Posts Tagged: ideokinesis

Eyes Open vs Eyes Shut

Does the title give it away? Do you know what I’m talking about? When are yours eyes open in tango and when are they shut?

Has your tango teacher told you, as a follower, to close your eyes? Close your eyes so you can feel more? so you can be more receptive? If so, I’m commenting on this.

I, too, have told my followers, my friskier follower babies, to shut their eyes. I might recommend this if the follower is particularly frisky or anxious or running away from the lead. At a milonga I have been known to close my eyes in order to pay more attention to my lead, as I DO get distracted! And I think sometimes at a milonga depending on my leader I am inclined to close my eyes.

HOWEVER, as followers grow up (in tango yearsI ask that they open their eyes for many exercises. I hadn’t thought too much about this until, during my training with Graciela Gonzalez, she spent almost an hour yelling at me to open my eyes. We have to not only be receptive with our bodies but also our eyes. The eyes can help us to become more present in our dancing.

Skull with lines from eye socketThis brought me back to my work with Dr. Pam Matt and what is referred to as The Thinking Body, (after the book by the same title by Mabel Todd, founder of the somatic form Ideokinesis). The idea behind the work is that the body’s posture and movement can change with mental focus on imagined actions, like visualization. The images used are creative, active and endless, and the body reacts to what the mind’s eye sees.

So I bring the idea to you for deciding to dance with your eyes open vs shut!

Imagine your eyes resting in your eye sockets and allow information to come into the eyes. I think our eyes spend so much time actively seeking information as opposed to passively absorbing what comes before them.

In the drawing of the skull I have added 2 lines, that ideally would make a cone shape with the circle where the eye would be at the far left position. If you imagine that the eye is supported by its bony structure of the skull, the eye socket, and then the muscular supports for the eye move diagonally back into the head (which they do). So if you could visualize the eyeballs resting in a relaxed state with the images that come before you moving into your skull where your brain and information processing lies! The eyes then become passive but your body still is receptive in well, almost the same way. Try this next time you are working hard on your technique and you have chosen to close your eyes, try opening them for a time and see what happens to your dancing. The real goal of the follower is not to “check out” while dancing, see if your passive vision can support you. And as a side note, check out what it does to your posture.

Thanks to Flickr photos for the skull drawing.
M
ore on Ideokinesis at http://www.ideokinesis.com/

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RES Certified with an Offer for You

I have been recuperating from an intense week of certification to become a RES-CPT (Restorative Exercise Specialist TM – CertifieRestorative Exercised Personal Trainer).

For those who have taken class with me, know that I am very interested in how the body works, interested in health and movement, and moving safely. (As safely as we can in 4″ heels!)

My love for movement started when I was a toddler, jumping off my tricycle and hanging upside down. After ice skating, gymnastics, track, swimming, ballet, I found my first modern dance class. Just after college I took a course called Anatomy for Dancers with Sarah White, who worked at the Massage School in Boston, MA. This was the first of many courses in Anatomy and Kinesiology that I would take.

I was fortunate to have a modern dance teacher in Cambridge, MA, Marcus Schulkind, who was very concerned with alignment. I was encouraged to drop my ribs, and put my head on my spine, and our measurement of being aligned was if we could balance in releve. (1 leg up and the standing leg on the ball of the foot). I spent some time traveling to NYC to study with Susan Klein, and her objective was to get our hamstrings as long as possible by hanging over our legs for very long periods of time. Along with the hanging we were learning to find and utilize a very strong and long muscle called the psoas. In graduate school at ASU I took Anatomy and Kinesiology and several other courses from Pam Matt, who I will begin to work with again in the fall. So no wonder my path has found me at Katy Bowman’s virtual doorstep.

Katy’s Restorative Institute teaches alignment for health. She is a biomechanist and the focus of alignment is for health and wellness. You can read more about aligning your body on her blog KatySays.com.

The RES Program includes the understanding of how the body works at a cellular level, muscular and skeletal level. We know being alive is about regenerating tissues, generating cells. We know that oxygen is food for all of our cells and if you’re not moving then that area is vulnerable to disease. In the RES program great all over body movement is walking and moving as much of your body throughout the day. Think about a little head hanging or a hand stretch. We want our body to work optimally for as long as possible. So we want to load those bones properly, we want our muscles at their correct length and we need to move.

The program starts with the 1A protocol: the basic foundation for the rest of the 50+ exercises!!!  The 1A protocol introduces the language and some of the alignment markers that are the foundation for the rest of the program. I know that my father has been doing the protocol for a few months and has already seen some measurable results. The 1A protocol has an emphasis on lengthening our posterior leg, think  lengthening our hamstrings. We need this posterior strength to be able to hold our bodies up and to be able to walk properly, without falling.

My week consisted of 6 private sessions with Master Teacher Trainers, sessions with Katy and Master Teacher Trainers, a written test, and a one-hour practicum on 2 different volunteers. Phew! I lengthened my hamstrings, dropped my ribs, expanded my scapula, and lengthened my psoas. It was a tremendous week.

For the rest of the month of June I am offering 40 minute 1A protocol semi-private sessions at my home studio in Tempe. I am offering them on the following Monday and Wednesday evenings the 17th, 19th, 24th, 26th. You must reserve your spot in advance. Limited to 4 people. Bring yoga mat and a towel (or I will provide). Wear comfortable clothes. $10 per person.
Available times are
6pm – 6:40pm
7pm – 7:40pm
8pm – 8:40pm.
First come first served.
Call me at 480-442-9550 or send me an email. I will call you to confirm your spot.

Come join My Alignment Practice…

Next blog – how alignment and tango (or any dance) work together…

 

 

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