“Pay attention to the timeless core of your being.” ~Deepak Chopra
What is the core? Is it muscles, bones, or nerves? Or maybe some type of spirit or essence? And more importantly, how do you pay attention to it? These are complex and difficult questions. Rather than ponder esoteric questions, let’s just make sense of the core and how to use it. A useful metaphor is to think of the core as a symphony. To perform this work, we need instruments (the skeletal system), musicians (muscles) and a conductor (the nervous system). It is the conductor’s job to organize the musicians to play the proper instruments and notes at the appropriate times. To do this, she needs to be aware of the intention of composition, the musicians in her orchestra and the dynamics of the environment (the acoustics of the hall). If they all work together, there will be beautiful music. Human movement also requires a conductor (nervous system) to organize the musicians (muscles) to play the instruments (move the bones) in an environment. When these systems work in harmony, one’s actions become graceful and effective. To improve, the conductor or nervous system needs to know what is happening and how it may be improved. This takes awareness. Awareness is a skill that may be learned and refined. The Feldenkrais Method® uses movement as a tool to train awareness. By performing and answering questions about specific movement sequences, one learns how to pay attention and learn what they can do. Let’s see how this works with the classic 6-12 Pelvic Clock lesson. Begin by walking and thinking about these questions. How does walking feel? Is it easy or difficult? Does it feel good or stiff? Does one side move differently than the other? What moves the most? What does not move? What role does the core and pelvis play in walking? It’s okay to be unsure of the answers? In time, you may find them. Lie on your back, bend your knees and stand your feet. Notice how much space there is between your lower back and the floor. Also, notice what parts of the back of your pelvis rest on the floor. Slowly and gently tilt your pelvis backwards. How does your pelvis change contact with the floor? What parts move away from the floor and what parts move toward the floor? Does your lower back move towards or away from the floor? Rest a little. Continue tilting your pelvis backwards. When do you breathe in and when do you breathe out? Is it easier to breathe out when you tilt your pelvis backwards or when you return to the starting position? Take a rest. Now tilt your pelvis a little forward. Is it easier to tilt your pelvis forward or backward? How is this movement different for your pelvis and low back? Is it easier to breathe in or out when you tilt your pelvis forward? Rest. Now combine the backward and forward tilting of your pelvis. Make the movement the same distance from the center for both. Are you able to do both directions slowly and smoothly? If not, you may make the movement smaller and slower. Notice when you feel your lower back move towards and away from the floor. How far up do you feel the movement going? Your low back, chest or maybe even head? When you are ready, gently roll to your side and sit for a moment or two. Take your time moving into a standing position. Settle into a comfortable stance and notice how you feel. Maybe taller, lighter, or more connected? Or possibly something else. Walk around and notice what may be different. Did your core learn something new to power your pelvis and make walking easier? Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® lessons help us connect and learn about ourselves. Each class is an opportunity to move, answer questions and discover what makes you, you. Bring your pelvis (and the rest of you) to a class and make some beautiful music with the rest of your life. Visit us here at www.s3nse.org.