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How do you find length, balance, support, enjoyment and ease in your spine? The goals are often clear, but the ‘how do I get there?’ isn’t always easy to find. If your spine feels tense, or restricted it’s often easy to spend the whole time feeling tight and saying “I have so much tension”, and “my back hurts”… “I really have to get rid of my back pain someday…” 

How do you create a positive change in your body and step into appreciating the beauty of the spine. How can we work with our spine to give it the space it needs to be supportive, strong and flexible? 

By embodying the change you want to be! It’s quite simple, and yet not always easy to change… but by finding the images that start to break up old habits and patterns and starting to re-wire the nervous system into a new, more efficient way of being, we start to feel a whole new spine- instantly!

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I love feeling my discs sloshing! This is not a simple image to embody first up. You may want to start just imagining your spine being flowing like a cat’s tail, or fluid like the tail of a kite while you move. Once you have more insight into the design and structure of the spine, then you can quite quickly embody imagery that works with the joints and discs. (The discs are between the vertebrae.)

Last week, we looked at the discs, and how the move inside the spine as we move the body. Are they balanced? Are they able to slosh, and nourish the joints? As you go inside and start to observe, the transformation that happens is instant and joyful. Just writing this is making my spine very happy! Now I have to get up and move it :-)

Today in the Franklin Method class at DNA we began to look at the pelvis and embodying the movements of the bones. Did you that there are 3 bones in the pelvis? 2 illiums and one sacrum. This simple information can dramatically change the way that you move and feel connect to your body, feel your stability, foundations and movement. As we looked at the bones and started to get a clearer picture of the dynamic movement between these bones, everyone immediately felt the changes in their body with more ease of motion, strength and flexibility. Having a clear image of what a joint is doing inside the body, and how it moves is fundimental when it comes to noticing if the movement is balanced and easeful-and being able to improve movement. If you have no idea what going on, then you have no base from which to improve.

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The feeling of moving with greater ease and flow is not always second nature especially if we have to taught that ‘working hard’ and ‘effort’ go together to acheive the desired outcome. As we start to experience that the simplicity of working with the body, rather than against it brings so much more fulfillment and joy in movement and the ability to be present in the body. Why fight the perfect design of the body? Embody that design and flow with movement and life.

Have you experiened your joints as smooth, gliding, mobile interactions between the different parts of your body? When you do, it’s probably one of the most liberating, exciting experiences that you can have. It’s a shame that many people do not, and will not ever experience this. We are not generally given the skills to be able to feel such a liberation. It’s a bit like life- it’s much easier to keep ourselves restricted with resistance.

So how do I feel such a thing? Is it really that great!? I would have to say “yes it is that great!” and you will only know that from your own experience.

To embody the flow of the joints requires some time, concentration and committment, but with the right guidance, it really is simple.

Since the class last week, I have been taking time to embody the joint between by skull and spine, and also the muscles that are responsible for the free movement of this joint. I have never felt my head so free in all my life. It’s like it’s gliding on an airhockey table with no resistance. It has transformed my piroettes- at least to one side. It interesting to watch how it so easily slips back into it’s old pattern of tension… but it’s changing quickly!

Come and find your own embodiment of gliding joints… there’s no going back!

Starting June 1st, Laura will be teaching Franklin Method classes at Dance New Amsterdam in NYC. Classes will be every Monday from 12-1.30pm, and will focus on how the Franklin Method applies to dance technique and training. You will have the opportunity to learn Eric’s theraband series as well as take a step into a different area of the body, and by embodying the function, take leaps forward in improving your alignment, strength, flexibility, ease and joy of dance.

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When: Mondays 12pm-1.30pm

Where: Dance New Amsterdam, 280 Broadway (enter at 53 Chambers Street), New York, NY 10007 http://www.dnadance.org 

Watching the deep valley of the scapular be ‘cleaned out’ with the red scarf, immediately creates a change in my shoulders! Witnessing the depth and softness in an area that is often tight and rigid, creates new possibilities for the freedom and ease and an instant change. 

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[Picture from year 2, week 2 Franklin Method Teacher Training]

If you place your fingers on the top of your shoulders, find your scapular (if you know where it is) and see if you can picture a deep valley full of softness. In this photo you can see Eric is demonstrating literally ‘flossing’ the depths of the scapular with the silky red scarf. This image is not easy to embody straight away, and does take some time… so get yourself to an ‘intro to shoulders’ workshop and this will start you on the road to releasing tension in your shoulders.

Maybe just reading this will allow you to feel some release in that area. Take a couple of minutes to see if you can imagine your shoulders being ‘flossed’ with the soft scarf. Use your hands to guide the softness sinking into the tops of your shoulders… then take a moment to notice if there is any difference between the two sides. What do you feel?

My red scarf just turned into a flowing stream running across my shoulders… wash out all the dirt and tightness. Brand new shoulders :-)

How many times a day do you walk up stairs? If you live in New york City and take the subway, your answer will probably be a lot! It is such a different experience when you use some imagery to support this, what can be a tiresome effort. A few simple images and embodiments can transform it into an enjoyable ascension.

