Body wisdom is singular. This course
has separated learning body wisdom under pressure into three interconnected
components. The separation is made to assist mental focus in learning. When you
first learned to ride a bicycle, you separated pedaling skills from turning and
braking to enable your mind to concentrate on the basics, but when you took to
the hills, your body integrated these distinctions.
Three Components: Gound, Center and
This lesson covers the first two
components, Ground and Center.
Without ground and center,
engagement with pressure (extension) from your core is unreliable. You’ll learn
these elements by enriching already familiar movements such as stepping forward
and back. Later they will be applied to engaging with pressures.
Stand comfortably, feet parallel and
shoulder-width apart, with arms relaxed, with palms slightly open, as though
feeling for the floor. Imagine a line in front of your toes, or stand in front
of a line on the floor. Let your weight settle.
Step back with your right foot, just
a comfortable distance, allowing it to open to the right, forming a triangular
stance at right angle (or comfortably less) to your front foot. Continue facing
forward. Notice your weight distribution in your feet. Shift your weight
forward or back, only as far from the center as it was when you first noticed.
Shift slowly back across the center to the place where you started.
Slowly shift forward and back each time
crossing the center point equal distances in front and back, progressively
reducing the distance from the center each time until finding stillness without
rigidity. Rest here.
Now bring your back foot forward to
the toe line and rest, feet parallel. Then step back with your other foot in
the same manner and repeat the sequence practiced above. Step forward to the
toe line again and rest.
From the starting position step,
with either foot, back and down. By adding the “down” element, we have a new practice, which challenges
the initial practice of finding center. By “stepping down” I’m suggesting dropping your
attention and your body weight, as if backing down off the bottom step of a
ladder on to the ground. Feel the down.
Notice if stepping back and down
leaves you in front of or behind your center-point, the place where your weight
is equally distributed. Cavers will find more weight in their back leg and have
to practice adjusting further forward to find center in movement. Repeat the
weight shifting, now with the added element of down. You will learn to maintain center
in movement by emphasizing the down relative to the back. Drop sooner, and you
will not lean backwards. When you settle in the center, you should feel more
connected to the Earth than you did in the first centering only practice. With
your back foot, step forward again without losing this grounded feeling of
connection to something beneath, and rest.
Step back and down with your other
leg and repeat the practice, settling into ground and center. Notice the
feeling of center with ground.
Step forward again to the toe line,
and immediately step back and down with the other leg. Adjust to center, then
step forward again to the line and back and down with the other leg. Alternate
this practice slowly enough at first that you can find center more easily and
with decreasing adjustment. Increase the pace of your practice at a rate that
enables you to continue to feel ground and find center.
Initially, as you increase pace, you
will sacrifice ground, center, or both. Notice what happens, as it will inform
your practice, and slow the pace intermittently to deepen the practice, pausing
regularly in stillness, either at the toe line or in either triangle pose. Make
spaces in which to settle.
As you learn to increase pace
without sacrificing center or ground, you will want your arms to become
involved, but avoid swinging with muscular exertion. Instead, a feeling of
energy passing through your palms can be extend forward and around in movement
that has verticality. It bounces.
Hands release energy into the ground and receive kinetic energy from
Earth. Open your hands (fingers
touching, extended but relaxed,)
as though are carrying something and receiving.
Take a walk, slowly. You have learned
grounding by stepping back. Can you feel a change in your connection with
ground while stepping forward? When you can, you are ready for lesson Five.
Stay in touch with the planet, like the actions of water and the cycles of the moon.