In movement, on the mat or off, aim for beauty. If your movement is beautiful, then your execution is perfect. There is no such thing as Universal Alignment Principals; our body is unique, and your movement tells your story…
“Nothing is more revealing than movement.” -Martha Graham
I learn to teach as I teach. Movement is the story of the body, and without observation of how my students walk, breathe, stand, lunge, squat or rotate, my teaching is mute. No matter how much I know about the mechanics of movement, my only way to know how to teach to you, the student, is to watch you move.
Movement reveals to me where FLOW – the energy of your body – is lost. The idea of FLOW can also be thought of as Prana, which is a word used for “life force”, or vital principal. In my QiFlow movement classes, I use full body knowledge, exploratory movement, mobility and rhythm to unleash the inner energy source of the body. For the rest of my post I will refer to prana as FLOW…
To unlock, release and utilize the power of FLOW – the prime mover of all activity – you need to move big and bold, slow and fast, and have the courage to be expressive and open in your movement.
This is why I teach mobility. This is why I have stopped teaching yoga. This is why I teach choreography and therapeutics on the mat. I teach body freedom, body knowledge, and body beautiful. Beautiful is a word I use to describe movement that is free from dogma, filled with expression, therapeutic in nature and, most important, beautiful is used to describe movement when the body is moved on purpose, from the feet to the gaze, every movement of the body is done with awareness and breath.
I teach body freedom, body knowledge, and body beautiful.
Body knowledge is the path to beautiful movement. Movement that is beautiful is learned through the senses. You learn by hearing, seeing and feeling the movement; you learn movement beauty, and then you practice. Every day, every minute of each day, you practice. The practice does not end at namaste’, it never ends. Take your movement practice off the mat and move with purpose.
Pay attention to how you walk. What do your feet do? Do they turn out? Maybe only one turns out and the other faces forward. How does your knee align with your ankle? Is the muscles in your front thigh (quadricep group) soft? Hard? Can you feel your hamstrings with your mind? Do you know where your hamstrings are located? What they do for you? How’s your butt? Are the gluteal muscles dormant, tight, strong? Do you know how to move your body? Your answer is important.
Body knowledge is body freedom. Don’t move your body mindlessly! Move your body with purpose – free your joints, bend and rotate your spine, hydrate your fascia, engage dormant areas, design muscle tone and use the energy of FLOW in your everyday movements by focusing on posture even when off the mat…stand, walk and run with a balanced pelvis, active glutes, axial extension and core support.
Body freedom is energy. Body freedom is FLOW. Mobility makes movement possible. Mobility is freedom. If you are still working on your flexibility, after all of these years on the yoga mat, and still not able to touch your fingers to the floor in a forward bend, then you need to rethink your practice. Mobility over flexibility. Flexibility has a lot of factors: heredity, anatomical variations, fascia hydration, injury, scar tissue and mobility. Stop trying to become flexible; the give and take, the balance of mobility and stability, is what your movement practice should focus on. Efficient movement – when mobility and stability are in balance – is movement that is graceful, effortless and beautiful. Working on efficient movement is your answer to your flexibility limitations.
Take the 14-day QiFlow Mobility Challenge. Go to Home Depot, grab a pvc pipe, learn the movements of MobilityFlow by watching the attached video two or three times before trying the movement. Watch every movement of MobilityFlow from how our shoulders move, what shapes our spines make, and, most important, watch how we move our feet and hold our gaze. Then try it for yourself. The first time will feel awkward and tight. Do it again, and again, and again. Practice, practice, practice.
“The body gets better at whatever it does or does not do. If you don’t move your body, your body will get better at NOT moving. If you do move your body, your body will get better at the movement. If you move, your body will open to the possibility of more movement.” -Ido Portal
Keep your elbows locked -> keep extension/energy in your spine -> lift gaze -> move your feet to move your body -> feel your body with your mind.
If you feel a tug, or pull that feels sharp or shooting – make an adjustment. Perhaps you stand with feet wider, move your hips more; do whatever adjustment you need for your unique body. Don’t stop if it hurts, adjust. If allowed to, movement can and will heal your body. But you have to move to heal. Don’t stop, adjust.
Try MobilityFlow every day for 14-days. Increase mobility, deepen mind/body connection and learn to go with the FLOW. No resistance, no hesitation. Avoid choppy movements and breathe as you breathe. Feel the music. A body in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by a force…hesitation is a force. Let go, let it FLOW and move to the music. Enjoy.