It is as easy to forget ourselves as it is easy to wake up.
Here are a progression of work to wake up our shoulders hips and spine and bring about greater freedom and health in movement and in thought.
Let your breath lead the movement in both tempo and depth.
- Start standing with your legs under your hips. Ease your knees and ankles and move one hip forward and one back and reverse it. Move one hip up and the other down and reverse it. Now combine the movements so the center of your hips where the spine rests, stays in place and your hips form following circles in place. Make sure you are moving your hips instead of pushing the ground with your feet.
- Stand and raise one shoulder up as you relax the other one down and reverse it. Move one shoulder forward and the other back and reverse it. Now combine the two into two circles moving one after the other and note the change in tension in the muscles that wrap the spine and in the neck.
- Have a partner press their hands or fists at the sides of your spine where your ribs meet. Release tension in your spinal muscles to move with the pressure and once arched, arch back and push the contact back with the rounding of your back. Repeat at various location on your spine and have fun with direction and location.
- Turn to face your partner and repeat the work with the fists on the bottom ribs center and then at free play.
- Walk freely and have your partner try to wrap their arms around your neck. Move from the shoulder, then hip, then spine to avoid being entangles but maintain the contact and return the favor. Make sure you see all around you instead of focusing outside of yourself.
- Stand a step away from each other and push each others legs with yours. Move to maintain contact but avoid increasing tension by relaxing the opposing hip to the contacted leg and ease the movement into a few steps to avoid getting stuck into a pinball state of mind.
- Walk with your partner behind you. Turn to them at will and have them push you continuously with all limbs while moving toward you and through where you are. Allow their every move by relaxing your frame as we have done so far but stay in contact and blend into their movement.
We are told to relax all the time. That usually does the opposite as we try to relax and create even more tension and disharmony within.
Let’s play with tension instead of making it the enemy and learn to move it to our side.
- Start standing and tense a part of your body. It can be your neck or any limb of a part of the torso. Now start moving between laying down and getting up continuously while maintaining this tension so you learn to move with and around it instead of fighting a part of yourself.
- Hold your partners hand or hold a rope between you. Start pulling the other first with your arm as you sit down and get up together. Add your back to the work and only then add your legs to the whole. Learn to choose your tension in transit.
- Start laying down and tense your entire body. Have a partner turn you over and work you like a mannequin into different positions while tense. This will help a lot in understanding how tension affects our sense of body and position and how to be comfortable by letting go of excess.
Enjoy the process. It is all we have.
Freedom is very tangible. You feel it, you see it, you know it. It is also one of the easiest qualities to loose by pursuing a moment of it which already lies in the past.
Here are three methods to preserve ourselves from pursuing freedom and thus attaining it.
- The invisible touch – Touch hands or feet with a partner and have them push and pull and twist on you. Maintain the contact but allow no force to travel through it by moving your body, limbs and maintaining relaxed eyes. Continue up the limbs to the hips and shoulders with this work and then go body on body until you are free to move within any movement. To further work this understanding of self, tense your body in different ways and learn to move within your tension.
- The invisible frame – Start three paces from each other and have one advance on the other. Work to maintain the appearance of your frame for the partner by moving your mass, your tension and parts of you to allow them to sink into your frame without any substance in it. Slowly close the distance from three paces to one and engage each other at the same time. Remember your eyes hold both your and your partners frames and alignment. Do not stick to a plan but let the situation blossom with your participation.
- The invisible blade – lie down on your back and breath continuously. Let the feeling of this never-ending movement spread through your body and limbs. Close your eyes and have a partner press first the flat of a blade to your body. Feel the pressure and and press back with your entire body. Cover the entire body with this work and continue to the end of the handle repeating the work on a point surface. Continue to placing the blade on the body and breathing where the breath does not increase the tension against the blade. Continue to placing the tip of the blade on the body and breathing where the breath does not increase the tension against the blade. Continue to lightly pressing the blade to the body and moving with the contact and then with the tip of the blade. Continue to cover the work so far with your eyes closed, standing against a wall and then finally open your eyes and repeat the touch and frame work with the blade and finally with several partners and blades.
