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…Read More
Finding the sensation of healthy support from his feet made a lovely difference in Eric’s life. In the accompanying video this musician/songwriter shows how his musical expression changes depending on how he lives in his feet.
Your body can move around in the world without your being fully present in it. You may have good body awareness in general but lack presence in specific parts or areas of your body. In the video, Eric speaks about “finding his cuboid.” He’s referring to finding awareness in a specific region of the foot that activates better organization of the entire lower extremity. For more about foot organization, see Know Your Feet, my online workshop.Read More
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…Read More
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…Read More
Can you see knot at the nexus of my left shoulder and neck? It’s never been especially troublesome, but it has been a long time companion. Off and on I’m moved to investigate the tension, and my “shoulder journal” has grown to near novella length. What follows is a recent entry. If I compare the feeling of my left arm with my right, the left one seems shrunken, shorter…Read More
For some time I’ve wanted to share an alternate version of an exercise in Lesson 7 of Heal Your Posture, my DVD workshop. The exercise on the DVD is similar to the yoga “cat stretch” but with added special imagery. The image is that each vertebra has its own vector, its own potential direction of movement. For the flexion part of the exercise (the cat), the spinal vectors aim each vertebra into the space behind the body. Envisioning each vertebra to have its own trajectory and attempting to move them one by one helps decompress the spine…Read More
Below is a video I made for one of my Skype coaching clients. She’s a petite woman who is learning to play the sitar, a difficult and awkward instrument to tune as well as to play. I've been helping her with her sitting position, and with pain in her left shoulder that had become severe enough for her to seek medical help. The exercise I shared in this video has helped her exchange upper shoulder tension for secure support that links her shoulders to her mid-back. The video also includes a brief review of abdominal support and pelvic inclination. Many musicians—most anyone who plays a stringed instrument—could benefit from this exploration. Not to mention non-musicians who simply have a habit of loading stress into the upper shoulder area…Read More
When you grasp a steering wheel (or anything else) tightly, you’ll feel tension generated from your hands up into your elbows, shoulders, neck and jaw. There are direct myofascial and neural connective trains between the hands and the head. Such muscle chain engagement delimits your steering movements, dulls your perception of the road, and contributes to your aching shoulders. Notice this woman’s eye and jaw tension as well as her too tightly gripping hands…Read More
I recently recommended to a Skype coaching client that he read pages 131-132 in The New Rules of Posture–pages that describe what I nicknamed “skintelligence”. One of this man’s goals was to improve his ballroom dancing. His partners had commented that they felt he was holding them rigidly, so I wanted to remind him of the surprising degree to which our tactile sense influences motor coordination. I knew that turning on his skin could help him turn off excess muscle tension…Read More
This video blog shows shares a way to relieve upper shoulder and neck tension by resting your arm over a ball. The one I used is a dryer ball, but I first learned this exercise with a tennis ball. Any small ball that fits comfortably into your armpit will work…Read More
I recently did a movement/posture coaching session with a woman who came to me complaining of pain in her shoulder. She pointed to the spot and said that all her stress “always goes right here.” Hmm, I thought…Read More
What’s the rule? A car length for every 10 mph? I don’t always follow that rule, but my friend drives way closer to the car ahead than I like. We’re in freeway traffic that is crowded but moving. Several times the brakes are necessary when our lane unexpectedly slows. I sense myself applying brakes of my own, griping my calf and digging my heel into the floorboard. I’m gripping a phantom steering wheel as well–my traps (upper shoulder muscles) clenched in an effort to gain control. My tongue presses back into my throat in a half-swallow. My mother was a nervous passenger, too…Read More
This time of year, as many of us step onto a holiday roller coaster, tension along the tops of our shoulders becomes almost epidemic. Necks ache, shoulders are tender and the holidays begin to promise more chores than cheer.
If you’re lucky enough to have someone in your household who gives good shoulder rubs, you know that a ten minute session under those hands can give you a new lease on life. What you may not have noticed is that when you stand up after the massage, your posture is better. Not only that, but it’s easier to breathe and your holiday to-do list looks less overwhelming…Read More
Since 2007, when The New Rules of Posture came out, I’ve had scores of requests for a video to assist readers in moving through the explorations and practices in the book. We all take in information through various channels, but when it comes to body learning, there’s no good substitute for the senses. Words, no matter how pictorial and evocative, have a hard time becoming flesh.After many months resisting the video project—I knew it would be a mountain–I finally jumped in. The first step was to find a videographer—an easy task, you might think, here in Hollywood-land. But I had a bite-sized budget and a yen for quality—two things that might be hard to match. Eventually I found Ian Campbell, who, I learned after I’d hired him, studied yoga at my friend Mike Nalick’s studio. (You’ll meet Mike in my DVD workshop.) This was the first of many good omens…Read More