In confrontations there is no balance between the streams. There will only be a balance within the theater the confrontation takes place in.
In physical confrontations, we will gain balance once we are mindful to the internal streams of tension and movement within. Knowing the internal theater of war lets the one in conflict see with less distortion both inward and outward.
Our hips are a marvel of engineering. Crafted over eons for the perfect balance between stability mobility, efficiency and effectiveness.
I give you two drills to balance your hip nervous system activation patterns. They are simple on the outside but the multitude of possibilities make them a rich research ground.
Place yourself on both feet and hands. Make your body into an X with your feet and arms slightly parted. Use your breath to time each movement and lift each limb in turn minding to keep the body centered. There may be a slight shift before each lift that with attention will clean out as awareness grows.
Repeat the same standing up. Lift each leg in turn. Think of peeling the sole off the ground instead of lifting it like a robot. Move as if all limbs act in union and enjoy the new found balance and health this releases.
In a confrontation or when walking on a slippery surface, this will aid in maintaining and regaining your level and allow for less telegraphing motion when in maneuver.
The hips are the center of the body.
Moving them well contributes to all other movements and connects them in an enhancing chain of small and greater movements.
- Place yourself in the pushup position and rotate your hips while in this in one side and then the next. Note your preference and always start the movement with the breath.
- Place yourself on one fist/hand and turn your body sideways to the ground. Repeat the hip rotation and release your eyes as well as you breathe and move. Do this for both sides.
- Place yourself on both fists/hands with your chest to the stars and repeat the rotation both ways. Consider how movement under slight pressure helps us learn to move all things as one.
- Place yourself on one fist/hand and opposing side foot – repeat the hip rotation and work to let the movement balance you, rather than tension and bracing the movement chain. Water does not break, ice does.
- Place yourself on fist/hand and the same side side foot – repeat the hip rotation and focus on breathing excess tension out.
- Do a handstand with a partner or with your legs on a tree trunk and rotate your hips. Focus on the reversed blood flow and let the mass sync itself in balancing out movement and activation.
- Hold yourself on a tree branch or a pull up bar and rotate your hips. Let the body unwind and let it smile.
We are sick and injured from time to time and it is a hidden gift in reminding us of our mortality and we learn to move with and around those areas and come out of the tunnel even stronger and in better neural and mental shape.
The cement mixer: torso
Sit on your behind and have your legs together and your back straight in the air. Use your breath as tempo and rotate your legs in the air in small circles in one direction and then in the other. It may help to do circles with your arms as well.
The doorway into heaven: shoulders
Stand in front of a stout door-frame. Place your palms on the inside of the frame and do a standing push up as you press the arms outward.
Repeat the push up with the back of the palms and then with the sides of the hands and alter the angle to fit the tension needed.
Rope ladder: Legs and arms
Hold a looped rope in one hand straight overhead and place the bottom of the loop to hold the middle of the sole of the opposite leg. Press the leg downward as the arm and shoulder deliver resistance and reverse it on the way up. Keep your spine and head neutral to keep the work where you want it to be.
The exorcist: spine, back and leg tension balance
Lie on your back with your behind almost touching a wall and your legs straight but not locked resting on the wall. Inhale and roll your shoulders out as you raise your hips up and push your heels against the wall into a bridge that is wall supported. You can do this two legged or one leg at a time and even roll from this to your stomach. Keep your head from pressing to the ground and let your spine and hips decompress.
1 Do walks on toes and ball of feet.
2 Do hill sprints.
3 Lose mass you don’t need.
4 Start the jump on an exhale when possible (inhale as you bend and exhale when you spring up).
5 Swing your arms toward the target (forward or up for example).
6 Do a prep light jump to load the “spring” in the legs.
7 Aim in your mind beyond the target.
8 Work on springing to a straight hip spine relation by jumping from sitting on your shins to a squat.
9 Jump rope on one leg at a time and use a heavy rope like a climbing rope.
10 Work on strengthening your toes for the jump especially the big toe by pulling and pushing on a blanket on the ground with just your toes.
And give it time 🙂
A visual aid to print:
For Emily 🙂
Our bodies were not meant for the position they are in during many working and resting hours. We are built to walk, run, squat and lie down but sitting for prolonged periods harms the dynamic structure of tension and strength throughout.
Here are four static holds that require no gear to undo this damage and help us naturally align the body upright.
- The wall triangle – Stand a step or a bit more away from a wall and form a triangle with the ground and the wall. Keep your body straight with the contact points with the ground are your heels and the contact point with the wall are your hands on the back of the head.
- The parallel – Place your elbows on your rib cage and place your fists or hands on the ground. Keep the body parallel to the ground and look forward and a bit up.
- The hip opener – Stand on one leg and open both hips so the toes point away from each other on the same line or aiming toward that. Raise your knee and place your palm on the outside of it and as you inhale, press further out to open the hip and alignment further.
- The crucifix press – Lean lightly on the wall or between two tree/columns and place your legs together and your arms to the sides as the name suggests. Inhale as it is a contraction and press your arms straight back to rise from the parallel and create a healthy tension alignment in the back and shoulders
Do these daily and they will help relieve the causes of your back pain and remember to avoid moving vehicles 🙂
Here are three mobility movements for the shoulders, spine and hips. All involve moving two patterns of movement together to create human movement. We are more than one tool playing in the dark.
- Shoulder mobility comes to release held tension and fixation in the shoulder and upper spine.
- Spine mobility comes to release rigidity of movement and release new patterns of movement in the spine to avoid injury and facilitate energy transmission over the spine in intake and outtake.
- 3. Hip mobility comes to release fixation in the hips and to allow the body to channel movement to and from the ground.
1+1 = more than two sometimes.
Here is a progression of games to play. They come to bring to light the virtue of continuity and as a quality to change your encounters from collisions to freedom within the meelee.
- Have a partner place a fist or foot on you. Tense and then relax your frame to achieve two goals. First to let go of the vector the contact is leaning toward and second to drape yourself withing the contact movement. This means you allow your shape to move without stopping withing the shape your contact has at the moment.
- Have a partner place a fist or foot on you. Relax toward them without moving them and drape your body over them with this in mind. Start each try with either shoulder or hip so you create an array of momentary solutions to each contact and build your inner constelation of awareness. From awareness you can make a key for the door instead of trying to break down the door.
- Have a partner push you continously as you move with them and maintain as much contact as you can with them. Make sure your eyes are relaxed from fixating on the horizon and allow your spine to move without forcing it to keep a line.
- Have a partner engage and push and pull on you as you walk from A to B. Relax on the move so your partner cannot distract you from your heading. Increase the contact to body pushes and holds as you move and relax your spine to keep moving without bracing against the push pull contact.
- Have your partner hold you by some way (neck, arm, eyelashes or belt ). Avoid getting out of the hold and instead use it to relax your body so you bring both of you to the ground. Do not go limp. Do not stop looking and play dead. Move continously and sink instead of using your wight as an excuse to not do the work.
Relaxing means : moving without excess tension. It does not mean you get to expect going limp will do the work for you. Try it out.
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.
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.