I do not believe in wasting space. Not with excess movement or words. Some things are always worth saying though. Those are of kindness and of honesty. Be honest and kind in your practice. Both may preserve you and your spirit onward.
Here is a life chalange. Simple but with long term affect.
Every day – Learn one thing – It can be a movement, a word, how to fix a machine and how to take a better photograph. Just learn at least one thing every day.
Every week – Teach one thing – Teach your child how to save for his future, teach a stranger how to read a map, teach a co-worker how to resolve a computer problem.
This is a very simple chalange. It is a solo jurney but also a building of connections and abliities beyond the self. It is not life changing in a month but a change of focus inward and outward.
your before and after pictures will be much better this way. 🙂
Many back pain issue are a result of harmful movement patterns. We can always move towards health and well being with a little bit of consistency and awareness.
Here are movements to do before you get out of bed and before you close your eyes. They will pay forward with greater health and mobility in little time.
- The twister – Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms to the sides. Inhale and slide one leg under the other toward the opposite side arm and the leg above in the opposite direction. Allow your spine to naturally twist and squeeze the tension out. Exhale and release the twist naturally. Repeat as you exchange leg direction twenty times to each direction.
- The switch – Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms to the sides. Inhale and lift one leg from the hip toward the opposite side hand and once you reach it or as much as you can, Exhale and let it drop back down on its own. Repeat twenty times to each direction and then repeat the movement laying on your stomach.
- The baby – Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms overhead. Inhale and bring both knees up. Turn your hips to the side and turn to rest on your knees and as you Exhale, release back to laying down on your back. Repeat ten times to each side.
Nothing fancy is needed to maintain good health and thrive.
The humanist movement is named so as it puts the person in the center of all things. I agree with them on this particular choice. You matter most.
Divide the choice into three smaller choices and find what is right for you right now:
- Find the right teacher for you.
It does not have to be a guy or a girl or with a special T shirt and an accent. Find someone that creates a good connection with you and teaches you to progress on your path instead of mimicking them and their ways.
Hint: If you don’t notice changes after a while, you are not learning.
- Find the right branch of Russian martial art for you.
Some focus on hitting, some focus on continuous movement and some on inner faith or culture. Find what focus you want right now and follow your bliss.
- Find what you need right now.
Go beyond what you want on the surface. Look inside and ask your close ones where you are lacking. Find the teacher who gives you access to undo your knots and mend tears in your whole.
A few more ideas to find and start in the Russian martial art:
- Make everything into breath work – it is not easy in the beginning and you don’t have to do it all the time, but at least once a day, focus on your breath in some way and it will pay forward in a long way. Waking the bridge between automatic and non-automatic functions inside us is the key to self-governess.
- Make sure you are healthy – Many young athletes can damage their health with enthusiasm and turning a blind eye. Older people do it with their egos and other silly stuff. Make sure your mind, heart and body are getting healthier and avoid focusing on getting from A to B. The journey is the goal.
- Gather a full suit of armour –Work on your ground movement, work on your walking and transitioning, work on your eyes, work on tension. Avoid focusing and drowning in one thing. You are buidling a full suit.
- Focus on the basics – Sure, Some skills are more showy than others but the basics cover it all by definition. Work on simple things each time and only once the soil has been watered, go for the more elaborate stuff. It will pay off.
- Ask questions – Why are you doing push ups ? Why are you grappling on the ground ? Why are you holding your breath ? The moment you start asking questions, you continue to grow. Understanding why will nurish your desire to progress instead of grind and you will learn things about movement, yourself and others that will not be answered any other way.
- Be honest – If you hit well in class when a person stand docile next to you, it does not necessarily work the same in a real fight. Rolling on matts or a guy called matt is not like sliding down the stairs on a frozen wet spot with your son in your arms. Be honest with your abilities and with your fears and pride and remember that the way you choose to see the world, is yours and yours alone. The world does not play along all the time.
