Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Big Body Bang

I've been interested in approaching the body and movement from other than a musculo-skeletal perspective. This is not done that often in our paradigms of exercise and physical therapy. I think I've mentioned Philip Beach's Muscles and Meridians in which he describes a whole-organism approach to manipulating shape in his manual therapy and acupuncture practices. He has a really beautiful passage explaining that to reduce "core support" to the transversus abdominus muscle is a useless oversimplification, and that you can't exclude the role of the pumping mechanisms of the fluids and the actions of the viscera (basically the subject of Stanley Keleman's Emotional Anatomy). This is just an example of applying a more holistic approach to the body.

So last night lying in bed I had an interesting body experience related to all of this. I was not even sitting in meditation, but thinking about it. Sometimes I imagine what I would be saying to my yoga class if I had one to teach right now. Having a class to talk to or a reason to start speaking about my experience in movement tends to change and enhance the experience for me. As images start sprouting, my body changes and I feel much more alive. It's fun. One sensation that often arises is that of spaciousness, heaviness, and fullness in sitting. Some yoga teachers talk about really settling into your seat and being in your spot. Maybe as your attention comes to where you are, you feel more full because more of you (your energy, your attention, your mind) is there.

I took this a little further in my mind. I was imagining my attention as little acupuncture needles, seeing what happened as I sent it to different places. This caused me to really consider the quality of my mind and my attention as I focused it on my body. I considered my attention as energy meeting and affecting the parts of my physical body it touched. I was really interested in parts of myself meeting. I was thinking about the image of an explosion, or the big bang or something. For something to ignite, at least two things have to meet. I was imagining the meeting of my physical stuff -- tissues, energy, etc -- with my mind energy and attention and thoughts as being as reactive and important as an explosion somewhere in the universe. What I ultimately felt was that if I could wait, in my mind, and only let my attention "touch" my body when it was with a spirit of total awe for the...awesomeness (?) of what it was meeting, then the energy or the feeling was super alive and I was moved by how explosive this could be. I felt a shimmering and humming when I met myself this way. It was fun to consider trying to be totally awed by both my mind and my body and let them meet in this spirit and feel the change. Hard to explain, but try it! Can you feel an intimacy when the different parts of yourself meet with excitement? And this reminded me of Charlotte Selver and Sensory Awareness in which she instructs not to "reproach yourself in any way." That's sort of what I was playing with. Also reminded me of Eric Franklin and his work with positive imagery for health and posture. I was playing with how to actually do this for myself.