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Nurturing Back Strains

Today I nurture my Quadratus Lomborum (QL), the little square of muscle connecting my pelvis bone the iliac to my spine and to my lower ribs. I have again strained these very tense and unforgiving support muscles. At its worse, I could not straighten my torso and had trouble rising from a sitting position.

Lifting from my pelvis and sending signals to lift under my rib cage has given me freedom to undulate my spine and to swivel around it in all directions.

Counter rotations of paired arms and hips with head added a freedom to slow my visual focus and to internally follow my full body experience.

Then I add an image of a double helix that passes signals from pelvic diaphragm through my QL, through my center spine diaphragm at the lower rib, through my suspended diaphragm between my shoulder blades crossing under my arms, through my neck and cranial base and out the top of my head.

The image of a double helix is two spiraling strands crossing and recrossing from my lower spine through the top of my head. The purpose of the double helix is to organize the signals connecting my entire body. This image allows an instant broad view of the intricate connections of each system of muscle and bone and intention and emotion.

In other words, I can simply visualize the double helix through my body and allow the integration of signals through every system. I can vary size of the double helix to surround only my spine or expand it to encompass the outer circumference of my body.

Today as I purposefully nurture my QL I allow gentle signals to pass through and keep my entire body supple and responsive to initiation of movement that includes signals of many qualities.

I feel lightness and a bright curiosity with each signal passing through my lower and upper torso. I can lift in one area and support the other in a curve forward, back, and diagonal. My QL goes along for the ride without seizing up or complaining with pain.

The counter rotations seem to ease my mind and foster a flow of focus through my entire body.
Tim Hurst 10/17/17

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Hovering Torso Prancing Legs

Today at the Lake Travis beach, Ginger and I went for a walk. I explored an experiment that had occurred to me two days ago. Today I identified what the image is.

My torso is hovering over my legs like a glider that is banking and swiveling in every direction. I was able to feel the hovering sensation because I had recently discovered what it really meant to lift the torso up away from the hips and legs. I had also not understood in Ballet class about the hips operating as a part of the legs.

The discoveries are so interesting because I am fascinated by the way a dancer initiates any movement with a sense of delight. Also I am convinced that dancers training and personal imagery is directed towards clarifying the signals that pass through the body.

This is important for me today because I have strained all the muscles on the right side of my torso. Sarah Brumgart a dancer turned massage therapist spent an afternoon identifying all those aching and painful muscle connections that I could not bring my self to stretch.

This particular experiment was important because I began signals at the lower torso and passed signals through the most painful areas to areas of the back that could easily move.

My hovering torso seems to originate in the suspended diaphragm under my arms in the back. Dana Lewis distinguishes the movement across this area as spreading which is an expansive, extending movement.

With a lifting motion, that Dana also insisted I learn, I initiate a supportive network of signals from the pelvic floor that connect under my ribs all around my body. Shifting the focus of my upper torso felt fluid and made it easy to tilt to a diagonal and bank into a turn that curved my entire body all the way around.

The amazing sensation was that all this movement is initiated in the hovering torso. My legs were tripping along following the movement coming from above. I lifted my torso as if it were independent of my legs and my legs felt free to spring quickly to catch the fluidity of my torso.

This is entirely different from the way I walk. I could not imagine returning to my usual heavy lumbering ahead movement lifting and lowering my legs. As subtle and small as my movements were, my legs felt as if they were flying, a similar image to hovering in my torso.

Of course, my sensation of seeing and thinking was different as well. This is harder to describe. My eye brows expanded. The base of my skull pulled a little up and slightly back freeing also my top vertebra to tilt and bob with every movement.

All these movements reminded me of an experimentation I did with the image of the Gypsy Poney. I paired the movement of my feet springing while lifting the back of my head like the bowing of the Poney’s neck. This is a new sensation of pairiing prancing feet with a raised and arched neck.

My focus widened at my brow and I notice the sensation of my upper torso riding above, like the hovering image, while my feet pranced lightly changing direction easily. My widening focus was a different state of connection between movement, thought, perception, and emotion.
Tim Hurst 10/16/17

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What’s Movement to a Dancer?

What appears to be physical changes of position and poses is for the dancer a refining of complex networks of signals connecting, dissolving, and reconnecting throughout all the systems of the person.

These signals travel in curved pathways that have been understood by dancers for centuries and are now studied as Structural Integration. It is the curved pathways of signals that a dancer experiences as continuous movement of sensation, anticipation, initiation, completion, and transition into multiple directions at once.

The dancer’s tools of compression and extension are related to signals that are continuously in motion. What appears as stillness or a pause is actually another state of movement.

An audience can immediately identify the delight of a dancer’s simple movement. For the dancer also the movement is an instantaneous connection of physical, emotional, and intentional signals.

From the viewer’s point of view, the movement looks automatic as if a body memory has taken over. For the dancer, there is a rapid shifting of many kinds of focus. One type of focus is from the micro view to monitor a specific skill and the macro view of the entire person at once. Another type of focus is in the awareness which shifts the view from foreground to background.

Even though it may seem as if some movements are directed and others automatic, for the dancer patterns are variations of experience that work at levels sometimes called heightened awareness and sometimes requiring less attention. Both levels of the patterned skill are interconnecting with each other, the difference is the focus on foreground or background.

The dancer’s view is more of a malleable system that is in continual responsiveness. Automatic movement and muscle memory do not adequately explain their complex process.

For the viewer and often for the choreographer, the pattern is seen as a repetition, a replica of a specific movement. For the dancer, the pattern is also a malleable experience that is varied by the thoughts, emotions, and energy of the moment. This is one of the reasons that no two dance performances are the same.

Another astonishing perspective is the dancer’s ability to alter the experience of any movement with a set of modulators. A physical analogy is a musicians sound board. Any sound can be modulated and blended with dials that give more or less of different qualities.