- Have fun – If it is not fun or rewarding in some way, Change what you do or change by questions and thinking how you look at it. Otherwise there is no point unless your job demands it and even then, even laying in mud and crap can be fun with the right state of mind. You may already have it 🙂
We walk, we talk and we move about each day without notice of our breath. We can release inner stores of ability with a tiny elevation and a bit of consistancy.
Do this once a day, every day and your life and practice will elevate exponentially:
- Walking is now a breath practice – once a day as you walk perform a breathe piramid. This means you inhale for one step and exhale for one and then inhale for two steps and exhale for two steps extending your breath longer and once you reach that days top, you lower the count down in the same way.
- Excercise is now a breath practice – As you do push ups for example – let the inhale or exhale start the movement and guide the pace naturally. Play with the count per breath. (Example: ihnale and do one push up, exhale and do one push up and hold your breath and do one more. Now, do tow push ups for each breath phase and so on)
- Speaking in now breath practice – once a day as you speak, pay attention to your body inhaling and exhaling as you speak and pay attention to the tension in your chest, shoulders and abdomen as you speak to better connect with your breath. This may be subtle at first but will be extremely valuable in gaining self awareness to emotion and thoughts that run through us.
- Diving is now breath practice – Even holding your breath can be a great breath awareness practice (drinking, diving, going through a corridor with smokers or a public bathroom :)). Mind how your prepare your body breathing before the hold and recover afterwards. Note your pressure and pulse change as you extend your breath hold and many things will release inside.
A few minutes each day will sink into your natural base of awareness and release more natural abilities without taking anything away from your consious mind.
Releasing fear response play
Through play you get to know others truly but also you get to meet yourself. Here are ways to play with the fear response and move with and beyond it.
- Stand on one leg and close your eyes. Breathe continuously and have a partner push and shove you in any place and direction. As you are touched, focus on continuing your breathing regularly and relaxing your structure to the ground and back up to the starting position. Repeat until you are free in movement. Play with tension in your body to further understand how your body manifests your will and where you are blind to your tension and natural way of locomotion.
- Stand on both legs and have a partner walk around you and push and shove you as in the first drill. Move your hips, shoulders and spine to avoid getting moved from your place and if you are moved beyond balance, simply keep relaxing and go to the ground.
- Stand on one leg and have your partner push and shove you and as you are touched, relax the other leg down and move in place to avoid being controlled by the contact.
- Stand on one leg and have your partner push and shove you. As you are touched, relax your hips and and your leg on the ground and move on your foot either forward, backwards or to the sides. Keep breathing and let your eyes see what your body is facing and keep letting your alignment shift dynamically.
- Stand on one leg and close your eyes. Have your partner push and shove you first lightly and then with greater force and speed. Let your body move with the contact and let it release the imbalance without trying to balance. Let yourself go to the ground if need be and slowly you will regain your ability to just move without trying to maintain a position or alignment.
- Stand on both legs and have your partner push and shove you. Move in the opposite direction of the contact by relaxing a part of your body that feels free during the contact (hint: not where you are touched) and keep moving.
- Walk in a straight line and have your partners push and shove you. Work to keep your direction generally by moving in the holes your partners are leaving you and release your eyes from focusing on the heading all the time.
- Sit and have a partner hold you at the waist and another partner push and pull on you with their legs. Breathe and move within the hold and find how your body can stay mobile while in place.
- Repeat the eighth drill standing up.
- Repeat the ninth drill while being dragged from point A to B.
- Stand and close your eyes. Have a partner grab you and push and pull on you as you relax to the ground and back up with the notion of moving through their space on the way. This means you gather the contact instead of trying to avoid them.
- Stand and have a partner use their limbs to strike you slowly. Keep in place and avoid the pressure of the contact as you make light contact with the moving limbs. Make sure you see the empty space as well as the moving limbs.
- sit and close your eyes. Have your partner push and shove you with their legs as you work to keep breathing and moving with the contact as the previous drill.
- Repeat all drills while maintaining tension in a part of the body where your partner recognizes tension or lack of awareness.
- Repeat all drills with breath restriction. Breathe a slow exhale and work as much as you can, Inhale continuously and work as much as you can, Hold your breath and work as much as possible.