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This pic was taken at the BodyMind expo in CA where we were all practicing bouncing on the femur heads to transform this simple activity into a complex magnificent dance of rhythms and spirals and support systems. Who would think that there is so much to see and feel in this simple motion that we all do every day. 

I was captivated with walking yesterday after really feeling and seeing the beauty of the double helixes that flow up the spine. As the pelvic halves do a figure eight, and the sacrum is counter spiraling, it creates this mesmerizing pattern that is like tapping into such a deep place of connection. The double helix is the basis of life…. Feeling this power and life force inside your own body is (in my opinion) one of the most amazing things to do! It’s well worth practicing your imagery skills to get there!

Eric Franklin was on form today teaching a spine workshop at the Body Mind Expo in Santa Clara. I am taking 3 days of his workshops, and it always amazes me how many times you can hear and do this work, and still find more discoveries, connections, understanding and embodying.

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It ‘s amazing to observe the shifts in people’s perspective and paradigms as they experience the Franklin Method for the first time. It challenges in a way that is so elegant and supportive that it shakes things up without being invasive. When you experience something in your body, you cannot argue with that. The answers are all inside of us, and accessing that true wisdom for greater ease and dynamism is incredible. 

Changing your mind. Changing your beliefs, changing your movement. 

The one thing that is certain in this world is change. For movement, things need to change. So, nothing is static. To let go of holdings- physical, emotional and mental takes courage and commitment and a little trust. That’s where the magic happens!

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Sitting hunched over the computer is probably one of the most stressful things we can do to our body and posture. Usually, we are slouched, shoulders slumped which compresses the chest and restricts the breathing and heart. It also is particularly stressful for the spine and means we are not getting the proper circulation to the brain and parts of the body. No wonder we usually feel depleted and uncomfortable after a day of that! 

I have decided that I am going to stand more frequently when I am on my computer. I can be more aware of my posture, and actually stay in my body rather than ‘vacating’ and getting stuck in my head. My breath is easier and more flowing which means I can actually stay alive and work at the same time! 

For extra excitement I stand on my green Franklin balls! This means I can’t just slouch and loose focus. I’m going to keep it up, and see what happens.. I’ll let you know!

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Sacrum Support

 

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Take a moment to connect with your sacrum. Do you know where your sacrum is? Is has a big job to do. I has to support your entire spine, head, brain, pelvis… it’s the keystone, and if it’s ‘out of balance’- the rest of you will be too. It’s incredible what imagery will do for your sacrum, and spine. 

I am guessing you are sitting at your computer… so place your hand on the base of your spine- right as it turns into your tail bone. There is a big upside down triangular shaped bone there- this is your sacrum. Give it a rub for a minute, and then see if you can close your eyes and see if you can imagine this triangle under your hand. Does it feel supportive? Is it even or tilted? Does it feel strong enough to hold up your spine!? Can you imagine the base of support ? Is it boyant? Supportive?

From BodyTalk we know that one of the consciousnesses of the sacrum is support- which makes sense. Have you ever wondered the connection between feeling the support from your spine, and the support in your life? Has there ever been a time when you feel unsupported by life, and your spine feels weak?

Tell your sacrum that it is doing a  great job in supporting you, and it will be happy to do it’s job far more efficiently! Try it. And of course, get some BodyTalk to release the underlying resistances to feeling support, and get yourself to a Franklin Method class to have a clearer picure of your sacrum, and how it is designed to do an efficient job!

If you are sitting efficiently, then you will be bending at your hip joints, and your sacrum will be released, and not curled underneath you. How is your sacrum today? :-)

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I love using this soft toy to help me feel the fluid movement in my sternum. I think he’s a moose, but he’s made of soft material, and he has thick elastic inside of him! He’s strong, but flexible- and that’s a great feeling for my sternum. 

If you can imagine- that your sternum is fluid, and mobile. As you bend to the side, or forward to backwards, your sternum flexes and stretches like elastic or chewing gum. This really creates lift and ease in the sternum, and frees up not only the movement in the upper body, but everywhere.

I had the pleasure of teaching two Intro to Imagery classes in Santa Fe last week. Both were received with great enthusiasm. The expansive space created an amazing atmosphere that helped us all to really feel and experience the changes.

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I always love teaching these classes as it gives me an opportunity to do Franklin Method myself, and also to see the transformations that happen with people in such a short period of time. We looked at some basic movements of the pelvis, and experienced the difference between imaging it with supportive imagery, that allows the function to be embodied. Comparing that to no image or an image that was counter to how the body is designed is without a doubt convincing that “Yes!” it really does matter what images we have about our body.

One lady attended both classes, and said that she felt so good after the first class, that she had to come back to get some more. She expressed that her relationship to her body had totally changed and she was walking differently.

Another lady who had a pain in her foot for ages, said that it had gone after we did just a few feet exercises. It was wonderful!

