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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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Receiving Signals

The more I explore the physical nature of signals, the more I realize the importance of receiving information from the signals I send. When I send a signal usually from different areas of the spine, I must be willing to receive the messages coming back to me. We call it feedback and the mechanical training used to be called bio-feedback.

It seems like by attending to the physical signal, my desire for directed and controlled movement takes over. I leave out the receiving signal and what I lose is the quality of the movement.

Without the quality, it is like a singer that is mechanical because of ignoring the emotion and the hopes for surprise in every moment.

With dancing, the two way nature of the signal is built in to the training. The Ballet class is built around this receptivity experimenting with adding variations to simple movements, with melodic and rhythmic connecting of movement, and with pauses for silent integration.

At each stage of training the importance of listening to the messages from my body and from my self become as important as perfecting a skill. I have to keep coming to terms with another important variation in dancing, different levels of force.

When I improvise, the use of force blends one movement into another. When learning a movement I rely on excessive force with the belief that I can make myself learn the movement if I can just control it.

That is a lesson I have to learn over and over in ballet class, to allow myself to move freely through the variations in the barre and in the difficult combinations. The Ballet class subtly weaves different levels of force into each combination of movements.

My experiment inside and outside class is to explore each of these kinds of receptivity. In my personal practice I vary the speed of my movements, slow to extremely slow and then to faster movement.

In private study I seek out the dance researchers who understand the importance of receiving messages while perfecting the agility in sending signals. For me these are practitioners of Floor-BarreTM, Skinner, Feldenkreis, and Alexander Technique, along with the somatic studies of Body-Mind-Centering and Continuum.

Each of these detailed studies of movement understand the importance of a receptive and responsive stillness defined as Constructive Rest Position by Liz Koch in The Psoas Book.

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Question Placebo Effect

Professional athletes say that when two people are highly trained and have superior talent, it comes down to a confrontation of the attitude of one individual against another.

What if Lance Armstrong did not benefit so much from the physical effects of drugging. What if he benefited more from an attitude change due to a placebo effect? What if his belief in his advantage and the proof of his previous wins was the deciding factor in his winning his races? Which ever is true, the issue raises a question for me.

Could the instantaneous connection of signals throughout the body give access to more strength and flexibility through a kind of placebo effect? Would this access make it possible to develop skills with a clear sense of confidence?