Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Therapeutic Teacher Training Ah-ha's

Are you Married to Your Breath?

This is a good one. Watch yourself move, watch yourself breathe, watch yourself breathe and move. Can you move counter to what you have trained yourself? Can you exhale when you open your chest and inhale on contraction? Sounds backwards I know. And it feels backwards too but the point is....Are you married to your breath and/or your movement patterns?

A couple of examples...

1. We were practicing Marching Abs (bent knee leg lifts) with an engaged core. I noticed that I could not lift a leg until I had taken a deep inhale and a full exhale (to relax? to prepare? for what purpose?). Only then could I engage my core with purpose and lift a leg. I was stuck in a breath and movement pattern. I had practiced this pattern so many times that it almost became a superstition: inhale-exhale-relax-engage core-lift leg. I couldn't lift my leg without the first 4 steps happening in exactly that way. Now, after practicing this I am starting to be able to engage my core and lift my leg without the first 3 steps. But I still want to revert to my pattern. Curious.

2. Another woman was not stuck so much in a breath pattern as a movement pattern but the example is still relevant. We were practicing finding a twist solely from our torsos by moving from the spine first. We were laying on one side with bent knees, top arm raises to point at the sky and then you try to twist open, bringing the heart center towards the sky without leading with the arm and without letting the top knee slide off the bottom knee. Her issue was that she couldn't lift her arm to the sky without twisting at the same time. Normally she can move her arm, but in this particular exercise she became so stuck that she couldn't lift her arm at all without her habitual movement pattern. Someone helped her lift her arm skyward a few times, she developed a new pattern and was able to move her arm without twisting. Interesting.

I invite you to watch yourselves. Watch your breath, watch your movement, watch your breath and your movement together. Notice your habits, experiment, play, and have fun with this.



Anonymous said...

Yes, I find I need to inhale when I lift my leg in marching abs. It does relax my grippings. Mmmmmm....

Kristin said...

Most curious. I find I start out one way, then about 1/2 way through I've switched. Happens every time.

That "restorative vinyasa" sequence I've mentioned a few times does exactly what you mentioned - exhaling to open, inhaling to close. It does seem counter-intuitive at first, but I find it rather fun because I feel like I'm being a rebel. :)