Feeling my lungs wake up after feeling under the weather is such a gift. It feels like they are retouching their vibrancy and fluidity. As the clouds role past, the sun rises, and starts to fill them full of warm nurturing energy. Vibe them back to life!

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As I wash the dishes this morning, I watch the bubbles lather up, and the dishes get clean. I transfer what I see to my shoulders and imagine that as I clean, I am actually cleaning all the tension out of my shoulders. The water runs down my back, and takes with it all the grime and unwanted thoughts and emotions- leaving my shoulders blades gleaming and clean, the muscles free and bouncy and my neck released and elastic. Suddenly my breath is more free and easy, and I am ready for the day.

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Watching the snow settle on the trees today as I walk through the park. I imagine that the snow is settling, resting, softly on my shoulders- like a soft cloak of clouds. As I breathe it melts, and takes with it any tension that has accumulated there (from carrying heavy bags yesterday). As the sun shines down, I feel the muscles that lay over my scapulars sink, and soften, and breath as they release their tension and effort. You can be soft now. Thank you for all the hard work you have done.

It’s 8am, and it’s snowing outside. It looks amazing settling on the trees outside my NYC apartment.

I woke up this morning dreaming about Franklin Method. I was walking and walking and feeling all the bone ryhthms in my body all syncronizing together. My attension moved from my feet to my pelvis, up to my head and then down my spine, my clavicals and femurs… And then it all paints itself into one awesome picture. Oiling and dancing and awakening each part of me and then connecting it as one whole.

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It’s such an amazing feeling- I’m trying to find the words to describe it. Hmmm. It’s like…. Ok, try this: close your eyes and imagine someone cleaning you out- wringing out all the old cloggy, stuckness and bring in bright energy of possibilities, freedom and movement. Can you imagine that!? I guess that’s the best I can do to describe it this morning. Its hard to describe a feeling that doesn’t really have words. You have to experience it.

Dreaming about this flow… And I wake up feeling it in my body! I don’t even have to actually walk! And that’s good cos it’s snowing!

Where am I going? is a very good question, as is How do I get there? Two brilliant questions. They have become my close friends, and I am still learning what they even mean! If we don’t know where we’re going, then things become muddled and unclear and we end up kinda floating around.

If I don’t know an exercise in dance class, then my movement becomes disjointed and my body has got no one to lead it! It’s like all the players on the team are just running around in what ever direction they think is right, rather than having a united goal.

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Of course, this is the same for life, and in fact everything we do. Having a clear goal and then knowing the steps to get yourself there are imperative for flow and efficiency.

One thing I noticed in class today, was that if I let my thoughts distract me then they would lead me all over the shop and I wouldn’t know where I was going any more. It’s like having lots of fragmented ‘me’s that want to go in different directions, rather than one clear me. As I am recognizing that I am not those thoughts, but instead the observer of them, I can more quickly bring myself back to having one clear intension… but it’s not always easy to get out of your own way!

“Let go, and let those muscles slide”… as opposed to hold. That takes trust. It brings ease. It’s like being on your own team, rather than opposing it, and then trying to convince it that you’re right, and it’s wrong!

It makes it a lot easier to go somewhere when you’ve got a team (a brain, and a body) that agrees with itself.

Tap Tap

One of my favorite, most simple things to do when I need a wake up is to tap! I do a lot of tapping in my life! Each morning, or whenever my body needs waking up, before class or in the cold.

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Try it now- tap your body all over.

Up and down, all over your belly, legs, arms, head, face, back (you might have to get someone to help reach all those areas)…. as you tap, it wakes up your body, and all of your cells! It’s like saying “hello! are you awake in there!?” Wake up the muscles, the bones, the circulation…

(For more info please read: Inner Focus, Outer Strength by Eric Franklin.)

(This book is well worth reading right now!)

After you finish tapping, take a moment to notice how you feel. It’s amazing at the shift you will notice pretty much immediately. Why not try tapping everyday for a week, and let me know who you feel. :-)

I’m wondering what to do with myself. My shoulders are crunchie from carrying a heavy backpack. Here I am in this place and I don’t know why I’m here. So, standing at this event, I let go of the ‘why am I here? I’d rather be at home eating toast’ thoughts and I put my hand on my shoulder and begin to sponge.

As I wring out the tension from my shoulders and imagine the clear fresh water rushing in, my focus settles and the outside bustle and frustrations seem to dissolve. I love that I can take this amazing tool with me everywhere. I just have to remember to use it.

Transformed in just one moment with a squeeze and a thought.

Pulling my ears

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picture-3I’m sure you can tell from my picture!(!!??) that I had a lot of fun in ballet yesterday, pulling my ears :-) Confused? I was imaging my ears wheeling back and forth like the pelvic halves- that I have been imaging all of last week. This may sound a bit strange to you- but believe me, it’s really amazing. When you pull on your ears it affects the temporal bones, and the temporal bones are very connected to the pelvic halves. Again- this is not a simple image- but it’s a funny one to share. I’m sure you can imagine that I looked a bit funny marking the sequence- pulling my ears. You just wait, soon all dance classes will have everyone pulling their ears too!