Just call me a body nerd

Dancing in SF Carnivale 2018

I crossed some boundary in minimalist footwear yesterday. I clambered over Bernal hill in my flimsy sandals, whilst purposefully stepping on rocks to massage the stiffness out of my overtaxed dancer feet. Back when foot reflexology was in fad, I remember reading advice to hike barefoot. The rocks and gravel were supposed to stimulate key meridians. I thought this was nuts, but now, I’m not far behind the trend. My feet felt fantastic this morning, and body nicely tuned up for dancing. Obviously, the Body Nerd meridian was stimulated

Noticing that my Central Nervous System (CNS) finally stopped throttling my movement range. For months, hip pain and low level depression stiffened every part of me. I couldn’t get low in plies or high in jumps. I thought my age was catching up to me. But the brake is off. Elasticity is back.

Picking up my handstand play a year after elbow injury. If I include a tiny pelvic pendulum as I kick up into handstand I have much better balance and control. The pelvic pendulum is the figure eight motion the hips make in gait. My hips felt free to adjust to the balance vs locked and rigid, as they do when I, on purpose or due to stress, employ the more common handstand cue to, “Squeeze the butt.”

Yes, injury and pain is somewhat a theme in this post. As I dance, I am in constant conversation with my body. I use the Alexander Technique, and everything else I know to keep learning and moving.

Self Trust and the Gut

Elyse Shafarman

Been observing the effects of emotional anxiety on my digestive system. Guts tangling like snakes. High fear alert system from my body and difficulty distinguishing what is present time threat, and what is historical. Current commitment is to trust the sensations of my body, with the caveat that the interpretation of the meaning of these sensations may not be accurate. In other words, yes, my nervous system is accurately reading danger, but the meaning of this is nuanced in a way that my gut level thinking can’t access.

It’s the same issue when we work with movement. How do we recalibrate a nervous system highly attuned to the threat of pain? Yes, you will get accurate readings that something is wrong, but the most skillful response is not necessarily to arm yourself with muscular tension and get defensive in your behaviors. It’s essential that we heed our body sensations, but sometimes, they are calling us to pause for reflection versus jump to reaction. If we can re-establish a baseline of safety, our responses and our movement become freer.

In both circumstances, getting to a truth of how things are, even if very difficult, is less anxiety provoking then anxious speculation. Then, a reliable predictive model for how optimal movement occurs, or a narrative process of self-reflection and reframing, can provide a pathway out of primal fear.

This is what’s on my mind.