But Hyoglossal_musclewhy did my shoulders release so dramatically, just from softening my tongue? The image that came to mind was anatomical…