The dancer modulates not just speed or duration but also the qualities that bring emphasis, heaviness or lightness, subtlety or boldness, to name only a few. Like the musician the outcome is a confluence of emotion and interpretation of melodies, rhythms, and harmonies.

Imagery is a tool to assist the dancer with the complexity of shifts in focus and with interconnecting the centers of movement, emotion, and formation of meaning. Signals are shaped and managed with imagery.

Also the anatomy of the body is managed with imagery. Physically, the dancer is also working with the body as a malleable system. To do this the dancer has developed imagery within a training processes for understanding the body movement.

Imagery is often indicating the direction of energy flows. Using the image of signals different areas of the body can be viewed as signal initiators and receptors. Rather than commanding a body part to move, the signal begins at a location and travels back and forth to other sites in the body. These specific locations are interconnected into networks.

Signals move between different areas of the body are called diaphragms and platforms. They usually cross the entire body and give the perspective of the dancer as moving three dimensionally and in every direction. Each one is a major sending and receiving point for many nerve endings and flows of energy.

The platforms are the arches and surfaces of the feet, the palms of the hands, the collar bone and scapula that suspend the shoulder girdle, the base of the skull, and the Fontanelles or meetings of the cranial bones at the top of the head.

The dancer makes detailed studies of each platform to refine the nerve and energy flows to and from each area. Then they connect their access to each by establishing networks between them.

The diaphragms are muscular and give clues to the dancer’s detailed training of large and small muscle groups. The diaphragms are the pelvic diaphragm also known as the pelvic floor, the lower rib cage diaphragm also known as the respiratory diaphragm, the mid chest diaphragm also known as the dancer’s diaphragm, and the Centrum Brain diaphragm with one known moving part the soft palate.

The diaphragms are the dancer’s keys to lifting up from feet to head, to spreading the body horizontally to engage front and back muscles, to arching and rotating the spine, to connecting the torso and the spine to movement of the legs and articulation of the knees, ankles, arches, and toes of the feet.

What difference does the dancer’s perspective make? Movement is a springing motion rather than a pounding one. A balance of extension and compression takes less effort and training goes past the desire to try too hard. The shifts of focus bring a sense of delight to movement. Every area of the body is accessible and trained as a supportive network.
Tim Hurst 10/09/17

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Tuning the Helix

Today my body is bursting to reconnect. Imbalances pop up everywhere, Hips twist. Right leg needs to lengthen. T6 between the shoulder blades is out somehow. All these complaints sends signals of pain to my right knee.

First I acknowledge each area of need to just say help is on the way. Slow and small movement is best like a very detailed barre or a Tai Chi and Chi Gong movement.

For slow focused movements, I send a shower of many signals from all directions. Then I direct the shower from the spine. I shift the signals first to the scattered shower then to the directed shower. This brings the area to life and ready to reconnect.

Today I introduce some slow counter rotations of head with hips in one direction and shoulder girdle and solar plexis to the opposite direction. All this is very subtle movement in slow motion. I can enlarge one area at a time, a hip rotating forward or back in a semi circle. The back under the shoulders can swivel in the same or the opposite direction of the hips.

All of this is to bring life to each area and to clarify the signals that can be shifted through body brain connections.

Then I am ready to apply imagery to reconnect my signal networks. The difference between the imagery of a DNA shaped helix and spiraled signals is coming a little clearer.

The helix image is a structure that I can place within different areas of my body. First I place a helix spiraling from both feet up through my spine and out my head. I experience the slight spiraling of the entire helix image structure. The image can spiral in either direction, can ripple with areas that are trying to align, and become larger or smaller in areas that need more detailed focus.

A single signal can travel instantly through the entire helix and return. For example a contraction in the arch of the feet can send a clear signal out the top of the head. This is my first signal just to test where the disconnects are.

The signal follows the spiraled pathway of the helix and can reshape the position and size of the helix to fit its trajectory. To deal with the imbalance in my legs, I alter the helix to be a loop from one foot through the pelvic diaphragm to the other foot. I am then balanced on a series of spiraling springs, the helix, that can simultaneously apply equal pressure or apply a lifting pressure to one leg while moving the opposite leg.

The same applies to the area between the shoulder blades. I apply one helix from finger tips of one hand through my body to finger tips of the other hand. This helix image engages the area under my arms, connects with the T6 area of the spine and engages the solar plexis at the front of my body.

I move each area in all directions by sending clear signals through the helix image. Because I am imaging the helix as a moveable structure, I do not need to construct the signal as a spiral. The signal travels instantly through the helix. The spiral of the signal through the helix can reflect in my movement if I wish.
The next stage is reconnecting the support areas of the horizontal diaphragms. I have already connected the arches of the feet to the entire body. I continue the connections through my body with the Barre, Floor-BarreTM and variations of Modern Dance sequences.

Reconnecting the pelvic diaphragm is placing a horizontal helix within the pelvis and hip areas. I can send lifting signals through the helix and also signals for expanding and contracting that activate the lower spine and legs.

From the pelvic diaphragm I can enlarge the helix and send signals crossing the spine to activate which vertebra that need my attention.

I can repeat the counter rotations that I used to test my problem areas earlier.

Each diaphragm is important. The one that is calling for help this morning is the Cranial Base where the top vertebra Atlas can swivel and bob the head in all directions. I can send signals from the arches of the feet or from the pelvic diaphragm.

A signal can ripple through the helix to bob or rotate the head in any direction. The ease of motion is so much simpler than the command, “Now move the head.” The movement is connected into a full body network and the sensation is of movement growing from inside out.

So I have spent most of my time notating these steps today. Now I need to spend some focused time with my moving self.
Tim Hurst 09/10/17